Pride, hypocrisy and civility in Mandeville's social and historical theory

Critical Review 4 (3):387-431 (1990)
Abstract
This paper seeks to show that Bernard Mandeville's primary purpose in The Fable of the Bees was to historicize the concept of self?love (amour?propre) articulated by seventeenth?century French Jansenists and moralistes; that in doing so Mandeville constructed a theory designed to explain the inter?subjective constraints and forces of social discipline which characterize commercial societies; and that a full understanding of Mandeville's achievement depends upon an appreciation of the way in which pride in his theory becomes socialized into hypocrisy at a decisive moment in the civilizing process, a moment after which, Mandeville argues, cultural institutions themselves can contain that unfettered self?interest which his contemporaries fearfully associated with the triumph of commerce.
Keywords Pride
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