Machiavelli’s Politics is aptly named. Catherine Zuckert’s new book concentrates intently on Niccolo Machiavelli’s judgment about how best to govern political communities in the ordinary sense—places such as Florence and Rome. Her views about what makes Machiavelli novel when compared with ancient and medieval thinkers primarily concern such governing. And, her most telling disputes with other scholars also concern political themes. This focus might seem unsurprising or inevitable, for who would doubt Machiavelli’s political thrust? But Professor Zuckert’s argument differs from those that feature or co-emphasize a Machiavelli who is a spiritual warrior, one who means to reorient not only politics…
A portrait of Italian philosopher, writer and politician Niccolo Machiavelli (Florence, 1469-1527) by Antonio Maria Crespi.
Professor Catherine Zuckert is one of America’s preeminent political theorists. The Nancy Reeves Dreux Professor of Political Science at Notre Dame University has written award-winning books including Natural Right and the American Imagination (1990) and Plato’s Philosophers: The Coherence of the Dialogues (2009). Zuckert has edited the Review of Politics for 13 years, and she has contributed scholarly articles to other journals like the Review of Metaphysics, History of Political Thought, and the Journal of the International Plato Symposium.
Zuckert’s new book, Machiavelli’s Politics, is just out from the University of Chicago Press. For this first installment of Conversations, a new feature at Law and Liberty, Associate Editor Lauren Weiner recently put questions to Professor Zuckert about it. Here is our Q and A.