Machiavelli, Galileo and The Censors
Under the Inquisition, twin defences against the challenge of natural and political science, hinging on the distinction of reasoning simpliciter and sub conditione. A striking commonality in the cases of Machiavelli and Galileo, targets of the censors and progenitors of upheaval in Renaissance thought.
The Bond of Shame
Is shame for one’s country, not love of it, the truer mark of belonging? Lineaments of a political emotion, at the intersection of biology and history, from Nestor’s invocation on the battlefield of Troy to Primo Levi’s remembrance of the Red Army. How might we imagine the boundaries of a shame-based community?
Killing a Chinese Mandarin: The Moral Implications of Distance
“The tension between natural law and history—the theme of this series of lectures—has come down to us, as so many other ideas, from the ancient Greeks. In a most famous passage of his Rhetoric (1373b) Aristotle put it in this way:” read more
Witches and Shamans
“The subject on which I have been invited to speak today—witches and shamans—is central to my book Storia notturna. Una decifrazione del sabba, which is appearing now, a few years after the Italian edition, in Japanese translation. Instead of summarizing my book in its final form, I prefer . . .” read more