Events / Machiavelli the Aristotelian? Discussing the Greek Sources of Modern Political Thought

Machiavelli the Aristotelian? Discussing the Greek Sources of Modern Political Thought

April 11, 2024
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Class of 1955 Conference Room, Van Pelt Library

In a letter that he wrote to Francesco Vettori on 26 August 1513, Niccolò Machiavelli rejects Aristotle’s teaching in political matters, suggesting that practice is a better teacher than authority. Machiavelli did something similar in both The Prince and the Discourses suggesting that the Aristotelian idea of virtue is a useless rule of political conduct. Yet, many of the earliest readers of Machiavelli in the 16th century called Machiavelli an Aristotelian, pointing to strong similarities between his view of the civil principate and Aristotle’s mild ideas on tyranny. What is the role of late medieval and early modern Aristotelianism in Machiavelli? What is the relationship between Machiavelli and Aristotle’s philosophical and political ideas as they were represented both in scholastic and humanist authors? Arguing that the conceptual language of Aristotelianism shapes important aspects of Machiavelli’s political thought, this workshop discusses themes and problems related to this topic in the most recent Machiavellian studies from an interdisciplinary perspective, combining approaches and methods from the history of political thought, the history of philosophy, literature, and political theory. This one-day conference will feature William Connell, Nadia Urbinati, Alessandro Mulieri Gabriele Pedullà, and more.

This event is cosponsored by the Center for Italian Studies.