By Baker S. G.
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Extra info for A simple meta-analytic approach for using a binary surrogate endpoint to predict the effect of inter
The doctrine of reason of state and of the arcana imperii inevitably hinged on the question of whether or not political discourse should or could free itself of the constraints of ethics and religion. Europeans split into rival camps over this issue, which tended to crystallize around the interpretation of the works of Machiavelli and Tacitus. The so-called politici or politiques (that is, the exponents of the doctrine of reason of state), followed Machiavelli—and later claimed to be following Tacitus—in separating politics from ethics and religion.
On the anonymous cover of a lost portrait from the early sixteenth century, sometimes attributed to Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio, appears a haunting image of a mask with the inscription sua cuique persona (to each his own mask). Two points are made by the creator of this unusual object. First, its motto asserts that each of us has a mask (or persona) that can be worn whenever needed, in order to hide or disguise some truth about us. Second, as the inscription warns anyone about to gaze at the portrait within, no one can know with certainty whether the face is itself already a mask and its owner no different than an actor in a comedy: in the culture of secrecy, the natural was always already artiﬁcial, and mimesis was fundamentally unreliable.
59 That is to say, while “deception, which meant a false signiﬁcation by outward acts, was identical with lying,” and was therefore reprehensible, for Aquinas it was equally true that “to pretend ( ﬁngere) [was] not always to lie, for a pretense sometimes has reference to a further meaning and conveys a truth ﬁguratively,” just as keeping silent—or keeping a secret—is not always to lie. 60 Thus Aquinas, in recovering the distinctions that Augustine had rejected regarding the legitimacy of feigning and dissembling, anticipated the early modern shift in attitude toward dissimulation.