Political History

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

By Stefan Collini, Richard Whatmore, Brian Young

Economic climate, Polity and Society and its significant other quantity heritage, faith and tradition objective to assemble new essays by way of a few of the prime highbrow historians of the interval. The essays in economic climate, Polity and Society commence by way of addressing points of the eighteenth-century try out, quite within the paintings of Adam Smith, to return to grips with the character of "commercial society" and its special notions of the self, of political liberty, and of financial 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. ultimately, in discussions that diversity as much as the center of the 20 th century, they discover quite telling examples of the clash among fiscal considering and ethical values.

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1 Mauss thought that his contemporaries falsely believed that the idea of the self captured an innate human property, and that, due to this error, they subscribed to a socially divisive cult of the individual. He proposed that the conception of ourselves as unique is largely a historical artefact. Not only do other peoples hold very different notions of the self, but each conception is intimately connected to the specific ethical community to which persons belong. Mauss referred to ethnographic materials from North America, Australia and archaic Greece to show that in cultures where personhood is defined by kinship, descent and status, responsibility flows directly from family or clan membership, and neither love nor one’s conscience alone serve as justifications for action.

Kaye, The FABLE of the BEES: or, Private Vices, Public Benefits. By Bernard Mandeville. With a Commentary Critical, Historical, and Explanatory by F. B. Kaye,  vols. (Oxford, ). For Mandeville’s relationship to the theory of the passions in seventeenth-century Augustinian moral reflection, see Arthur O. Lovejoy, Reflections on Human Nature (Baltimore, ), lectures III–V and Laurence Dickey, ‘Pride, Hypocrisy and Civility in Mandeville’s Social and Historical Theory’, Critical Review, ,  (Summer, ), pp.

In nations shaped by commerce, men regarded themselves as consuming and displaying animals, creatures whose enlarged appetites are governed by the need for esteem within an expanding world of marketable goods. Mandeville’s understanding of social action as theatrical rests on the assumption that commercial societies are distinguished by the encouragement given their members to conduct their lives with studied selfmisrepresentation. The modern reign of fashion was at once an instrument of and spur to such deceptive practices, depending as it did upon an explosion of mobile wealth and its associated ideology of manners.

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