Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Machiavelli's Political Psychology

Markus Fischer
The Review of Politics
Vol. 59, No. 4 (Autumn, 1997), pp. 789-829
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1408308
Page Count: 41
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($12.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Machiavelli's Political Psychology
Preview not available

Abstract

Systematic analysis shows the psychological premises of Machiavelli's political theory to be fairly consistent and to transcend historical circumstance. Above all, the apparent contradiction between its rapacious and consensual sides can be resolved by unearthing his distinction between necessary properties and contingent attributes qua habits. Following medieval medical theory, necessary properties include: spirit that animates the body; mind with faculties of ingenuity, imagination, and memory; desires for preservation, glory, power, freedom, wealth, and sexual pleasure; and four humors received from the stars. While serving the desires, mind stimulates them to expand into the limitless ambition characteristic of Machiavellian individuals. Habituation to laws and gods makes possible the institutional life of republics, in that cooperative habits solve the collective-action problem faced by a multitude of self-ruling citizens. However, such republics are ultimately alliances for joint gain rather than structures of virtue-challenging the ascendant view of Machiavelli as a "civic humanist" and Aristotelian.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[789]
    [789]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
790
    790
  • Thumbnail: Page 
791
    791
  • Thumbnail: Page 
792
    792
  • Thumbnail: Page 
793
    793
  • Thumbnail: Page 
794
    794
  • Thumbnail: Page 
795
    795
  • Thumbnail: Page 
796
    796
  • Thumbnail: Page 
797
    797
  • Thumbnail: Page 
798
    798
  • Thumbnail: Page 
799
    799
  • Thumbnail: Page 
800
    800
  • Thumbnail: Page 
801
    801
  • Thumbnail: Page 
802
    802
  • Thumbnail: Page 
803
    803
  • Thumbnail: Page 
804
    804
  • Thumbnail: Page 
805
    805
  • Thumbnail: Page 
806
    806
  • Thumbnail: Page 
807
    807
  • Thumbnail: Page 
808
    808
  • Thumbnail: Page 
809
    809
  • Thumbnail: Page 
810
    810
  • Thumbnail: Page 
811
    811
  • Thumbnail: Page 
812
    812
  • Thumbnail: Page 
813
    813
  • Thumbnail: Page 
814
    814
  • Thumbnail: Page 
815
    815
  • Thumbnail: Page 
816
    816
  • Thumbnail: Page 
817
    817
  • Thumbnail: Page 
818
    818
  • Thumbnail: Page 
819
    819
  • Thumbnail: Page 
820
    820
  • Thumbnail: Page 
821
    821
  • Thumbnail: Page 
822
    822
  • Thumbnail: Page 
823
    823
  • Thumbnail: Page 
824
    824
  • Thumbnail: Page 
825
    825
  • Thumbnail: Page 
826
    826
  • Thumbnail: Page 
827
    827
  • Thumbnail: Page 
828
    828
  • Thumbnail: Page 
829
    829