In Praise For Monstrosities. The Case of Niccolò Machiavelli
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Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies Artes Librales University of Warsaw
Publication date: 2013-01-02
Polish Sociological Review 2012;180(4):455–474
In the paper author refers to the passage from The Prince of Niccolò Machiavelli, in which the famous Florentine says that there are two kinds of combat: one with laws, the other with force. Author defend the claim that by writing this, Machiavelli opened up a new and still unused way of thinking about nature-culture relationship. A follower of this way of thinking withdraws from saying that nature is surpassed by culture, or that nature is nothing else but a subject of an on-going human speculation, and rebuts the sole hypothesis that what there is, is nothing but nature. Modern Western culture entrusted its key opposition to the nature-culture relationship. By and large, political philosophy is a story about surpassing the nature in order to establish a state under the rule of law. According to Machiavelli, the juxtaposition of nature and culture, the narrative on surpassing by politics the laws of nature, just as well as the narrative on us being stuck in it, are all utterly wrong. Accepting the ambiguity of the opposition between nature and culture and assuming that the social contract is indeed fictitious, author would like to question Machiavelli about his vision of subjectivity and politics in a world where “natural objects” appear to be socialized, and “cultural subjects” appear to be dissocial. In the way author puts the question: does Machiavelli recommend monstrosity by writing stories in praise of monstrosity as it may well seem?