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Machiavelli's Ethics
Erica Benner

Book Description | Reviews
Introduction [in PDF format] | Chapter 8 [PDF only]

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Acknowledgments xiii
Abbreviations xv
Introduction 1
Arguments: Philosophical ethics and the rule of law 5
Sources: Greek ethics 8

Part I: Contexts

Chapter 1: Civil Reasonings: Machiavelli's Practical Filosofia 15
1.1. Florentine Histories: Decent words, indecent deeds 16
1.2. Flawed remedies: Rhetoric and power politics 25
1.3. Flawed analyses: Self-celebratory versus self-critical histories 30
1.4. Philosophy and the vita activa in Florentine humanism 37
1.5. What is, has been, and can reasonably be: Machiavelli's correspondence 43
1.6. The Socratic tradition of philosophical politics 49
1.7. Forming republics in writing and in practice: The Discursus 54

Chapter 2: Ancient Sources: Dissimulation in Greek Ethics 63
2.1. Constructive dissimulation: Writing as civil "medicine" 64
2.2. Inoculation for citizens: Words and deeds in Xenophon's Cyropaedia 71
2.3. Conversations with rulers: Plutarch and Xenophon on purging tyranny 78
2.4. Dissimulating about deception: Xenophon's Cambyses 84
2.5. Dissimulating about justice: Thucydides’ Diodotus 88

Part II: Foundations

Chapter 3: Imitation and Knowledge 101
3.1. The ancient tradition of imitating ancients 101
3.2. Inadequate imitation: The "unreasonable praise of antiquity" 107
3.3. Historical judgment: Criticism of sources and self-examination 111
3.4. The Socratic metaphor of hunting 116
3.5. Ethical judgment: The "true knowledge of histories" 124
3.6. Machiavelli's dangerous new reasonings 132

Chapter 4: N ecessity and Virtue 135
4.1. The rhetoric of necessity 136
4.2. Necessita as an excuse 140
4.3. Necessita as a pretext 142
4.4. Imposing and removing necessita 147
4.5. Virtu as reflective prudence: Taking stock of ordinary constraints 150
4.6. Under- and overassertive responses to necessity 153
4.7. Virtu as self-responsibility: Authorizing constraints on one's own forces 156
4.8. Virtu as autonomy: Imposing one's own orders and laws 161
4.9. Necessita and fortuna 166

Chapter 5: Human Nature and Human Orders 169
5.1. Fortune and free will 170
5.2. How to manage fortuna: Impetuosity and respetto 175
5.3. Practical theology: Heavenly judgments and human reasons 180
5.4. Practical prophecies: Foreseeing the future by "natural virtues" 184
5.5. Moral psychology: The malignita of human nature and the discipline of virtu 190
5.6. Human zoology: The ways of men and beasts 197
5.7. Human cities, where modes are neither delicate nor too harsh 201
5.8. Who is responsible for the laws? Human reasoning and civilita 206

Part III: Principles

Chapter 6: Free Agency and Desires for Freedom 213
6.1. The Discourses on desires for freedom in and among cities 214
6.2. The Florentine Histories on freedom and the need for self-restraint 221
6.3. Are desires for freedom universal? 226
6.4. Inadequate conceptions of freedom 231
6.5. The rhetoric of liberta in republics 239
6.6. Free will and free agency 244

Chapter 7: Free Orders 254
7.1. Priorities I: Respect for free agency as a condition for stable orders 255
7.2. Priorities II: Willing authorization as the foundation of free orders 259
7.3. Conditions I: Universal security 262
7.4. Conditions II: Transparency and publicity 266
7.5. Conditions III: Equal opportunity 269
7.6. Foundations of political freedom: Procedural constraints and the rule of law 279
7.7. Persuasions: Why should people choose free orders? 287

Chapter 8: Justice and Injustice 290
8.1. Justice as the basis of order and liberta 291
8.2. Partisan accounts of justice 299
8.3. Non-partisan persuasions toward justice 306
8.4. Why it is dangerous to violate the law of nations 309
8.5. Forms of justice: Promises, punishments, and distributions 314
8.6. Ignorance of justice: Who is responsible for upholding just
orders? 320

Chapter 9: Ends and Means 325
9.1. Responsibility for bad outcomes: The dangers of giving counsel 326
9.2. Judging wars by post facto outcomes 331
9.3. Judging wars by anticipated outcomes 335
9.4. Reflective consequentialism or deontology? 340
9.5. Problem 1: Unjust means corrupt good ends 343
9.6. Problem 2: Who can be trusted to foresee effects? 347
9.7. Problem 3: Who can be trusted to identify good ends? 351
9.8. Problem 4: Corrupting examples 357
9.9. Corrupt judgments: Means and ends in the Prince 360

Part IV: Politics

Chapter 10: Ordinary and Extraordinary Authority 367
10.1. The antithesis between ordinary and extraordinary modes 367
10.2. Are conspiracies ever justified? 373
10.3. Extraordinary and ordinary ways to renovate corrupt cities 380
10.4. Unreasonable uses of religion: Easy ways to acquire authority 386
10.5. Reasonable uses of religion: Fear of God and fear of human justice 394
10.6. Folk religion and civil reasoning 400

Chapter 11: Legislators and Princes 407
11.1. Spartan founders and refounders: Lycurgus, Agis, and Cleomenes 408
11.2. Roman founders and legislators: Romulus and Aeneas 418
11.3. God's executors and modes of free building: Moses 424
11.4. Ordinary mortals and the ancient ideal of the one-man legislator 432
11.5. Persuasion in the Prince: On maintaining one's own arms 437
11.6. Princely knowledge and the "knowledge of peoples" 447

Chapter 12: E xpansion and Empire 451
12.1. Why republics must expand: The defects of non-expansionist republics 451
12.2. Three modes: Equal partnership, subjection to one, and the Roman mode 454
12.3. The Roman "middle way": Making subjects or partners 458
12.4. Bad Roman modes, good Roman orders: The choice between
extremes 464
12.5. Why Roman imperio became pernicious: The wars with Carthage 468
12.6. Expansion by partnership: The forgotten Tuscan league 475
12.7. Should Florence imitate Rome? 478

Conclusions 484
This interpretation and others 490
Machiavelli and the ethical foundations of political philosophy 496
Bibliography 499
Index 509

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File created: 7/11/2014

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