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Summary Adam Smith (1723-1790) is one of the key philosophical figures of the Scottish Enlightenment. Best known for his An Inquiry of into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), considered the first work in modern political economy, his philosophical contribution lies mainly with his Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). Here he develops a sentimentalist view of moral judgment as based on sympathy, and which includes the central regulative concept of an impartial spectator - a notion that much subsequent moral philosophy will build on (or critically oppose). The main issues covered in the category, besides editions of Smith's works, relate mainly to (1) the relation between his economical theory and his moral philosophy (known as the "Adam Smith problem"); (2) scholarly work on his moral philosophy, and its relation to other major figures such as David Hume, on whom Smith heavily draws but also crucially differs from.
Key works Some editions of Smith's main works: Smith 2002 (1759), Smith 1976 (1776), Smith 1978. For a classical 20th century meta-ethical reprisal (with significant differences) of Smith's impartial spectator, see Firth 1951. In recent years Smith's philosophy has received a great deal of attention. Key scholarly works include: Raphael 2007, a well-rounded exposition of Smith's moral philosophy; Montes 2003, centering on the notion of sympathy and Smith's methodology. Still relevant is Haakonssen 1981, an extended comparison between Smith and Hume on justice. On the 'Adam Smith problem', key works are Otteson 2002 and Fleischacker 2004: both originally and exhaustively connect Smith's economical theory with his moral philosophy and psychology.
Introductions On Smith's moral and political philosophy Fleischacker 2013 is a good starting point. Depending on focus, various essays contained in Brown & Fleischacker 2010 and in Berry et al 2013 can provide comprehensive guidance on different aspects of Smith's work, his context, and his influence.
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  1. Fraternity from Smith to Tawney.Colin Bird - manuscript
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  2. Has everything on Adam Smith been written? A model and a counterargument.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    I respond to Nuno Palma’s suggestion, made in 2008, that we are approaching the day in which nothing new can be said about Adam Smith. I think that is unlikely. The paper presents a model to support the suggestion. To illustrate my counterargument, I focus on the problem of Adam Smith’s apparently contradictory claims about the effects of the division of labour on character.
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  3. Surrogacy: a letter to the Scottish nation?Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    How old is the distinction between the genetic and the gestational parent? Anca Gheaus “suggests” it is quite new, but I believe people have made a distinction along these lines for centuries in their imaginations. I present a problem related to the distinction and to the Scottish enlightenment.
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  4. Chapter one of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations again: a pin factory assumption.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    This paper argues that Adam Smith’s attempt to use the pin factory example to illustrate a general phenomenon – the value of the division of labour – seems to depend on an assumption. Put simply, the assumption is that the skills and knowledge involved in one task are not relevant to doing another task, or if they are relevant they would just be developed by specializing in the other task.
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  5. Father McKenzie level? Adam Smith on the effects of specialization on character: a solution.Terence Rajivan Edward - manuscript
    I propose a solution to a problem raised by E.G. West’s paper “Adam Smith’s Two Views on the Division of Labour.” Smith seems committed to the views that the division of labour makes people more and less intelligent.
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  6. The judgment of Adam.Wayne Martin - manuscript
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  7. Smith, Adam.Author unknown - manuscript
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  8. Adam Smith's Theory of the Impartial Spectator as Distinct from Ideal Observer Theories: A Reply to Allan Gibbard?Jon Petty - unknown - Proceedings of the Heraclitean Society 20.
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  9. Being Me Being You: Adam Smith & Empathy. [REVIEW]Nir Ben-Moshe - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-4.
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  10. The affective extension of ‘family’ in the context of changing elite business networks.Zografia Bika & Michael L. Frazer - forthcoming - Human Relations.
    Drawing on 49 oral-history interviews with Scottish family business owner-managers, six key-informant interviews, and secondary sources, this interdisciplinary study analyses the decline of kinship-based connections and the emergence of new kinds of elite networks around the 1980s. As the socioeconomic context changed rapidly during this time, cooperation built primarily around literal family ties could not survive unaltered. Instead of finding unity through bio-legal family connections, elite networks now came to redefine their ‘family businesses’ in terms of affectively loaded ‘family values’ (...)
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  11. Active Powers of the Human Mind.Ruth Boeker - forthcoming - In Scottish Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century, vol. 2. Oxford:
  12. Adam Smith's Model of Man.Manfred J. Holler, Juhana Lemetti & Eva Piirimae - forthcoming - Acta Philosophica Fennica: Human Nature as the Basis of Morality and Society in Early Modern Philosophy.
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  13. Adam Smith: 18th Century Sentimentalist or 20th Century Rationalist?Matthias Hühn - forthcoming - Business Ethics Journal Review:22-27.
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  14. The Historical Adam.A. McIntyre - forthcoming - Perspectives on Science And.
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  15. Adam Smith as sociologist.Albert Salomon - forthcoming - Social Research: An International Quarterly.
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  16. A diagrammatic presentation of Adam Smith's growth model.William O. Thweatt - forthcoming - Social Research: An International Quarterly.
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  17. Empathy and the Value of Humane Understanding.Olivia Bailey - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (1):50-65.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  18. A survey of Adam Smith's theological sources.Jordan J. Ballor - 2022 - In Jordan J. Ballor & Cornelis van der Kooi (eds.), Theology, Morality and Adam Smith. Routledge.
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  19. Introduction: Exploring Adam Smith's theological contexts, sources, and significance.Jordan J. Ballor & Cornelis van der Kooi - 2022 - In Jordan J. Ballor & Cornelis van der Kooi (eds.), Theology, Morality and Adam Smith. Routledge.
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  20. Theology, morality and Adam Smith.Jordan J. Ballor & Cornelis van der Kooi (eds.) - 2022 - New York, NY: Routledge.
    This work details the theological sources and moral significance of the life and work of the Scottish moral philosopher Adam Smith (1723-1790). The panel of contributors deepen our understanding of Adam Smith in his religious and theological context and the significance of this understanding for contemporary moral, economic, and political challenges to modern social life. The chapters cover a broad range of disciplinary and historical concerns, from Smith's view of providence and his famous "invisible hand" to the role of self-interest (...)
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  21. Adam Smith, the Enlightenment, and His Relevance for the 21st Century.David Bevan & Patricia Werhane - 2022 - Dialogue and Universalism 32 (1):19-32.
    In this article we reconsider strands of Adam Smith’s contribution to the project of the Enlightenment. Many of these, as we shall identify, remain poignant, and valuable observations for the twenty-first century. This sampled reconsideration touches both on how Smith is identified, as well as occasionally misread, as an Enlightenment philosopher/economist; and the extent to which t/his enlightenment survives.
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  22. The Adam Smith problem theologically reconsidered.Luigino Bruni & Paolo Santori - 2022 - In Jordan J. Ballor & Cornelis van der Kooi (eds.), Theology, Morality and Adam Smith. Routledge.
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  23. Bourgeois culture : understanding Adam Smith's moral horizon.Govert J. Buijs - 2022 - In Jordan J. Ballor & Cornelis van der Kooi (eds.), Theology, Morality and Adam Smith. Routledge.
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  24. Adam Smith and the idea of free government.Yiftah Elazar - 2022 - Intellectual History Review 32 (4):691-707.
    This article reconstructs Adam Smith’s contribution to the conversation on the nature and value of free government in the eighteenth century. Smith contributes to this conversation in two ways. First, by embedding the idea of free government in a narrative of the progress of government, which traces the interplay between natural progress and social circumstances, and culminates in the establishment of modern free government in Britain. Second, by offering a theory of the form of free government fit for modern commercial (...)
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  25. Adam Smith's theological hinterland.David Fergusson - 2022 - In Jordan J. Ballor & Cornelis van der Kooi (eds.), Theology, Morality and Adam Smith. Routledge.
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  26. Adam Smith's theology and virtues as conditions for the potential of free-market economies to contribute to human flourishing.Johan Graafland - 2022 - In Jordan J. Ballor & Cornelis van der Kooi (eds.), Theology, Morality and Adam Smith. Routledge.
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  27. David Hume, Adam Smith e l'illuminismo scozzese.Lorenzo Greco - 2022 - In Olivia Guaraldo, Andrea Salvatore & Federico Zuolo (eds.), Manuale di filosofia Politica. Macerata: Quodlibet. pp. 231-48.
  28. Adam Smith's seventeenth-century French theological sources.Ryan Patrick Hanley - 2022 - In Jordan J. Ballor & Cornelis van der Kooi (eds.), Theology, Morality and Adam Smith. Routledge.
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  29. Smith and enlightened Augustinianism.Joost Hengstmengel - 2022 - In Jordan J. Ballor & Cornelis van der Kooi (eds.), Theology, Morality and Adam Smith. Routledge.
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  30. Learning to Read: A Problem for Adam Smith and a Solution from Jane Austen.Lauren Kopajtic - 2022 - In Fictional Worlds and Philosophical Reflection. pp. 49-78.
    What might Adam Smith have learned from Jane Austen and other novelists of his moment? This paper finds and examines a serious problem at the center of Adam Smith’s moral psychology, stemming from an unacknowledged tension between the effort of the spectator to sympathize with the feelings of the agent and that of the agent to moderate her feelings. The agent’s efforts will result in her opacity to spectators, blocking their attempts to read her emotions. I argue that we can (...)
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  31. El Mercado en el Ágora: La Retórica Deliberativa en Adam Smith.Jorge López Lloret - 2022 - Anales Del Seminario de Historia de la Filosofía 39 (1):119-134.
    This paper aims to evince the need to interpret Adam Smith’s work from rhetorical theory. More specifically, to interpret The Wealth of Nations from deliberative rhetoric. To do this, it studies the origin of his theory of language, identifying and analyzing its sources from the catalog of his personal library, evincing that Smith didn’t deem language as an epistemic resource but as a collective means to build social reality through deliberation. This leads to the definition of The Wealth of nations (...)
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  32. Adam Smith and the invisible hand of God.Brendan Long - 2022 - New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
    This book contributes to the 'new view' reading of Adam Smith, providing a historically and contextually rich interpretation of Smith's thought. Smith built a moral philosophy on the foundations of a natural theology of human sociality. Examination of his life, relationship with David Hume, and use of divine names shows that he retained a progressive form of Christian theism. The book interrogates the metaphor of the 'invisible hand' and highlights the importance of the religious dimension of Adam Smith's thought for (...)
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  33. Samuel Fleischacker, Being Me Being You: Adam Smith and Empathy. [REVIEW]Getty L. Lustila - 2022 - Society 59 (2):213-215.
    With Being Me Being You, Samuel Fleischacker provides a reconstruction and defense of Adam Smith’s account of empathy, and the role it plays in building moral consensus, motivating moral behavior, and correcting our biases, prejudices, and tendency to demonize one another. He sees this book as an intervention in recent debates about the role that empathy plays in our morality. For some, such as Paul Bloom, Joshua Greene, Jesse Prinz, and others, empathy, or our capacity for fellow-feeling, tends to misguide (...)
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  34. Samuel Fleischacker, Adam Smith; John McHugh, Adam Smith’s ‘The Theory of Moral Sentiments’ A Critical Commentary. [REVIEW]Getty L. Lustila - 2022 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 20 (3):277-283.
    This review covers two recent monographs on Adam Smith: Samuel Fleischacker’s Adam Smith and John McHugh’s Adam Smith’s ‘The Theory of Moral Sentiments’: A Critical Commentary. Fleischacker’s work fills a significant gap in Smith scholarship. There have been relatively few attempts to present Smith in a way that is inviting to non-specialists while also doing justice to him as a systematic thinker. Adam Smith presents a compelling picture of a philosopher who makes the case for freedom and a life of (...)
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  35. Changing Society and Institutions in the Theories of Adam Smith and Sophie de Grouchy.Anna Markwart - 2022 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 20 (1):55-72.
    The aim of this paper is to present a comparative analysis and reconstruction of the approach to social, moral, and institutional change in the theories of Adam Smith and Sophie de Grouchy. In their theories moral philosophy is inextricably linked with social thought. I also discuss the role of education and institutions in such a process. I argue that Smith's and de Grouchy's understanding of the roles of sympathy and institutions are strictly connected to the way they perceive the process (...)
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  36. Butler and Smith's ethical and theological framing of commerce.Erik W. Matson - 2022 - In Jordan J. Ballor & Cornelis van der Kooi (eds.), Theology, Morality and Adam Smith. Routledge.
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  37. Self-love and its discontents : trajectories in reformed moral philosophy and theology before Adam Smith.Andrew M. McGinnis - 2022 - In Jordan J. Ballor & Cornelis van der Kooi (eds.), Theology, Morality and Adam Smith. Routledge.
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  38. Smith on moral agency, and the moral significance of context.Christina McRorie - 2022 - In Jordan J. Ballor & Cornelis van der Kooi (eds.), Theology, Morality and Adam Smith. Routledge.
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  39. Smith and the scholastic tradition on markets and their moral rationale.Edd Noell - 2022 - In Jordan J. Ballor & Cornelis van der Kooi (eds.), Theology, Morality and Adam Smith. Routledge.
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  40. El papel de la economía política en el proyecto fiLosófico de Adam Smith. Su estudio a la Luz de Los principales cambios realizados Por el autor en las reediciones de la teoría de Los sentimientos Morales Y de la riqueza de las naciones.Pilar Piqué - 2022 - Ideas Y Valores 71 (178):55-75.
    Resumen Se discute el principio de simpatía que Smith desarrolla en la primera edición de La teoría de los sentimientos morales, enfatizando en qué sentido lo considera insuficiente para lograr cohesión en la sociedad comercial. Se argumenta que Smith concibe a La riqueza de las naciones como parte de su misión por desarrollar una teoría de la jurisprudencia, y que en dicha obra enfatiza los peligros que se engendran en la sociedad comercial y las consecuentes dificultades para que esta logre (...)
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  41. Adam Smith Reconsidered: History, Liberty, and the Foundations of Modern Politics.Paul Sagar - 2022 - Princeton University Press.
    A radical reinterpretation of Adam Smith that challenges economists, moral philosophers, political theorists, and intellectual historians to rethink him—and why he matters Adam Smith has long been recognized as the father of modern economics. More recently, scholars have emphasized his standing as a moral philosopher—one who was prepared to critique markets as well as to praise them. But Smith’s contributions to political theory are still underappreciated and relatively neglected. In this bold, revisionary book, Paul Sagar argues that not only have (...)
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  42. On the Liberty of the English: Adam Smith’s Reply to Montesquieu and Hume.Paul Sagar - 2022 - Political Theory 50 (3):381-404.
    This essay has two purposes—first, to identify Adam Smith as intervening in the debate between Montesquieu and Hume regarding the nature, age, and robustness of English liberty. Whereas Montesquieu took English liberty to be old and fragile, Hume took it to be new and robust. Smith disagreed with both: it was older than Hume supposed, but not fragile in the way Montesquieu claimed. The reason for this was the importance of the common law in England’s legal history. Seeing this enables (...)
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  43. Adam Smith’s relevance for contemporary moral cognition.Sarah Songhorian - 2022 - Philosophical Psychology 35 (5):662-683.
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  44. The art of being in the eighteenth century: Adam Smith on fortune, luck, and trust.Sylvana Tomaselli - 2022 - History of European Ideas 48 (1):33-44.
    ABSTRACT This article offers some reflections on the importance Adam Smith accorded to luck in The Wealth of Nations. While the place of moral luck in The Theory of Moral Sentiments has been the subject of some scholarly attention, this has not been the case for luck in his best-known work. It focuses on what Smith thought particularly striking about our estimation of our own good fortune and argues that it accentuated the need for trustworthiness and trusted friends.
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  45. Adam Smith between the Scottish and French Enlightenments.Hiroki Ueno - 2022 - Dialogue and Universalism 32 (1):127-146.
    This paper discusses Adam Smith’s intellectual relationship with the French Enlightenment, with a particular focus on his view of French culture as conveyed in The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Compared to England at that time, eighteenth-century Scotland is considered as having a closer affiliation with France in terms of their intellectual and cultural life during what has been dubbed the Enlightenment. While David Hume was representative of the affinity between the French and Scottish literati, Smith also held an enduring interest (...)
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  46. Calvin and Smith on providence, morality, virtues, and human flourishing.Cornelis van der Kooi - 2022 - In Jordan J. Ballor & Cornelis van der Kooi (eds.), Theology, Morality and Adam Smith. Routledge.
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  47. Adam Smith's theory of the moral vicegerents of God.Rudi Verburg - 2022 - In Jordan J. Ballor & Cornelis van der Kooi (eds.), Theology, Morality and Adam Smith. Routledge.
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  48. Achtung in Kant and Smith.Michael Walschots - 2022 - Kant Studien 113 (2):238-268.
    This paper argues that Kant’s concept of ‘respect’ for the moral law has roots in Adam Smith’s concept of ‘regard’ for the general rules of conduct, which was translated as Achtung in the first German translation of the Theory of Moral Sentiments. After illustrating that Kant’s technical understanding of respect appeared relatively late in his intellectual development, I argue that Kant’s concept of respect and Smith’s concept of regard share a basic similarity: they are both a single complex phenomenon with (...)
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  49. Adam Smith and Richard Price on a Free Society of Equals.Nicole Whalen - 2022 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 52 (2):208-222.
    In this article, I examine two competing republican ideals of a free society of equals in the eighteenth century. I claim that while the value of nondependency was central to the economic outlooks of both Adam Smith and Richard Price, their evaluations of free-market practices were dramatically distinct. In doing so, I introduce a new interpretation of the typologies of republicanism in the eighteenth century.
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  50. Lockdowns and their legitimacy in the context of Adam Smith’s economic philosophy and liberalism.Paweł Żurawski - 2022 - Annales. Etyka W Życiu Gospodarczym 23 (4).
    Since the beginning of 2020, lockdowns have been introduced in numerous countries across the world in response to the emergence of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes the COVID-19 disease. Although the topic of lockdowns has been considered from numerous perspectives, it has not yet been analyzed in the context of Adam Smith’s economic philosophy and liberalism. This paper aims to list – at least to some extent, as the topic is very broad – the most prominent arguments that have arisen in (...)
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1 — 50 / 963