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MACHIAVELLI'S CRITIQUE OF HUMANISM AND THE AMBIVALENCES OF MODERNITY

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Abstract:

Contrary to most interpretations, the article argues that the scandalous dimensions of Machiavelli's thought are the outcome of his critical reflections on humanist discourse. Machiavelli drew the radical conclusions from the humanist rejection of the classical and medieval vision of man as a creature with an objective telos, within a rational order of Being. From this perspective the article accounts for Machiavelli's separation of politics from ethics, his anti-Christian stance as well as his appreciation of the social and political importance of religion, his views concerning corruption and the fragility of the political body, and ultimately his anthropological premises, notably his perception of man as a creature driven by indeterminate and insatiable desire.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dept. of General History, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, PO Box 653, Beer Sheva, 84105, Israel., Email: yoran@bgu.ac.il

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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