Niccolo Machiavelli Summary

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The Philosophy of Niccolò Machiavelli
The Prince and The Discourses
J.Priyanka Dalagan & Louray Maria L. Rizon - September 14, 2015

Portrait of Niccolò Machiavelli by Santi di Tito

INTRODUCTION

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

I. Niccolò Machiavelli (1469 - 1527)

Niccolò Machiavelli was a late 15th century adviser and political theorist who was born on May 3, 1946 in Florence, Italy to parents who were members of the old Florentine nobility. His father was a reputable lawyer, and so he received a formal education. Later on, he entered public service and worked under the Republic of Florence for fourteen years. When the Medici returned, Machiavelli lost his job, upon which began the period of his literary activity. He died at age 58 without having regained office, just weeks
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REASON OF THE STATE

If one followed the value system of the state, the statesman may violate the value of religion, ethics, and morality. Thus, Machiavelli devised the idea of the reason of State. Under the said idea, many acts that would be considered heinous crimes if judged in the court of religion or morality, are permissive and even obligatory. He did not assert that ethics and religion are inferior to the precepts of power, however. Machiavelli simply expressed that power and morality are independent of each other. When these two viewpoints come to collision, it depends on who faces the alternative. Moralists can recognize the superiority of the moral code over the competing value system while the ecclesiastic will not admit a rival to its religious code. Similarly, the statesman will be guided solely by the principle of his code whose end is different from other codes and whose means are therefore different, too. (Ebenstein & Ebenstein, p. 318)
Machiavelli was particularly pessimistic. He was not nihilistic to say that moral considerations were illaudable but he expressed that the statesman cannot afford the luxury of practicing morality. (Ebenstein & Ebenstein, p.
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