Visit our Christmas Gift Finder
Power, Pleasure, and Profit: Insatiable Appetites from Machiavelli to Madison (Hardback)
  • Power, Pleasure, and Profit: Insatiable Appetites from Machiavelli to Madison (Hardback)
zoom

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

(author)
£25.95
Hardback 400 Pages / Published: 26/10/2018
  • In stock online
  • Free UK delivery

Usually dispatched within 24 hours

  • This item has been added to your basket
Your local Waterstones may have stock of this item. Please check by using Click & Collect
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.

Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674976672
Number of pages: 400
Dimensions: 235 x 156 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
A work of exceptional merit. Wootton is one of the best intellectual historians in the Anglo-American world today.--Steven Smith, Yale University
In this deliciously written, stunningly erudite, and enchantingly combative book, one of our most free-spirited and original intellectual historians has helped us see the roots of the Enlightenment and thus our contemporary world with entirely new eyes.--Stephen Holmes, New York University
Full of spirited engagement, Wootton's writing exemplifies iconoclasm, imagination, and verve.--Christopher Brooke, University of Cambridge
Through the writings of great thinkers, Wootton describes the birth of a new concept of human nature during the years 1500 to 1800... Wootton demonstrates a consistent ability to make complex intellectual ideas approachable... A surprisingly lucid examination of a dramatic revolution in human thought.--Kirkus Reviews (09/01/2018)

You may also be interested in...

Utopia
Added to basket
£4.99
Paperback
The Politics Book
Added to basket
DK
£16.99
Hardback
Republic
Added to basket
£9.99
Paperback
The Prince
Added to basket
£10.00
Hardback
The Prince
Added to basket
£4.99
Paperback
The Politics
Added to basket
£9.99
Paperback
On Anarchism
Added to basket
£6.00
Paperback
The Essential Chomsky
Added to basket
Utopia
Added to basket
£7.99
Paperback
The Concept of Law
Added to basket
£29.49
Paperback
The Social Contract
Added to basket
On Liberty
Added to basket
£4.99
Paperback

Please sign in to write a review

Your review has been submitted successfully.