Fall 2020 PHIL 1301 Exam II As before, the exam will be open-book (to our course readings) and open note. I only ask that you don’t rely on other online resources for the exam.
Part I: 5 sentence papers For each philosopher in the list below, do each of the following in a separate, clearly labeled section
: A. In exactly 3 sentences (no more no less), describe what the philosopher’s central argument or position is on the topic listed and what they offer as reasons for accepting their position. A bulk of the points will be based on how well this section communicates understanding of the central themes and positions discussed in the reading.
–Note that we are focusing on the specific assigned readings for the course, so focus on those rather than any other reading you may have done.
B. In no more or less than one complete sentence, raise an objection or criticism of the *philosophical* content of the author. This criticism should be inspired by one of the other course authors. For example, if you had been assigned to write a criticism of Aristotle, you could use the one Sebastian Purcell discusses about the Greeks’ overreliance on reason.
–Note: the worry/criticism/objection must not be an objection to the superficial rhetoric or presentation of their reasoning; it must instead be a worry that they are making a claim that might not be true or isn’t sufficiently proven/demonstrated.
So it shouldn’t be “it’s overly emotional” or “it’s difficult to follow” or “it’s overly confusing.” Some options for objecting (no need to copy the exact language): a) one might worry that this claim is overly general in that it applies to cases that it shouldn’t, b) I’m concerned that this claim might not be true due to reasons x, y, z, c) while this claim might be true, it certainly needs to be proved more thoroughly or effectively, etc. This worry should be appropriate to the project of the philosopher and so should communicate a clear understanding of the argument/position of the philosopher.
C. In no more or less than one complete sentence, imagine how the philosopher might respond to your worry. What will they say on their behalf? It shouldn’t involve just giving up, like “the author will likely respond by admitting that I’m right.” It should be an attempt to answer your criticism and defend their position (they will not likely think your criticism destroys their argument or position). Again, this should demonstrate an understanding of the philosopher and their position/argument.
–The length requirements are strict, please do stay within the limits.
–Important Notes: • Please label your submissions clearly with different sections and please complete the sections in order. • Proofread and double check your answers. • Your responses should be based entirely on the readings. If you do, however, consult outside sources, please list them in your submission. • Do not include any quotes at all in your submission. The whole thing should be in your own words. • 5 sentences is not a lot. Don’t include *anything* that isn’t strictly necessary. •
***** Here is the list of Philosophers: The Aztecs, Machiavelli, Hobbes
Formatting example (be careful that your word processing program doesn’t automatically make a numbered list when you type “1. “, since that will screw up the formatting)
1. The Aztec moral philosophers
A: Three sentences about the Aztec view of life. No intro or conclusion or anything, just a concise summary of their main ideas
B: A criticism of the Aztecs
C: The Aztecs’ response to your criticism
A: Three sentences about Machiavelli
B: A criticism of Machiavelli
C: Machiavelli’s response to your criticism
A: Three sentences about Hobbes
B: A criticism of Hobbes
C: Hobbes’s response to your criticism
Part II: Short answer (a few sentences)
4. We know the social contract theorist John Locke directly influenced the American Founders, and by extension, us. Identify one way one of our other course authors influenced contemporary society and how they influenced it.
–Note that your explanation is the key feature here—I do not expect you to find as direct an example as Thomas Jefferson relying on Locke.
5. In your opinion, are most Tarleton students Aristotelian or Machiavellian? What is the basis of this opinion? Do you think the majority of students are correct? Why? Give an example of what being Aristotelian or Machiavellian means in a college context in your answer.
Part III: Short essay (a paragraph or two)
6. While our other authors preferred more direct discourse, Plato and the Aztecs used literary methods to share their ideas and even Hobbes relies on an imaginative thought experitment. Why might they have prepared this approach? Would an indirect approach of this sort work today? Why or why not?
7. While the Aztecs and Machiavelli each divert from the Greek account of happiness, they agree with the Greeks that philosophy should help us become a certain sort of person. However, they offer very different accounts of the sort of person we should be. Briefly describe what sort of person the Aztecs and Machiavelli emphasize. Then explain which sort of person we should pursue in 2020 and your reasons for choosing the answer you did.
Readings to answers the questions:
In the spring semester of the school year, I teach a class called ‘Happiness’. It’s always packed with students because, like most people, they want to learn the secret to feeling fulfilled.
‘How many of you want to be happy in life?’ I ask. Everyone raises a hand. Always. ‘How many of you are planning to have children?’ Almost everyone raises their hand again.
Then I lay out the evidence that having kids makes most people more miserable, and that their sense of wellbeing returns to its former levels only after the last child has left the house. ‘How many of you still want children?’ I say. Maybe it’s just obstinacy, but the same people who wanted to be happy still put their hands up.
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My students reveal something that the pre-Columbian Aztecs knew well. You should stop searching for happiness, because that’s not really what you want. We don’t plan our lives around elevated emotional states. What we want are worthwhile lives, and if we have to make sacrifices for that, then so much the worse for ‘happiness’.
The Aztecs, who lived in modern-day Mexico, have long been overlooked in the ‘West’ (a term that Latin American philosophers dispute, hence my quote marks). When I teach my class, the only thing students tend to know about the Aztecs is that they engaged in human sacrifice. But before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, the Aztecs had a philosophically rich culture, with people they called ‘philosophers’, and their specious counterparts the ‘sophists’. We have volumes and volumes of Aztec thought recorded by Christian clergymen in codices. Some of the philosophic work is in poetic form, some is presented as a series of exhortations and some, even, in dialogue form.
These points invite comparisons with the philosophers of classical Greek antiquity, especially Plato and Aristotle. These men argued that happiness comes naturally when we cultivate qualities such as self-discipline or courage. Of course, different things make different people happy. But Aristotle believed that the universality of ‘reason’ was the key to a sort of objective definition of happiness, when it was supported by the virtues of our character.
Like the Greeks, the Aztecs were interested in how to lead a good life. But unlike Aristotle, they did not start with the human ability to reason. Rather, they looked outward, to our circumstances on Earth. The Aztecs had a saying: ‘The earth is slippery, slick,’ which was as common to them as a contemporary aphorism such as ‘Don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ is to us. What they meant is that the Earth is a place where humans are prone to error, where our plans are likely to fail, and friendships are often betrayed. Good things only come mingled with something undesired. ‘The Earth is not a good place. It is not a place of joy, a place of contentment,’ a mother advises her daughter, in the record of a conversation that has survived to this day. ‘It is rather said that it is a place of joy-fatigue, of joy-pain.’
Above all, and despite its mixed blessings, the Earth is a place where all our deeds and actions have only a fleeting existence. In a work of poetic philosophy entitled ‘My friends, stand up!’, Nezahualcoyotl, the polymath and ruler of the city of Texcoco, wrote:
My friends, stand up!
The princes have become destitute,
I am Nezahualcoyotl,
I am a Singer, head of macaw.
Grasp your flowers and your fan.
With them go out to dance!
You are my child,
you are Yoyontzin [daffodil].
Take your chocolate,
flower of the cacao tree,
may you drink all of it!
Do the dance,
do the song!
Not here is our house,
not here do we live,
you also will have to go away.
There’s a striking similarity between this character and the phrase in 1 Corinthians 15:32: ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’
Is this all sounding a little bleak? Perhaps. But most of us can recognise some disagreeable truths. What the Aztec philosophers really wanted to know was: how is one supposed to live, given that pain and transience are inescapable features of our condition?
The answer is that we should strive to lead a rooted, or worthwhile life. The word the Aztecs used is neltiliztli. It literally means ‘rootedness’, but also ‘truth’ and ‘goodness’ more broadly. They believed that the true life was the good one, the highest humans could aim for in our deliberate actions. This resonates with the views of their classical ‘Western’ counterparts, but diverges on two other fronts. First, the Aztecs held that this sort of life would not lead to ‘happiness’, except by luck. Second, the rooted life had to be achieved at four separate levels, a more encompassing method than that of the Greeks.
The first level concerns character. Most basically, rootedness begins with one’s body – something often overlooked in the European tradition, preoccupied as it is with reason and the mind. The Aztecs grounded themselves in the body with a regimen of daily exercises, somewhat like yoga (we have recovered figurines of the various postures, some of which are surprisingly similar to yoga poses such as the lotus position).
Next, we are to be rooted in our psyches. The aim was to achieve a sort of balance between our ‘heart’, the seat of our desire, and our ‘face’, the seat of judgment. The virtuous qualities of character made this balancing possible.
At a third level, one found rootedness in the community, by playing a social role. These social expectations connect us to each other and enabled the community to function. When you think about it, most obligations are the result of these roles. Today, we try to be good mechanics, lawyers, entrepreneurs, political activists, fathers, mothers and so on. For the Aztecs, such roles were connected to a calendar of festivals, with shadings of denial and excess akin to Lent and Mardi Gras. These rites were a form of moral education, training or habituating people to the virtues needed to lead a rooted life.
Finally, one was to seek rootedness in teotl, the divine and single being of existence. The Aztecs believed that ‘god’ was simply nature, an entity of both genders whose presence was manifest in different forms. Rootedness in teotl was mostly achieved obliquely, via the three levels above. But a few select activities, such as the composition of philosophic poetry, offered a more direct connection.
A life led in this way would harmonise body, mind, social purpose and wonder at nature. Such a life, for the Aztecs, amounted to a kind of careful dance, one that took account of the treacherous terrain of the slippery earth, and in which pleasure was little more than an incidental feature. This vision stands in sharp relief to the Greeks’ idea of happiness, where reason and pleasure are intrinsic to the best performance of our life’s act on the world’s stage. Aztec philosophy encourages us to question this received ‘Western’ wisdom about the good life – and to seriously consider the sobering notion that doing something worthwhile is more important than enjoying it.
The Prince, CHAPTER XXV —
WHAT FORTUNE CAN EFFECT IN HUMAN AFFAIRS AND HOW TO
It is not unknown to me how many men have had, and still have, the opinion that the affairs of
the world are in such wise governed by fortune and by God that men with their wisdom cannot
direct them and that no one can even help them; and because of this they would have us believe
that it is not necessary to labour much in affairs, but to let chance govern them. This opinion has
been more credited in our times because of the great changes in affairs which have been seen,
and may still be seen, every day, beyond all human conjecture. Sometimes pondering over this, I am in some degree inclined to their opinion. Nevertheless, not to extinguish our free will, I hold
it to be true that Fortune is the arbiter of one half of our actions,(*) but that she still leaves us to
direct the other half, or perhaps a little less. (*) Frederick the Great was accustomed to say: “The older one gets the more convinced one becomes that his Majesty King Chance does three quarters of the business of this miserable universe.” Sorel’s “Eastern Question.” I compare her to one of those raging rivers, which when in flood overflows the plains, sweeping away trees
and buildings, bearing away the soil from place to place; everything flies before it, all yield to its violence, without being able in any way to withstand it; and yet, though its nature be such, it does not follow therefore that men, when the weather becomes fair, shall not make
provision, both with defences and barriers, in such a manner that, rising again, the waters may
pass away by canal, and their force be neither so unrestrained nor so dangerous. So it happens
with fortune, who shows her power where valour has not prepared to resist her, and thither she
turns her forces where she knows that barriers and defences have not been raised to constrain
Her. And if you will consider Italy, which is the seat of these changes, and which has given to them their impulse, you will see it to be an open country without barriers and without any defence. For if it had been defended by proper valour, as are Germany, Spain, and France, either this invasion would not have made the great changes it has made or it would no
t have come at all. And this I consider enough to say concerning resistance to fortune in general. But confining myself more to the particular, I say that a prince may be seen happy today and ruined tomorrow without having shown any change of disposition or character. This, I believe, arises firstly from causes that have already been discussed at length, namely, that the prince who relies entirely on fortune is lost when it changes. I believe also that he will be successful who directs his actions according to the spirit of the times, and that he whose actions do not accord with the times will not be successful. Because men are seen, in affairs that lead to the end which every man has before him, namely, glory and riches, to get there by various methods; one with caution, another with haste; one by force, another by skill; one by patience, another by its opposite; and each one succeeds in reaching the goal by a different method. One can also see of two cautious men the one attain his end, the other fail; and similarly, two men by different observances are equally successful, the one being cautious, the other impetuous; all this arises from nothing else than whether or not they conform in their methods to the spirit of the times. This follows from what I have said, that two men working differently bring about the same effect, and of two working similarly, one attains his object and the other does not.
Changes in estate also issue from this, for if, to one who governs himself with caution and
patience, times and affairs converge in such a way that his administration is successful, his
fortune is made; but if times and affairs change, he is ruined if he does not change his course of
action. But a man is not often found sufficiently circumspect to know how to accommodate himself to the change, both because he cannot deviate from what nature inclines him to do, and also because, having always prospered by acting in one way, he cannot be persuaded that it is well to leave it; and, therefore, the cautious man, when
it is time to turn adventurous, does not know how to do it, hence he is ruined; but had he changed his conduct with the times fortune would not have changed. Pope Julius the Second went to work impetuously in all his affairs, and found the times and
circumstances conform so well to that line of action that he always met with success. Consider
his first enterprise against Bologna, Messer Giovanni Bentivogli being still alive. The Venetians
were not agreeable to it, nor was the King of Spain, and he had the
enterprise still under discussion with the King of France; nevertheless he personally entered upon the expedition with his accustomed boldness and energy, a move which made Spain and the Venetians stand irresolute and passive, the latter from fear, the former from desire to recover the kingdom of Naples; on the other hand, he drew after him the King of France, because that king, having observed the movement, and desiring to make the Pope his friend so as to humble the Venetians,
found it impossible to refuse him. Therefore Julius with his impetuous action accomplished what
no other pontiff with simple human wisdom could have done; for if he had waited in Rome until
he could get away, with his plans arranged and everything fixed, as any other pontiff would have
done, he would never have succeeded. Because the King of France would have made a thousand excuses, and the others would have raised a thousand fears.
I will leave his other actions alone, as they were all alike, and they all succeeded, for the
shortness of his life did not let him experience the contrary; but if circumstances had arisen
which required him to go cautiously, his ruin would have followed, because he would never have
deviated from those ways to which nature inclined him.
I conclude, there
fore that, fortune being changeful and mankind steadfast in their ways, so long
as the two are in agreement men are successful, but unsuccessful when they fall out. For my part
I consider that it is better to be adventurous than cautious, because fortune is a woman, and if
you wish to keep her under it is necessary to beat and ill use her; and it is seen that she allows
herself to be mastered by the adventurous rather than by those who go to work more coldly. She is, therefore, always, womanlike, a lover of young men, because they are less cautious, more violent, and with more audacity command her.
It remains now to see what ought to be the rules of conduct for a prince towards
subject and friends. And as I know that many have written on this point, I expect I shall
be considered presumptuous in mentioning it again, especially as in discussing it I s
depart from the methods of other people. But, it being my intention to write a thing
which shall be useful to him who apprehends it, it appears to me more appropriate to
follow up the real truth of the matter than the imagination of it; for many have
republics and principalities which in fact have never been known or seen, because how
one lives is so far distant from how one ought to live, that he who neglects what is done
for what ought to be done, sooner effects his ruin than his preservatio
n; for a man who
wishes to act entirely up to his professions of virtue soon meets with what destroys him
among so much that is evil.
Hence it is necessary for a prince wishing to hold his own to know how to do wrong,
and to make use of it or not according
to necessity. Therefore, putting on one side
imaginary things concerning a prince, and discussing those which are real, I say that all
men when they are spoken of, and chiefly princes for being more highly placed, are
remarkable for some of those qualitie
s which bring them either blame or praise; and
thus it is that one is reputed liberal, another miserly, using a Tuscan term (because an
avaricious person in our language is still he who desires to possess by robbery, whilst
we call one miserly who deprives
himself too much of the use of his own); one is
reputed generous, one rapacious; one cruel, one compassionate; one faithless, another
faithful; one effeminate and cowardly, another bold and brave; one affable, another
haughty; one lascivious, another chas
te; one sincere, another cunning; one hard, another
easy; one grave, another frivolous; one religious, another unbelieving, and the like. And
I know that every one will confess that it would be most praiseworthy in a prince to
exhibit all the above qualiti
es that are considered good; but because they can neither be
entirely possessed nor observed, for human conditions do not permit it, it is necessary
for him to be sufficiently prudent that he may know how to avoid the reproach of those
vices which would lo
se him his state; and also to keep himself, if it be possible, from
those which would not lose him it; but this not being possible, he may with less
hesitation abandon himself to them. And again, he need not make himself uneasy at
incurring a reproach for
those vices without which the state can only be saved with
difficulty, for if everything is considered carefully, it will be found that something
which looks like virtue, if followed, would be his ruin; whilst something else, which
looks like vice, yet fol
lowed brings him security and prosperity.
Commencing then with the first of the above
named characteristics, I say that it
would be well to be reputed liberal. Nevertheless, liberality exercised in a wa
y that does
not bring you the reputation for it, injures you; for if one exercises it honestly and as it
should be exercised, it may not become known, and you will not avoid the reproach of
its opposite. Therefore, any one wishing to maintain among men the
name of liberal is
obliged to avoid no attribute of magnificence; so that a prince thus inclined will
consume in such acts all his property, and will be compelled in the end, if he wish to
maintain the name of liberal, to unduly weigh down his people, and
tax them, and do
everything he can to get money. This will soon make him odious to his subjects, and
becoming poor he will be little valued by any one; thus, with his liberality, having
offended many and rewarded few, he is affected by the very first trou
ble and imperilled
by whatever may be the first danger; recognizing this himself, and wishing to draw back
from it, he runs at once into the reproach of being miserly.
Therefore, a prince, not being able to exercise this virtue of liberality in such a way
that it is recognized, except to his cost, if he is wise he ought not to fear the reputation
of being mean, for in time he will come to be more considered than if liberal, seeing
that with his economy his revenues are enough, that he can defend himself aga
attacks, and is able to engage in enterprises without burdening his people; thus it comes
to pass that he exercises liberality towards all from whom he does not take, who are
numberless, and meanness towards those to whom he does not give, who are
We have not seen great things done in our time except by those who have been
considered mean; the rest have failed. Pope Julius the Second was assisted in reaching
the papacy by a reputation for liberality, yet he did not strive afterwards to keep it
when he made war on the King of France; and he made many wars without imposing
any extraordinary tax on his subjects, for he supplied his additional expenses out of his
long thriftiness. The present King of Spain would not have undertaken or conquered
so many enterprises if he had been reputed liberal. A prince, therefore, provided that he
has not to rob his subjects, that he can defend himself, that he does not become poor
and abject, that he is not forced to become rapacious, ought to hold of litt
le account a
reputation for being mean, for it is one of those vices which will enable him to govern.
And if any one should say: Caesar obtained empire by liberality, and many others
have reached the highest positions by having been liberal, and by being c
I answer: Either you are a prince in fact, or in a way to become one. In the first case this
liberality is dangerous, in the second it is very necessary to be considered liberal; and
Caesar was one of those who wished to become pre
Rome; but if he had
survived after becoming so, and had not moderated his expenses, he would have
destroyed his government. And if any one should reply: Many have been princes, and
have done great things with armies, who have been considered very liberal,
Either a prince spends that which is his own or his subjects’ or else that of others. In the
first case he ought to be sparing, in the second he ought not to neglect any opportunity
for liberality. And to the prince who goes forth with his army,
supporting it by pillage,
sack, and extortion, handling that which belongs to others, this liberality is necessary,
otherwise he would not be followed by soldiers. And of that which is neither yours nor
your subjects’ you can be a ready giver, as were Cyru
s, Caesar, and Alexander; because
it does not take away your reputation if you squander that of others, but adds to it; it is
only squandering your own that injures you.
And there is nothing wastes so rapidly as liberality, for even whilst you exercise it
you lose the power to do so, and so become either poor or despised, or else, in avoiding
poverty, rapacious and hated. And a prince should guard himself, above all things,
against being despised and hated; and liberality leads you to both. Therefore it is
to have a reputation for meanness which brings reproach without hatred, than to be
compelled through seeking a reputation for liberality to incur a name for rapacity which
begets reproach with hatred.
WHETHER IT IS
BETTER TO BE
Coming now to the other qualities mentioned above, I say that every prince ought to
desire to be considered clement and not cruel. Nevertheless he ought to take care not to
misuse this clemency. Cesare Borgia was considered cruel; notwithstanding, his cruelty
reconciled the Romagna, unified it, and restored it to peace and loyalty. And if this be
rightly considered, he will be seen to have been much more merciful than the Florentine
people, who, to avoid
a reputation for cruelty, permitted Pistoia to be destroyed.(*)
Therefore a prince, so long as he keeps his subjects united and loyal, ought not to mind
the reproach of cruelty; because with a few examples he will be more merciful than
those who, through too much mercy, allow disorders to arise, from which follow
murders or robberies; for these are wont to injure the whole people, whilst those
executions which originate with a prince offend the individual only.
(*) During the rioting between the Cancel
Panciatichi factions in 1502 and 1503.
And of all princes, it is impossible for the new prince to avoid the imputation of
cruelty, owing to new states being full of dangers. Hence Virgil, through the mouth of
Dido, excuses the inhumanity of
her reign owing to its being new, saying:
“Res dura, et regni novitas me talia cogunt
Moliri, et late fines custode tueri.”(*)
Nevertheless he ought to be slow to believe and to act, nor should he himself show
fear, but proceed in a temperate manner with prudence and humanity, so that too much
confidence may not make him incautious and too much distrust render him intolerable.
(*) . . . against my will, my fate
A throne unsettled, and an infant state,
Bid me defend my realms with al
l my pow’rs,
And guard with these severities my shores.
Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than
loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult
to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of
either must be dispensed with. Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that they
are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed they are
yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life, and
children, as is said
above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you. And
that prince who, relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is
ruined; because friendships that are obtained by payments,
and not by greatness or
nobility of mind, may indeed be earned, but they are not secured, and in time of need
cannot be relied upon; and men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than
one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the
baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves
you by a dread of punishment which never fails.
Nevertheless a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love,
avoids hatred; because he can endure very well being feared whilst he is not hated,
which will always be as long as he abstains from the property of his citizens and subjects
and from their women. But when it is necessary for him to proceed against the life of
someone, he must do it on proper justification and for manifest cause, but above all
things he must keep his hands off the property of others, because men more quickly
forget the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony. Besides, pretext
taking away the property are never wanting; for he who has once begun to live by
robbery will always find pretexts for seizing what belongs to others; but reasons for
taking life, on the contrary, are more difficult to find and sooner lapse. But when
prince is with his army, and has under control a multitude of soldiers, then it is quite
necessary for him to disregard the reputation of cruelty, for without it he would never
hold his army united or disposed to its duties.
Among the wonderful deeds of
Hannibal this one is enumerated: that having led an
enormous army, composed of many various races of men, to fight in foreign lands, no
dissensions arose either among them or against the prince, whether in his bad or in his
good fortune. This arose from nothing else than his inhuman cruelty, which, with his
boundless valour, made him revered and terrible in the sight of his soldiers, but without
that cruelty, his other virtues were not sufficient to produce this effect. And short
sighted writers admire his
deeds from one point of view and from another condemn the
principal cause of them. That it is true his other virtues would not have been sufficient
for him may be proved by the case of Scipio, that most excellent man, not only of his
own times but within
the memory of man, against whom, nevertheless, his army
rebelled in Spain; this arose from nothing but his too great forbearance, which gave his
soldiers more license than is consistent with military discipline. For this he was
upbraided in the Senate by Fabius Maximus, and called the corrupter of the Roman
soldiery. The Locrians were laid waste by a legate of Scipio, yet they were not avenged
by him, nor was the insolence of the legate punished, owing entirely to his easy nature.
Insomuch that someone in t
he Senate, wishing to excuse him, said there were many
men who knew much better how not to err than to correct the errors of others. This
disposition, if he had been continued in the command, would have destroyed in time
the fame and glory of Scipio; but,
he being under the control of the Senate, this injurious
characteristic not only concealed itself, but contributed to his glory.
Returning to the question of being feared or loved, I come to the conclusion that, men
loving according to their own will and fearing according to that of the prince, a wise
prince should establish himself on that which is in his own control and not in that of
others; he must endeavour only to avoid hatred, as is noted.
THE WAY IN
(*) “The present chapter has given greater offence than any
other portion of Machiavelli’s writings.” Burd, “Il
Principe,” p. 297.
Every one admits how praiseworthy it is in a prince to keep faith, and to live with
and not with craft. Nevertheless our experience has been that those princes
who have done great things have held good faith of little account, and have known how
to circumvent the intellect of men by craft, and in the end have overcome those who
ed on their word. You must know there are two ways of contesting,(*) the one
by the law, the other by force; the first method is proper to men, the second to beasts;
but because the first is frequently not sufficient, it is necessary to have recourse to th
second. Therefore it is necessary for a prince to understand how to avail himself of the
beast and the man. This has been figuratively taught to princes by ancient writers, who
describe how Achilles and many other princes of old were given to the Centaur
to nurse, who brought them up in his discipline; which means solely that, as they had
for a teacher one who was half beast and half man, so it is necessary for a prince to
know how to make use of both natures, and that one without the other is not
prince, therefore, being compelled knowingly to adopt the beast, ought to choose the
fox and the lion; because the lion cannot defend himself against snares and the fox
cannot defend himself against wolves. Therefore, it is necessary to be a fox
the snares and a lion to terrify the wolves. Those who rely simply on the lion do not
understand what they are about. Therefore a wise lord cannot, nor ought he to, keep
faith when such observance may be turned against him, and when the reason
caused him to pledge it exist no longer. If men were entirely good this precept would
not hold, but because they are bad, and will not keep faith with you, you too are not
bound to observe it with them. Nor will there ever be wanting to a prince legitimate
reasons to excuse this non
observance. Of this endless modern examples could be
given, showing how many treaties and engagements have been made void and of no
effect through the faithlessness of princes; and he who has known best how to employ
fox has succeeded best.
(*) “Contesting,” i.e. “striving for mastery.” Mr Burd
points out that this passage is imitated directly from
Cicero’s “De Officiis”: “Nam cum sint duo genera decertandi,
unum per disceptationem, alterum per vim;
proprium sit hominis, hoc beluarum; confugiendum est ad
posterius, si uti non licet superiore.”
But it is necessary to know well how to disguise this characteristic, and to be a great
pretender and dissembler; and men are so simple,
and so subject to present necessities,
that he who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be
deceived. One recent example I cannot pass over in silence. Alexander the Sixth did
nothing else but deceive men, nor ever thought of
doing otherwise, and he always found
victims; for there never was a man who had greater power in asserting, or who with
greater oaths would affirm a thing, yet would observe it less; nevertheless his deceits
always succeeded according to his wishes,(*) be
cause he well understood this side of
(*) “Nondimanco sempre gli succederono gli inganni (ad
votum).” The words “ad votum” are omitted in the Testina
Alexander never did what he said,
Cesare never said wha
t he did.
Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have
enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them. And I shall dare to say this
also, that to have them and always to observe them is injurious, and that to appear to
have them is useful; to appear merciful, faithful, humane, religious, upright, and to be
so, but with a mind so framed that should you require not to be so, you may be able and
know how to change to the opposite.
And you have to understand this, that a prince, especially a new one, cannot observe
all those things for which men are esteemed, being often forced, in order to maintain
the state, to act contrary to fidelity,(*) friendship, humanity, and religion. Therefore it
is necessary for him to have a mind
ready to turn itself accordingly as the winds and
variations of fortune force it, yet, as I have said above, not to diverge from the good if
he can avoid doing so, but, if compelled, then to know how to set about it.
(*) “Contrary to fidelity” or “faith,” “contro alla fede,”
and “tutto fede,” “altogether faithful,” in the next
paragraph. It is noteworthy that these two phrases, “contralla fede” and “tutto fede,” were omitted in the Testina
edition, which was published with the sanction of the papal
authorities. It may be that the meaning attached to the word
“fede” was “the faith,” i.e. the Catholic creed, and not as
rendered here “fidelity” and “faithful.” Observe that the
word “religione” was suffered to stand
in the text of the
Testina, being used to signify indifferently every shade of
belief, as witness “the religion,” a phrase inevitably
employed to designate the Huguenot heresy. South in his
Sermon IX, p. 69, ed. 1843, comments on this
follows: “That great patron and Coryphaeus of this tribe,
Nicolo Machiavel, laid down this for a master rule in his
political scheme: ‘That the show of religion was helpful to
the politician, but the reality of it hurtful and
For this reason a prince ought to take care that he never lets anything slip from his
lips that is not replete with the above
named five qualities, that he may appear to him
who sees and hears him altogether merciful, faithful, humane,
upright, and religious.
There is nothing more necessary to appear to have than this last quality, inasmuch as
men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, because it belongs to everybody
to see you, to few to come in touch with you. Every one sees
what you appear to be,
few really know what you are, and those few dare not oppose themselves to the opinion
of the many, who have the majesty of the state to defend them; and in the actions of all
men, and especially of princes, which it is not prudent t
o challenge, one judges by the
For that reason, let a prince have the credit of conquering and holding his state, the
means will always be considered honest, and he will be praised by everybody; because
the vulgar are always taken by what a thing seems to be and by what comes of it; and
in the world there are only the vulgar, for the few find a place there only when the many
have no ground to rest on.
One prince(*) of the present time, whom it is not well to name, never preaches
anything else but peace and good faith, and to both he is most hostile, and either, if he
had kept it, would have deprived him of reputation and kingdom many a time.
(*) Ferdinand of Aragon. “When Machiavelli was writing ‘The
Prince’ it would have been clearly impossible to mention
Ferdinand’s name here without giving offence.” Burd’s “Il
Principe,” p. 308
Hobbes on the Natural Condition of Mankind
[i.e. the state of nature]
Therefore, whatever results from •a time of war, when every man is enemy to every man, also results from •a time when men live with no other security but what their own strength and ingenuity provides them with. In such conditions there is no place for hard work, because there is no assurance that it will yield results; and consequently no cultivation of the earth, no navigation or use of materials that can be imported by sea, no construction of buildings, no machines for moving things that require much force, no knowledge of the face of the earth, no account of time, no practical skills, no literature or scholarship, no society; and
— worst of all — continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short
Hobbes on the Sovereign
The •only way to establish a common power that can defend them from the invasion of foreigners and the injuries of one another, and thereby make them secure enough to be able to nourish themselves and live contentedly through
their own labours and the fruits of the earth, is •to confer all their power and strength on one man, or one assembly of men, so as to turn all their wills by a majority vote into a single will. That is to say: •to appoint one man or assembly of men to bear their person; and everyone •to own and acknowledge himself to be the author of every act that he who bears their person performs or causes to be performed in matters concerning the common peace and safety, and all of them •to submit their wills to his will, and their judgments to his judgment.
This is more than ·mere· agreement or harmony; it is a real unity of them all. They are unified in that they
constitute one single person, created through a covenant of every man with every ·other· man, as
though each man were to say to each of the others: I authorize and give up my right of governing myself to this man, or to this
assembly of men, on condition that you surrender to him your right of governing yourself, and authorize all his
actions in the same way. [Rather than ‘you’ and ‘your’, Hobbes here uses ‘thou’ and ‘thy’
the second person singular, rare in Leviathan
emphasizing the one-on-one nature of the covenant.] When this is done, the multitude
so united in one person is called a COMMONWEALTH, in Latin CIVITAS
. This is the method of creation of that
great LEVIATHAN, or rather (to speak more reverently) of that mortal god to which we owe, under the immortal God, our peace and defence. For by this authority that has been given to •‘this man’ by every individual man in the commonwealth, •he has conferred on him the use of so much power and strength that people’s fear of it enables him to harmonize and control the wills of them all, to the end of peace at home and mutual aid against their enemies abroad
From this Fundamentall Law of Nature, by which men are commanded to endeavour
Peace, is derived this second Law; “That a man be willing, when others are so too, as farreforth, as for Peace, and defence of himselfe he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to
all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow other
men against himselfe.” For as long as every man holdeth this Right, of doing any thing he like
th; so long are all men in the condition of Warre. But if other men will not lay down their Right, as
well as he; then there is no Reason for any one, to devest himselfe of his: For that were to
expose himselfe to Prey, (which no man is bound to) rather than to dispose himselfe to Peace.
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