But since my intent is to write something useful to whoever understands it, it has appeared to me more fitting to go directly to the effectual truth of the thing than to the imagination of it. — Niccolo Machiavelli, in Chapter 15 of The Prince. According to Harvey Mansfield, these lines including the phrase effectual truth—a term invented by Machiavelli—are central to Machiavelli’s founding of the revolution in philosophy, science, and politics that we call modernity. In this Conversation—our 200th episode!—our first and most frequent guest Harvey Mansfield returns to the program to discuss his recent work on Machiavelli, and presents an incisive and provocative account of some of the more challenging and too-little-understood aspects of Machiavelli’s teaching. In particular, Mansfield draws out the world-historical significance of Machiavelli’s discovery or invention of the effectual truth and shows why Machiavelli can justly be called the founder of modernity. This Conversation has also been added to the Harvey Mansfield site on Contemporary Thinkers and the Machiavelli site on Great Thinkers.

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