Machiavelli Revisited

Author(s): Joseph V Femia

Language: English

Genre(s): Politics

Series: Political Philosophy Now

  • February 2004 · 200pages · 220x147mm

  • ·Hardback - 9780708317228

About The Book

It has become fashionable in recent years to see Machiavelli as something of a communitarian democrat, a champion of popular participation, social solidarity and the rule of law. This 'sanitized' version contradicts the familiar portrait of Machiavelli as a treacherous foe of political morality, a sycophantic adviser to tyrants, and a forerunner of modern totalitarianism. In this fresh and stimulating analysis of Machiavelli's political thought, Joseph V. Femia steers a middle course between these two extremes, defending Machiavelli's republican credentials without turning a blind eye to his more shocking pronouncements. The Machiavelli who emerges here rejected metaphysics and pioneered a pragmatic approach to politics governed by circumstances rather than by abstract principles. Femia argues that in fact Machiavelli can be seen as the founder of what we now refer to as liberal pluralism - the view, essential to modern democracy, that the primary purpose of politics is to resolve the competing claims of diverse values and interests. Machiavelli Revisited offers a significant reinterpretation of one of the major figures in political theory, and demonstrates the continuing relevance of Machiavelli's thought for the contemporary world.


'Femia's argument is persuasive and cogent, and his inferences about the parallels between Machiavelli and the contemporary developments in political science are indeed intriguing. However, it seems that the book's greatest merit is its insightful criticism of the prevalent modes of Machiavellian contemporary interpretation and of the contextualist approach in general'.Political Studies Review

'...a significant reinterpretation of Machiavelli that should interest experts as well as the general reading public...excellent ...' The European Legacy


Preface; I Interpreting Machiavelli; II Setting the Context; III Anti-essentialism; IV The Empirical Method; V Political Realism; VI Machiavelli’s Progeny; VII Machiavelli Today; Bibliography; Index

About the Author(s)

Joseph V Femia

Joseph V. Femia is Professor of Political Theory at the University of Liverpool.

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