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  • Power, Pleasure, and Profit

  • Insatiable Appetites from Machiavelli to Madison
  • By: David Wootton
  • Narrated by: Charles Constant
  • Length: 10 hrs and 21 mins
  • Categories: History, World
  • 3.0 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's 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 reveals, 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 reveal 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 states, we must first recognize that we live in its grip.

©2018 Railshead Ltd. (P)2018 Tantor

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  • Stephen Daly
  • 19-05-2019

Awful narrator!!!

I couldn’t listen to this. The narrator sounds like a robot, not pausing for punctuation, not pronouncing key scientific words properly. Maybe it was a robot! Really, really bad. I was really looking forward to it - the subject is fascinating. But I can’t listen to this crap. It’s not a cheap airport crime novel so stop treating it like one.

1 person found this helpful

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