Pro Academia Help

Analysis And Explanation Of Those Quotes

You will write one long paragraph for each, with the thesis in the first sentence, at least three supporting ideas, other quotes or references to help analysis and explanation of those quotes, modern contextualization, and a concluding sentence.   Each paragraph should be 10 sentences minimum

  • The quotes from other.
  1. “Quite rightly, we do not normally take the behavior of animals as a model for how we may treat them” (Singer & Mason 773).
  2. “A land ethic, then reflects the existence of an ecological conscience, and this in turn reflects a conviction of individual responsibility for the health of the land” (Leopold – The Land Ethic p.124).
  3.  “With consistency, a great soul has simply nothing to do” (Emerson self reliance p.7).
  4. “Yet he does not know what to do with the time he saves, and spends one part of his income to kill the time he is so proud of having saved” (Fromm 331).
  5. “It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity” (Du Bois – Of Our Spiritual Strings p.2).
  • The Quotes from the book: A world of Ideas
  1. “Let us finally consider how naïve it is altogether to say: ‘Man ought to be such and such’” (Nietzsche – Morality as Anti-Nature p.350).
  2. “It is much safer to be feared than to be loved when one of the two must be lacking” (Machiavelli  – The Qualities of The Prince p.227).
  3. “If you want to govern the people, you must place yourself below them, if you want to lead the people, you must learn how to follow them” (Lao-tzu Thoughts from the Tao-te Ching p.213-214).
  4. “For to be subject to appetite is to be a slave, while to obey the laws laid down by society is to be free” (Rousseau – The Origin of Civil Society p.253).
  5. “As I read and contemplated the subject, behold! that very discontentment which Master Hugh had predicted would follow my learning to read had already come, to torment and sting my soul to unutterable anguish”  (Douglass – From Narrative of The Life p.334).

I have attached the resources below and also highlight all of the quotes.

Ninth Edition

Lee A. Jacobus

A World of Ideas

Essential Readings for College Writers

with e-Pages

Jacobu s


orld of Ideas N

in th


itio n


Explore great ideas from great writers. A World of Ideas will introduce you to important thinkers whose ideas have shaped civilizations throughout history — from Plato to Adam Smith, from Virginia Woolf to Judith Butler, and from Machiavelli to Martin Luther King Jr. These essential readings are accompanied by questions, examples, and suggestions that will help you understand and respond critically to ideas — and teach you how to communicate your own ideas effectively in your college writing.

This book has e-Pages and more! Use the code printed on the inside back cover of this book to get automatic access to readings and images — available only online. Note: If your code does not work, it might be expired.

You can purchase access to e-Pages for A World of Ideas at ideas/epages.

You’ve got more help — including free videos about writing, reliable research links to help you get started, and models for citing sources — at /worldof ideas.

ISBN 978-1-4576-0436-2




More help 24/7

The Student Site for A World of Ideas gives you free resources to support your writing and access to e-Pages that extend your book online—all in one place.

• Access the e-Pages for A World of Ideas. (See the inside back cover for more information.)

• Find more information about authors and ideas.

• Watch videos of real writers.

• Try a tutorial on avoiding plagiarism.

• Find checklists for better writing.

• Build a bibliography.

• See sample documents in design.

• Find help citing sources.

Instructors: Go to ideas/epages to get instructor access.


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A World of Ideas + e-Pages ideas/epages

Your book goes beyond the printed page. e-Pages for A World of Ideas present additional online readings and color images that will help enhance your understanding of the ideas explored in this text.

Note: If the code below does not work, it might be expired. You can purchase access to e-Pages at ideas /epages.

For access to e-Pages: 1. Go to ideas/epages.

2. Click to enter your student access code. Enter it exactly as it appears below, including any dashes, and follow the instructions.

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LEE A. JACOBUS University of Connecticut

BEDFORD/ST. MARTIN’S Boston ♦ New York

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For Bedford/St. Martin’s

Developmental Editor: Alicia Young Senior Production Editor: Anne Noonan Senior Production Supervisor: Dennis Conroy Executive Marketing Manager: Molly Parke Editorial Assistants: Charlotte Christy and Bethany Gordon Copyeditor: Mary Lou Wilshaw-Watts Permissions Manager: Kalina K. Ingham Senior Art Director: Anna Palchik Cover Design: Donna Lee Dennison Cover Art: Cover Art © Estate of Robert Rauschenberg/ Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY Composition: Cenveo Publisher Services Printing and Binding: RR Donnelley and Sons

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Copyright © 2013, 2010, 2006, 2002 by Bedford/St. Martin’s

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a re- trieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechan- ical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, except as may be expressly permit- ted by the applicable copyright statutes or in writing by the Publisher.

Manufactured in the United States of America.

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For information, write: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 75 Arlington Street, Boston, MA 02116 (617-399-4000)

ISBN 978-1-4576-0436-2


Acknowledgments and copyrights appear at the back of the book on pages 942–46, which constitute an extension of the copyright page. It is a violation of the law to reproduce these selections by any means whatsoever without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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Among the pleasures of editing A World of Ideas are the discus- sions I have had over the years with students and teachers who have used the book in their writing classes. A student once wrote to tell me that the book meant a great deal to her and that her experience with it impelled her to wonder what originally inspired me to assemble the first edition. I explained that my teaching of first-year writing has always inclined toward ideas that serious writers and thinkers have explored and contemplated throughout the ages; early on, I could not find a composition reader that introduced students to the important thinkers whose writing I believe should be basic to everyone’s educa- tion. As a result of that need, A World of Ideas took shape and has con- tinued to grow and develop through nine editions, attracting a wide audience of teachers and students who value the thought-provoking ideas that affect the way we interpret the world.

In preparing the ninth edition of A World of Ideas, I have ben- efited, as usual, from the suggestions of hundreds of users of earlier editions. The primary concern of both teachers and students is that the book remain centered on the tradition of important ideas and on the writers whose work has had a lasting influence on society. To that end, I have chosen writers whose ideas are central to our most important and lasting concerns. A new edition offers the opportunity to reevaluate old choices and make new ones that expand and deepen what has always been the fundamental purpose of this composition reader: to provide college students in first-year writing courses with a representative sampling of important ideas examined by men and women who have shaped the way we think today.

The selections in this volume are of the highest quality. Each was chosen because it clarifies important ideas and can sustain discus- sion and stimulate good writing. Unlike most composition readers, A World of Ideas presents substantial excerpts from the work of each of


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its authors. The selections are presented as they originally appeared; only rarely are they edited and marked with ellipses. They average fif- teen to twenty pages in length, and their arguments are presented com- pletely, as the authors wrote them. Developing a serious idea in writing takes time and a willingness to experiment. Most students are willing to read deeply into the work of important thinkers to grasp their ideas bet- ter because the knowledge yielded by the effort is vast and rewarding.

Additionally, this edition of A World of Ideas is also presented in a new format—a combination of the print book and e-Pages, online materials that include one reading per chapter as well as color ver- sions of all the works of art in the “Visualizing” features. The readings that appear in e-Pages are “favorites” that have appeared in past edi- tions of A World of Ideas; making them accessible online allows us to give your students more material without increasing the cost or size of the text. The e-Page versions of the “Visualizing” works of art are in full color, giving students the opportunity to view these images in richer detail and thus to better appreciate their subtleties, the particu- lars of which often lend these paintings much of their significance.

A Text for Readers and Writers

Because students perceive writers such as Plato and Thoreau as serious and important, they take more seriously the writing course that uses texts by these authors: such students learn to read more attentively, think more critically, and write more effectively. But more important, this may be a student’s only opportunity to encoun- ter the thinkers whose ideas have shaped civilization. No other com- position reader offers a comparable collection of important readings along with the supportive apparatus students need to understand, analyze, and respond to them.

Classic Readings. A World of Ideas draws its fifty-six selections (forty-eight in print and eight in e-Pages) from the writing of some of the world’s most important thinkers. Those writers with selections that remain from the eighth edition are Hannah Arendt, Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Carl Becker, Andrew Carnegie, Marcus Tullius Cicero, Charles Darwin, René Descartes, Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sigmund Freud, John Kenneth Galbraith, Howard Gardner, Germaine Greer, Thomas Jefferson, Carl Jung, Martin Luther King Jr., Lao-tzu, Niccolò Machiavelli, Karl Marx, Margaret Mead, John Stuart Mill, Iris Murdoch, Friedrich Nietzsche, Plato, Robert B. Reich, Jean- Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Henry David Thoreau, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Virginia Woolf.

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A Focus on Eight Great Ideas. A World of Ideas’ unique struc- ture highlights seminal ideas as developed by great thinkers through- out history and facilitates cross-disciplinary comparisons. Each of the eight parts of the book focuses on one great idea—democracy, gov- ernment, ethics and morality, wealth and poverty, education, gender and culture, language, and discoveries and the mind. Part introduc- tions ground students in the history of each idea and connect the philosophies of individual writers.

“Evaluating Ideas: An Introduction to Critical Reading.” This introduction demonstrates a range of methods students can adopt to participate in a meaningful dialogue with each selection. This dialogue—an active, questioning approach to texts and ideas—is one of the keys to critical reading. In the introduction, a portion of Ma chiavelli’s “The Qualities of the Prince” is annotated to help stu- dents follow the key ideas of the piece and to model for students a critical reading process that they can adapt to other essays in the book. The introduction encourages students to mark what they think are the most interesting and important ideas in an essay and high- light or underline all sentences that they might want to quote in an essay of their own.

“Writing about Ideas: An Introduction to Rhetoric.” In the ninth edition, this section, which now immediately follows “Evalu- ating Ideas: An Introduction to Critical Reading,” has been much expanded, with an emphasis on developing thesis statements, using rhetorical methods of development, and thinking critically to construct a strong argument. Many new examples based on current selections in the ninth edition help students find fruitful approaches to the material. This section explains how a reader can make annotations while reading critically and then use those anno- tations to write effectively in response to the ideas presented in any selection in the book. “Writing about Ideas” draws on the annota- tions of the Machiavelli selection illustrated in “Evaluating Ideas: An Introduction to Critical Reading.” A sample student essay on Machiavelli, using the techniques taught in the context of read- ing and writing, gives students a model for moving from a critical response to a selection to writing their own material. In addition, this section helps students understand how they can apply some of the basic rhetorical principles discussed throughout the book.

Selection Headnotes. Each selection is preceded by a detailed headnote on the author’s life and work and by comments about the primary ideas presented in the reading. The most interesting rhetorical

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aspects of the selection are identified and discussed to help students see how the writer’s rhetorical techniques can achieve specific effects.

Prereading Questions. To emphasize critical thinking, reading, and writing, prereading questions precede every selection. The con- tent of the selections is challenging, and these prereading questions can help students in first-year writing courses overcome minor dif- ficulties in understanding the author’s meaning. These brief questions are designed to help students focus on central issues during their first reading of each selection.

Extensive Apparatus. At the end of each selection is a group of discussion questions designed for use inside or outside the classroom. Questions for Critical Reading focus on key issues and ideas and can be used to stimulate general class discussion and critical thinking. Sugges- tions for Critical Writing help students practice some of the rhetorical strategies employed by the author of a given selection. These sugges- tions ask for personal responses, as well as complete essays that involve research. A number of these assignments, labeled “Connections,” pro- mote critical reading by requiring students to connect particular pas- sages in a selection with a selection by another writer, either in the same part of the book or in another part. The variety of connections is intriguing—Lao-tzu with Machiavelli, Aristotle with Andrew Carnegie, Adam Smith with Thomas Jefferson, Julius K. Nyerere with the fram- ers of the Constitution, Francis Bacon with Howard Gardner, Kwame Anthony Appiah with Iris Murdoch and Michael Gazzaniga, Susanne K. Langer with Noam Chomsky, James Baldwin with Jonathan Kozol, Judith Butler with Margaret Mead, and many more.

The “Visualizing” Feature Encourages Students to Apply Great Ideas to Great Works of Art. Immediately preceding the selections in each part, a well-known painting is accompanied by a commentary that places the work historically and aesthetically and prepares students to make thoughtful connections between the work and the thinkers who follow. For example, “Visualizing Gender and Culture” features Mary Cassatt’s painting In the Loge along with a brief caption and a discus- sion of the work’s exploration of gender roles. The Seeing Connections questions that follow each of the readings ask students to relate a given text to the work of art. Other featured works of art include, but are not limited to, Howard Chandler Christy’s painting Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States for “Visualizing Democracy,” Eugène Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People for “Visualizing Government,” Salvador Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory for “Visualizing Discoveries and the Mind,” and Wosene Worke Kosrof ’s The Color of Words IX— from his series WordPlay—for “Visualizing Language.”

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Instructor’s Resource Manual. I have prepared an extensive manual, Resources for Teaching A WORLD OF IDEAS, that contains further background on the selections, examples from my own class- room responses to the selections, and more suggestions for classroom discussion and student writing assignments. Sentence outlines for the selections—which have been carefully prepared by Michael Hennessy, Carol Verberg, Ellen Troutman, Ellen Darion, and Jon Marc Smith— can be photocopied or downloaded from the book’s companion Web site,, and given to students. The idea for these sentence outlines came from the phrase outlines that Darwin created to precede each chapter of On the Origin of Species. These outlines may be used to discuss the more difficult selections and to provide additional guidance for students. At the end of the manual, brief bibliographies are provided for all fifty-five authors. These bibli- ographies may be photocopied or downloaded and distributed to stu- dents who wish to explore the primary selections in greater depth.

New in the Ninth Edition

The ninth edition offers a number of new features to help students engage and interact with the texts as they learn to ana- lyze ideas and develop their own thoughts in writing.

Selections and Images Available in e-Pages. As mentioned above, the new edition features online readings—“favorites” from past editions such as Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “On Education” and Stephen L. Carter’s “The Separation of Church and State”—and full-color versions of the art- work included in the book. Students receive access automatically with the purchase of a new book. If the activation code printed in the inside cover of the student edition is revealed, it might be expired. Students can purchase access at the Student Site. Instructors don’t need an access code; they can access the e-Pages at the Student Site. They can also use the free tools accompanying the e-Pages to upload a syllabus, readings, and assignments to share with the class. Visit /worldofideas/epages for more information.

New Essential Readings. The selections in A World of Ideas explore the key ideas that have defined the human experience and shaped civiliza- tion. Of the fifty-six selections, twenty-six are new to this edition, includ- ing works by Aristotle, James Madison, the Founding Fathers, Alexis de Tocqueville, Julius K. Nyerere, Benazir Bhutto, Stephen L. Carter, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Michael Gazzaniga, Milton and Rose Fried- man, Hsün Tzu, Maria Montessori, John Dewey, Carter G. Woodson, Jonathan Kozol, Howard Gardner, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Judith Butler,

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Karen Horney, Susanne K. Langer, Mario Pei, James Baldwin, Bill Bryson, Neil Postman, Noam Chomsky, and Alexander Pope.

Three New Foundational Ideas. The selections in the three new parts—“Democracy,” “Education,” and “Language”—cover con- siderable historical periods and attitudes toward their subjects. All three of these new sections contain ideas that affect every one of us in a number of important ways. Democracy, for example, is in many respects one of the most important ideas of modern times. With political struggles unfolding in developing countries, whose citizens are voting for the first time and writing their own constitutions, few documents could be more important for students to know well than the U.S. Constitution, which appears in this book for the first time. Likewise, the work of James Madison and others in the Federalist Papers points toward political struggles ongoing in modern democra- cies. The section on education introduces students to ideas by Hsün tzu, Maria Montessori, John Dewey, and Carter G. Woodson that are still relevant to our schools. The section on language introduces some of the modern ideas about language being “hardwired” in our brains, and it explores some theories of language origin and the development of words from authors such as Mario Pei and Susanne K. Langer.

More “Connections” Questions. Throughout the book, students are asked to make connections and comparisons between writers addressing the same great idea within the same great idea topic and between writers addressing different ideas, helping to stimulate com- parative critical thinking and writing.

Increased Coverage of Developing Theses and Arguments. “Writing about Ideas: An Introduction to Rhetoric” now immediately follows “Evaluating Ideas: An Introduction to Critical Reading” at the beginning of the book, and this section has been expanded to provide support for developing thesis statements, using rhetorical methods of development, and using critical thinking to develop a strong argument. New student writing examples based on selections in the ninth edition help students understand how to approach the material and discuss it meaningfully.

Digital Resources for A World of Ideas

A World of Ideas offers more than just a great text. Online you’ll find both free and affordable premium resources to help stu- dents get even more out of the book and your course. You’ll also find convenient instructor resources, such as downloadable sample syllabi, classroom activities, and even a nationwide community of teachers. To learn more about or order any of the products

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below, contact your Bedford/St. Martin’s sales representative, e-mail sales support (, or visit the Web site at

Take Advantage of What the Web Can Do with New e-Pages for A World of Ideas. Favorite readings from past editions give your students even more important thinkers to help them explore ideas, and color images from the “Visualizing” features give your students a better look at works of art that relate to great ideas. To access this fea- ture, go to

A Fully Updated Student Site Gives Students More Ways to Explore A World of Ideas. At, students will find links to full-text documents of historical and philo- sophical interest, more information on each selection’s author and his or her ideas, and the book’s e-Pages, which are accessible through a code included in the book. Instructors will find the helpful instructor’s manual, which includes a sentence outline for every selection.

Let Students Choose Their Format. Students can now purchase A World of Ideas in popular e-book formats for computers, tablets, and e-readers. For more details, visit

VideoCentral is a growing collection of videos for the writing class that captures real-world, academic, and student writers talking about how and why they write. VideoCentral can be packaged for free with A World of Ideas. An activation code is required. To order Video- Central packaged with the print book, use ISBN 978-1-4576-4342-2.

Re:Writing Plus gathers all of the Bedford/St. Martin’s premium digital content for composition into one online collection. It includes hundreds of model documents, the first ever peer-review game, and VideoCentral. Re:Writing Plus can be purchased separately or packaged with the print book at a significant discount. An activation code is required. To order Re:Writing Plus packaged with A World of Ideas, use ISBN 978-1-4576-4338-5.

Teaching Ce ntral ( offers the entire list of Bedford/St. Martin’s print and online professional resources in one place. You’ll find landmark reference works, source- books on pedagogical issues, award-winning collections, and practical advice for the classroom—all free for instructors.

Bits ( collects creative ideas for teaching a range of composition topics in an easily searchable blog. A community of

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teachers—leading scholars, authors, and editors—discuss revision, research, grammar and style, technology, peer review, and much more. Take, use, adapt, and pass the ideas around. Then, come back to the site to comment or share your own suggestion.

Bedford Coursespacks allow you to easily integrate our most popular content into your own course management system. For details, visit


I am grateful to a number of people who made important sug- gestions for earlier editions, among them Shoshana Milgram Knapp of Virginia Polytechnic and State University and Michael Hennessy of Texas State University–San Marcos. I want to thank Jon Marc Smith of Texas State University–San Marcos and Chiara Sulprizio of the Loyola Marymount University for assisting with the instructor’s manual for the eighth edition. I also remain grateful to Michael Bybee of St. John’s College in Santa Fe for suggesting many fascinating pieces by Eastern thinkers, all of which he has taught to his own students. Thanks to him, this edition includes Lao-tzu.

Like its predecessors, the ninth edition is indebted to a great many creative people at Bedford/St. Martin’s, whose support is invalu- able. I want to thank Charles Christensen, former president, whose concern for the excellence of this book and whose close attention to detail were truly admirable. I appreciate as always the advice of Joan E. Feinberg, copresident of Macmillan Higher Education, and Denise Wydra, president of Bedford/St. Martin’s, whose suggestions were timely and excellent. Nancy Perry, editorial director, Custom Pub- lishing, New York; Karen Henry, editor in chief, English; and Steve Scipione, executive editor, offered many useful ideas and suggestions as well, especially in the early stages of development, and kept their sharp eyes on the project throughout. My editor for the eighth edi- tion, Maura Shea, is the professional’s professional. My editor for the current edition, Alicia Young, has been a steady guiding hand, dis- cussing material with me and providing help where necessary and when timely. She has been an inspiration in dealing with sometimes intractable problems and responding with encouragement and the kind of help only the best editors can provide.

Assisting her were a number of hardworking individuals, includ- ing Charlotte Christy and Bethany Gordon. Anne Noonan, production editor, also helped with innumerable important details and sugges- tions. Mary Lou Wilshaw-Watts, copyeditor, improved the prose

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and watched out for inconsistencies. Thanks also to several staff members and researchers: Jenn Kennett cleared text permissions, Donna Dennison found the cover art and designed the cover, and Linda Finigan secured all the new photographs. In earlier edi- tions, I had help from Diane Kraut, Maura Shea, Sarah Cornog, Rosemary Winfield, Michelle Clark, Professor Mary W. Cornog, Ellen Kuhl, Mark Reimold, Andrea Goldman, Beth Castrodale, Jonathan Burns, Mary Beth McNulty, Beth Chapman, Mika De Roo, and Greg Johnson. I feel I had a personal relationship with each of them. I also want to thank the students—quite a few of them—who wrote me directly about their experiences reading the first eight editions. I have attended carefully to what they told me, and I am warmed by their high regard for the material in this book.

Earlier editions named hundreds of users of this book who sent their comments and encouragement. I would like to take this oppor- tunity to thank them again. In addition, the following professors were generous with criticism, praise, and detailed recommendations for the ninth edition: D. Michelle Adkerson, Nashville State Community College; Geraldine Cannon Becker, University of Maine at Fort Kent; Aaron Bradford, Folsom Lake College and Pasadena City College; David Elias, Eastern Kentucky University; Jim Ewing, Fresno City College; Michele Giargiari, Bunker Hill Community College; Susan Gorman, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; Deana Holifield, Pearl River Community College; Shelley Kelly, College of Southern Nevada; Christina Lovin, Eastern Kentucky University; Pam Mathis, North Arkansas College; Aggie Mendoza, Nashville State Community College; Sandra Pyle, Point Park University; Robert Royar, Morehead State University; Sam Ruddick, Bunker Hill Community College; Ron Schwartz, Pierce College; Michele Singletary, Nashville State Community College; Jon Marc Smith, Texas State University– San Marcos; Roberta Stagnaro, San Diego State University; Andrea Van Nort, United States Air Force Academy; Paul Walker, Murray State University; Martha Willoughby, Pearl River Community College; and our reviewers at Chaffey College, Pasadena City College, and Mon- mouth University who wish to remain anonymous. I want to mention particularly the past experiences I had visiting Professor Elizabeth Deis and the faculty and students of Hampden-Sydney College in connec- tion with their writing and humanities programs. Professors James Kenkel and Charlie Sweet were gracious in welcoming me to Eastern Kentucky University for workshops and classes using A World of Ideas. These were delightful and fruitful experiences that helped me shape the book. I am grateful to all who took part in these workshops.

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When the first edition of A World of Ideas was published, the notion that students in first-year composition courses should be able to read and write about challenging works by great thinkers was a radical one. In fact, no other composition reader at the time included selections from such important thinkers as Hannah Arendt, Aristotle, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, Plato, Charles Darwin, or Mary Woll- stonecraft. I had expected a moderate response from a small number of people. Instead, teachers and students alike sent me a swarm of mail commending the book for the challenge it provided and the insights they gained.

One of the first letters I received was from a young woman who had read the book after she graduated from college. She said she had heard of the thinkers included in A World of Ideas but in her college career had never read any of their works. Reading them now, she said, was long overdue. Another student wrote me an elaborate letter in which he demonstrated that every one of the selections in the book had been used as the basis of a Star Trek episode. He sagely connected every selection to a specific episode and convinced me that whoever was writing Star Trek had read some of the world’s most important thinkers. Other students have written to tell me that they found them- selves using the material in this book in other courses, such as psy- chology, philosophy, literature, and history, among others. In many cases, these students were the only ones among their peers who had read the key authors in their discipline.

Sometimes you will have to read the selections in A World of Ideas more than once. Works by influential thinkers, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, James Baldwin, Judith Butler, Adam Smith, Sigmund Freud, Francis Bacon, Iris Murdoch, and Noam Chomsky, can be very challenging. But do not let the challenge discourage you. In “Evaluat- ing Ideas: An Introduction to Critical Reading,” I suggest methods for


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annotating and questioning texts that are designed to help you keep track of what you read and to help you master the material. In addi- tion, each selection is accompanied by a headnote on the author’s life and work, comments about the primary ideas presented in the selec- tion, and a host of questions to help you overcome minor difficulties in understanding the author’s meaning. Some students have written to tell me that their first reading of the book was off-putting, but most of them have written later to tell me how they eventually overcame their initial fear that the selections would be too difficult for them. Ulti- mately, these students agreed with me that this material is important enough to merit their absolute attention.

The purpose of A World of Ideas is to help you learn to write better by giving you something really significant to think and write about. The selections not only are avenues into some of the most seri- ous thought on their subjects but also are stimulating enough to sus- tain close analysis and to produce many good ideas for writing. For example, when you think about democracy, it helps to know what Aristotle said about it while Athens enjoyed it, just as it is important to know what the United States Constitution says that puts democ- racy into law. Elizabeth Cady Stanton defends the rights of women in her “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions,” pointing always to the social injustices that she documents. Frederick Douglass speaks from the perspective of a former slave when he cries out against the injustice of an institution that existed in the Americas for hundreds of years. And a hundred years after Douglass, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. sent his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” still demanding justice for African Americans and freedom seekers everywhere. The questions of ethics that still haunt us are treated by Iris Murdoch in relation to religion and by Kwame Anthony Appiah in relation to situ- ational and virtue ethics, each of which concentrates on the relation of ones’ character to one’s ethical behavior. All these writers place their views in the larger context of a universal dialogue on the subject of justice. When you write, you add your own voice to the conversation. By commenting on the selections, expressing and arguing a position, and pointing out contradictions or contrasts among texts, you are par- ticipating in the world of ideas.

Keep in mind that I prepared A World of Ideas for my own stu- dents, most of whom work their way through college and do not take the idea of earning an education lightly. For that reason, I felt I owed them the opportunity to encounter the very best minds I could put them in touch with. Anything less seemed to me a missed opportu- nity. I hope you, like so many other writing students, find this book both educational and inspiring.

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Preface iii

To the Student xiii

EVALUATING IDEAS: An Introduction to Critical Reading 1

WRITING ABOUT IDEAS: An Introduction to Rhetoric 13




HOWARD CHANDLER CHRISTY, Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States [IMAGE; AVAILABLE IN COLOR IN E-PAGES]


In 1939, the House of Representatives commissioned Christy—a renowned American artist—to paint a portrait of one of the most auspicious moments in his country’s history: the signing of the Constitution of the United States.

ARISTOTLE Democracy and Oligarchy 59

Having lived in Athens during the period of its democracy, Aristotle had considerable insight into the political structures that existed


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in ancient Greece. His analysis of the choice between democracy— rule by the people—and oligarchy—rule by a wealthy few— remains relevant to this day.

THE FOUNDING FATHERS The Constitution of the United States of America 75

This landmark document of United States history was the result of the founding fathers meeting in Philadelphia in 1787 to ratify a con- stitution that established a strong federal government that took into account special issues of the states.

JAMES MADISON Federalist No. 51: On the Separation of Departments of Power 109

The Federalist Papers, written by James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton before the ratification of the Con- stitution, argued for a federal government to help consolidate the interests of the states. Here, Madison establishes means by which the federal government can balance powers so as to avoid tyranny.

ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE Government by Democracy in America 121

Tocqueville, a French aristocrat, traveled extensively in the United States in the 1830s and was struck by the sense of equality ex- pressed by nearly every American he encountered. His Democracy in America remains one of the most profound and astute commen- taries on American democracy.

CARL BECKER Ideal Democracy 143

In an essay written in 1941, at democracy’s lowest hour in the West, Becker reminds us that “Democracy is in some sense an eco- nomic luxury,” but that we must nonetheless recognize its value and persist in its defense.

JULIUS K. NYERERE One-Party Government 165

Nyerere, the first president of Tanzania, tells us that there was no room for the adversarial structure of two political parties when his country was emerging from recent colonial control. Unity was

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the most important issue to bring Tanzania into the modern world, and Nyerere insists that democracy is possible under such conditions.

BENAZIR BHUTTO Islam and Democracy 177

The former prime minister of Pakistan, Bhutto explains why there is no impediment preventing Islamic nations from adopting a democratic form of government while also recognizing the difficul- ties that extremists have posed for representative governments in the Islamic world.

STEPHEN L. CARTER The Separation of Church and State

Carter, a legal scholar, examines the contemporary anxiety over the separation of church and state and maintains that the provi- sion of freedom of religion in the U.S. Constitution was designed to protect individual religions from the state, not to protect the state from religion.






Liberty Leading the People commemorates the three-day July Revolution of 1830, which overthrew Charles X of France, the last of the Bourbon kings. Delacroix’s painting has been described as the first political painting of modern art.

LAO-TZU Thoughts from the Tao-te Ching 203

In recommending that a ruler practice judicious inactivity rather than wasteful busyness, the ancient Chinese philosopher mini- mizes the power of the state over the individual.

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NICCOLÒ MACHIAVELLI The Qualities of the Prince 219

In this excerpt from the most notorious political treatise of all time, Machiavelli, a veteran of intrigue in Florence’s Medici court, recommends unscrupulous tactics for the ruler who wishes to secure power for himself and stability in his domain.

JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU The Origin of Civil Society 237

The French philosopher Rousseau speculates that members of a society forfeit individual freedoms for the greater good of all and stresses a revolutionary view—equality before the law.

THOMAS JEFFERSON The Declaration of Independence 259

In this primary document of modern democratic government, Jefferson justifies the right of the American colonies to dissolve their bonds with a tyrannical monarchy and to construct a free nation of independent souls in its stead.

ELIZABETH CADY STANTON Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions 269

Stanton draws on her experience as a feminist and on Thomas Jefferson’s model to show that, one hundred years after the Dec- laration of Independence, half of America still waited to be freed from tyranny.

HANNAH ARENDT Total Domination 279

Arendt, a historian and political theorist, argues that terror is necessary for the state to achieve total domination over the individual and that the concentration camp represents the most intense form of terror a state can exert in modern society.

MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO The Defense of Injustice

Cicero, the great Roman orator and legendary champion of jus- tice, plays devil’s advocate as he powerfully argues that in some circumstances justice is inexpedient and problematic for a state to provide.


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Joseph Wright’s painting depicts—in reverential, almost religious tones—a group of observers’ varied reactions to the life-and-death experiment happening before them. Some onlookers show concern for the bird being experimented upon, but ultimately, scientific curiosity wins out.

HENRY DAVID THOREAU Civil Disobedience 301

A man who lived by his ideals of justice, Thoreau explains how and why it is not only reasonable but also sometimes essential to disobey unjust laws imposed by the state.

FREDERICK DOUGLASS From Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave 327

One of the most eloquent orators of the nineteenth century, Fred- erick Douglass reveals how an indomitable spirit reacted to a sys- tem of law that sanctioned slavery, treated people as chattel, and denied justice for them and their offspring into perpetuity.

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE Morality as Anti-Nature 343

Nietzsche, one of modernism’s most influential thinkers, argues that rules of morality and ethics set down by religions force indi- viduals to adhere to principles that deny their human nature.

IRIS MURDOCH Morality and Religion 359

Murdoch, one of the twentieth century’s most distinguished au- thors, questions whether there can be morality without religion and whether, if evil is conquered, the concept of morality would remain.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. Letter from Birmingham Jail 375

King, a minister and civil rights leader, advocates nonviolent action as a means of changing the unconscionable practices of racial segre- gation and of achieving justice for all.


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KWAME ANTHONY APPIAH The Case against Character 397

Appiah examines the question of whether “virtue” resides in char- acter or actions and considers the development of situationist ethics—the examination of people’s behavior in situations in which ethical choices are decidedly unclear.

MICHAEL GAZZANIGA Toward a Universal Ethics 415

Gazzaniga, a famous neuroscientist who has examined brain physi- ology and the genetics of brain development, considers the possibility that some people are genetically disposed toward unethical behavior.

ARISTOTLE The Aim of Man

Aristotle describes the search for the highest good, which he defines as happiness. In the process of defining the good, he relates it to the idea of virtuous behavior, living an ethical and moral life. For him, the concept of morality is communal, not just individual.






Tanner was an African American painter of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His portrait of an older man and a young child in prayer, which was probably drawn from life, infuses a hum- ble scene with dignity and hope.

ADAM SMITH Of the Natural Progress of Opulence 441

This excerpt from the classic work on modern capitalism The Wealth of Nations explores the economic relationship between rural areas and cities in an attempt to understand the “natural” steps to wealth.

KARL MARX The Communist Manifesto 453

Marx, the most thorough critic of laissez-faire capitalism, traces the dehumanizing progress of the nineteenth-century bourgeois


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economic structure and heralds its downfall at the hands of a united international proletariat.

ANDREW CARNEGIE The Gospel of Wealth 481

The great American industrialist and steel magnate argues that it is not only desirable but natural that some people in a free society should be enormously wealthy and that most should not. He also in- sists that great personal wealth is held in trust for the public and must be given away during one’s own lifetime to support worthy causes.

JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH The Position of Poverty 499

Improving the plight of society’s poorest members is a central responsibility of today’s wealthy nations, says Galbraith, the most widely read economist of the past four decades.

ROBERT B. REICH Why the Rich Are Getting Richer and the Poor, Poorer 513

The former secretary of labor talks about the different categories of workers in the United States and the inevitable changes occur- ring as the U.S. economy is altered by globalization.


The Friedmans, noted conservative economists, consider the Decla- ration of Independence’s insistence that “all men are created equal.” Their view is that equality of opportunity is essential in a democracy, but that the equality of outcome is a denial of personal freedom.






This Rockwell painting—his most requested reproduction—depicts Ruby Bridges’ first day of school in New Orleans on November 14, 1960. Federal marshals escorted Ruby to protect her from angry pro- testers who opposed the integration of the previously all-white school.


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HSÜN TZU Encouraging Learning 543

Hsün tzu connects education with the lifelong quest for moral perfection—the eventual attainment of the Way, the right path in life— and posits that the ritual of study is essential to a student’s success.

JOHN DEWEY Thinking in Education 555

One of the most influential modern thinkers in education, Dewey champions experiential activities that deeply involve students in solv- ing problems perceived as genuine, not artificially posed by the teacher.

MARIA MONTESSORI The Montessori Method 571

Montessori, Italy’s first female medical doctor, transformed an inner-city school in Rome and demonstrated that respect for the child, cultivation of the child’s imagination, and instruction in reading could reach youngsters who were thought to be hopeless.

CARTER G. WOODSON The Mis-Education of the Negro 587

Woodson, widely considered the “father of black history,” devoted his skills to teaching and documenting his methods of instruction of African American students. He saw their history omitted from textbooks and was committed to remedying the situation.

JONATHAN KOZOL The Uses of “Diversity” 605

In a letter to a younger teacher, Kozol points out that the goal of promoting diversity in American schools, despite popular rhetoric, has failed miserably. He demonstrates this contention based on his own experiences visiting schools in various parts of the country.

HOWARD GARDNER Designing Education for Understanding 619

Rather than promote a wide range of subjects for elementary and secondary schools, Gardner proposes a program that emphasizes depth rather than breadth. Mastering the principles of math, sci- ence, the arts, and history is essential to promoting understanding that can be applied across disciplines and throughout a student’s life.


Emerson, the greatest of nineteenth-century American essayists, offers advice on education that derives both from his personal ex- perience and from his meditations on the subject. One of his most basic observations is that to be successful, education must respect the child and the child’s needs.


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Mary Cassatt, who left the United States to become an important impressionist painter in France, puts forth a bold statement about the complexities of gender and class expectations in her painting In the Loge (1878).

MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT Of the Pernicious Effects Which Arise from the Unnatural Distinctions Established in Society 653

In this excerpt from one of the first great works of feminism, Woll- stonecraft argues that the laws, property rights, and class distinctions of her day are mechanisms of control that deny women their liberty and demean their lives.

JOHN STUART MILL The Subjection of Women 669

Mill, one of the most distinguished philosophers of the Victorian age, cries out against a social system that denies education and opportunity to women. He clarifies the subjection of women in marriage and argues against wasting the talent of half of society, talent that he says is in great demand in the modern industrial age.

VIRGINIA WOOLF Shakespeare’s Sister 689

In this excerpt from A Room of One’s Own, her book-length essay on the role of women in history and society, Woolf imagina- tively reconstructs the environment of Shakespeare’s hypothetical sister and demonstrates how little opportunity she would have had in the sixteenth century.

MARGARET MEAD Sex and Temperament 707

The anthropologist Margaret Mead attacks the idea that there is a biological basis for what we may think of as a masculine or a feminine temperament. She illustrates her argument with examples from a number of societies whose views about masculinity and femininity are quite at odds with any that we might recognize in our own experience.


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GERMAINE GREER Masculinity 725

One of the most celebrated of modern feminists, Greer begins by establishing that masculinity is a social, not a biological, construct. She then offers a careful analysis of the specific qualities of mas- culinity that, while obviously controversial, can be easily verified or denied by reference to the day-to-day experience of the reader.

JUDITH BUTLER From Undoing Gender 739

Judith Butler calls the entire question of gender identification and gender essentialism into question, relating the story of a young boy’s mutilation in infancy that resulted in his being raised as a girl.

KAREN HORNEY The Distrust between the Sexes

Horney, the first major female psychoanalyst, looks at Freud’s theories and other cultures to establish her own theory of devel- opment that accounts for the tangled relations between the sexes.


LANGUAGE – 761 –




In this painting from his series WordPlay, Ethiopian artist Wosene Worke Kosrof manipulates characters from Amharic—an ancient Ethiopian language—to create new visual cues and meanings.

SUSANNE K. LANGER Language 769

Langer focuses on the ways in which people begin to learn language. She credits the infant’s lalling with great importance for learning. She also tells the story of the Wild Boy of Aveyron, who was found wandering in the forest unable to talk, and who ulti- mately was unable to learn language.

MARIO PEI Theories of Language Beginning 783

Pei proposes a number of possible ways in which language orig- inated but concedes that none of them can ever be proven. The origin of language is a mystery for scientists and linguists, but the


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theories of language origin that have evolved are significant and enlightening.

JAMES BALDWIN If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is? 795

One of America’s most distinguished writers responds to an attack on black English by pointing to African Americans’ contributions to the English language. Baldwin argues that white language has defined black people for too long, and he demands that African Americans must define themselves through their own language.

BILL BRYSON Where Words Come From 805

Bryson introduces readers to a host of unusual words as a means of suggesting five ways in which words develop: some by error, some by borrowing, some by pure invention, some by adding or subtracting parts, and some by doing absolutely nothing.

NEIL POSTMAN The Word Weavers / The World Makers 825

Postman, a champion of semantics, explains that language creates our understanding of everything. He demonstrates how metaphor controls meaning and convinces the reader, explaining how our use of language essentially controls our understanding of our world.

NOAM CHOMSKY New Horizons in the Study of Language 843

The most famous modern linguistician, Chomsky argues that hu- mans are born with an inbuilt capacity to learn any language. Ergo, there must be an “initial state” of language inherent to the brain and from which all languages develop.

ALEXANDER POPE From An Essay on Criticism

The great eighteenth-century English poet Pope establishes clear principles for criticism that avoids special pleading, favoritism, nitpicking, and a failure to see the whole. In the process, he shows readers a language rich with imagery and formal beauty.







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The Persistence of Memory is one of the most well-known paint- ings of the twentieth century. Dalí’s surrealistic masterpiece rep- resents a dream state, an expedition into the unconscious interior of the mind.

PLATO The Allegory of the Cave 865

Plato, the founder of Western philosophy, talks about the nature of perception and the limits of the human mind, emphasizing the difficulties everyone encounters in discovering the truth about appearances.

FRANCIS BACON The Four Idols 879

A prominent figure in philosophy and politics during the reign of England’s Elizabeth I, Bacon describes the obstacles that hinder human beings’ efforts to understand the world around them and the mysteries of nature.

CHARLES DARWIN Natural Selection 897

The scrupulous habits of observation that culminated in the land- mark theory of evolution are everywhere evident in Darwin’s analysis of the ways species adapt to their natural environments.

SIGMUND FREUD The Oedipus Complex 915

After Freud posited the existence and functioning of the unconscious mind, one of his most important—and controversial— theories was the assertion that infants went through a stage in which they uncon- sciously wished to possess their opposite-sex parent all for themselves.

CARL JUNG The Personal and the Collective Unconscious 927

Jung proposes that as a cultural group we have a collective unconscious—an unconscious awareness and wishes that transcend the individual and represent the needs of the group to which we belong.

RENÉ DESCARTES Fourth Meditation: Of Truth and Error

Descartes, one of the great French philosophers, meditates on the na- ture of God and how he may learn to distinguish truth from error. He conducts his inquiry entirely through his reason, with no reference to the physical world of the senses, which, he feels, might introduce error.



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EVALUATING IDEAS An Introduction to Critical Reading

The selections in this book demand a careful and attentive reading. The authors, whose works have changed the way we view our world, our institutions, and ourselves, make every effort to communicate their views with clarity and style. But their views are complex and subtle, and we must train ourselves to read them sensitively, responsively, and criti- cally. Critical reading is basic for approaching the essays in this book. Indeed, it is fundamental for approaching any reading material that deserves serious attention.

Reading critically means reading actively: questioning the premises of the argument, speculating on the ways in which evidence is used, comparing the statements of one writer with those of another, and holding an inner dialogue with the author. These skills differ from the passive reception we employ when we watch tele vi sion or read light- weight materials. Being an active, participating reader makes it pos sible for us to derive the most from good books.

Critical reading involves most of the following pro cesses:

• Prereading Developing a sense of what the piece is about and what its general purposes seem to be.

• Annotating Using a pencil or a pen to mark those passages that seem important enough to return to later. Annotations establish a dialogue between you and the author.

• Questioning Raising issues that you feel need to be taken into consideration. These may be issues that you believe the author has treated either well or badly and that you feel are important. Questioning can be part of the annotation pro cess.

• Reviewing Rereading your annotations and underlinings in order to grasp the entire “picture” of what you’ve just read. Sometimes writing a summary of the piece as you review makes the meaning even clearer.

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• Forming your own ideas Reviewing what you have read, evaluating the way that the writer presents the issues, and developing your own views on the issues. This is the final step.



Before you read a par tic u lar selection, you may find it useful to turn to the beginning of the part in which it appears. There you will find an introduction discussing the broader issues and ques- tions central to all the selections in the part. This may help you focus your thoughts and formulate your opinions as you read the essays themselves.

Begin any selection in this book by reading its headnote. Each headnote supplies historical background on the writer, sets the intellectual stage for the ideas discussed in the essay, and comments on the writer’s main points. The second part of each headnote intro- duces the main rhetorical or stylistic methods that the writer uses to communicate his or her thoughts. In the pro cess of reading the headnote, you will develop an overview that helps prepare you for reading the essay.

This kind of preparation is typical of critical reading. It makes the task of reading more delightful, more useful, and much easier. A review of the headnote to Niccolò Machiavelli and part of his essay “The Qualities of the Prince” (p. 219) will illustrate the usefulness of such preparation. This essay appears in Part Two — “Govern- ment” — so the content can already be expected to be concerned with styles of government. The introduction to Machiavelli provides the following points, each followed here by the number of the paragraph in which it appears:

Machiavelli was an Italian aristocrat in Re nais sance Italy. (1)

Machiavelli describes the qualities necessary for a prince — that is, any ruler — to maintain power. (2)

A weak Italy was prey to the much stronger France and Spain at this time. (2)

Machiavelli recommends securing power by what ever means nec- essary and maintaining it. (3)

His concern for moralizing or acting out of high moral principle is not great. (3)

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An Introduction to Critical Reading 3

He supports questionable means of becoming and remaining prince. (3)

Machiavelli does not fret over the means used to achieve his ends and sometimes advocates repression, imprisonment, and torture. (3)

Machiavelli has been said to have a cynical view of human nature. (4)

His rhetorical method is to discuss both sides of an issue: cruelty and mercy, liberality and stinginess. (8)

He uses aphorisms to persuade the reader that he is saying some- thing wise and true. (9)

With these observations in mind, the reader knows that the selec- tion that follows will be concerned with governance in Re nais sance Italy. The question of ends versus means is central to Machiavelli’s discussion, and he does not idealize people and their general good- ness. Yet because of Machiavelli’s rhetorical methods, particularly his use of aphorism,1 the reader can expect that Machiavelli’s argument will be exceptionally persuasive.

Thus, as a critical reader, you will be well advised to keep track of these basic statements from the headnote. You need not accept all of them, but you should certainly be alert to the issues that will probably be central to your experience of the essay. Remember: it is just as reasonable to question the headnote as it is to question the essay itself.

Before reading the essay in detail, you might develop an overview of its meaning by scanning it quickly. In the case of “The Qualities of the Prince,” note the subheadings, such as “On Those Things for Which Men, and Particularly Princes, Are Praised or Blamed.” Check- ing each of the subheadings before you read the entire piece might provide you with a map or guide to the essay.

Each passage is preceded by two or three prereading questions. These are designed to help you keep two or three points in mind as you read. Each of these questions focuses your attention on an important idea or interpretation in the passage. For your reading of Machiavelli, the questions are as follows:

1. Why does Machiavelli praise skill in warfare in his opening pages? How does that skill aid a prince?

2. Is it better for a prince to be loved or to be feared?

In each case, a key element in Machiavelli’s argument is the center of each question. By watching for the answer to these questions,

1 aphorism A short, pithy statement of truth.

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you will find yourself focusing on some of the most important aspects of the passage.

Annotating and Questioning

As you read a text, your annotations establish a dialogue between you and the author. You can underline or highlight important state- ments that you feel help clarify the author’s position. They may be statements to which you will want to refer later. Think of them as serving one overriding purpose: to make it possible for you to review the piece and understand its key points without having to reread it entirely.

Your dialogue with the author will be most visible in the margins of the essay, which is one reason the margins in this book are so gen- erous. Take issue with key points or note your assent — the more you annotate, the more you free your imagination to develop your own ideas. My own methods involve notating both agreement and disa- greement. I annotate thoroughly, so that after a quick second glance I know what the author is saying as well as what I thought of the essay when I read it closely. My annotations help me keep the major points fresh in my mind.

Annotation keeps track both of what the author says and of what our responses are. No one can reduce annotation to a formula — we all do it differently — but it is not a passive act. Reading with a pencil or a pen in hand should become second nature. Without annotations, you often have to reread entire sections of an essay to remember an argument that once was clear and understandable but after time has become part of the fabric of the prose and thus “invisible.” Annotation is the conquest of the invisible; it provides a quick view of the main points.

When you annotate,

• Read with a pen or a pencil.

• Underline key sentences — for example, definitions and state- ments of purpose.

• Underline key words that appear often.

• Note the topic of paragraphs in the margins.

• Ask questions in the margins.

• Make notes in the margins to remind yourself to develop ideas later.

• Mark passages you might want to quote later.

• Keep track of points with which you disagree.

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An Introduction to Critical Reading 5

Some sample annotations follow, again from Niccolò Machiavel- li’s “The Qualities of the Prince.” A sixteenth- century text in transla- tion, The Prince is challenging to work with. My annotations appear in the form of underlinings and marginal comments and questions. Only the first few paragraphs appear here, but the entire essay is annotated in my copy of the book.

A Prince’s Duty Concerning Military Matters

A prince, therefore, must not have any other object nor any other thought, nor must he take anything as his profession but war, its institutions, and its discipline; because that is the only profes- sion which befits one who commands; and it is of such importance that not only does it maintain those who were born princes, but many times it enables men of private station to rise to that posi- tion; and, on the other hand, it is evident that when princes have given more thought to personal luxuries than to arms, they have lost their state. And the first way to lose it is to neglect this art; and the way to acquire it is to be well versed in this art.

Francesco Sforza became Duke of Milan from being a private citizen because he was armed; his sons, since they avoided the incon ve niences of arms, became private citizens after having been dukes. For, among the other bad effects it causes, being dis- armed makes you despised; this is one of those infa- mies a prince should guard himself against, as will be treated below: for between an armed and an unarmed man there is no comparison whatsoever, and it is not reasonable for an armed man to obey an unarmed man willingly, nor that an unarmed man should be safe among armed servants; since, when the former is suspicious and the latter are contemptuous, it is impossible for them to work well together. And therefore, a prince who does not understand military matters, besides the other misfor- tunes already noted, cannot be esteemed by his own soldiers, nor can he trust them.

He must, therefore, never raise his thought from this exercise of war, and in peacetime he must

The prince’s profession should be war.


Being disarmed makes you despised. Is this true?

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train himself more than in time of war; this can be done in two ways: one by action, the other by the mind. And as far as actions are concerned, besides keeping his soldiers well disciplined and trained, he must always be out hunting, and must accus- tom his body to hardships in this manner; and he must also learn the nature of the terrain, and know how mountains slope, how valleys open, how plains lie, and understand the nature of rivers and swamps; and he should devote much attention to such activities. Such knowledge is useful in two ways: first, one learns to know one’s own country and can better understand how to defend it; sec- ond, with the knowledge and experience of the ter- rain, one can easily comprehend the characteristics of any other terrain that it is necessary to explore for the first time; for the hills, valleys, plains, rivers, and swamps of Tuscany, for instance, have certain similarities to those of other provinces; so that by knowing the lay of the land in one province one can easily understand it in others. And a prince who lacks this ability lacks the most important quality in a leader; because this skill teaches you to find the enemy, choose a campsite, lead troops, organ- ize them for battle, and besiege towns to your own advantage.

[There follow the examples of Philopoemon, who was always observing terrain for its military usefulness, and a recommendation that princes read histories and learn from them. Three paragraphs are omitted.]

On Those Things for Which Men, and Particularly Princes, Are Praised or Blamed

Now there remains to be examined what should be the methods and procedures of a prince in dealing with his subjects and friends. And because I know that many have written about this, I am afraid that by writing about it again I shall be thought of as presumptuous, since in discussing this material I depart radically from the procedures

Training: action/ mind

Knowledge of terrain

Two benefits

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An Introduction to Critical Reading 7

of others. But since my intention is to write some- thing useful for anyone who understands it, it seemed more suitable to me to search after the effectual truth of the matter rather than its imag- ined one. And many writers have imagined for themselves republics and principalities that have never been seen nor known to exist in reality; for there is such a gap between how one lives and how one ought to live that anyone who abandons what is done for what ought to be done learns his ruin rather than his preservation: for a man who wishes to make a vocation of being good at all times will come to ruin among so many who are not good. Hence it is necessary for a prince who wishes to maintain his position to learn how not to be good, and to use this knowledge or not to use it accord- ing to necessity.

Leaving aside, therefore, the imagined things concerning a prince, and taking into account those that are true, I say that all men, when they are spo- ken of, and particularly princes, since they are placed on a higher level, are judged by some of these quali- ties which bring them either blame or praise. And this is why one is considered generous, another miserly (to use a Tuscan word, since “avaricious” in our language is still used to mean one who wishes to acquire by means of theft; we call “miserly” one who excessively avoids using what he has); one is consid- ered a giver, the other rapacious; one cruel, another merciful; one treacherous, another faithful; one effeminate and cowardly, another bold and coura- geous; one humane, another haughty; one lascivious, another chaste; one trustworthy, another cunning; one harsh, another lenient; one serious, another frivo- lous; one religious, another unbelieving; and the like. And I know that everyone will admit that it would be a very praiseworthy thing to find in a prince, of the qualities mentioned above, those that are held to be good, but since it is neither possible to have them nor to observe them all completely, be cause human nature does not permit it, a prince must be prudent enough to know how to escape the bad reputation of those vices that would lose the state for him, and must protect himself from those that

Those who are good at all times come to ruin among those who are not good.

Prince must learn how not to be good.

Note the prince’s reputation.

Prince must avoid reputation for the worst vices.

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will not lose it for him, if this is possible; but if he cannot, he need not concern himself unduly if he ignores these less serious vices. And, moreover, he need not worry about incurring the bad reputation of those vices without which it would be difficult to hold his state; since, carefully taking everything into account, one will discover that something which appears to be a virtue, if pursued, will end in his destruction; while some other thing which seems to be a vice, if pursued, will result in his safety and his well- being.


The pro cess of review, which takes place after a careful reading, is much more useful if you have annotated and underlined the text well. To a large extent, the review pro cess can be devoted to account- ing for the primary ideas that have been uncovered by your annotations and underlinings. For example, reviewing the Machiavelli annotations shows that the following ideas are crucial to Machiavelli’s thinking:

• The prince’s profession should be war, so the most successful princes are probably experienced in the military.

• If they do not pay attention to military matters, princes will lose their power.

• Being disarmed makes the prince despised.

• The prince should be in constant training.

• The prince needs a sound knowledge of terrain.

• Machiavelli says he tells us what is true, not what ought to be true.

• Those who are always good will come to ruin among those who are not good.

• To remain in power, the prince must learn how not to be good.

• The prince should avoid the worst vices in order not to harm his reputation.

• To maintain power, some vices may be necessary.

• Some virtues may end in destruction.

Putting Machiavelli’s ideas in this raw form does an injustice to his skill as a writer, but annotation is designed to result in such summary statements. We can see that there are some constant themes, such as the insistence that the prince be a military person. As the headnote

Some vices may be needed to hold the state. True?

Some virtues may end in destruction.

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An Introduction to Critical Reading 9

tells us, in Machiavelli’s day Italy was a group of rival city- states, and France, a larger, united nation, was invading these states one by one. Machiavelli dreamed that one powerful prince, such as his favorite, Cesare Borgia, could fight the French and save Italy. He emphasized the importance of the military because he lived in an age in which war was a constant threat.

Machiavelli anticipates the complaints of pacifists — those who argue against war — by telling us that those who remain unarmed are despised. To demonstrate his point, he gives us examples of those who lost their positions as princes because they avoided being armed. He clearly expects these examples to be persuasive.

A second important theme pervading Machiavelli’s essay is his view on moral behavior. For Machiavelli, being in power is much more important than being virtuous. He is quick to admit that vice is not desirable and that the worst vices will harm the prince’s reputation. But he also says that the prince need not worry about the “less serious” vices. Moreover, the prince need not worry about incurring a bad reputation by practicing vices that are necessary if he wishes to hold his state. In the same spirit, Machiavelli tells us that there are some virtues that might lead to the destruction of the prince.

Forming Your Own Ideas

One of the most important reasons for critically reading the texts in this book is to enable you to develop your own positions on issues that these writers raise. Identifying and clarifying the main ideas is only the first step; the next step in critical reading is evaluating those ideas.

For example, you might ask whether Machiavelli’s ideas have any relevance for today. After all, he wrote nearly five hundred years ago and times have changed. You might feel that Machiavelli was relevant strictly during the Italian Re nais sance or, alternatively, that his prin- ciples are timeless and have something to teach every age. For most people, Machiavelli is a po liti cal philosopher whose views are useful anytime and anywhere.

If you agree with the majority, then you may want to examine Machiavelli’s ideas to see whether you can accept them. Consider just two of those ideas and their implications:

• Should rulers always be members of the military? Should they always be armed? Should the ruler of a nation first demonstrate competence as a military leader?

• Should rulers ignore virtue and practice vice when it is con ve nient?

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In his commentary on government, which is also included in Part Two, Lao- tzu offers different advice from Machiavelli because his assumptions are that the ruler ought to respect the rights of individu- als. For Lao- tzu the waging of war is an annoying, essentially wasteful activity. Machiavelli, on the other hand, never questions the useful- ness of war: to him, it is basic to government. As a critical reader, you can take issue with such an assumption, and in doing so you will deepen your understanding of Machiavelli.

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