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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



Nuovo,Victor1754.jpg

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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Victor Nuovo: Introducing Machiavelli: Ancients to Moderns

Posted on June 8, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



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

To begin to understand Machiavelli (1469–1527), one must try to imagine what life was like in Italy during his lifetime. 

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Victor Nuovo: Aristotle on the City and the Good Life

Posted on June 1, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Editor’s note: This is the ninth 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: Aristotle's political inequities: We've come a long way

Posted on May 25, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



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

Aristotle was a naturalist. He believed that nature comprised the whole of reality. He conceived of nature in two respects: as productive power and as the totality of its products, which he imagined not as a random aggregate of things, but as a well formed universe, ruled by intelligence, and, because it is self generating, eternal.

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Victor Nuovo: Friendship — the tie that binds

Posted on May 18, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



Aristotle suggests that love or a feeling of mutual affection between citizens may be a more effective means of unifying a city than justice, indeed that the latter may depend upon the former. It is an alluring thought and deserves to be explored.

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Victor Nuovo: Theory and practice

Posted on May 11, 2017 |
By Victor Nuovo



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

Among the topics that Aristotle treats in the Ethics are the intellectual virtues. They are capacities of mind that individuals must cultivate in order to become good citizens. Aristotle lists five of them: knowledge, art, prudence, wisdom and understanding. It is a curious combination of the practical and the theoretical, of theory and practice.

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