Abstract

This article analyses Hume's notion of politeness as developed in a letter he wrote in Paris in 1734 and the account of the corresponding artificial virtue in the Treatise. The analysis will help us understand Hume's admiration for French manners and why politeness is presented as one of the central artificial virtues in the Treatise. Before the Treatise, Hume had already sided with Bernard Mandeville's theoretical outlook which stood in contrast to the popular eighteenth-century understanding of politeness as a natural quality of human nature. In the Treatise, Hume developed these notions about the artificial nature of politeness into one of the cornerstones of his account of human sociability.

The first known examination of politeness by David Hume occurs in a letter written in Paris in 1734.1 In the letter, Hume tells his addressee that he has been instructed to pay close attention to French manners. Hume's mentor in Paris was the Chevalier Ramsay, who, according to Hume, based his advice on the assumption that "the English" might "have more of the real Politeness of the Heart," while "the French" have "a better way of expressing it." In his letter, however, Hume dismisses the idea of politeness of heart and opposes Ramsay's hypothesis by stating that it is actually the "French" that have "more real politeness."2 The aim of this paper is to examine what Hume meant when he put this argument forward, and to use this analysis to understand his overall idea of politeness.

I will take Hume's intellectual context as my point of departure by briefly discussing the contemporary debate over the nature of politeness. I will subsequently [End Page 21] address the question of how Hume's early analysis fits into this interpretative framework. Politeness has played an important role in eighteenth-century scholarship. The well-known thesis, proposed in the influential work of John Pocock, is that politeness modified republican thinking by broadening the strict definition of virtue and, in a sense, rendered it suitable for the modern world.3 A number of scholars have followed suit and maintained that in early eighteenth-century Britain a new concept was coined that replaced the old idea of civic virtue and dominated subsequent accounts of politeness in the age of Enlightenment.4 Because this line of interpretation takes politeness to be a form of "virtuous sociability," it lends credence to the claim that classical republicanism retained its position as the leading intellectual tradition in an increasingly commercial age. John Pocock originally argued that "Whig ideology," at the beginning of the eighteenth-century, "took a decisive turn toward social, cultural, and commercial values, one we associate especially with the name of Addison."5 Lawrence Klein elaborated on this point by shifting the focus to the third earl of Shaftesbury,6 whom he linked to "the civic tradition in English political discourse."7

David Hume has played an important part in this line of scholarship, which has linked him in particular to Shaftesbury and Addison. It has been argued that when Hume turns from his philosophical texts to the writing of polite essays, a clear change takes place, and indeed that "Hume turned to the business of Addisonian moralizing immediately after completing the Treatise in 1740."8 This paper will advance an alternate thesis.9 I agree that politeness is a central concept for Hume, but I think that this has little to do with the idea of virtuous sociability. I will therefore examine Hume in an alternative context, one which connects Hume's conception of politeness to Bernard Mandeville, and which will further help us understand some important aspects of his moral philosophy.

I

It is important to recognise that the expression used by Ramsay, "real Politeness of the Heart," is a critical definition at the core of the eighteenth-century controversy over politeness. At the turn of the century, Shaftesbury launched a campaign to redefine the principles of civil conversation.10 His prime instrument was a resolute affirmation that the false "language of the court" had finally been "banished" from "the town, and all good company."11 He attacked feigned politeness for harming civil society by causing men not to be "contented to show the natural advantages of honesty and virtue."12 He denounced dissimulation and the hypocritical nature of politeness. It is the innate quality that has to shine through outward gestures. Although education and polishing the rough edges in children plays a role in his thinking, for Shaftesbury, real politeness is politeness of the heart. [End Page 22]

Shaftesbury was, unquestionably, the theorist who popularised the idea of "politeness of the heart," but it was the trendy journalists of the Tatler and the Spectator who vigorously advanced the idea that this noble quality is particularly English. A staple argument of these Addisonians was that artificiality corrupts true moral qualities and renders the French morally inferior to the English. Another significant part of the Spectator's program was to campaign for true politeness. "False delicacy," which is "Affectation," should not be called "Politeness" at all.13 It is uncomplicated for Addison and Steele to identify the source of false politeness. According to the Spectator, a "Frenchman" is the personification of "vanity."14 The Spectator wishes "heartily" that "there was an Act of Parliament for Prohibiting the Importation of French Fopperies" in order to prevent "great Evils." In his outline of politeness, Mr Spectator draws a close connection between truth, virtue and modesty.15 Real modesty, the core of good breeding, is carefully distinguished from dissimulation. True politeness, which "is opposed to Corruption and Grossness," has to consist of nothing "but Truth and Virtue."16

Bernard Mandeville opposed these accounts of virtuous sociability.17 We should acknowledge here that Mandeville was not merely a polemical figure but also a worthy interlocutor who, in his later works, dropped his earlier Hobbist stance along with the idea that all moral distinctions are invented by clever politicians. Instead of a straightforward egoistic theory, he sought to outline the conjectural development of civil society and two of its central moral institutions, justice and politeness.

These claims go against the consensus among Mandeville scholars, who have often emphasised the unity of his thought.18 Maurice Goldsmith, for example, has stressed that because of this unity "the skilful politician need not be taken literally" and it is "a Mandevillean fictive literary device."19 In contrast, my interpretation of the 1714 Fable of the Bees (and the second edition of 1723) is that it is a Hobbist work where the idea of arbitrary invention of moral distinctions plays a crucial role along with the idea of fear as the only effective civilising method.20 A change in Mandeville's ideas only takes place in Part II of The Fable of the Bees, first published in 1729.21 The clearest proof that, in the first part of the Fable, Mandeville advances a Hobbist doctrine comes from such entries as "The first rudiments of morality were broach'd for the ease of governors,"22 "All desires tend to self-preservation" and "Man is civiliz'd by his fear."23 In other words, Mandeville manifestly claims that moral distinctions are artificially invented, that all human actions are centred in self-preservation, and moreover, that fear plays a great role in taming the savage in a peculiarly Hobbist manner. But Mandeville drops these axioms in Part II, where moral distinctions are no longer considered as a straightforward artificial trick played by politicians upon ignorant people. The role of politicians in Part II is different; the definition of self-preservation changes; fear is no longer staunchly emphasised; and, furthermore, Mandeville admits that all human actions cannot [End Page 23] be reduced to self-love and self-preservation. Mandeville changed his position partly in response to the criticism that the Fable received in the 1720s.

Nevertheless, in the 1714 Fable of the Bees the arbitrary, and almost sudden, invention of morality is a particularly strong element underlying the central thesis. Mandeville does not advance here the subtle and nuanced conception of the long evolutionary process of civil society and moral institutions that he develops later. And the reason the role of politicians who artificially invent morality is so strong is that in every single case that he can think of, Mandeville is trying to apply a theory where all human actions are reduced to self-love and self-preservation. Mandeville was originally a Hobbist.

Let me briefly illustrate this change in Mandeville's works. In 1725, Francis Hutcheson explicitly points out that in the Fable of the Bees, Mandeville's attempt to explain natural affection away with selfishness is absurd, since he is forced to revert to an argument that "natural affection" in mothers is "weak" until their children are old enough to show signs of "knowledge and affections."24 Mandeville consequently revises his position. In Part II, published in 1729, he willingly concedes that in human nature there is at least one natural, other-regarding affection, or as Hume would call it, natural virtue. Mandeville describes "natural affection" as an attribute that "prompts all mothers to take care of the offspring they dare own."25 This "natural affection" is such a powerful principle that it causes even "a wild man to love, and cherish his child."26 Moreover, "natural affection" can make parents "sacrifice their lives, and die for their children."27 As this example of natural virtue suggests, Mandeville's later works will serve as an important backdrop for an examination of similar arguments presented in Hume's Treatise.28

In Part II, Mandeville writes that it is "very unworthy of a philosopher to say, as Hobbes did, that man is born unfit to society."29 It is noteworthy that here Mandeville is not only arguing against Hobbes but also against the principal idea of his own Fable.30 In the table of contents of the 1714 Fable, for example, he clearly states: "Man without government is of all creatures the most unfit for society."31 After considering this foundational question anew, Mandeville comes to accept that every child is born into a society of some sort, where he can perfectly well learn to be sociable simply by living in the society. There are also certain human propensities that support and guide this course of action. First of all, every "savage child would learn to love and fear his father." According to Mandeville, "these two passions, together with the esteem, which we naturally have for every thing that far excels us, will seldom fail of producing that compound, which we call reverence."32 As we can see, in Part II, Mandeville is no longer trying to argue that all passions are directly derivative of self-love. This is already a leap away from Hobbism. "Reverence to authority" is "necessary, to make human creatures governable," Mandeville declares.33 When one of Mandeville's characters of the dialogue of Part II, called Horatio, complains to his interlocutor that in their conversation they have not [End Page 24] made any "progress" towards the origin of civil society, Cleomenes answers that "the introduction of the reverence, which the wildest son must feel more or less for the most savage father" had "been a considerable step."34 The later Mandeville should, thus, not be mischaracterised as an uncompromising Hobbist.

Men may have natural virtues, but Mandeville never strayed from the idea that politeness is artificial. Civility does not "belong to" man's "nature," he states, in criticism of Shaftesbury and the Spectator.35 Mandeville goes on to claim that "men long for society" in "hopes that what they value themselves upon will at one time or other become the theme of the discourse, and give an inward satisfaction to them."36 The significance of politeness is that since everyone desires to cultivate the notion of his own worth, it is a clear sign of "ill-manners" to show "openly" one's "selfishness without having any regard to the selfishness of the other."37 Manifestations of vanity are condemned, simply because everyone is vain. Likewise, it is wrong to claim that politeness is a natural quality of the heart. As Mandeville argues, "Strictly speaking, good Manners and Politeness must" be denominated "hypocrisy," since "to make a Shew outwardly of what is not felt within, and counterfeit what is not real, is certainly Hypocrisy, whether it does Good or Hurt."38

II

The published works of the Chevalier Ramsay, along with his advice to Hume, endorse the idea of politeness as virtuous sociability. Ramsay wants us to believe that we have an "inward principle," by which "we will know how to distinguish and honour true merit." By the help of this "inward principle" we also acquire "politeness" that "expresses itself by a noble freedom and easiness far remov'd from the everlasting ceremonies of an importunate, formal and never-ceasing civility."39 For Ramsay, true politeness springs from within. In his famous Travels of Cyrus, Ramsay also stresses the difference between inward politeness and outward civility. To him it is clear that "internal politeness is very different" from "superficial civility."40 Ramsay emphasises that "external civility is but the form establish'd in the different countries for expressing that politeness of the soul."41

In his letter written in Paris in 1734, the young Hume mounts a counterargument against each of Ramsay's points. He opposes the popular idea that politeness is a natural quality of the heart. He thinks it unworthwhile to speculate about who might have more "politeness of the heart." And he maintains that "the French" have "more real Politeness" than the English.42 What Hume seems to be saying is that this quality does not spring from within. On the contrary, politeness is an artificial principle that can make an imprint on someone's character only through the constant application of outward gestures. It takes time for manners to be refined and kind expressions to become customary. Hume makes it clear [End Page 25] that "by real Politeness" he means "Softness of Temper" and the "Inclination to oblige & be serviceable."43 The twenty-three-year-old Hume was convinced that good breeding is, above all, a deeply-rooted habit.

Habitual expressions of politeness can become a second nature, but only when the institution has long been established and men have become accustomed to being polite.44 Hume took his own experience in Paris to confirm this opinion. As Hume has it, "politeness" has become so "conspicuous" in France that it is "not only" a common feature "among the high but the low, insomuch that the Porters & Coachmen" (which were commonly described as the worst-mannered brutes) "are civil."45 Hume is quite impressed by the fact that these vulgar men are "not only" polite towards "Gentlemen but likewise among themselves."46 He testifies that he has "not yet seen one Quarrel in France, tho' they are every where to be met with in England."47 Hume admits that of course "the little Niceties of the French Behaviour" can be described as "troublesome & impertinent." Yet, they "serve to polish the ordinary Kind of People & prevent Rudeness & Brutality."48 The reason "you scarce ever meet with a clown, or an ill bred man in France" is that "men insensibly soften towards each other" while they "practise" outward ceremonies and "the Mind pleases itself by the Progress it makes in such Trifles," turning into an actual inclination to be polite.49 In Hume's opinion, the process here is similar to the development of "soldiers," who "are found to become more courageous in learning to hold their Musquets within half an Inch of a place appointed."50 Hume thinks that the French are more polite because they carefully follow the outward expressions of politeness.

In constructing his theory of politeness, one of Hume's aims was to oppose moral philosophers who claim that man's naturally virtuous nature promotes sociability. Hume's targets include the Chevalier Ramsay and Shaftesbury, which is not to say he rejected all of their views. This becomes clear from what Hume says about the role of the French and the juxtaposition between ancient and modern civility in the Essays.

In his essay "Of the Rise and Progress of the Arts and Sciences" (1742), Hume draws a strong contrast between "modern politeness" and "ancient simplicity."51 The contrast is derived directly from what the "more zealous partizans of the ancients" claimed about politeness.52 The admirers of the ancients, according to Hume, unjustifiably mock the artificial nature of modern French manners. Authors stressing the superiority of "ancient simplicity" accuse "modern politeness" of "affection and foppery."53 One admirer of the Greeks that Hume singles out is "Lord Shaftesbury." It should also be remarked that in "A Dialogue" in Hume's Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751) the ancient and modern counterparts are "an Athenian and a French man."54

Hume also emphasises the superiority of French manners in his Essays as well as in his letter on politeness. In one of his examples, he claims that even [End Page 26] "with regard to the Stage," the French "have far excell'd the Greeks."55 Hume not only claims that "Politeness of Manners" arises "most naturally in Monarchies and Courts." He takes the argument one step further claiming that "where that flourishes, none of the liberal Arts will be altogether neglected or despis'd."56 Shaftesbury's view was that, as Klein has emphasised, "All politeness is owing to liberty."57 There is therefore a clear contrast here between Shaftebury's and Hume's views about politeness.

In his emphasis on the importance of moral sentiments that eventually lead to a thoroughly secular moral philosophy, Shaftesbury was Hume's predecessor.58 But in certain specific aspects of morals, like politeness and justice, Hume and Shaftesbury are wide apart. On the basic principles of moral philosophy, Hutcheson and Shaftesbury advance a similar argument while Mandeville and Hume can be seen to belong to a different school. At the same time, regarding the question of associative principles, Hume ought to be seen as also following John Locke.59 By and large, I suggest, Hume turns these different aspects of his philosophical system to fit a Mandevillean framework where the emergence of civil society is explained as part of the science of man.

III

Hume's first analysis of politeness in the 1734 letter is consistent with the Treatise, in which politeness is systematically maintained to be an outward principle. On the other hand, the letter's view of politeness is incomplete because it does not explicitly discuss self-applause or pride.

In the Treatise, Hume characterizes politeness as an outward principle directly related to the passion of pride. "Good-breeding," Hume argues, requires "that we shou'd avoid all signs and expressions, which tend directly to show" our pride (T 3.3.2.10; SBN 597).60 In order for everyone to be able to cultivate their pride, "we must carry a fair outside, and have the appearance of modesty and mutual deference in all our conduct and behaviour," while the actual sentiment that we nurture might be diametrically opposite to this outward sign (T 3.3.2.10; SBN 598). Hume points out that "humility, which good-breeding and decency require" us to express does not go "beyond the outside" and it cannot be expected that "thorough sincerity in this particular" would be "a real part of our duty" (T 3.3.2.11; SBN 598). In the Treatise, civility, good-breeding and politeness are all taken to serve the purpose of concealing the good opinion that we have of ourselves.

An important feature of the Treatise is that it follows Mandeville's analysis of amour-propre by clearly separating self-love and self-applause, instead of vaguely referring to man's selfish nature in general. Mandeville derived his distinction between self-love and self-liking from the French concept of amour-propre. What is significant about the French notion is its Augustinian background: the concept [End Page 27] of concupiscence and the conviction that human will is partially or utterly corrupted.61 If we would like to describe Mandeville's distinction between self-love and self-liking as a neo-Augustinian development, we might also want to point out that both of these passions are at the same time equally natural and excessive. Self-love can develop into avarice; self-liking into excessive pride. We should, however, keep in mind that without these passions man cannot exist. The point of view is hence different from the familiar division between charity and self-love.

This important distinction between self-love and self-liking should not be confused with the familiar division between natural self-preservation and the perverted attachment to the self. One of the favourite storylines of recent Rousseau scholarship seems to be one in which the analysis of amour-propre concentrates on self-love and self-interest in a sense that the excessive attraction to the self (amour-propre) is distinguished from the proper love of the self (amour de soi) that can be argued to correlate with the love of God.62 This is the familiar idea of the juxtaposition between charity as a theological concept and the self-love that corrupts it. Scholars are aware that there were different approaches to amour-propre, concupiscence, self-love and self-interest. Many have noticed that not all seventeenth- and eighteenth-century authors condemned human selfishness outright.63 Jean-Jacques Rousseau is usually referred to in this regard because he characteristically makes a distinction between proper self-preservation (instinctual) and "excessive, and illusion-ridden attachment to the self."64 This is not the direction of the argument I mean to advance in this paper. While placing their emphasis on the distinction between self-love and self-liking, Mandeville and Hume were not concerned with this Rousseauvian distinction between proper and excessive self-love.

Mandeville introduces the concept of self-liking for the first time in the third dialogue of Part II.65 Cleomenes instructs Horatio that "nature has given" men "an instinct, by which every individual values itself above its real worth."66 Horatio suggests that "self-liking is evidently pride," but Cleomenes rejects this idea.67 Self-liking can cause pride, but only when "excessive, and so openly shewn as to give offence to others" it is called pride. When it is kept out of sight it has "no name," even when men act "from that and from no other principle."68 When Horatio maintains that the passion should be called "a desire of the applause of others," Cleomenes disagrees yet again. The effects of self-love should not be designated as the passion and neither should self-liking be confined to its consequences.69 Mandeville has a good reason for this move. Fundamental to Mandeville's thought is the separation of the two different origins of the so-called selfish passions. In his Origin of Honour Mandeville also reminds his audience that self-liking is "plainly distinct from self-love."70

It is striking how closely Hume follows Mandeville's description of self-liking in his works, even when he does not use this precise term. In the Treatise, Hume [End Page 28] uses the terms pride, vanity, self-applause, and self-satisfaction respectively. Being generally unanalysable is one feature of pride or vanity. Another feature is that "as our idea of ourself" is "advantageous," we feel a pleasurable affection and "are elated by pride" (T 2.1.2.2; SBN 277). The lifting and expanding quality of pride is important. To make these two points, the unanalysable quality and the expanding nature of pride, is to draw a picture of pride in a general sense. There are several different aspects (such as visible pride, haughty pride, self-satisfaction) that fall under the passion of pride, but it is the qualities of this uniform passion in general that make a greater difference in understanding human nature than certain distinctions within the passion. Hume does not even clearly separate pride and self-esteem (cf. T 2.2.1.9; SBN 331–32). The reason for this is that Hume's point is to emphasise what all kinds of pride have in common—even the aspects of pride that most people would consider as separate.

In An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, Hume indicates that when discussing pride and vanity, he is following Mandeville's use of self-liking. Hume writes: "the sentiment of conscious worth, the self-satisfaction proceeding from a review of man's own conduct and character" is "the most common of all others," yet it "has no proper name in our language" (EPM App. 4.3; SBN 314).71 Notwithstanding, as early as in the Treatise, Hume—like his Dutch predecessor—adopts the idea that there are two original selfish passions in human nature that need to be regulated by strict rules in order to be cultivated: the direct "passion of self-interest" (T 3.2.2.13; SBN 492) and the indirect passion of pride.

The point is that these two distinct passions are the cause of the two corresponding moral institutions. Every civil society necessarily forms these two artificial moral principles, because of the passion in question. The passion that has to be redirected in this scheme is not only our self-love or self-interest, but also our self-liking or pride. Civil society, according to this outline, derived perhaps from Pierre Nicole and other French moralists, is built by nurturing these two passions—self-interest and pride.72 They are, in brief, the cause of the two corresponding moral institutions, justice and politeness.

Each of these moral institutions cultivates the passion in which it originates.73 By "fundamental laws of nature" Hume refers to justice. Laws of justice "impose" a "restraint" on "the passions of men." They do not extinguish the passions. On the contrary, they "are only a more artful and more refin'd way of satisfying them" (T 3.2.6.1; SBN 526). The same holds true for politeness, where the idea is that "good-breeding" requires that the expressions of pride have to be avoided, which is not to say that people should be modest. Quite the opposite: "pride, or self-applause" is "always agreeable to ourselves," and "self-satisfaction and vanity may not only be allowable, but requisite in a character" (T 3.3.2.10; SBN 597). Thus, the passions of self-interest and pride are not to be curbed but advanced, and the idea is merely to "prevent the opposition" of these passions, not to quench them. [End Page 29] Nevertheless, in a large society, without giving "a new direction" to these "natural passions" through the laws of nature and rules of good breeding, society would disperse (T 3.2.5.9; SBN 521).

In the Treatise and also in An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, Hume draws an explicit analogy between the artificial moral institutions of justice on the one hand and politeness on the other: "as we establish the laws of nature, in order to secure property in society, and prevent the opposition of self-interest," in a like manner, "we establish the rules of good-breeding, in order to prevent the opposition of men's pride, and render conversation agreeable and inoffensive" (T 3.3.2.10; SBN 597; see also EPM 8.1; SBN 261). The rules of politeness that prohibit men from showing their pride are originally formed for a similar reason as the laws of justice. It is "our own pride, which makes us so much displeas'd with the pride of other people"; we find the exposed "vanity" of others "insupportable" merely because "we are vain" as well (T 3.3.2.7; SBN 596).

This is the same point that Mandeville had stressed just a few years earlier. We have to be able to cultivate our vanity, in a similar manner as our self-love, without disturbing the pride of others. We are proud and vain, but it is of great importance that we are compelled to use artificial means to disguise these inner feelings. Additionally, Hume is quite clear why "due pride"74 cannot make any exceptions to the rules of politeness: "nothing is more disagreeable than a man's over-weaning conceit of himself: Every one almost has a strong propensity to this vice: No one can well distinguish in himself betwixt the vice and virtue, or be certain, that his esteem of his own merit is well-founded" (T 3.3.2.10; SBN 597–98). In this theoretical framework it was plausible to claim that not even "men of sense and merit" are allowed to appear proud, which is one reason why Hume does not see it as necessary to make a clear conceptual distinction between vanity and pride.

In Hume's science of man it is because of the natural operation of comparison that we are required to hide the sentiments of esteem that we have for ourselves. This in turn explains why external politeness is indispensable for the convenient existence of a peer group.75 Hume describes pride as a passion that is "always pleasant," whereas humility is characterised as painful. He also argues that "humility" is considered a virtue because it "exalts" us, whereas "pride" is a vice, because it "mortifies us" (T 2.1.7.3; SBN 295). Here Hume is evidently referring to the effect of the sentiment that other people seem to entertain of themselves. It is a natural operation of the mind, Hume writes, that "when we compare the sentiments of others to our own, we feel a sensation directly opposite to the original one" (T 2.2.9.1; SBN 381). Thus, the principle of comparison will lead the appearance of pride in another to cause humility in us. "Through sympathy," Hume explains, we "enter into those elevated sentiments, which the proud man entertains of himself." Sympathy, in this case, merely denotes a mechanism by which we obtain an impression of the signs of the sentiment expressed by the other person. Therefore, [End Page 30] when we detect an undisguised expression of pride, the operation of sympathy is blocked and this leads into "comparison, which is so mortifying and disagreeable." Hume elaborates on this point when he maintains that "if we observe" in a "man, whom we are really persuaded to be of inferior merit" any "extraordinary degree of pride," the "firm persuasions he has of his own merit, takes hold of the imagination, and diminishes us in our own eyes" (T 3.3.2.6; SBN 595). The idea that we have of this man does not change into an approving impression and we are forced to make a disagreeable comparison with ourselves.

Hume describes it as an "impertinent, and almost universal propensity of men, to over-value themselves" (T 3.3.2.6; SBN 595). This propensity might not be such an unsurmountable obstacle for sympathy, if it concerned only the person expressing a good opinion about himself. But the inclination to over-value one's worth also has implications for how one values others. It is difficult for a vain man to appreciate others. According to Hume, we are all more or less vain. At the same time, direct expressions of due pride create unpleasant humility, because we do not interpret the expressed pride of other people as well-founded. Instead of eulogising due pride, Hume acknowledges that "we have a wonderful partiality for ourselves." It follows that unless we carefully conceal "our sentiments" of self-applause, we open the door to self-praise and "mutually cause the greatest indignation in each other" (T 3.3.2.10; SBN 597). Thus, Hume's idea of politeness was opposite to the popular idea of opening one's heart.

"Pride" simply "must be vicious," because "it causes uneasiness in all men, and presents them every moment with a disagreeable comparison" (T 3.3.2.7; SBN 596). Another, Mandevillean way of saying this, is that a high degree of self-liking is recommendable and a good quality that others can appreciate, but once it becomes openly visible to others it is called pride and becomes vicious, because it diminishes the space for other people's self-applause. Notably, we are talking here about equals, because the operation of the mind is different when greater social distance is at play. However, all that is required is the appearance of humility, since the passion within is vanity, pride or self-applause (depending on which one of these synonyms for self-liking we want to use). As Hume argues, "while" sentiments "remain conceal'd" in our "minds," "they can never have any influence" on others (T 3.3.2.3; SBN 593). In the case of politeness, the virtue is a sign of deference without reference to motives or underlying true qualities. As Hume perceptively concludes, "no one, who duly considers of this matter, will make any scruple of allowing, that any piece of ill-breeding, or any expression of pride and haughtiness, is displeasing to us, merely because it shocks our own pride, and leads us by sympathy into a comparison, which causes the disagreeable passion of humility" (T 3.3.2.17; SBN 601). Since pride is always agreeable to an individual and the cultivation of our self-liking is vital for our existence, every one should be able to be proud. Yet, since other people's visible pride mortifies us [End Page 31] and causes humility, the solution is obvious: we have to be proud without directly showing it to others.

Hume illustrates the point that the passion of pride only arises when the cause is directly related to the self by an example of a "feast" where the guests may only feel "joy" and not "pride" by being present, whereas the "master of the feast" is the only one that has "the additional passion of self-applause and vanity" (T 2.1.6.2; SBN 290). The fact that Hume chose to use this often-quoted example is very revealing of his idea of politeness as a method of hiding pride. In his essays, he explains how we are able to detect this "master of the feast" among "good company." Most "certainly" he is the "man, who sits in the lowest place, and who is always industrious in helping every one."76 The master is proud, but he appears to be humble. Similarly, in the third book of the Treatise, Hume pins down the central feature of the "general rule" of not revealing our "self-applause." In order to keep "the appearance of modesty" we have to "be ready to prefer others to ourselves" and "to seem always the lowest and least in the company" (T 3.3.2.10; SBN 598). By and large, it seems that Hume fully concurred with Mandeville that politeness only touches the outside and, strictly speaking, would have to be defined as hypocrisy, since we are showing something that is not felt within.

It seems that some of the characteristics of the Treatise are similar to those that Mandeville started to outline in The Fable of the Bees. Part II of 1729, a book published the year Hume said he had encountered "a new scene of thought."77 This point does not serve as a key to all their secrets, but it sheds light on both of their works. Above all, it helps us realise that Hume's account of politeness was structured to challenge the idea of virtuous sociability. Furthermore, the few pre-Treatise writings of Hume also support this interpretation.78

A commonly-adduced piece of evidence for the nature of Hume's early moral philosophy is the letter to Hutcheson of 17 September 1739 in which Hume for the first time makes the famous comparison between anatomist and painter of morals. The original letter is preserved in the National Library of Scotland and it includes certain important wordings that Hume decided to strike out.

The text of the letter indicates that there is an acknowledged, major dispute of moral philosophy at stake. In the letter Hume clearly opposes Hutcheson. Since Hume is writing to Hutcheson about their dispute, it would be natural that he would be cautious not to align himself too squarely with the authors that Hutcheson vigorously opposed throughout his career. Originally when explaining his own position Hume wrote that "Where you pull off the Skin, & display all the minute Parts, there appears something trivial if not hideous, even in the noblest Attitudes…." Hume deleted the words "if not hideous" from the letter (but did not make them illegible).79 These deleted words are not mentioned in Greig's edition of Hume's letters.80 [End Page 32]

Hume's original phrasing that there is "something trivial if not hideous, even in the noblest attitudes" suggests a view that is closer to Hobbes and Mandeville than we might assume from reading the edited version of the letter. It is at the same time revealing and understandable that Hume deleted "if not hideous" from the text, even when he did not go to great lengths of making this illegible. In the letter he already opposes outright Hutcheson's way of doing things (and perhaps even the purpose of Hutcheson's moral philosophy). However, he was thoughtful enough to moderate his opinions by deleting the words that he thought would unnecessarily widen the already large gap between their points of view. This need not be a deliberate disguising of an opinion, but it seems that Hume would not have been too eager to put his Mandevillean ideas too bluntly to Hutcheson either.

Another important deletion occurs in a manuscript of the conclusion of Book 3 of Treatise that is supposed to have been sent to Hutcheson.81 The draft includes words that have been struck out which are of particular relevance to the argument advanced in this article. In T 3.3.6 (SBN 618–21), Hume originally wrote: "The same system may help us to form a just notion of the happiness, as well as of the dignity of virtue, and may interest every principle of our nature, both our selfishness and pride, in the embracing and cherishing that noble quality." In the letter to Hutcheson, Hume had deleted the thought that there is something "hideous" in even the "noblest attitudes." In the conclusion of Book 3 (also supposedly sent to Hutcheson) he deleted "both our Selfishness & Pride" from the sentence indicating the principles of our nature.

The fact that Hume deleted "both our Selfishness & Pride" (and not just selfishness or pride) is important. The deletion of "both our Selfishness & Pride" was (judging by its appearance) made after the manuscript had been finished. The problem of interpretation is that the sentence is curious.82 Selfishness and pride are surely not the only principles of our nature in Hume's system. But perhaps we should read Hume's use of the "every Principle of our Nature" in a different manner. He is not necessarily referring to all the possible principles in the widest meaning of the expression but merely to the most important ones. The sentence can be read in such a way that Hume wanted to mention only selfishness and pride (which is what he does). Hume does not claim that selfishness and pride are the only principles of our nature, but he points them out specifically because together they play a crucial role in his political philosophy. Moreover, the word "both" before "our Selfishness & Pride" gives additional weight to the idea that Hume is making a point of linking these two principles of human nature together.

Regardless of the question of whether these are the only principles of our nature, selfishness and pride are the only ones that are maintained, which also supports the case made in this article. The main argument is that Hume is following Mandeville in his distinction between self-love and self-liking (or selfishness and [End Page 33] pride), which is only introduced in Mandeville's later works published in 1729 and 1732. It is thus crucial that Hume at relevant points in his works discusses selfishness and pride (and the derivative moral institutions of justice and politeness) together. It is the connection between self-love and pride followed by the link between justice and politeness that is of central importance and which is only crystallized in Book 3 of the Treatise. If it were only pride that was important, Hume could be grouped with, for example, Malebranche (or a number of other French authors), but it is the distinction between interest and pride that makes this Mandevillean. For Hume, as for Mandeville, justice and politeness were interrelated moral institutions. They were also an integral part of the gradually advancing scheme of the conjectural history of civil society.

Mikko Tolonen

Mikko Tolonen holds a post-doctoral research position in The Philosophical Psychology, Morality and Politics Research Unit (PMP), which belongs to the Academy of Finland's programme of Centres of Excellence in Research. He works at the Renvall Institute, The University of Helsinki, PO BOX 59, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland. E-mail: mikko.tolonen@helsinki.fi.

NOTES

Footnotes

I am grateful to the editors of Hume Studies, and particularly to Michael Gill, for his patience and generous help revising this paper. I would also like to acknowledge the valuable input of Markku Peltonen, Richard Serjeantson, and the two anonymous referees. An earlier version was presented at the 32nd annual Hume Conference in Toronto, July 19–23, 2005.

1. David Hume to Michael Ramsay, 12 Sept. 1734, in The Letters of David Hume, 2 vols., ed. J. Y. T. Greig (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1932), 1: 19–21.

2. Hume to Ramsay, 12 Nov, 1734, L, 1: 19–21. Ramsay was Hume's guide in Paris and "gave him several introductions, notably to the Abbé Pluche, and perhaps also to the Pyrrhonist philosopher Lévesque de Pouilly, whose brother was an acquaintance of Ramsay's" John Robertson, "Hume, David (1711–1776)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

3. J. G. A. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment. Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975).

4. E.g., Lawrence E. Klein, "The Third Earl of Shaftesbury and the Progress of Politeness," Eighteenth-Century Studies 18 (1984): 186–214; Klein, Shaftesbury and the Culture of Politeness: Moral Discourse and Cultural Politics in Early Eighteenth-Century England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994); Nicholas Phillipson, Hume (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1989); and Phillipson, "Politeness and Politics in the Reigns of Anne and the Early Hanoverians," in The Varieties of British Political Thought, 1500–1800, ed. J. G. A. Pocock, Gordon J. Schochet, and Lois G. Schwoerer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 211–45.

5. J. G. A. Pocock, Virtue, Commerce and History. Essays on Political Thought and History, Chiefly in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 235. [End Page 34]

6. Lawrence E. Klein, "Liberty, Manners, and Politeness in Early Eighteenth-Century England," Historical Journal, 32 (1989): 583–605, 602.

7. Klein, "Liberty, Manners, and Politeness," 584. It should be pointed out that Klein's view has been largely accepted and emulated in second hand literature regarding eighteenth-century politeness. See Paul Langford, "The Uses of Eighteenth-Century Politeness," Transactions of the RHS 12 (2002): 311–31; Robert B. Shoemaker, "The Taming of the Duel: Masculinity, Honour and Ritual Violence in London, 1660–1800," Historical Journal 45 (2002): 525–45; and Iain Hampsher-Monk, "From Virtue to Politeness," in Republicanism: A Shared European Heritage, vol. 2: The Values of Republicanism in Early Modern Europe, ed. Martin van Gelderen and Quentin Skinner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 85–105.

8. Nicholas Phillipson, "Hume as Moralist," in The Philosophers of the Enlightenment, ed. S. C. Brown (Hassocks, Sussex: The Harvester Press, 1979), 140–61, 147.

9. The complex nature of politeness in the Scottish Enlightenment and the role Mandeville plays in it have been pointed out in John Robertson, "The Scottish Contribution to the Enlightenment," in The Scottish Enlightenment: Essays in Re-Interpretation, ed. Paul Wood (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2000), 37–62, 46–47. For works that take Mandeville's role seriously in forming Hume's philosophy, see especially James Moore, "The Social Background of Hume's Science of Human Nature," in McGill Hume Studies. Studies in Hume and Scottish Philosophy, ed. David Fate Norton, Nicholas Capaldi and Wade L. Robinson (San Diego, CA: Austin Hill Press, 1979), 23–42; Reindhard Brandt, "The Beginnings of Hume's Philosophy," in David Hume. Bicentenary Papers, ed. G. P. Morice (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1977), 117–25; Michael Gill, "Shaftesbury's Two Accounts of the Reason to be Virtuous," Journal of the History of Philosophy 38 (2000): 529–48; Gill, "Hume's Progressive View of Human Nature," Hume Studies 26 (2000): 87–108; Gill, "A Philosopher in the Closet: Reflexivity and Justification in Hume's Moral Theory," Canadian Journal of Philosophy 26 (1996): 231–56. See also Hans Lottenbach, "Monkish Virtues, Artificial Lives: on Hume's Genealogy of Morals," Canadian Journal of Philosophy 26 (1996): 367–88.

10. Klein, Shaftesbury and the Culture of Politeness, passim.

11. Anthony Ashley Cooper, Third Earl of Shaftesbury, "An Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour" [1709], in Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions and Times, 2 vols, ed. J. M. Robertson (London, [1900]), 1: 46. The vanishing influence of the court for eighteenth-century politeness is argued by, e.g., Klein, "The Third Earl of Shaftesbury and the Progress of Politeness," 187–8; Klein, "The Political Significance of 'Politeness' in Early Eighteenth-Century Britain," in Politics, Politeness, and Patriotism: Papers Presented at the Folger Institute Seminar 'Politics and Politeness: British Political thought in the age of Walpole' Directed by N. T. Phillipson, ed. Gordon J. Schochet, Patricia E. Tatspaugh, and Carol Brobeck (Washington: The Folger Institute Center for the History of British Political Thought Proceedings, 1993), 73–108, 85–6; and Klein, Shaftesbury and the Culture of Politeness, 11–4, 20–3, and especially 175–94. For a contrasting interpretation, see Markku Peltonen, The Duel in Early Modern England: Civility, Politeness and Honour (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

12. Shaftesbury, "An Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour," 1: 66. [End Page 35]

13. The Spectator, no. 286, 5 vols., ed. Donald F. Bond (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), 3: 15.

14. The Spectator, no. 83, 1: 354.

15. See also The Tatler, ed. Lewis Gibbs (London: Dent, 1953), nos. 52 and 217.

16. The Spectator, no. 286, 3: 15.

17. Eighteenth-century authors did broadly use this two-party distinction. For example, John Brown pointed out that Shaftesbury was the main character of the circle that taught that "human Nature" is an extremely "uniform and noble Thing." According to Brown, the leading figures of the opposing school were Thomas Hobbes, Bernard Mandeville and a variety of French philosophers. John Brown, Essays on the Characteristics of the Earl of Shaftesbury [1751], ed. Donald D. Eddy (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1969), 170–1, 204. See also Laurence Nihell, Rational self-love; or, a philosophical and moral essay on the natural principles of happiness and virtue. With reflections on the various systems of philosophers, ancient and modern, on this subject (Limerick, 1770), 137–8, following Brown. Out of the skeptical circle it was Mandeville who, according to Brown, appeared as Shaftesbury's main challenger, not as a mere shadow of Hobbes, but as a philosopher in his own right. See Brown, Essays on the Characteristics, passim. The whole book is structured as a commentary on the contrast between these two outlooks and captivatingly approving part of Mandeville's criticism on Shaftesbury; see esp. ibid., 204–27. Brown's later and most famous work, Estimate of the manners and principles of the times (London, 1758), and the following answers to the extensive criticism that the book received, elaborates on the same themes.

18. Maurice Goldsmith's argument is that Mandeville had already laid down the rudiments of his evolutionary scheme of civil society in the Female Tatler. On the Female Tatler, see especially Goldsmith's lengthy and well-documented "Introduction" to Bernard Mandeville, By A Society of Ladies. Essays in the Female Tatler, ed. M. M. Goldsmith (Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 1999), 11–72. Laurence Dickey goes even further back and claims that Mandeville had made up his mind about the evolutionary model as "early as 1705" by the time of the publication of the first poem, Grumbling Hive. See Dickey, "Pride, Hypocrisy, and Civility in Mandeville's Social and Historical Theory," Critical Review 4 (1990): 387–431, 388.

19. Maurice Goldsmith, Private Vices, Public Benefits: Bernard Mandeville's Social and Political Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 62. It seems that Goldsmith subsequently began to appreciate more explicitly the difference between the first and the second parts of the Fable. See for example his review of E. J. Hundert's The Enlightenment's Fable in the British Journal for the History of Philosophy 6 (1998): 295–96; Goldsmith also emphasises the significance of The Fable of the Bees: Part II also in his "Introduction" to By A Society of Ladies, 50. That said, it needs to be pointed out that Goldsmith does not provide a theory that explains this nor the crucial elements such as the role of natural virtues that make it comprehensible. In short, for Goldsmith there is no paradigmatic change in Mandeville's thought. To Goldsmith, Mandeville only "extended and refined his view" without actually changing it. Goldsmith, Private Vices, Public Benefits, 65, 107. Goldsmith confirms this in his "Preface" to the revised edition of Private Vices, Public Benefits (Christchurch, N.Z.: Cybereditions, 2001), 9. [End Page 36]

20. Bernard Mandeville, Fable of the Bees, or Private Vices, Publick Benefits, ed. F. B. Kaye, 2 vols. (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, [1924], 1988), vol. 1. Hereafter referred to as Fable of the Bees.

21. Mandeville, Fable of the Bees, or Private Vices, Publick Benefits, ed. F. B. Kaye, 2 vols. (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, [1924], 1988), vol. 2. Hereafter referred to as Part II. Certain differences between the Fable of the Bees and Mandeville's later works (Part II in particular) have been noticed in Mandeville scholarship. On this point, see J. Martin Stafford, "Introduction," in Private Vices, Publick Benefits: The Contemporary Reception of Bernard Mandeville (Solihull: Ismeron, 1997).

22. The table of contents can be found in F. B. Kaye, "Description of the Editions," Part II, 388. It was not subsequently printed after the second edition of the Fable of the Bees in 1723.

23. Kaye, "Descriptions of the Editions," Part II, 391.

24. Francis Hutcheson, Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (London, 1725), 145. On Hutcheson's emphasis on natural affection see also ibid., 195, and Hutcheson, An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections. With illustrations on the moral sense (London, 1728), 310–31. Other works criticising the first part of the Fable for its misinterpretation of natural affection as being contrary to experience include: Joseph Butler, Fifteen Sermons Preached at the Rolls Chapel (London, 1726); John Balguy, The Foundation of Moral Goodness: Or a Further Inquiry into the Original of Our Idea of Virtue (London, 1728); and Isaac Watts, The Doctrine of the Passions Explained and Improved: Or, a Brief and Comprehensive Scheme of the Natural Affections (London, 1729). It is also good to keep in mind that the Fable, after its publication in 1714, went virtually unnoticed until the additions to the second edition that was published in 1723.

25. Mandeville, Part II, 189; see also 199.

26. Ibid., 201.

27. Ibid., 240.

28. I take it that it was not for nothing that Mandeville's name remained next to Hutcheson's in Hume's list of the authors "who have begun to put the science of man on new footing," even when Hume wrote to Henry Home in 1737 explaining that he is "at present castrating" his Treatise and "cutting off its noble Parts, that is, endeavouring it shall give as little Offence as possible." Hume to Henry Home, 2 Dec. 1737, in New Letters of David Hume, ed. Raymond Klibansky and Ernest C. Mossner (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1954), 2. I do not think that Mandeville was pointed out merely as an example of an author who based his moral philosophy on experience. Rather, I would be inclined to think that Hume in Mandeville's case was acknowledging a significant intellectual debt, especially when we know his relationship with Hutcheson and that this might have hurt Hume's own interest.

29. Mandeville, Part II, 177. For Goldsmith's understanding of the relationship between Mandeville and Hobbes regarding this comment, see Goldsmith, Private Vices, Public Benefits, 50. This also clarifies the difference between Goldsmith's interpretation of Mandeville and the one put forward in this paper. Mandeville's relation to Hobbes is important. Goldsmith reads Mandeville's position as a whole and therefore takes his [End Page 37] remarks in the Part II regarding Hobbes as unjustified. Goldsmith is correct when stating that Mandeville's position is close to Hobbes. But it is in the original Fable that this is the case. In the Part II, the criticism distancing Mandeville's own interpretation of Hobbes is fully justified given that he is at the same time distancing himself from the position of the original Fable.

30. Sterling P. Lamprecht pointed out that regarding the origin of civil society Mandeville differs from Hobbes. See his "The Fable of the Bees," The Journal of Philosophy 23 (1926): 561–79, 567–8.

31. Kaye, "Descriptions of the editions," Part II, 388.

32. Mandeville, Part II, 202.

33. Ibid., 278.

34. Ibid., 221.

35. Ibid., 304.

36. Ibid., 342.

37. Ibid., 77.

38. Mandeville, An Enquiry into the Origin of Honour, and the Usefulness of Christianity in War (London, 1732), 202. It is not my intention to claim that the entire eighteenth-century debate about politeness was merely a battle between two rival camps or that there would have been only two categorical definitions of politeness. For example, many clerical authors addressed the topic of good-breeding and conversation. Some of them argued, contrary to both Shaftesbury and Mandeville, that the Christian religion in fact "is quite consistent with, and in some respects productive of politeness and good-breeding." See William Howdell, Religion Productive of Joy, and Consistent with Politeness. A Sermon Preached at the Abbey-church at Bath, April 16, 1744 (York, 1744), 23. There are also several other religious writers who argue for and against different aspects of Shaftesburyan and Mandevillian interpretations of politeness. See Richard Lucas, The Influence of Conversation, with the Regulation Thereof; Being a sermon preach'd at Saint Clement Dane, to a religious society, 2nd ed. (London, 1707); Robert Burrow, Civil Society and Government Vindicated from the Charge of being Founded on, and Preserv'd by, Dishonest Arts (London, 1723); Henry Coventry, Philemon to Hydaspes; Relating a Conversation with Hortensius, upon the Subject of False Religion (London, 1736); and W[illiam] Webster, Two Sermons, I. On the Duty, the Means, and the Happy Effects of Living Peaceably With All Men. II. On Self-love and Benevolence (London, 1748).

39. Andrew Michael ("the Chevalier") Ramsay, A Plan of Education for a Young Prince (London, 1732), xi.

40. Ramsay, The Travels of Cyrus, 2 vols. (London, 1730), 2: 84.

41. Ramsay, The Travels of Cyrus, 2: 83.

42. Hume to Ramsay, 12 Sept. 1734, L, 1: 20.

43. Ibid., 1: 20.

44. A few years earlier Mandeville had argued that men simply "become sociable, by living together in Society." Mandeville, Part II, 189. [End Page 38]

45. Mandeville wrote that "Porters and carmen are reckon'd the rudest and most uncivilis'd part of the nation." Mandeville, Free Thoughts on Religion, the Church and National Happiness (London, 1720), 273. For the dichotomy between "Porters and hackney coachmen" and "kings and princes" see also Mandeville, Fable of the Bees, 219.

46. Hume to Ramsay, 12 Sept. 1734, L, 1: 20. Social distance is also a crucial preoccupation of the Treatise.

47. Hume to Ramsay, 12 Sept. 1734, L, 1: 20. Mandeville defined politeness "in its original" as "a plain Shift to avoid fighting, and the ill Consequences of it." Mandeville, Part II, 295.

48. Hume to Ramsay, 12 Sept. 1734, L, 1: 21.

49. On the same page of the Free Thoughts where Mandeville discusses "porters and Carmen," he also uses this same dichotomy between "a well-bred man" and "the greatest clown." Mandeville's emblematic point is that virtue or virtuous sociability has nothing to do with politeness. In fact, "virtue is scarce, every where, and a well-bred man, may as much want real probity, as the greatest clown."

50. Hume to Ramsay, 12 Sept. 1734, L, 1: 21. The theme of artificial courage for soldiers is particularly elaborated in Mandeville's Origin of Honour. See also Mandeville, Part II, 304–5.

51. Hume, "Of the Rise and Progress of Arts and Sciences," in Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary, ed. Eugene F. Miller (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1985), 130–1.

52. Hume, "Of the Rise and Progress of the Arts and Sciences," in Essays, 131.

53. Ibid., 130–1.

54. David Hume, "A Dialogue," in An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, ed. Tom L. Beauchamp (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 116 (§27); SBN, 333–4.

55. Hume, "Of Liberty and Despotism," Essays, Moral and Political, 2nd ed. (London, 1742), 178. Later Hume polished the edges of the argument by modifying the sentence so that the French have "even excelled the Greeks." This and some other crucial changes between the two first and later editions of Hume's Essays are not noted in either the Liberty Fund or the Green and Grose editions of the essays.

56. Hume, "Of the Rise and Progress of the Arts and Sciences," in Essays, 127.

57. Shaftesbury, "An Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour," 1: 46.

58. Cf. Gill, The British Moralists on Human Nature and the Birth of Secular Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 205–8.

59. About association of ideas, Mandeville, Locke, Hutcheson and Hume see Gill, "Nature and Association in the Moral Theory of Francis Hutcheson," History of Philosophy Quarterly 12 (1995): 281–301 and Gill, "Fantastick Associations and Addictive General Rules: A Fundamental Difference between Hutcheson and Hume," Hume Studies 22 (1996): 23–48.

60. References to Hume's Treatise are to A Treatise of Human Nature, ed. David Fate Norton and Mary J. Norton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), abbreviated "T" [End Page 39] and cited by Book, part, section, and paragraph, and to the second Selby-Bigge edition, revised by P. H. Nidditch (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978), abbreviated "SBN" and cited by page number.

61. Of the connection between Mandeville and the Jansenists see Dale Van Kley, "Pierre Nicole, Jansenism, and the Morality of Enlightened Self-Interest," in Anticipations of the Enlightenment, ed. Alan C. Kors and Paul Korshin (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987), 69–85; Dickey, "Pride, Hypocrisy, and Civility," 387–431; E. D. James, "Faith, Sincerity and Morality: Mandeville and Bayle," in Mandeville Studies. New Explorations in the Art and Thought of Dr. Bernard Mandeville, ed. Irwin Primer (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1975), 54; and E. J. Hundert, The Enlightenment's Fable. Bernard Mandeville and the Discovery of Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).

62. For considerations of different aspects of Rousseau's conception of amour-propre see N. J. H. Dent, "Amour-propre," in his A Rousseau Dictionary (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992), 33–36 and Dent, "Rousseau on amour-propre," Supplement to the Transactions of the Aristotelian Society 72 (1998): 57–73. See also Timothy O'Hagan, "Rousseau on Amour-Propre: On six facets of amour-propre," in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 99 (1999): 91–107, and Frederick Neuhouser, "Rousseau on the Relation between Reason and Self-Love (Amour-Propre)," Internationales Jahrbuch des Deutschen Idealismus 1 (2003): 221–39.

63. The "arguments for the constructive potential of human corruption" by La Rochefoucauld, Pascal, and Nicole have been studied by B. M. Rogers, "In Praise of Vanity: The Augustinian Analysis of the Benefits of Vice from Port-Royal to Mandeville," unpublished PhD dissertation (University of Oxford, 1994).

64. Michael Moriarty, Fallen Nature, Fallen Selves. Early Modern French Thought II (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 238. See also Pierre Force, Self-Interest Before Adam Smith. A Genealogy of Economic Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003). Moriarty has, however, shown that Cornelius Jansen was also pointing towards this division, and also that there are other seventeenth-century authors who make this division as well and who did not lack the conceptual tools to separate natural self-preservation and perverted attachment to the self. See Moriarty, Fallen Nature, Fallen Selves, 171–85. Rousseau's role in shaping the early modern discussion of amour-propre has been emphasised particularly by Pierre Force, who extends this division between amour de soi and amour-propre to Adam Smith as well. Force, Self-Interest Before Adam Smith, 41–7. Force takes his cue from an account of Rousseau's definition of amour-propre already in Force, "Self-Love, Identification, and the Origin of Political Economy," Yale French Studies 92 (1997): 46–64.

65. About the importance of self-liking, see Paul Sakmann, Bernard de Mandeville und die Bienenfabel-controverse (Freiburg, 1897), 59; Goldsmith, Private Vices, Public Benefits, 66–77 and 162; Hundert, The Enlightenment's Fable, 52–55; Douglas J. Den Uyl, "Passion, State and Progress: Spinoza and Mandeville on the nature of human association," Journal of the History of Philosophy 25 (1987): 369–95, 378; Bert Kerkhof, "A Fatal Attraction?: Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments and Mandeville's Fable," History of Political Thought 16 (1995): 219–33; and Peltonen, The Duel in Early Modern England, 268–85.

66. Mandeville, Part II, 130.

67. Ibid., 131. [End Page 40]

68. Mandeville, Origin of Honour, 3.

69. Ibid., 4.

70. Ibid., 3.

71. In the footnote Hume added: "the term, pride, is commonly taken in a bad sense; but this sentiment seems indifferent, and may be either good or bad, according as it is well or ill founded, and according to the other circumstances which accompany it. The French express this sentiment by the term, amour propre, but as they also express self-love as well as vanity, by the same term, there arises thence a great confusion in Rochefoucault, and many of their moral writers" (EPM App. 4.3n; SBN 314). I am citing An Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, ed. Tom L. Beauchamp (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998) by section and paragraph following the abbreviation "EPM." I also indicate the corresponding page in the third Selby-Bigge edition, as revised by P. H. Nidditch (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975).

72. For Pierre Nicole's criticism of Hobbes's narrow conception of self-love, see Pierre Nicole, "Of Charity and Self-love," in Moral Essays, Contain'd in Several Treatises on Many Important Duties, vol. 3 (London, 1680). Nicole's argument is that even when self-preservation (and self-interest directly linked to it) is a central feature of amour-propre, it is only one side of this principle of human nature. More importantly, another feature of amour-propre is that our opinion of ourselves (self-liking) is dependent upon the opinion of others, which explains the emergence of civility and politeness. I believe that it is from this Augustinian line of thought that Mandeville derives his seminal distinction between self-love and self-liking, which further explains the origin of the artificial moral institutions of justice and politeness and why, for Hume as well, the concept of justice is characteristically confined to property instead of serving as a more general social theory.

73. Most of the other artificial virtues that Hume studied in detail, such as promise-keeping, allegiance, and laws of nations are part of justice or directly derived from it. In a sense, they all belong to the passion of self-love. In addition, Hume's system allows other artificial virtues such as chastity. However, the intellectual framework underlying chastity is crucially different from justice and politeness. The idea in chastity is merely to curb the passion of lust, whereas in both justice and politeness the idea is to cultivate the passion in question. Hume's account of female chastity in the Treatise seems to be quite common among Augustinian writers, formulated (with the exception of the idea of how a general rule might be extended to concern people who originally have no interest in a certain type of behaviour) by Pierre Bayle in his Pensées diverses sur la comète (1682). For the English text see Bayle, Miscellaneous Reflections, Occasion'd by the Comet which Appear'd in December 1680, 2 vols. (London, 1708), 2: 331–4.

74. Compare Annette Baier, "Master Passions," in Explaining Emotions, ed. A. O. Rorty (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980), 403–24, 418. According to Baier it was unnecessary for Hume to claim that we would have to conceal our well-founded pride, if it is our ruling passion.

75. The idea of social distance plays a notable role in Hume's system. According to the established tradition of court civility in the eighteenth century, external politeness was particularly needed within an equal social group. Hume also thought that respect and deference towards superiors has more to do with a natural turn of the mind and does [End Page 41] not necessarily need strong artificial rules in order to be stirred up. With a reference to the system presented in the Treatise, this means that when a person is actually above us, in rank or in some other substantial sense, the mechanism of sympathy will operate on us rather smoothly. But if it is natural to respect and approve people set above us in hierarchy, this does not hold true among equals, which explains why Hume in his letter on politeness was so astonished that the French "porters and coachmen" are not only "civil" towards gentlemen, but "likewise among themselves."

76. Hume, "Of the Rise and Progress of the Arts and Sciences," in Essays, 133.

77. On this new scene of thought that Hume encountered in April 1729, see now M. A. Stewart, "Hume's Intellectual Development, 1711–1752," in Impressions of Hume, ed. Marina Frasca-Spada and P. J. E. Kail (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 29. Part II of 1729 appeared in print according to the usual custom of eighteenth-century publishing already in the later part of 1728.

78. For a text, other than the letter on politeness, written by the young Hume in early 1730s that makes a Mandevillean analysis of the history of civil society see his "Essay on Chivalry and Modern Honour": Ernest Campbell Mossner, "David Hume's 'An Historical Essay on Chivalry and Modern Honour'," Modern Philology 45 (1947): 57–60. The idea of "modern honour" is as Mandevillean as any. About Mossner's mistakes in dating the essay, see especially M. A. Stewart, "The Dating of Hume's Manuscripts," in The Scottish Enlightenment. Essays in Reinterpretation, ed. Paul Wood (Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester Press, 2000), 267–314, 267. See also Brandt, "The Beginnings of Hume's Philosophy," 117–25. About Mandeville and hypochondria in Hume's famous letter to a doctor, also written in the early 1730s, see John P. Wright, The Sceptical Realism of David Hume (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983), 190–1 and 236–7, and Wright, "Dr. George Cheyne, Chevalier Ramsay, and Hume's Letter to a Physician," Hume Studies 29 (2003): 125–41, 139n44.

79. I would like to thank Professor M. A. Stewart for confirming in private correspondence that my transcription of the deleted words in the manuscript is correct. I am also grateful to Professor Stewart for the astute point that Hume was not deliberately covering his views when deleting these words, for then he would surely have made them illegible.

80. Hume to Hutcheson, 17 Sept. 1739, NLS, MS.23151 f. 55. Edited in L, 1: 32–5.

81. In reading the manuscript I rely on Norton's reproduction in the editorial appendix of Clarendon edition of Treatise.

82. I am grateful to Professor M. A. Stewart for alerting me to this fact. [End Page 42]

Additional Information

ISSN
1947-9921
Print ISSN
0319-7336
Pages
21-42
Launched on MUSE
2009-12-09
Open Access
No
Archive Status
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