Social Discord as the Foundation of Republicanism in Machiavelli's Thought
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The purpose of this paper is to introduce the concept of social discord, based on the analysis of early chapters of Niccolo Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy. I argue that, by deriving a broader philosophical concept from Machiavelli’s peculiar position that strife between the plebs and the senate made the Roman republic free and powerful (Machiavelli 1998:16), we can greatly enhance our understanding of not only some of the more original and controversialpositions within the Florentine theorist’s magnum opus, but also of his thought in general. Furthermore, by analyzing crucial moments within Machiavelli’s observation of the rise and fall of the Roman republic through the lens of social discord, I argue that the concept can be established as the foundation of his understanding of republicanism, while contesting his designation of the people as the guardians of liberty. Finally, I contrast the concept of social discord with that of social conflict - a subtle and seemingly negligible dis...tinction that can, in my understanding of Machiavelli’s thought, nonetheless mean the difference between a republic’s development and prosperity and its untimely downfall.
Keywords:Machiavelli / republicanism / social discord
Source:Filozofija i društvo, 2014, 123-145
- Beograd : Institut za filozofiju i društvenu teoriju