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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 1952. 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. Andrew Abela (2001). Adam Smith and the Separation Thesis. Business and Society Review 106 (3):187-199.
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  2. James Cw Ahiakpor (1992). Rashid on Adam Smith: In Need of Proof. Journal of Libertarian Studies 10 (2):171-80.
    Salim Rashid purports to have established some facts about Adam Smith's scholarship, significant among which are Smith's plagiarism, the poor quality of Smith's arguments or ideas compared with those of his predecessors or contemporaries, and Smith's inconsistent arguments regarding laissez faire. Alas, Rashid's case is faulty, as well as often misleading and vexatious. This comment is an attempt to draw the requisite evidence from Rashid, if he indeed has such evidence, to back up his case, and to advance the scholarship (...)
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  3. James E. Alvey (2007). The 'New View' of Adam Smith and the Development of His Views Over Time. In Geoff Cockfield, Ann Firth & John Laurent (eds.), New Perspectives on Adam Smith's the Theory of Moral Sentiments. E. Elgar.
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  4. Michael C. Amrozowicz (2013). Adam Smith: History and Poetics. In Christopher J. Berry, Maria Pia Paganelli & Craig Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith. Oup Oxford. 143.
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  5. Abela Andrew (2001). Adam Smith and the Separation Thesis. Business and Society Review 106 (3).
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  6. David Andrews (2014). Adam Smith’s Natural Prices, the Gravitation Metaphor, and the Purposes of Nature. Economic Thought:42.
    Adam Smith’s ‘natural price’ has long been interpreted as a ‘normal price’ or ‘centre of gravitation price’ based on the famous gravitation metaphor of the Wealth of Nations I.vii, natural in the sense that it is the price that would … More ›.
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  7. Luiz Bernardo Leite Araujo & Fábio dos Santos Creder (2013). Ética, Economia E Justiça: A Escolha Social No Pensamento de Sen E Smith. Doispontos 10 (1).
    This article aims to examine Adam Smith’s deep and broad influence on the thought of Amartya Sen, especially concerning the issue of social justice that pervades the writings of both authors. First, we will analyze Sen’s revision of the work of Smith to refute the interpretation still prevalent, that makes use of certain excerpts from The Wealth of Nations as the main reference in defending the deregulation of markets and in exempting the economic thought from any consideration of moral values, (...)
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  8. Tony Aspromouroos (2013). Adam Smith on Labour and Capital. In Christopher J. Berry, Maria Pia Paganelli & Craig Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith. Oup Oxford.
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  9. C. E. B. (1963). Adam Smith Speaks to Our Times. Review of Metaphysics 17 (2):303-303.
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  10. Kg Ballestrem (1984). Marx, Karl and Smith, Adam, Critical Observations on the Critique of Political-Economy. Verifiche: Rivista Trimestrale di Scienze Umane 13 (2):141-162.
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  11. Jack Barbalet (2007). The Moon Before the Dawn : A Seventeenth Century Precursor of Smith's the Theory of Moral Sentiments. In Geoff Cockfield, Ann Firth & John Laurent (eds.), New Perspectives on Adam Smith's the Theory of Moral Sentiments. E. Elgar. 84--105.
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  12. Heather Barker & Charles Green (2005). Bernard Smith, Cold Warrior. Thesis Eleven 82 (1):38-53.
    Bernard Smith’s canonical book, Australian Painting, 1788-1960, was shaped by the Cold War. This forced the emerging discipline of Australian art history onto a trajectory that would not be shaken for another two decades. More than art history determined Smith’s innovations. This article proceeds from that obvious but easily overlooked point, that Smith and his book were deeply conditioned by the intellectual climate of Cold War Australia. The appearance of Smith’s book and, henceforth, Australian art history’s concerns with postcoloniality and (...)
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  13. G. R. Bassiry & Marc Jones (1993). Adam Smith and the Ethics of Contemporary Capitalism. Journal of Business Ethics 12 (8):621 - 627.
    This paper presents a theoretical elaboration of the ethical framework of classical capitalism as formulated by Adam Smith in reaction to the dominant mercantilism of his day. It is seen that Smith's project was profoundly ethical and designed to emancipate the consumer from a producer and state dominated economy. Over time, however, the various dysfunctions of a capitalist economy — e.g., concentration of wealth, market power — became manifest and the utilitarian ethical basis of the system eroded. Contemporary capitalism, dominated (...)
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  14. Peter Beilharz (2013). Bernard Smith The Quality of Marxism. Thesis Eleven 114 (1):94-102.
    Bernard Smith (1916–2011) was a giant on the Australian intellectual scene, and a major analyst of and contributor to the processes of cultural traffic between the antipodes and the centres of the world system. He was a lifelong Marxist, or historical materialist. Yet his scholarship also wore an open weave. Was he then a Marxist in politics? This essay argues that his historicism placed his thinking firmly with the owl of Minerva, rather than in the driver’s seat of history. Marxism, (...)
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  15. Peter Beilharz (1999). Bernard Smith. In Ernest Cashmore & Chris Rojek (eds.), Dictionary of Cultural Theorists. Oxford University Press. 433--4.
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  16. Lawrence Bems (1994). Arístotle and Adam Smith on Justice: Cooperation Between Ancients and Modems? Review of Metaphysics 48.
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  17. Christopher I. Berry (2013). Adam Smith and Early-Modern Thought. In Christopher J. Berry, Maria Pia Paganelli & Craig Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith. Oup Oxford. 77.
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  18. Christopher J. Berry (2006). Smith and Science. In Knud Haakonssen (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith. Cambridge University Press.
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  19. Christopher J. Berry (2003). :Adam Smith's Marketplace of Life. Journal of Scottish Philosophy 1 (2):184-187.
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  20. Christopher J. Berry (1994). Peter Jones and Andrew S. Skinner, Eds., Adam Smith Reviewed, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 1992. Pp. Xii + 251. John J. Jenkins, Understanding Hume, Ed. Peter Lewis and Geoffrey Madell, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 1992, Pp. 215. [REVIEW] Utilitas 6 (01):155-.
  21. Christopher J. Berry, Maria Pia Paganelli & Craig Smith (eds.) (2013). The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith. Oxford University Press.
    Preface Introduction Christopher J. Berry: Adam Smith: Outline of Life, Times, and Legacy Part One: Adam Smith: Heritage and Contemporaries 1: Nicholas Phillipson: Adam Smith: A Biographer's Reflections 2: Leonidas Montes: Newtonianism and Adam Smith 3: Dennis C. Rasmussen: Adam Smith and Rousseau: Enlightenment and counter-Enlightenment 4: Christopher J. Berry: Adam Smith and Early Modern Thought Part Two: Adam Smith on Language, Art and Culture 5: Catherine Labio: Adam Smith's Aesthetics 6: James Chandler: Adam Smith as Critic 7: Michael C. (...)
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  22. M. Bevir (2001). A Third Concept of Liberty: Judgement and Freedom in Kant and Adam Smith. By Samuel Fleischacker. [REVIEW] The European Legacy 6 (5):659-659.
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  23. Colin Bird, Fraternity From Smith to Tawney.
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  24. J. D. Bishop (2006). Samuel Fleischacker, On Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations: A Philosophical Companion. Philosophy in Review 26 (1):30.
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  25. John D. Bishop (1995). Adam Smith's Invisible Hand Argument. Journal of Business Ethics 14 (3):165 - 180.
    Adam Smith is usually thought to argue that the result of everyone pursuing their own interests will be the maximization of the interests of society. The invisible hand of the free market will transform the individual''s pursuit of gain into the general utility of society. This is the invisible hand argument.Many people, although Smith did not, draw a moral corollary from this argument, and use it to defend the moral acceptability of pursuing one''s own self-interest.
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  26. Richard J. Blackwell (1977). "The Problem of Life: An Essay in the Origins of Biological Thought," by C. U. M. Smith. Modern Schoolman 55 (1):119-120.
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  27. Mogens Blegvad (1986). Adam Smith jako filozof nauki. Studia Filozoficzne 251 (10).
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  28. Paul Bloomfield (1959). Adam's Brood. The Eugenics Review 51 (3):170.
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  29. Joe Blosser (2011). Christian Freedom in Political Economy : The Legacy of John Calvin in the Thought of Adam Smith. In Paul Oslington (ed.), Adam Smith as Theologian. Routledge.
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  30. J. Bonar (1926). “The Theory of Moral Sentiments,” By Adam Smith, 1759. Philosophy 1 (03):333-.
    To this, his first book, the author owed the opportunities of travel and leisure which enabled him to perfect his second, the Wealth of Nations , 1776. It has needed all the fame of the second to keep alive the memory of the first. The Moral Sentiments founded no school, and is usually passed over with the faint praise due to the author's reputation. Yet Burke welcomed its theory as “in all its essential parts just” ; and it was treated (...)
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  31. J. Bonar (1897). Book Review:Lectures on Justice, Police, Revenue, and Arms. Adam Smith, Edwin Cannan. [REVIEW] Ethics 7 (3):385-.
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  32. Richard Boyd (2013). Adam Smith on Civility and Civil Society. In Christopher J. Berry, Maria Pia Paganelli & Craig Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith. Oup Oxford. 443.
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  33. Emily Brady (2011). Adam Smith's ''Sympathetic Imagination'' and the Aesthetic Appreciation of Environment. Journal of Scottish Philosophy 9 (1):95-109.
    This paper explores the significance of Adam Smith's ideas for defending non-cognitivist theories of aesthetic appreciation of nature. Objections to non-cognitivism argue that the exercise of emotion and imagination in aesthetic judgement potentially sentimentalizes and trivializes nature. I argue that although directed at moral judgement, Smith's views also find a place in addressing this problem. First, sympathetic imagination may afford a deeper and more sensitive type of aesthetic engagement. Second, in taking up the position of the impartial spectator, aesthetic judgements (...)
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  34. George Bragues (2009). Adam Smith's Vision of the Ethical Manager. Journal of Business Ethics 90 (4):447 - 460.
    Smith's famous invocation of the invisible hand -according to which self-interest promotes the greater good — has popularly been seen as a fundamental challenge to business ethics, a field committed to the opposite premise that the public interest cannot be advanced unless economic egoism is restrained by a more socially conscious mindset, one that takes into account the legitimate needs of stakeholders and the reciprocity inherent in networked relationships. Adam Smith has been brought into the discipline to show that his (...)
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  35. Matthew Braham (2007). Adam Smith's Concept of Welfare. Acta Philosophica Fennica 83:187-206.
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  36. Michael Bray (2007). Sympathy, Disenchantment, and Authority: Adam Smith and the Construction of Moral Sentiments. Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal 28 (1):159-193.
  37. Robert Brenner (2007). Property and Progress: Where Adam Smith Went Wrong. In Chris Wickham (ed.), Marxist History-Writing for the Twenty-First Century. Published for the British Academy by Oxford University Press. 49--111.
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  38. Charles F. Breslin (1972). Richard C. Smith. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 46:195 -.
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  39. Alexander Broadie (2010). Aristotle, Adam Smith and the Virtue of Propriety. Journal of Scottish Philosophy 8 (1):79-89.
    Adam Smith's ethics have long been thought to be much closer to the Stoic school than to any other school of the ancient world. Recent scholarship however has focused on the fact that Smith also appears to be quite close to Aristotle. I shall attend to Smith's deployment of a version of the doctrine of the mean, shall show that it is quite close to Aristotle's, shall demonstrate that in its detailed application it is seriously at odds with Stoic teaching (...)
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  40. Alexander Broadie (2009). Francis Hutcheson, Adam Smith y el estoicismo de la Ilustración Escocesa. Anuario Filosófico 42 (94):17-34.
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  41. Alexander Broadie (2006). Sympathy and the Impartial Spectator. In Knud Haakonssen (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith. Cambridge University Press.
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  42. Alexander Broadie (1997). Adam Smith--Scientific Discovery. In , The Scottish Enlightenment: An Anthology. Canongate Books.
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  43. Charlotte Brown (2007). Review of D. D. Raphael, The Impartial Spectator: Adam Smith's Moral Philosophy. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (11).
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  44. V. Brown (2004). James R. Otteson: Adam Smith's Marketplace of Life. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 12:355-357.
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  45. Vivienne Brown (2008). The Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith, Knud Haakonssen (Ed). Cambridge University Press, 2006, 409 Pages. [REVIEW] Economics and Philosophy 24 (2):259-265.
  46. Vivienne Brown (1997). 'Mere Inventions of the Imagination': A Survey of Recent Literature on Adam Smith. Economics and Philosophy 13 (2):281-312.
    As late twentieth-century discourses of modernity and postmodernity invoke their Enlightenment heritage in a search for the origins of their present achievements and predicaments, Adam Smith's works are still seen as a canonic representative of that heritage. Smith has long been evoked as the ‘father’ of economics and the original proponent of laissez-faire capitalism, but the political changes in recent decades have reconstituted his iconic status. With the full range of Smith's published and unpublished writings and lectures now widely available, (...)
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  47. Vivienne Brown (1995). Reading Adam Smith's Texts on Morals and Wealth. Economics and Philosophy 11 (02):344-.
    In his Comment , Richard Arlen Kleer accepts much of the argument in my article (Brown, 1991) but insists that I have (Kleer, 1993). Kleer agrees that there is a moral hierarchy in Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments (TMS) where benevolence and self-command are ranked higher than justice and prudence, but he is uneasy with the conclusion that economic activity and the pursuit of gain are activities and insists that they do have a significant moral standing. In addition, although (...)
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  48. Vivienne Brown (1994). Adam Smith's Discourse: Canonicity, Commerce, and Conscience. Routledge.
    Adam Smith's name has become synonymous with free market economics. Recent scholarship has given us a richer, more nuanced figure, steeped in the intricacies of enlightenment social and political philosophy. Adam Smith's Discourse develops this literature and gives it a radical new dimension. The first book on Adam Smith to deal with recent debates in literary theory, this interdisciplinary work examines Smith's major texts and places them within the context of enlightenment thought. It considers Smith's major writings--the Lectures on (...)
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  49. Vivienne Brown (1991). Signifying Voices: Reading the “Adam Smith Problem”. Economics and Philosophy 7 (02):187-.
    The “Adam Smith problem” has traditionally been concerned with the issue of authorial integrity: the issue of how a single author, Adam Smith, could have written two such apparently dissimilar, even contradictory, works as The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations . As the problem to be resolved was the single authorial origin of two such works, the perceived incompatibilities between them were explained in terms of Smith's intellectual biography – for example, Smith's travels to France, Smith's (...)
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  50. Vivienne Brown & Samuel Fleischacker (eds.) (2010). The Philosophy of Adam Smith: Essays Commemorating the 250th Anniversary of the Theory of Moral Sentiments. Routledge.
    The Philosophy of Adam Smith contains essays by some of the most prominent philosophers and scholars working on Adam Smith today. It is a special issue of The Adam Smith Review, commemorating the 250th anniversary of Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments. Introduction Part 1: Moral phenomenology 1. The virtue of TMS 1759 D.D. Raphael 2. The Theory of Moral Sentiments and the inner life Emma Rothschild 3. The standpoint of morality in Adam Smith and Hegel Angelica Nuzzo Part 2: Sympathy (...)
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