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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: March ::
Re: Machiavelli
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0659  Tuesday, 5 March 2002

From:           Don Bloom <
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Date:           Monday, 4 Mar 2002 13:34:04 -0600
Subject: 13.0537 Re: Machiavelli
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0537 Re: Machiavelli

Sam Small writes,

> Sean Lawrence seems to think there was some contradiction in my earlier
> post.  Most people who use the adjective "Machiavellian" have never read
> Machiavelli.  They describe someone as Machiavellian as being willfully
> devious and evil; someone who actually knows they are doing wrong yet do
> it anyway for their own gain perhaps with some flimsy justification to
> assuage their conscience.

Dunno, but have you checked a dictionary lately? The meanings of words
are arrived at rather mysteriously and democratically, and not according
to what someone feels they should mean -- even if that individual is
logically correct. M'self, I would say that the meaning of
"machiavellian" is whatever your readers think of when you write it,
even if that's wrong.

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean whatever
you want." "The question is," said Humpty-Dumpty, " who is to be the
master."

(I think that's quoted fairly accurately.)

Cheers,
Prof. H. Dumpty, FuD (aka d. bloom)

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