Dados vol. 31 n. 1 Rio de Janeiro 1988

O Problema de Alice. As Noções de Virtù e Fortuna e seus Desdobramentos na Teoria Politica

Starling, Heloisa Maria Murgel


This article discusses the concepts of virtù and fortuna and their implications for political theory. The concepts are first defined inside the Machiavellian universe, as a recovery of their broader political meanings: virtù is understood at once as both the wil1 to be political ( action) and the need to organize ("thinking" the action) this willingness; from this standpoint, fortuna does not refer solely to circumstance or occasion but to a whole set of self-ordered elements about which human knowledge has no previous awareness. At the second level, the process of contraction/expansion of these concepts within the very domain of political theory is analyzed, in strict terms, the idea of contraction leads us to something distinct from what Machiavelli assumed: the political as the domain of the technical, virtù as mastery of efficiency and instrumental rationality. In practice, the counterpoint "contraction/expansion" can be seen in the need to instrumentalize rational action in an effort to obtain control over the experienced world. The totality of life escapes such instrumental reason. As we well know, the world is not only a world of facts but also the domain of the "irrational", within which reason itself is in motion. It is within this domain that Machiavelli invokes fortuna, while Freud uses the concept to penetrate our unconscious and Marx calls it History. At the third level, this study is an attempt to show that not only is man's possibility of changing the order of things, of interfering in his own destiny, hidden behind the idea of virtù; it is also virtù which allows for the occurrence of that decisive moment in which man spins his hope and opens himself up to utopia. In this case, a Machiavelli conclusion would affirm that if virtù bears man's hope, fortuna reflects the success or failure of achieving these hopes.

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O Problema de Alice. As Noções de Virtù e Fortuna e seus Desdobramentos na Teoria Politica