Altruism [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 48 (4):921-923 (1995)
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After an opening chapter framing the issues of the book, the next two explore how WN, by emphasizing economic ends rather than those of classical or republican politics, reduces justice to historically evolved rules for securing lives and property and renders government subservient to economic policy. The fourth chapter notes the complexity of Smith's moral psychology, pointing out how WN emphasizes the acquisition of the very material ends which TMS discredits. Nonetheless, both works endorse "bourgeois virtue," whether characterized in terms of industry and thrift or prudence. It is not surprising, as Minowitz points out in chapter 5, that Smith's view of international relations decries nationalism, mercantilism, and war, and elevates commerce, free trade, and the promise of civilizing progress.



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