Smith's Humean criticism of Hume's account of the origin of justice

It is argued that Adam Smith criticizes David Hume's account of the origin of and continuing adherence to the rule of law for being not sufficiently Humean. Hume explained that adherence to the rule of law originated in the self-interest to restrain self-interest. According to Smith, Hume does not pay enough attention to the passions of resentment and admiration, which have their source in the imagination. Smith's offers a more naturalistic and evolutionary account of the psychological pre-conditions of the establishment and morality of justice than Hume had. Yet, Smith's account also makes room for a thin conception of Lockean natural right to property, while rejecting the contractualist and rationalistic elements in Locke. It emerges that Smith severs the intimate connection that Hobbes and Hume made between justice and property.
Keywords Hume
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DOI 10.1353/hph.2006.0004
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