Modernization, Secularization and Immanentization of Political Theory

Forthcoming: Ercole Erculei (ed.): Politica, moralità, fortuna: riflessioni storico-filosofiche 500 anni dopo ‘Il Principe’ di Machiavelli

17 Pages Posted: 25 May 2014

See all articles by Andreas Wagner

Andreas Wagner

Max Planck Institute for European Legal History; Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute of Philosophy; Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz

Date Written: May 23, 2014

Abstract

This paper tries to shift the contrast of debates between 'scholasticii' and 'politici' away from conceptualizing it in terms of theology vs. rationalism, since in a way both share a modern, rationalist outlook: It is argued that the practice of politics is recognized by both Machiavelli and his scholastic counterpart Girolamo Savonarola as deeply characterised by prudential and "realist" considerations. The main difference seems to be the the conceptualizing of one's own historical situation, of the eventual success of one's own practice and of societal development in terms either of a teleological framework or of radical contingence. Put this way, the same arguments that allow Machiavelli to move away from the former framework then cast doubts also on the possibilities of a rational political theory, in the sense of transparent and certain knowledge and understanding.

The paper draws on Claude Lefort's interpretation of Machiavelli in order to highlight a radically immanentist perspective in the 'Principe'. The Machiavellian approach involves a distinct methodological perspective on politics, on power, and on history that is contrasted with a rationalist paradigm that is prominent in political theory, but has been sharply criticized already by Machiavelli himself.

Keywords: Machiavelli, Savonarola, Political Theory, Political Theology, Political Theory, Early Modernity

Suggested Citation

Wagner, Andreas, Modernization, Secularization and Immanentization of Political Theory (May 23, 2014). Forthcoming: Ercole Erculei (ed.): Politica, moralità, fortuna: riflessioni storico-filosofiche 500 anni dopo ‘Il Principe’ di Machiavelli. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2441078

Andreas Wagner (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for European Legal History ( email )

Hansaallee 41
Frankfurt am Main, 60323
Germany
+49 69 78978107 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rg.mpg.de/mitarbeiter/51578/712252

Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute of Philosophy ( email )

Grüneburgplatz 1
Frankfurt, Hessen 60629
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www2.uni-frankfurt.de/49557735/Wagner_Andreas

Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz ( email )

Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 2
Mainz, 55131
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://salamanca.adwmainz.de/

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
72
Abstract Views
884
rank
340,506
PlumX Metrics