Ethics and Politics in Mandeville

Philosophy 26 (98):242 - 252 (1951)
Ever since they were first published, the works of Bernard Mandeville have met with a few careful readers as well as with a larger number of stupid or unscrupulous assailants. Both classes are faithfully recorded at the end of F. B. Kaye's splendid edition of The Fable of the Bees , which has helped to revive interest in Mandeville, and which has moulded the current estimate of his ideas: the treatment of Mandeville in such a work as Basil Willey's Eighteenth Century Background is confessedly based almost entirely on Kaye. My purpose in this paper is to suggest some modifications of the account given by Kaye, and to make claims for Mandeville's importance in one particular field, the relation of ethics to politics
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