Social Philosophy and Policy 27 (1):276-304 (2010)

Adam Smith raised a series of obstacles to effective large-scale social planning. In this paper, I draw these Smithian obstacles together to construct what I call the “Great Mind Fallacy,” or the belief that there exists some person or persons who can overcome the obstacles Smith raises. The putative scope of the Great Mind Fallacy is larger than one might initially suppose, which I demonstrate by reviewing several contemporary thinkers who would seem to commit it. I then address two ways the fallacy might be overcome, finding both wanting. I close the paper by suggesting that Smith's Great Mind Fallacy sheds interesting light on his “impartial spectator” standard of morality, including with respect to the specific issues of property and ownership.
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DOI 10.1017/S0265052509990112
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References found in this work BETA

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1974 - Philosophy 52 (199):102-105.
The Constitution of Liberty.Friedrich A. Hayek - 1961 - Philosophical Review 70 (3):433-434.
The Authority of Democracy.Thomas Christiano - 2004 - Journal of Political Philosophy 12 (3):266–290.

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Adam Smith’s Contribution to Business Ethics, Then and Now.Michael Gonin - 2015 - Journal of Business Ethics 129 (1):221-236.

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