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BHUM 17A00 - Good vs. Evil: Plato vs. Machiavelli

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2017-2018

Number of hours : to be defined

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

This course is aimed at analyzing the origins of the idea of Good (and Evil) using two main classical texts: Plato's Republic, and Machiavelli's The Prince. We will go back and forth between the father of political “idealism” and the founder of political “realism”, and try to gauge the gap between their two deeply influential positions. While addressing questions such as moral state-building, utopianism versus pragmatism, and so on, we will also engage in the quick study of the parallel contexts of Athens and Florence, and focus on the production of art related to government forms (democracy, aristocracy, principality). Ultimately, this will be a comparative course in political theory with a methodological emphasis on history, art history and historiography.


SIMONETTA, Marcello (Enseignant indépendant)

Required reading

Plato, The Republic

Additional required reading

  • Machiavelli, The Prince
  • Some excerpts from these two authors' other works will be provided during the course of the seminar.