"Gli umori delle parti": Humoral Dynamics and Democratic Potential in the Florentine Histories.

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  • Author(s): Holman, Christopher
  • Source:
    Political Theory. Dec2020, Vol. 48 Issue 6, p723-750. 28p.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      In this essay I consider the potential of Machiavelli's Florentine Histories to contribute to the enrichment of contemporary democratic theory. In opposition to both of the major groups of current interpreters of this text—those who see it as representative of a conservative turn in Machiavelli's thought grounded in a newfound skepticism regarding popular political competencies, and those who see it as merely a re-presentation of the republican commitments of the Discourses on Livy —I argue that it reveals to us a unique political potentiality, but one that is essential for the construction of an internally consistent Machiavellian theory of democracy. Specifically, through disclosing the historicity and contingency of the humors of the parts of the city, the Histories suggests the possibility of concretely actualizing a condition of social equality, thus overcoming the main democratic deficit of the Discourses —the perpetuation of inequality, as represented in the preservation of the existence of a class with a desire to oppress. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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