<biography, history of philosophy> dutch physician and philosopher (1670-1733). Mandeville's The Fable of the Bees; or, Private Vices, Public Benefits (1723) offered an account of human society as a purely conventional construction, governed by economic and moral principles serving only to secure the rational self-interest of its individual citizens. The only motive for altruistic conduct, Mandeville supposed, is the condescending self-satisfaction an agent feels when proudly acting for the benefit of others. Recommended Reading: M. M. Goldsmith, Private Vices, Public Benefits: Bernard Mandeville's Social and Political Thought (Cambridge, 1991); Jack Malcolm, The Social and Political Thought of Bernard Mandeville (Garland, 1991); and Paradox and Society: The Work of Bernard Mandeville, ed. by Louis Schneider and Jay Weinstein (Transaction, 1986).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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