Economy, Polity, and Society: British Intellectual History by Stefan Collini, Richard Whatmore, Brian Young

By Stefan Collini, Richard Whatmore, Brian Young

Financial system, Polity and Society and its better half quantity heritage, faith and tradition objective to collect new essays by way of a few of the major highbrow historians of the interval. The essays in economic system, Polity and Society start through addressing facets of the eighteenth-century try out, rather within the paintings of Adam Smith, to come back to grips with the character of "commercial society" and its targeted notions of the self, of political liberty, and of monetary development. They then discover the variations of and responses to the Enlightenment legacy within the paintings of such early nineteenth-century figures as Jeremy Bentham, Tom Paine, Maria Edgeworth and Richard Whately. eventually, in discussions that diversity as much as the center of the 20th century, they discover relatively telling examples of the clash among fiscal pondering and ethical values.

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The wise man becomes a student of this society by virtue of his ability to stand aloof from those public spectacles through which these myths are enacted. ‘To me’, Mandeville said, it is a great Pleasure, when I look on the Affairs of human Life, to behold . . what various and often strangely opposite Forms the hope of Gain and thoughts of Lucre shape Men, according to the different Employments they are of, and Stations they are in. How gay and merry does every Face appear at a well-ordered Ball .

Hundert, The Enlightenment’s ‘Fable’: Bernard Mandeville and the Discovery of Society (Cambridge, ).  E. J. Hundert book’s notorious maxim, ‘Private Vices, Publick Benefits’, encapsulated Mandeville’s thesis that contemporary society is an aggregation of persons driven by passions for gain and approbation – passions which necessarily bind individuals together neither by shared civic commitments nor by moral rectitude but by the fetters of envy, competition, and exploitation. Only passions can move one to act, he argued, and the object of any passion can be nothing other than one’s own perceived interest or pleasure.

II, p. xxii. , no. .  E. J. Hundert the street. Indeed, one of Mandeville’s primary purposes was to expose this view as an example of the ‘Practical Part of Dissimulation’ (II: p. 21 Mandeville insists that members of the beau monde in commercial societies could never adhere to the codes of polite intercourse promoted by Addison, Steele, Shaftesbury, and Du Bos while at the same time remaining morally independent and cognitively undeluded agents. 22 Mandeville was quick to notice (II: p.

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