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According to Joseph Femia, Machiavelli, in dealing with the tension between morality and politics, does not suspend morality, but rather expresses a new conception of it, radically opposed to the Christian ethics of transcendence. A conception which is not deontological but utilitarian and consequentialist: no political action is – in itself – good or bad, and the moral quality of political decisions is to be established on the basis of their objective, observable consequences. The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical response to Femia’s theses: through a comparative study, but referring mainly to Lefort’s phenomenological interpretation, I’ll try to show how Femia not only brings out a truly utilitarian version of Machiavelli, but – vice versa – offers an account of his thought which goes in the direction of political liberalism, in a way that is strongly reminiscent of Weberian ethics of responsibility.