Well, I'm not Manton, nor Machiavelli, nor even a philosophy scholar, but as I understand it, Machiavelli's major contribution was to introduce the idea of political *science*, as opposed to political *philosophy* (for example, the Republic of Plato) into the modern Western
This is a common view, but I believe it is wrong. Â For Machiavelli, just as for Aristotle, there is no difference between philosophy and science. Â The invention of "science" in the modern sense begins with Descartes and the invention of method. Â And it still took another 200 years for a distinction between philosphy and science to take root. Â Descartes thought his method would radically improve philosophy, not lead to a separation between philosophy and science. Â Like Nick, he did not conceive of a difference.
Of course, there is a general belief (among the Chinese anyway) that there any western philosophies were already discoursed at length among Chinese scholars a couple of thousand years previous. Â Arrogant bastards.
The metaphysics of the ancient Greeks is pretty much the same as that of Confucius' Analects
and the Bhagavad-Gita
, so maybe the Chinese have a point. Â But I think it's more accurate to say that since metaphysics is the same always and everywhere, smart people in different cultures and eras simply came to the same conclusions on their own.