As we find our lives increasingly intermixed with technologies that are advancing, in large part, beyond our control, many moderns are pursuing ‘the question concerning technology’. In doing so, they are often led to Martin Heidegger, arguably the best philosopher of the 20th century. However, when approaching Heidegger, I argue that one must understand the deep apocalypticism that underlies his thought, and especially his reflections on technology. Only by doing so, I suggest, can we grasp the full implications of eerie insights.
As this paper seeks to show, one’s view of the nature of man can greatly influence the interpretation of historic events. By attending to the diverse foundations of both Machiavelli and Gucciardini’s political thinking, in regards to the nature of political people and their passions, I argue that these evaluations necessarily influence their treatment of a consequential moment in Florentine political history – that of the Savonarolan Moment. Consequently, by reflecting on the diverse evaluations of this time, one can consider the nature of apocalyptic moments throughout all political times.
In this paper, I attempt to articulate the twofold character of regulating political ambition in an “uncorrupt” republic. By focusing on Livy and Plutarch’s presentation of Manlius Capitolinus and Furius Camillus, two exemplars of aristocratic ambition in the early Roman republic, and, in turn, Machiavelli’s reinterpretation of these actors, I hope to show how regulating political ambition is done both by institutions and cultural practices as well as those individuals who desire distinction. By seeing this, I argue, we may then be able to begin to understand how ambition is to be regulated in Machiavelli’s new order.
Carl Schmitt, the controversial German legal theorist, has some prescient insights into liberal self certainty and its dangers. As 2016 has passed and we are moving towards a more uncertain future, it will be increasingly important to understand the thrust of Schmitt’s liberal critique in order for us to think towards the future of a modern world that will inevitably be ‘political’.
At the end of my tenure at James Madison College, I became interested in ‘the question of liberal education’ and thus the character of its ends. Here, I trace an outline of the philosophic project initiated by Leo Strauss and his engagement with the history of Western philosophy. Such a project, I attempt to show, sought to challenge the relativist and historicist consensus in many of our contemporary world-views and academic disciplines. Beginning to understand this project has been a crucial component of my intellectual development and reflection on it seemed essential at the culmination of my undergraduate career.
Machiavelli is often considered to be the founder of modernity, or at least modern political theory. However, this founding was achieved in a particular way: through wining readers over to a modern republican political education. In this paper, written after my Study Abroad in Rome and Florence Italy in the Summer of 2014, I begin to articulate the political nature of Machiavelli’s education within his Discourses on Livy and how this education, cultivated by reading this work, led to the foundation of the modern political world.