Francis Hutcheson on Luxury and Intemperance: The Mandeville Threat

History of European Ideas 41 (8):1093-1106 (2015)

Lisa Broussois
Université paris 1
This paper looks at two figures in the modern, European, eighteenth-century debate on luxury. It claims to better understand the differences between Francis Hutcheson and Bernard Mandeville by exploring how Hutcheson treated the topic of luxury as a distinction between two desires, thus differing from Mandeville's concept of luxury, and a concept of temperance based on moral sense. It explores why Hutcheson believed that luxury was a moral, social and political issue and particularly why he considered Mandeville the embodiment of a threat that went beyond simple considerations of the content of The Fable of the Bees to touch on reflections on the equilibrium of a social and political system. It aims to show how the psychological and the moral dimension were connected to Hutcheson's political theory and how luxury was one of the key points of this connection.
Keywords Francis Hutcheson  Bernard Mandeville  eighteenth-century debate on luxury  intemperance  moral sense  sociability
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DOI 10.1080/01916599.2015.1077150
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