Bernard Mandeville on hypochondria and self-liking


  • Mauro Simonazzi University of Camerino, Italy



Mandeville, hypochondria, melancholy, talking cure, self-liking, desire to be esteemed


This article analyses how Mandeville's Treatise of the hypochodriack and hysterick passions (1711) was received in the medical environment, and I show that this work, in spite of being unusual and of a satirical nature, was seriously read and studied by eighteenth-century physicians. In the second part I will describe hypochondria as it is intended in the Treatise, with particular attention to talking therapy. In the third part I will show that in the Fable of the bees and in the Enquiry into the origin of honour hypochondria is associated with a frustration of the desire to be esteemed, and that in light of the theory of self-liking expressed in the Fable, it is possible to account for talking therapy’s effectiveness as theorised in the Treatise.

Author Biography

Mauro Simonazzi, University of Camerino, Italy

Mauro Simonazzi is researcher at the School of Law, University of Camerino. His research interests include the history of philosophy, the history of psychiatry and the history of political thought. He is the author of La malattia inglese. La melanconia nella tradizione filosofica e medica dell’Inghilterra moderna (2004); Le favole della filosofia. Saggio su Bernard Mandeville (2008); Mandeville (2011); Degenerazionismo. Psichiatria, eugenetica e biopolitica (2013).




How to Cite

Simonazzi, M. (2016). Bernard Mandeville on hypochondria and self-liking. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 9(1), 62–81.