Bernard Mandeville: eighteenth-century epicurean

Hart, Tom (2015) Bernard Mandeville: eighteenth-century epicurean. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

[img] PDF
Restricted to Registered users only

Download (625kB)


    The aim of this dissertation is to establish links between the works of eighteenth-century writer Bernard Mandeville and the teachings of ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus. Lucretius’ The Nature of Things will serve as the authoritative text for all matters relating to the ideals of Epicureanism as it is arguably the most extensive surviving epicurean text. As well as identifying and examining similarities and differences between the schools of thought of Mandeville and Lucretius, respectively, my ultimate goal is to demonstrate how Mandeville readapts certain epicurean ideas and concepts in order to provide his readership with a renewed sense of self-acceptance in the face of a fast changing political and social landscape. This dissertation consists of two chapters; the first, entitled ‘The Individual’, will focus on individual pleasure and morality and the second, entitled ‘The Collective’, will instead focus on societal concerns. There will, of course, be some crossover as the plight of the individual and the collective are inevitably intertwined. Additionally, much time will be spent highlighting the differences between the two authors’ approaches to philosophy – of which there are many – as this is paramount to gaining a full understanding of how the texts relate to each other. By the end of this dissertation, I will have demonstrated and established how Mandeville was able to take the liberal, progressive ideas expressed by Lucretius in The Nature of Things and repackage them, so to speak, as a sort of defensive rationale for capitalist society. To summarise, it is my belief that the influence of Epicureanism is often over-looked during the examination of modernist works of philosophy and it is my hope to prove that, in the case of Bernard Mandeville, Epicurus’ legacy and influence is very much a presence in what is arguably his great masterpiece: The Fable of the Bees – volumes one and two.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2016 14:50
    Last Modified: 03 Feb 2016 14:50

    Actions (login required)

    View Item

    Document Downloads

    More statistics for this item...