Paradigms and Princes

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“If the presentation of exemplary achievements together with directions for their imitation counts as an initial criterion for a paradigm, then when Machiavelli dedicates The Prince to Lorenzo di Medici and says that he is presenting him with ‘the knowledge of the great deeds of the past’, he is offering The Prince and the politics it includes as a new paradigm for politics. The first twenty-three chapters can then be read as developing a new ‘normal’ politics, while the last three turn to comparing this new paradigm with the traditional one[…]The last three chapters of The Prince are a series of inter-paradigmatic comparisons between Machiavelli’s new politics and the old politics he exhorts the prince to overthrow, and they can teach us more about such comparisons than most case studies.”