Biblioteca della Libertà

Anno XLIX, n. 209, gennaio-aprile 2014

Anno XLIX, n. 209, gennaio-aprile 2014

periodicità quadrimestrale

ISSN 2035-5866

Direttore responsabile Salvatore Carrubba

Condirettori Maurizio Ferrera e Beatrice Magni

copyright Centro di Ricerca e Documentazione “Luigi Einaudi”

 

Indice sintetico

Editoriale

pag 3
Articolo completo/Full text

Il metodo Machiavelli

pag 5
Articolo completo/Full text

Il metodo Machiavelli

Machiavelli was an eccentric figure, in the literal meaning of “far from the centre”, from the classical standards of political theory and thought. Overthrowing any Platonic ambition for order and conciliation, Machiavelli is the first author to describe the driving force of politics in terms of conflict and division. Conflict, for Machiavelli, is not a dangerous element which needs to be eliminated, it is the unchanging core of politics: conflict is not a residual element or an extreme risk which politics should, or could, remove, but the very “fact” of politics, its “matter”, which no “form” or order can relinquish without running the risk of drying up the political element. In this paper I have tried to understand – through a critical review of the focal points of Machiavelli’s theory – in what way division and conflict represent not only an intrinsic characteristic of human existence, but also a useful principle of action, enabling us to tackle and solve the dilemmas and tensions of the present. The challenge posed by Machiavelli, which makes him into such a topical author, is how to find some kind of “unity” even in conflict, through conflict, and especially thanks to conflict.

Abstract

Machiavelli e il problema delle «mani sporche». Considerazioni sul male in politica

pag 19
Articolo completo/Full text

Machiavelli e il problema delle «mani sporche». Considerazioni sul male in politica

The problem of Machiavelli’s intention in writing The Prince is at the heart of the interpretation of this work, which turns 500 years old this year and which allegedly started political modernity. That is to say a new era in which politics is separated, or autonomous, from the moral and religious realm and only needs to answer effectiveness requirements in a consequentialist perspective. I shall maintain that Machiavelli’s main purpose was that of educating a new prince according to what he had learnt (through his readings and his 15 years in office) so that the prince could meet the extraordinary challenges of the age. In this Bildung process the first and most important lesson is that the State (which Machiavelli always sees as the motherland, in a patriotic, surely not detached, way) must be saved and preserved at all costs. This is not just a theoretical consideration, because the dire situation of the age made the loss of the State a real and present possibility. In this perspective the problem of “dirty hands” can be seen as the problem of how to educate a prince who is good (because he is committed to his State and citizens) but also knows how to use evil means in order to achieve his main purpose, which constitutes the overriding good; the chief question in this educational process is how a good human being can remain such even if he commits evil deeds for his country. The answer, we will find, is surprisingly Aristotelian and reminiscent of the classics.

Abstract

Imparare a «poter essere non buono»: Machiavelli tra utilità e morale

pag 37
Articolo completo/Full text

Imparare a «poter essere non buono»: Machiavelli tra utilità e morale

Dirty hands problems arise when morality clashes with some other rational necessity of a profound kind that correctly overrules it. Non-moral ‘oughts’, on this view, can legitimately trump moral ones in circumstances of extremity. This scenario is seen to be especially pertinent to the realm of politics, where conventional moral standards are often deemed to be inapplicable. For Croce and other commentators, Machiavelli was a theorist of ‘dirty hands’, who placed the political process above or beyond morality. While some of the Florentine’s utterances can support such an interpretation, I shall argue that the preponderance of evidence – both textual and circumstantial – points to a different conclusion: that his defence of cruelty and deception expressed not a suspension of morality but a different understanding of morality. According to Machiavelli, a right act produces the best outcome in terms of preference satisfaction or communal happiness. In a typical political situation, there is a choice between two evils, and the right choice, morally, is the lesser evil – even if it requires us to violate the deepest constraints of traditional morality. In such cases, the statesman’s hands are ‘clean’ as opposed to ‘dirty’. This interpretation is reinforced by Machiavelli’s desire to banish the idea of transcendence from political life. Most thinkers of the Renaissance celebrated the ‘intellective soul’ as man’s ‘essence’. Machiavelli, on the other hand, saw human beings merely as bundles of appetites. The purpose of political life was not to actualise man’s essential nature but to tame it. Politics is therefore about utility rather than virtue or salvation. This being the case, the interior motivations of political actors are irrelevant. We judge them and their policies not by intentions but by observable results.  Machiavelli’s consequentialist approach to morality laid the foundations for modern political science, which also focuses on empirical processes, verifiable through sense perception, and tends to ignore the superstructure of constitutional pieties and noble intentions. Machiavelli’s determination to purge political analysis of its preoccupation with spiritual concerns and to reduce the complexity of the world to its external evidence allowed him to underline the distinction – essential to the science of politics – between things as they appear and things as they really are.

Abstract

Political Accountability and Moral Pollution: Defending Democratic Dirty Hands

pag 45
Articolo completo/Full text

Political Accountability and Moral Pollution: Defending Democratic Dirty Hands

In this paper I explore a relatively under theorized but important aspect of the dirty hands problem; namely, the issue of how the constraints and duties of democratic governance affect our understanding of the problem of dirty hands (DH). Most of the analyses concerning the problem of DH, with a few notable exceptions, explore the moral conundrum it poses and give little emphasis to the kind of political system within which such scenarios occur. Critics of the DH problem argue that understanding DH scenarios as a type of Machiavellian means/ends problem in politics involves problematic assumptions, and additionally fails to give credence to the crucial and particular moral constraints placed on political actors in democratic societies. I argue that the introduction of democracy does not change the core aspect of what it is to get DH. Machiavelli’s insight that rulers need to learn how not to be good remains sound advice for politicians in a democratic society and we ignore this at our peril. What does change in the democratic context is the nature and form of accountability for getting DH. The paper also examines the extent to which moral dirt devolves to citizens in a democracy who are the ultimate source of legitimacy for politicians and their actions.

Abstract

Prossimi eventi

25 Gen
Auditorium Assolombarda - Milano
13 Dic
IED - Istituto Europeo di Design - Torino

Diventa nostro amico su Facebook

Ricerche e Progetti

logo RGR medio

  • Recuperare la rotta é il titolo del XVIII Rapporto «Giorgio Rota» su Torino, presentato il 7 ottobre alla Biblioteca Nazionale.

Biblioteca F. Guerrini

biblioteca guerrini

 Dotata di oltre 9.000 volumi, offre una documentazione unica in Italia sul pensiero liberale contemporaneo.