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Victor Nuovo: Does the Mind always think?

Posted on August 17, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



This is not an essay about politics, but about the mind. But if, as Spinoza and Locke have claimed, the love of truth and a resolute pursuit of it is essential to a healthy and durable civil society, then it is important that we become more familiar with our minds.

Locke’s book, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, is a wonderful resource for this. He asks all the right questions, even though he does not always give the right answers. The pleasure of reading Locke’s book derives from learning what it is to be a rational being.

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Victor Nuovo: Truth and the foundations of civil society

Posted on August 10, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Introducing John Locke: Truth and the foundation of a civil society

“Its theme is the intellect, or the understanding or mind… in which Locke enquires about how the human mind works, how it gathers all of its content… and, above all, how it goes about searching after truth.”

– On Locke’s book, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

Editor’s note: This is the 19th in a series of essays by Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Victor Nuovo on the origins of western political thought.

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Victor Nuovo: For Spinoza, pursuit of Truth is a means to peace and piety

Posted on August 3, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the 18th in a series of essays by Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Victor Nuovo on the origins of western political thought.

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Victor Nuovo: Hobbes on religion

Posted on July 27, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the 17th essay by Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Victor Nuovo on the origins of western political thought, focusing on the great political thinkers.

In his own day, Hobbes was suspected of atheism. There is no historical evidence supporting this suspicion, neither in his writings, nor in any other surviving historical records about him. Nonetheless, this suspicion is a historical fact. His detractors, who were many, called him “the Monster of Malmesbury,” and held him in contempt.

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Victor Nuovo: Lingering problems with Hobbes

Posted on July 20, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



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Editor’s note: This is the 16th essay by Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Victor Nuovo on the origins of western political thought, focusing on the great political thinkers.

By Victor Nuovo

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Victor Nuovo: Hobbes' politics

Posted on July 13, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the 15th essay by Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Victor Nuovo on the origins of western political thought, focusing on the great political thinkers.

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Victor Nuovo: Thomas Hobbes, our contemporary

Posted on July 6, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



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Editor’s note: This is the 14th essay by Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Victor Nuovo on the origins of western political thought, focusing on the great political thinkers.

The long life of Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) encompassed England’s greatest crisis and perhaps its darkest hours. That he survived them and even flourished is proof of his ingenuity and adaptability; that he also wrote about them is our very good fortune, for in them we encounter the voice of experience unmoved by self pity or sentimental fantasies, a courageous voice.

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Machiavelli: Discourses on Livy, Part II

Posted on June 29, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the 13th essay by Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Victor Nuovo on the origins of western political thought with a focus on the great political thinkers of the times.

Without doubt, Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy is unsurpassed among works of political philosophy. Neither Plato’s Republic, nor the Laws, nor Aristotle’s Ethics and Politics stand above it. And it is far more readable. It is a browser’s delight, and easy to navigate.

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Victor Nuovo, Machiavelli: Living in dark times with Livy

Posted on June 22, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the 12th in a series of essays by Middlebury College Professor Emeritus Victor Nuovo on the origins of western political thought.

The title of Machiavelli’s book, “Discourses on Livy,” requires an explanation. Livy (Titus Livius; 59 BCE–17 CE) was a Roman historian, a contemporary of Caesar Augustus, who wrote a history of Rome from its founding until his own day (De urbi condita libri — “Books from the founding of the city”). 

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Victor Nuovo: For Machiavelli, realism meant political survival not moral goodness

Posted on June 15, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Were I able to legislate required reading in the education of every citizen, I would choose the political works of Machiavelli — The Prince and Discourses on Livy. The sober realism of both works is reason enough for my choice, but others will emerge. 

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