Contact Information

Mikko Tolonen
Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
P.O. BOX 4 (Fabianinkatu 24)
FIN-00014 University of Helsinki



Helsinki Collegium logo


Logo of federation of finnish learned socities


Kone foundation logo


mandeville posterAbout the Symposium

“Unusual emptiness of the title-page” – Bernard Mandeville’s Fable of the bees
12.-14.6.2014, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki

In the preface to Part II of Fable of the bees, published in 1729, Bernard Mandeville explains the ‘unusual emptiness of the title-page’ of that particular work. The reason why the author felt the need to use such robust expression to describe the title was that Part II was a book that was in many ways different from Fable of the bees, published in 1714 (and further extended in 1723). This void was still widened in 1732 when the sequel to Part II was to be published as An Enquiry into an origin of honour; and the usefulness of Christianity in war instead of ‘Fable of the bees, Part III’. At the same time, in 1729, with the ‘unusual emptiness of the title-page’, Mandeville managed to draw the reader’s attention to the title of the original Fable and the paradoxical nature of its notorious maxim: ‘private vices, public benefits’.

Bernard Mandeville and his Fable of the bees have created noise over the past 300 years or so, but despite some great efforts, he is still predominantly a neglected and underestimated figure in early modern medicine, science and moral and political thought. Figuratively speaking, the title-sheet is still empty. The purpose of this symposium is to help to change this. In addition to the task of augmenting the Europe-wide celebrations of 300 years of the Fable, the symposium continues in the spirit of earlier Mandeville workshops (Ghent 2011, Fribourg 2012 and Princeton 2013). The symposium in Helsinki brings together experts on Mandeville and the eighteenth century from the Netherlands, England, Scotland, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Greece, USA, Australia, Mexico and Finland to discuss all aspects of Mandeville’s thinking over three days.

Mandeville in Helsinki symposium is free and open to all. Please register by email to The deadline to register for this event is June 4th.


Mikko Tolonen (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies), Markku Peltonen (University of Helsinki) and Sari Kivistö (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies)



Book cover image

Mandeville and Hume: Anatomists of Civil Society
Mikko Tolonen
SVEC 2013:07, ISBN 978-0-7294-1068-7