- the doctrine that we have knowledge of extended things only because we "see all things in God";
- that God alone is the true cause of all events, and
- that God, as the good in general, is the only intrinsically lovable being.
In his Fable of the Bees, subtitled "private vices, publick benefits", Bernard de Mandeville, (1670-1733) recounts how evil vices such as luxury, greed, envy, etc., all lead to public benefits by encouraging enterprise. Although apparently often treated as a defense of laissez- faire - "Thus every Part was full of Vice/Yet the whole Mass a Paradice" - the Fable can also be seen as a presentation of early underconsumption theory. Anticipating Keynes's paradox of thrift, Mandeville argued that the "moral" activity of saving was actually the cause of recessions whereas luxurious consumption (a "vice") was a stimulus. Indeed, Mandeville argued for government intervention, including the Mercantilist policy of protection to promote internal consumption. Thus "private Vices by the dextrous Management of a skilled Politician may be turned into publick benefits." History of Economic Thought Website
Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786) modeled his philosophy after that of Christian Wolff (a prominent philosopher of the Enlightenment) and Gottfried Leibnitz (a European rationalist). He wrote some general philosophical works, including many dealing with the theory of art, but his most well known writings deal with Judaism. Mendelssohn conceived of God as a perfect Being and had faith in God’s wisdom, righteousness, mercy and goodness. He argued that, "the world results from a creative act through which the divine will seeks to realize the highest good." He accepted the existence of miracles and revelation as long as belief in God did not depend on them. He also believed that revelation could not contradict reason. Like the deists, he claimed that reason could discover the reality of God, divine providence and immortality of the soul. He was the first to speak out against the use of excommunication as a religious threat. He recognized the necessity of multiple religions and respected each one. By Shira Schoenberg