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Bernard Mandeville was a philosopher, political economist and satirist. Born in the Netherlands, he lived most of his life in England and used English for most of his published works. He became famous for The Fable of the Bees. Mandeville's ironic paradoxes are interesting mainly as a criticism of the "amiable" idealism of Shaftesbury, and in comparison with the serious egoistic systems of Hobbes and Helvétius. It is mere prejudice to deny that Mandeville had considerable philosophic insight; at the same time he was mainly negative or critical, and, as he himself said, he was writing for "the entertainment of people of knowledge and education." He can be said to have removed obstacles for the coming utilitarianism.

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Bernard Mandeville was a philosopher, political economist and satirist. Born in the Netherlands, he lived most of his life in England and used English for most of his published works. He became famous for The Fable of the Bees. Mandeville's ironic paradoxes are interesting mainly as a criticism of the "amiable" idealism of Shaftesbury, and in comparison with the serious egoistic systems of Hobbes and Helvétius. It is mere prejudice to deny that Mandeville had considerable philosophic insight; at the same time he was mainly negative or critical, and, as he himself said, he was writing for "the entertainment of people of knowledge and education." He can be said to have removed obstacles for the coming utilitarianism. More...

 
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