Hume on luxury: a response to John Dennis?

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Hume's essay ‘Of Luxury’ criticizes two extreme and contrasting doctrines: that luxury is always beneficial to society and that it is always baneful. Hume identifies the exponent of the first proposition as Bernard Mandeville in his book The Fable of the Bees, but does not name the second target of his essay. It is most probably John Dennis, one of Mandeville's contemporary critics. The evidence for this is that Hume challenges and contradicts three clearly defined theses advanced in Dennis's book Vice and Luxury Publick Mischiefs (1724).

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 298 Blossomfield Road, Solihull, B91 1TH. Email:

Publication date: January 1, 1999

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