Download e-book for kindle: The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and by J. G. A Pocock

By J. G. A Pocock

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Additional info for The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition

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The pure gubernaculum was pure mystery; and as long as experience remained the only means of generalizing about particular cases and testing the application of universals to them, jurisdictio and legislation by consent must remain the only methods of framing and administering laws that would stand up to intellectual scrutiny. Yet this philoso28 EXPERIENCE, USAGE AND PRUDENCE phy of government must fail to cover satisfactorily those situations where gubernacuhim was involved in jurisdictio, where the king was felt to be personally concerned in justice and legislation and charged, by reason of his office, with a responsibility for their proper performance which was not like that of any other man.

13 What we sense as fortuna is our imperfect experience of the perfection of history. In a later but closely related rhetoric, it became more usual to speak of Providence as the inscrutable course of things directed to our redemption by an intelligence we could not share, and by a further figure as that aspect of the divine intelligence which directed particulars and phenomena while perceiving universals and ideas; and in this rhetoric Fortune could be dealt with by equating her with Providence.

Since the king was charged with this terribly difficult task, he enjoyed an authority analogous with or based upon that of God's providence; since, too, there were points of contact between it and what was done in councils and courts of law, there were moments when the king, face to face with his counselors or his judges, might speak "as the roaring of a lion," with the terrible and quasi-divine authority of gubernaculum. Then he might not be gainsaid or resisted; then he might set aside laws, for short intervals, by the same authority.

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The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition by J. G. A Pocock


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