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vanity


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Thorstein Veblen (1857—1929) American economist and social scientist

Bernard Mandeville (1670—1733) physician and political philosopher

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Having an excessively high opinion of one's own attainments and qualities, or excessive desire for the praise of others, regardless of whether it is deserved. Aquinas makes no clear distinction between vanity and pride, but associates both with the desire for distinction and importance. According to Adam Smith, vanity is ‘always founded upon the belief of our being the object of attention and approbation’. Both Aquinas and Smith regard vanity as the principal motive to the pursuit of wealth and distinction (Summa Theologiae, IaIIae 84; The Theory of Moral Sentiments, i. 3. 2). See also Mandeville, Veblen.

Subjects: Medicine and Health — Philosophy.


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