Machiavelli’s politics and critical theory of technology
This paper has four major parts. First is a discussion of the critical theory of technology offered by Andrew Feenberg in his book, Questioning Technology. I argue that Feenberg’s theory is similar, in important respects, to the political theory of Machiavelli and that consequently, a comparison of the political philosophy of Machiavelli is possible. Second, I discuss the political philosophy of Machiavelli, in particular his description of the foundation of society. Third I discuss the relationship between virtue and the natural world according to Machiavelli. Fourth, I argue that this comparison reveals problems for the critical theory of Feenberg. Feenberg wants a politics and technology of liberation and Machiavelli shows that politics (and also technology) is always linked to coercion.