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173. Book Review | The Prince By Niccolo Machiavelli

In order for you understand the modern political landscape, it is important to read Machiavelli’s The Prince. It includes detailed and wise accounts of how rulers gain, retain and lose power. The version that I recommend in this video also includes a couple other works by Machiavelli. In these other works, he describes the forms of government and which are most preferable and why.

What can be learned from The Prince?

Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince is a political work that teaches how to rule pragmatically, rather than philosophically. Instead of describing the best form of government, Machiavelli teaches those in power how to remain in power. Unlike Aristotle’s Politics, The Prince is a handbook for leaders. In this book, he explains practical steps for rulers to take given certain situations. In other words, this book reads more like a diagnostic manual for rulers than a treatise on government.

“The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.”

Niccolo Machiavelli

Grab your copy of The Prince

Niccolo Machiavelli, author of The Prince
Portrait of Niccolo Machiavelli

About Niccolo Machiavelli

Machiavelli has become somewhat of a shadowy figure in history. He is often thought of as a very mysterious figure. However, Niccolo Machiavelli was a rather normal politician whose work has likely inspired good and leaders. In fact, he’s not much of a mystery at all. We know quite a bit about him.

Machiavelli was  an ambassador and military adviser in the Florentine Republic. But, he was not a highly-ranked figure. That said, his knowledge of history and understanding of politics ensured he had the ear of his superiors. His acumen as a tactful observer helped him to see the big picture and predict outcomes fairly well. If you want to learn more about Machiavelli, you can do that here.

235. Naturalism & The Human Person | The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly Conversation of Our Generation

According to Wikipedia, Naturalism is "the idea or belief that only natural laws and forces (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual ones) operate in the universe. Adherents of naturalism assert that natural laws are the only rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural world, and that the changing universe is at every stage a product of these laws." In this episode, I'll take a look at some of the good points and valid concerns of Naturalism. Then, I'll discuss how it falls short, and what corrections it needs. Valid Concerns and Good Points One of the good points of naturalists is that we can attribute most things to natural laws and forces. Every little thing that happens doesn't have to be a supernatural intervention. And, we know it isn't random due to the consistency of events. There is a time in pagan cultures when everything was attributed to the supernatural. Even in the Judeo-Christian world much of the natural order was attributed to angel's intervention. I don't begin to say that I know how Heaven governs this world and it's laws. But it appears to me that there are natural laws and that God created the world with a discoverable order. When looking into that order, it is good to work within it's bounds, which is why we have science. Errors of Naturalism The cause of why I burn my tongue on hot coffee or the sun rises everyday can be naturally accounted for. But, the fact that all these beings exist as well as the laws that govern them, none of which fully account for the existence of the universe, has to have some other explanation. Naturalism cannot account for that. Instead, it seeks for a self-explaining cause that's within the natural order. Furthermore, there are well-attested events that do not fit into the natural world. Inexplicable miracles are one. But, there are phenomena like love and beauty that we do experience. However, the naturalist cannot explain these fully by neurons and brain chemistry. We need a deeper, spiritual explanation if we want to cohere with our universal experience. Corrections There is one major correction a naturalist needs to incorporate all truth into his worldview. That is a recognition of the spiritual. Miracles, religious experiences, emotions, and beauty aren't simply natural phenomena. Rather, they are true experiences of something outside of the natural order. To see this in art, read The Soul of the World, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, or Tolkien's Lord of the Rings to see how this plays out. They demonstrate that there is more to this world than the naturalist can explain. And, they do it both with philosophy and story-telling. Related Episodes in this Series What is Objective Reality? What is Subjective Reality? Unity of Subject and Object The Golden Mean for Understanding Objective and Subjective Reality — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/support
  1. 235. Naturalism & The Human Person | The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
  2. 234. The Golden Mean for Understanding Objective and Subjective Reality
  3. 233. Is Patriotism Good? | Reflections on the 4th of July
  4. 232. Unity of Subject and Object
  5. 231. What is Subjective Reality?

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