Power, Pleasure, and Profit by David Wootton audiobook

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

By David Wootton
Read by Charles Constant

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10.35 Hours 1
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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 instrumental reasoning that now gives shape and purpose to our lives. Wootton guides us through four centuries of Western thought 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. 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.

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Summary

Summary

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 instrumental reasoning that now gives shape and purpose to our lives.

Wootton guides us through four centuries of Western thought 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. 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.

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Reviews

Author

Author Bio: David Wootton

Author Bio: David Wootton

David Wootton is the Anniversary Professor at the University of York. His previous books include Paolo Sarpi, Bad Medicine, and Galileo. He gave the Raleigh Lectures at the British Academy in 2008, the Carlyle Lectures at the University of Oxford in 2014, and the Benedict Lecture at Boston University in 2014.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/Business & Economics
Runtime: 10.35
Audience: Adult
Language: English