Questioning the Medieval SynthesisTime : 14th century or so. Lots of secular monarchs getting stronger. Revival of Roman law (which put state over any social institution) was important influence. Scholar activists challenged papal meddling in political affairs, questioned conventional wisdom about church hierarchy deriving from St. Peter.Ideas about society originating from purely utilitarian and individualistic basis supports what might be called “strong humanist” approach and resonates with criticism of church.Machiavelli comes along (1469-1527) and effectively separates ethics and politics. His model of man is as self-interested creature with insatiable appetite. He gave us a first rate study of leadership and organization. It is purely pragmatic with ends justifying the means. His, then, is a social theory of what works not of what values one should work toward. He also added an important appreciation for social dynamics – states must develop and grow or they will wither and die. This pushes aside the emphasis on stability as the main “function” or
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