Mandeville, Bernard

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Mandeville, Bernard

Bernard Mandeville (măn´dəvĬl), 1670–1733, English author, b. Dordrecht, Holland. A physician, he went to London in 1692 ostensibly to learn the language, but eventually settled there permanently, practicing medicine and writing on ethical subjects. His most important work, The Fable of the Bees (1714, enl. ed. 1723, 1728), was an expansion of his poem The Grumbling Hive (1705). Mandeville declared that the mainspring of a commercial and industrial society is the self-seeking effort of individuals. Religious or legal restraints are mere fictions invented by rulers and clergymen to put men under domination. Mandeville's attitude was attacked by his contemporaries George Berkeley and William Law. However, his work had a strong influence on the doctrine of utilitarianism of the 19th cent.

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