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Power, Pleasure, and Profit: Insatiable Appetites from Machiavelli to Madison
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David Wootton
Power, Pleasure, and Profit: Insatiable Appetites from Machiavelli to Madison by David Wootton at Abbey's Bookshop,

Power, Pleasure, and Profit: Insatiable Appetites from Machiavelli to Madison

David Wootton


9780674976672

The Belknap Press


Ancient history: to c 500 CE;
Ethics & moral philosophy;
Social & political philosophy;
Politics & government;
Political science & theory;
Economic theory & philosophy


Hardback

368 pages

$63.95
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A provocative history of the changing values that have given rise to our present discontents.

We pursue power, pleasure, and profit. We want as much as we can get, and we deploy instrumental reasoning - cost-benefit analysis - to get it. We judge ourselves and others by how well we succeed. It is a way of life and thought that seems natural, inevitable, and inescapable. As David Wootton shows, it is anything but. In Power, Pleasure, and Profit, he traces an intellectual and cultural revolution that replaced the older systems of Aristotelian ethics and Christian morality with the iron cage of instrumental reasoning that now gives shape and purpose to our lives.

Wootton guides us through four centuries of Western thought-from Machiavelli to Madison - to show how new ideas about politics, ethics, and economics stepped into a gap opened up by religious conflict and the Scientific Revolution. As ideas about godliness and Aristotelian virtue faded, theories about the rational pursuit of power, pleasure, and profit moved to the fore in the work of writers both obscure and as famous as Hobbes, Locke, and Adam Smith. The new instrumental reasoning cut through old codes of status and rank, enabling the emergence of movements for liberty and equality. But it also helped to create a world in which virtue, honor, shame, and guilt count for almost nothing, and what matters is success.

Is our world better for the rise of instrumental reasoning? To answer that question, Wootton writes, we must first recognize that we live in its grip.

By:   David Wootton
Imprint:   The Belknap Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 156mm, 
ISBN:   9780674976672
ISBN 10:   0674976673
Pages:   368
Publication Date:   October 2018
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Unspecified


A work of exceptional merit. Wootton is one of the best intellectual historians in the Anglo-American world today.--Steven Smith, Yale University

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