political science

A. What are the main tenets of the Ancient-Modern debate?

B. Boethius finds himself in jail. At first, he is profoundly upset. What is the cause of his 
suffering? Then, Philosophy appears and attempts to “cure” his suffering. How does she do this? Hint: she does this by reminding him of what he once knew about the true nature of human beings; the true nature of fortune; and true nature of happiness, and the limits of politics to provide happiness. In order to answer this question, make sure you identify all the relevant parts. 

For example, what does Philosophy tell Boethius about the essence of human nature (there are two things specifically). Why are these things so important to Philosophy and Boethius? How do they influence or direct one’s perspective? In addition, what is it about Fortune that human beings should be leary of? And, why does Boethius call fame; power; wealth; and physical beauty false happiness? What is it about these things that makes them false? And, make sure you can explain how, and why, the various parts of Boethius’ position hold together the way they do. 

C. Machiavelli seeks to disconnect morality from politics. Indeed, Machiavelli is said to help invent the Modern Era. To do this he rejects Boethius’ understanding of human nature, fortune, happiness, and the ability of politics to provide us with happiness. Explain how Machiavelli diverges from the Ancient view of human nature (Plato and Boethius). Next, what does he say about the nature of human happiness, and what sort of things does it consist of? Why does Machiavelli make this claim about human happiness? What is it about the Ancient conception of morality and human nature that Machiavelli rejects? Given his understanding of human nature and happiness, how does he interpret our relationship with fortune? What is so radically new about Machiavelli’s stance toward fortune? Finally, what does Machiavelli mean by Virtu? And how does it differ from traditional virtue?


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