ps 10 JUly 11

ps 10 JUly 11 - PS 10 The problematic that Machiavelli...

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PS 10 7/11/06 The problematic that Machiavelli focuses on: He saw both internal and external threats just like Plato. External : German and French claims to Italian territory. He saw the fragmentation between the various Italian princes was a threat to stability to the country. He was a diplomat who saw the centralization of England and France during this period. He understood that the institutional stability were key to commercial development. His structure of reality: Machiavelli’s method of analysis is different. He uses historical empirical analysis. He has a realist conception of reality. His view is almost the complete opposite of Plato’s (contrast). Plato argued that you can find reality in the essence of things. Everyday experience was in constant flux and only approximated the forms. Plato rejected the Sophists because he wanted a universal standard of justice. The world of constant flux was the only one that existed for Machiavelli. For him human reality is in constant change, turmoil, and transformation. For him change is a defining element of our reality. Political actions and decisions take place in world that does not have a universal basis for the decisions. He completely rejects the idea of natural law. The political challenge is to deal with the differences between cultures. Political action is to deal with the change. Then he makes an additional observation. It is the nature of human beings to find it hard to accept a world that is unstable. We lament that because be like stability. But that is not the human condition. Human nature is such that much of us seek to create stability. Machiavelli says that is natural for us to want because he says that human survival is constantly threatened (anthropologically speaking in state of nature). He would say that we are uncomfortable with change. Most of us want familiarity, even if familiarity is destructive for us. What we do then because of this tension between our nature and reality we create illusions of permanence and constancy. That tension is part of human reality, but despite the belief that there is no stability he argued that human
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course POL SCI 10 taught by Professor Sabl during the Summer '07 term at UCLA.

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ps 10 JUly 11 - PS 10 The problematic that Machiavelli...

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