In Kropotkin’s pamphlet on Anarchist Morality, he applauded the empiricist philosophers of the 18th-century Enlightenment for rejecting religious interpretations of human action and adopting an account that made the quest of pleasure and avoidance of pain the source of human motivation. Kropotkin joined with Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and Chernischevsky in affirming that the desire for pleasure was the true motive of all human action. Kropotkin not only maintained that in their conscious, deliberative acts, human beings always seek out pleasure; he saw this motive operating throughout the organic world. Recognition of this truth, Kropotkin argued, placed ethics on a materialistic, naturalistic basis. Furthermore, Kropotkin thought reliance on the findings of science and on evolutionary theory gave to ethics a philosophical certitude, in contrast to the uncertain intuitionalism on which transcendental philosophers like Kant relied.
Matt McCaffrey is an Austrian economist who is currently associate professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Manchester. He talks with Bob about American economist Frank Fetter, before moving on to a staple of his research: the connection between Chinese military history and entrepreneurship. Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest: Matt McCaffrey’s […]
For Mises, liberalism first emerged and expressed itself in the nineteenth century as a political movement in the form of “peaceful nationalism.” Its two fundamental principles were freedom or, more concretely, “the right of self-determination of peoples” and national unity or the “nationality principle.” The two principles were indissolubly linked. The primary goal of the […]
This year is the 200th anniversary of the publication of one of the best American books on trade policy by one of the most thoughtful and least appreciated political analysts of the Founding Fathers era. I ran into John Taylor of Caroline when I was roaming the shelves of the Library of Congress in 1987. […]