Università degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo / Portale Web di Ateneo


HISTORY OF MODERN PHILOSOPHY I
STORIA DELLA FILOSOFIA MODERNA I

Space, time and power: Niccolò Machiavelli and the dilemmas of politics on the threshold of the modern age
Spazio, tempo e potere in Niccolò Machiavelli: i dilemmi della politica alle soglie dell'età moderna

A.Y. Credits
2017/2018 6
Lecturer Email Office hours for students
Fabio Frosini teacher's office (Palazzo Albani, C floor), Tuesday 11-13
Teaching in foreign languages
Course with optional materials in a foreign language English French Spanish
This course is entirely taught in Italian. Study materials can be provided in the foreign language and the final exam can be taken in the foreign language.

Assigned to the Degree Course

Date Time Classroom / Location
Date Time Classroom / Location

Learning Objectives

The course introduces the study of some dichotomies at the origin of modern political thought: command/obedience, authority/persuasion, prudence/persuasion, preservation/innovation, power/corruption, union/disunion, freedom/servitude, equality/inequality; the notions of reputation, desire and ambition will also be considered. All these issues will be presented in the light of the categories of space and time. The aim is to highlight the importance of these two axes for the reconstruction of the genesis of the modern State and of the bourgeoisie as a dominant and ruling class.

Program

The philosophical meaning of Niccolò Machiavelli's work is today mainly reconstructed by means of two great hermeneutical paradigms: republicanism and democracy, which refer respectively to the values of freedom (as a dimension that does not oppose, but unites citizens to the State) and popular power (which defines the State starting from the active participation of citizens in political life). While the republican reading assumes that the State includes politics, the democratic one emphasises the excess of politics over the State: in both cases, the State is seen in its modern meaning, as the holder of the legitimate monopoly of violence and as a centralised territorial structure.

The reading that will be proposed, instead, is based on the fluid character of power, still suspended between its religious foundation, its oligarchic organisation (an heritage of the feudal society divided into separate "states") and the emergence of forms of popular political action, in turn often immersed in religious fanaticism. Faced with this scenario, and in the situation of extreme instability which has characterised Italy since 1494, Machiavelli questions the foundations of power, the meaning of political innovation and rebellion, the foundations of stability, the relationship between the power of the "multitude" and the "authority" of the individuals who lead it, the relationship between "prudence" and "strength", between "virtue" and "imperio", between "conflict" and "order". In his reflections, the dimensions of space and time prove to be of essential importance: space, because it is a matter of thinking about the articulation of power with respect to the great alternative between vertical command and the claim of a democratic horizontality; time, because political structures entrust their survival to the ability to anticipate the future and, in this way, to produce their own continuity.

Arguments:

1. Introduction to the course. Biographical profile of Niccolò Machiavelli. Main interpretations of his thought.

2. From the letter to Ricciardo Becchi (1498) to Ghiribizi al Soderino (1506).

3. Post res perditas (1): The Prince: legislator and new prince; virtue and innovation: cunning and strength; reputation, imagination and truth; feedback, opportunity, luck.

5. Post res perditas (2): The Discurses on the first Decade of Livy: founding and maintaining; religion and politics; conflict and order; laws and the "return to princes".

6. The Asino (1517) and the Mandragola (1518?): the beast, humanity, virtue.

7. The Discursus florentinarum rerum (1520-1521): the play of "ambitions".

Learning Achievements (Dublin Descriptors)

Students will have to be able to understand and explain philosophical texts of an intermediate nature, to face and solve classical problems of the history of philosophy, to use bibliographic and informative tools related to the field (History of Philosophy), to know the basic problems of their field of study. Furthermore, students will have to demonstrate autonomy of judgement in the evaluation of the data collected.

Teaching Material

The teaching material prepared by the lecturer in addition to recommended textbooks (such as for instance slides, lecture notes, exercises, bibliography) and communications from the lecturer specific to the course can be found inside the Moodle platform › blended.uniurb.it

Didactics, Attendance, Course Books and Assessment

Didactics

Lectures.

Course books

One text among the following:

Il potere. Per la storia della filosofia politica moderna, a cura di G. Duso, Roma, Carocci, 2000

Ordine e mutazione. Figure, concetti e problemi del pensiero politico moderno, a cura di A. Pandolfi, Verona, Ombre corte, 2014.

Reference text:

N. Machiavelli, Opere, a cura di C. Vivanti, 3 volumi, Torino, Einaudi-Gallimard, 1997; ovvero: De principatibus, Discorsi sopra la prima Deca di Tito Livio e altre opere, a cura di R. Rinaldi, 2 volumi, Torino, Utet, 2006.

Bibliography (one text among the following):

G. M. Barbuto, Machiavelli, Roma, Salerno editrice, 2013

G. Inglese, Per Machiavelli, Roma, Carocci, 2006

U. Dotti, Machiavelli rivoluzionario, Roma, Carocci, 2003.

Machiavelli: tempo e conflitto, a cura di R. Caporali, V. Morfino e S. Visentin, Milano, Mimesis, 2013

Additional Information for Non-Attending Students

Course books

One text among the following:

Il potere. Per la storia della filosofia politica moderna, a cura di G. Duso, Roma, Carocci, 2000

Ordine e mutazione. Figure, concetti e problemi del pensiero politico moderno, a cura di A. Pandolfi, Verona, Ombre corte, 2014.

Reference text:

N. Machiavelli, Opere, a cura di C. Vivanti, 3 volumi, Torino, Einaudi-Gallimard, 1997; ovvero: De principatibus, Discorsi sopra la prima Deca di Tito Livio e altre opere, a cura di R. Rinaldi, 2 volumi, Torino, Utet, 2006.

Bibliography (two texts among the following):

G. M. Barbuto, Machiavelli, Roma, Salerno editrice, 2013

G. Inglese, Per Machiavelli, Roma, Carocci, 2006

U. Dotti, Machiavelli rivoluzionario, Roma, Carocci, 2003.

Machiavelli: tempo e conflitto, a cura di R. Caporali, V. Morfino e S. Visentin, Milano, Mimesis, 2013

Assessment

Oral examination.

Notes

At the student's request, the course bibliography can also be provided - and the exam taken - in English, Spanish, French and German.

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