In Adam Smith’s Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations the term ‘rational’ occurs only twice. Neither of these uses assigns the property of rationality either to human beings or to economic agents. Despite that, Smith is widely recognised as the founder of modern mainstream economics, a science which is defined by the assumption of the rationality of an economic agent. This paper aims to locate and discuss the notion of rationality which is implied by Smith’s work. To achieve that a double-track approach is taken. First, the current paper reconstructs Smith’s general view on human nature which was presented mainly in his earlier book The Theory of Moral Sentiments. This is followed by a discussion of Smith’s theses on selected mechanisms which drive the economy as presented in The Wealth of Nations.
Keywords Adam Smith  invisible hand  optimization  rationality  self-love  sympathy
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References found in this work BETA

The Theory of Moral Sentiments.Adam Smith - 1759 - Dover Publications.

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