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1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. A problem statement of sorts Expressed terms of a dominant position in the literature Followed by a critical stance towards it taken by the author With some sort of evidence for the stance An alternative position which seems to build on the critical evidence presented earlier Conclusion expressed as a political consequence of the revised portion

Bullets 1. Problem Statement Sheer number of interpretations of Machiavellis work, in spite of his terse, dry and candid writing style. Machiavellis mental makeup, motivations and belief systems was he a moral man? Or was he evil reincarnated? 2. Dominant Position in the literature Machiavellis motivations still unclear wide range of guesses. Politics as a substitute for ethics OR A dualistic view of society? Diverse array of character sketches for Machiavelli, motivated from his work. No sacrifice too great The Devils Partner 3. Authors critical stance Superiority for civic virtue over the Christian code of ethics. Machiavelli not amoral rather, his morality is more social and pre-Christian in nature. Basic moral belief country above soul. No anguish in writing Machiavelli not an idealist or a whistleblower. Republican rule But prefers a well-governed principality to a decaying republic. 4. Evidence Letter to Guiccardini Basic moral belief outlined. Advice to the victor of a conquered province (Philips historian) & Frederick The Great Discarding the Christian code of ethics. Macaulays observations Principality to decaying republic. The French, Brutus, Romulus and other successful statesmen of history. Conversation with Dostoevsky The ultimate end. 5. Alternative position Incompatibility of different belief systems with specific ends. Two conflicting systems of value Different codes of conduct for public and private spheres of life. 6. Conclusion/Political Revision Ends conflict with each other so much that entire belief systems collide with no rational arbitration between them. No final answer to how men should lead their lives not just on realistic grounds, but conceptually incoherent.

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Essay Niccolo Machiavelli, the man whose ethical and moral beliefs are synonymous with one of the three dark triad personality profiles of contemporary psychology, has been immersed in controversy ever since he laid form to The Prince and The Discourses on Living. What follows is a summary of The Question of Machiavelli an intellectually stimulating attempt at shedding some light on the enigmatic diplomat from Florence by the late British political theorist, Sir Isaiah Berlin. Given the dry, succinct and candid writing style found in the aforementioned texts (unlike the esoteric and occasionally inconsistent works of Plato or Marx), the sheer number of interpretations of the literature is unusual. The element of unusualness is not merely a frivolous disagreement about the denotations attributed to specific words or phrases, but an astonishing degree of disagreement about Machiavellis basic moral and political attitude. What were Machiavellis motivations and belief systems? Was he moral in his sense, or was he evil reincarnated? The questions continue to baffle academicians, even after 500 years of developments. Owing to the unclear nature of Machiavellis motivations behind advocating an unscrupulous approach to politics, he has been attributed many a profile ranging from the anguished humanist to the widely popular view of a man inspired by the Devil Himself to lead men to doom. Contemporary interpretations often portray him as an amoral man one who believes in a dualist society and sees politics as a substitute for ethics. At first glance, this particular version of his character seems to be accurate, considering his notoriously wicked advice to the Prince You may be violent and use your power to overawe, but you must not break your own laws, for that destroys confidence and disintegrates the social texture. Men should either be caressed or annihilated. There is no sacrifice too great. Benedetto Croce associates not skepticism or detachment, but a sense of anguish to Machiavellis cold and objective descriptions of public organization. However, the author argues that Machiavelli is not exactly amoral, but a follower of a different school of morality the basic principles of which, are reflected in the works of Aristotle and Pericles. Allegations purporting the amorality of Machiavelli, according to the author, stems from a basic misinterpretation of the clash between so-called morality and political necessity. If the code of ethical/moral conduct is removed from the imaginary lines bounding Stoic or Christian or Kantian, and placed in a larger framework that encompasses the ethics of the Greek polis, the conceptual incongruences tend to disappear. Politics the art of living in a polis is not an activity suited for people who prefer private life. It is not a hobby confined to a single individual and within the private confines of his/her residence. Employing the Christian morality scale to judge the meekness or ruthlessness of the approach required to run a successful polis is as futile as measuring distance with a clock. Hence, it is imperative that we conceive a new code of ethics, which acquires meaning only when it is associated with the status, character and purpose of the individuals polis. In the authors words, this is the kind of pre-Christian morality that Machiavelli has taken for granted. The Prince and The Discourses on Living bears testimony to the fact that Machiavelli holds the tenets of civic virtue superior to the Christian code of ethics. He is discarding the Christian morality for an altogether different

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moral universe the world of Pericles or Scipio, a world when men fight to death for public ends, which they pursue for their own sakes. By not classifying the law of politics into good or evil, Machiavelli is not setting the ring for a battle between 2 seemingly mutually independent philosophies of thought - one corner occupied by politics and the other by morality. Instead, he adopts a different sense of morality, i.e., the Greek/Roman morality, an alternative realm of ends. However, one should not hasten to conclude that Machiavelli is rejecting the Christian morality. He merely substitutes it for another doctrine of morality one that is a game of skill and talent that has no interest in individual human ends and cannot be considered on the Christian ethical scale at all. Croces assumption about Machiavelli being an anguished humanist about the state of affairs of Italy is also flawed. There is as little anguish in The Prince and The Discourses on Living as in the other works and letters of Machiavelli. They are cold and terse, but fall within the boundaries of a central moral belief. We get glimpses of this guiding moral ideology in Machiavellis letters to Guiccardini, where he reveals that he loves his country more than his soul. Machiavellis political philosophy and recommendations pen down the path as to how the Prince should effectively act, not how He should morally act. The pre-Christian morality, which Machiavelli is subscribed to, is built on the recognition of the methodical use of strength and craftiness and he finds it neither exceptional nor morally agonizing to do so. Nor does he find the boundaries he draws between the ruler and the ruled morally upsetting. However morally dark the philosophies are by Christian standards, the author confides with the reader that the consequences are optimistic, as observed in history. Brutus killed his children and as a result, saved and secured Rome. Friar Savonarola had sound ideas and preached about austerity and waging a moral battle against extravagance, profligacy and corruption. However, he did not believe in taking arms. Hence, as sure as an unarmed prophets path would end in the gallows, perish did he. Like Aristotles belief structures, Machiavellis sense of morality was social and not individual; a morality no less than even the Christian morality and by no means, amoral in the absolute sense of the word. Machiavellis clear vision of society is described in the third part. He prefers a republican rule to the principality, where every individuals skill and talents contribute to a powerful and splendid whole. His vision encompasses both the social and political spheres, which has been interpreted by many as a philosophy akin to eat or be eaten, beat or be beaten. The author argues that Machiavelli is not specifically bothered about opportunism exhibited by a few ambitious individuals, but the idealistic vision of a shining Florence. In this respect, Machiavelli is a typical Renaissance humanist, although his realm of interest lies in the field of politics and not culture or art, unless the act of politically restructuring Florence has artistic denotations for him. As such, this is consistent with Macaulays observation that he prefers a principality to a dissolute and decaying republic. As critical as the authors stance is towards Machiavellis motivations and beliefs, he argues that his works broach a conceptually broader topic the incompatibility of certain belief systems and conflicting systems of values, with respect to a specific goal. Machiavellis penchant for the preChristian morality standards are brought out clearly in his notoriously outrageous advice to the victor who has to hold down a conquered province. He advises a clean sweep: new governors,

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new titles, new powers and new men. He advises him to leave the wealthy empty-handed and heap riches on the poor, akin to King David. But he doesnt stop there. He counsels drastic measure to leave nothing unchanged in the province by literally destroying the old cities, building new ones and transferring the inhabitants to the new province. A complete sweep. His advice is not baseless, for this was exactly what Philip of Macedon did to become the master of all Greece according to the historians. Although these means can be obviously seen as destructive of all civilized life by Christian standards, history begs to differ. And history repeats itself. This is where the author engages the reader to lift the veil and peer onto the world through Machiavellis lenses; a world broken into parts one that of personal morality and the other, of public organization. These are essentially two conflicting ethical codes both with ultimate ends and not two mutually independent components of a dualist society. Rather, they are two exhaustive alternatives between two conflicting systems of value. Embarking on the more humane course that stresses on uplifting private morality, essentially eliminates any chance or hope of creating a city the likes of Athens or the Roman Republic. However, if one decides to embark upon the latter course (like Machiavelli), he/she must be willing to suppress all private misgivings and doubts that might jeopardize the pursuit, remaking and maintenance of the society. As the author rightfully puts, one must break eggs to make an omelet. History is aplenty with such stories that bear testimony to this very fact. Romulus could not have founded Rome without killing Remus. Brutus would not have preserved Rome without slaying his children. The liberators of Athens had to destroy first, in order to create later. So, one must ask how different is Machiavellis thoughts from these historical facts, which happen to be held up to admiration by scholars and non-academicians worldwide? From the vantage point of grand social objectives, there is nothing wicked about Machiavellis methods. In fact, the nature of things demands it so. Within that particular framework, his methods lose their infamous sheen and begin acquiring a rational flavor. Then, these methods look wicked only to the people who see the trees, but are incapable of seeing the forest. The so-called inhumanity vanishes when one looks at these procedures as minor discords in a larger harmony. Discords they might be, but they are instrumental in making the harmony sound harmonious. Through his essay, the author elaborates on Machiavellis cardinal achievement the one solution to all problems that different philosophies of men are trying to reach, is technically impossible to reach. If there is only one solution to the puzzle, then the only problems are to how find it and then, how to realize it and finally, how to convert others by persuasion or force. Machiavelli clearly feels this is not so and has contrasted two different ways of life, with the two belief systems colliding with each other without any possible rational arbitration between them. By brutally tearing off the masks and showing us the worst in everyone of us, Machiavellis motivations behind writing the texts are clearer there is no final answer to how men should lead their lives. It is not discarded under the pretense of not being realist. It is discarded because the final answer is conceptually incoherent with respect to the methods employed. It is an impeccable dilemma in the path extending out to the future. And that, the author feels, is the intrinsic motivation behind the man who was Niccolo Machiavelli.

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