The Dublin society in eighteenth-century Irish political thought
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Through an analysis of the debate between Charles Davenant in England, and Arthur Dobbs, Thomas Prior, and Samuel Madden in Ireland, it establishes that the founders saw the society as a response to Ireland's dependent status in the emerging British empire. The Dublin Society distinguished itself from other improving societies in the British Isles because it explicitly represented a new principle of sociality. The article describes the cultural origins of that principle arguing that a diverse set of groups converged on the ideal of association as a new form of order. The article concludes with a consideration of Madden's understanding, derived from his commitment to improving associations, that Irish national life was best understood as the pursuit of happiness rather than justice or virtue.
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