Wolin, Chapter 7:  Machiavelli.

1.         Wolin describes a distinct contribution by Machiavelli, and conditions conducive to doing so in the Italy of his time.  Describe these.  (176-9)

2.         What was the center of Machiavelli’s political morality?  (186-7)

3.         How was Machiavelli’s concept of power distinct from what came before?  (187-93)

4.         For Machiavelli, violence is at the center of the state.  Is this an unusual claim, according to Wolin?  (197-8)  The significance of Machiavelli might be that he theorized violence in order to control it.  How so?  (198-200)

5.         Is Machiavelli a relativist?  (200-205)  [Please use this definition of relativism:  Moral judgments are not true, except within the practices and beliefs of particular groups of people.]

6.         According to Wolin, what role is played in his theory by the mass (of humans)?  (205-211)

7.         How does Machiavelli propose that a society controls the excesses of factions? (211-13) 

 

Wolin, Chapter 8:  Hobbes.

1.        What hallmarks of the new scientific age are evident in Hobbes?  (214-18)

2.        For Hobbes, what is political knowledge?  (220-1)

3.        Wolin claims that geometry, not science, is Hobbes’ model for knowledge.  What is the distinction?  (224)

4.        What is “private reason”?  (231) Why is it dangerous?  What is the alternative for politics?  Wolin lists this as an important original contribution of Hobbes.

5.        How does Wolin suggest we interpret state of nature arguments?  (235-6)

6.        How did Hobbes define the problem of justice?  (241-3)

7.        Hobbes’ view of religion in politics differed from that of Machiavelli. How so?  (244-6)  Are there machiavellian attributes of religion in this recent survey of young people’s religious experience in the US? 

8.        Wolin accuses Hobbes of having a very limited understanding of interests.  What did Hobbes miss about interests?  (248-51)

9.        What made the Hobbesian view of power “hollow”?  (255)