Discussing the views on man and nature with European philosophers

On the 10th of October, 2015 the philosophic interest in the interaction between man and nature resulted in a discussion between the Institute for Environmental Solutions (IES) and 9 European philosophers. The theme of day was the Anglo-Dutch philosopher and political economist Bernard Mandeville (1670-1733). As part of the Mandevillean Readings in Latvia, which was celebrated from the 8th until the 11th of October, IES hosted the readings in Cēsis which focused on Mandeville’s inquiry into the role of nature. 


The participants discussed the philosopher’s influence through the centuries and his contemporary relevance by analysing his writings on topics such as game theory, the nature of happiness and the human need for esteem. The readings in Cēsis focused on the theme of nature as expression in Mandeville’s work. As part of the event, IES exposited its philosophy and found a number of similarities between its own and the philosopher’s views on nature. Mandeville’s main notion states that the individual pursuit of self-interest leads to collectively advantageous results. We challenged our existing beliefs to understand how this theory could be observed in nature.





Bernard Mandeville was an Anglo-Dutch philosopher, political economist and satirist. He is primarily remembered for his impact on discussions of morality and economic theory in the early eighteenth century. His best-known work – The Fable of the Bees celebrates its 300th anniversary in 2015, therefore a series of international conferences and events around the world have been organised to celebrate the author’s contributions and enhance the understanding of his writings.