The connection between Adam Smith and Alasdair MacIntyre is not evident at first glance. In fact, those who know MacIntyre’s work might bristle at the association. MacIntyre is inherently anticapitalist. He believes that moral people ought to reject the modern state and large-scale corporations.1 He also rejects what he terms the enlightenment project, claiming not only that it failed but that it was doomed to do so.2 Furthermore, MacIntyre’s perspectivalism seems to run counter to any “impartial spectator” theory such (...) as Smith’s; tradition-bound rationality necessarily assumes partiality.3 In short, MacIntyre regards himself as an opponent of the liberal tradition, that intellectual lineage which is most closely associated with Smith, and, although he rejects association with communitarianism, he holds a similar place in contemporary philosophy. He is liberalism’s critic, not its reformer. But ethics makes strange bedfellows. MacIntyre’s theory of rationality, I contend, provides a useful and important complement to Smith’s moral psychology. It allows for the intermingling of emotion and reason that is so important for Smith’s work.4 It creates a structure for bridging Smith’s individuals and the communities of which they are a part. In essence, I argue, MacIntyre’s work allows us to better understand Smith’s jump from deliberation on the individual level to the development of cultural standards and norms. I conclude that Smith’s emphasis on the individual results in an incomplete theory of communal rationality, and that MacIntyre’s emphasis on tradition leaves out a foundation of individual agency. The two theories, however complement each other well. As a bit of preparation, it is worth mentioning that both thinkers, and Smith, in particular, are often portrayed inaccurately. Smith is not the self-interest focused libertarian that he is made out to be. He is, instead a sophisticated moral theorist whose first book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments was celebrated and influential in its time.. (shrink)
The Grand Forks Heraldâ€™s attack on the UND law school in â€œThou shalt not take on such casesâ€ was inexcusable. While discussing the Ten Commandments monument in Fargo, the paper endorsed some of the most dangerous myths about education, showing a profound disrespect for the university, its professors, and its students.
My intent in this discussion is to offer a glimpse into our popular and political culture and to unpack some of the values inherent in our university system. Educational institutions evolve because of changes in our cultural relationship to knowledge. Only by understanding this relationship can we respond coherently to criticism aimed at the university and its population.
James Otteson’s Adam Smith’s Marketplace of Life is the latest instalment in a wave of new scholarship signalling a renewed interest in Adam Smith. These works share several characteristics. First, they present Smith as a philosopher and not an economist. Second, they take seriously The Theory of Moral Senti- ments (TMS), Smith’s first book, by suggesting that his moral theory holds..
In response to the Supreme court’s ruling that equality was beginning to be recognized, people anti-sodomy laws are unconstitutional, like Pat Robertson pointed to the advancements evangelist Pat Robertson urged his followers to and called them evil. Twenty years from now, engage in what he called a 21- day “prayer..
People who notice details might have observed I would like to take this point further to suggest that the description of this panel that appears on the that the terms communities of faith and people of Ten Percent Society literature is different than the faith are inapplicable in the Christian or any other one included on the Philosophy and Religion religious context as well. One does not have faith in Colloquium announcements. This is intentional; I..
"This book does not treat Smith as an historical curiosity who has accomplished all that he was capable of. It treats Smith as someone with a contemporary message. That capitalism is the dominant political system in the contemporary world is almost without doubt. That capitalism is succeeding, however, is much more contentious. I will argue that Smith would challenge such claims of success. As the standard of living rises in most of the world, few could challenge the (...) notion that vast numbers of people are being left behind. While some countries gorge themselves into obesity, others starve. Furthermore, while the information revolution has made access to recorded knowledge easier than ever, global cultural experience is becoming whitewashed in a money- and media-driven frenzy of homogeneity. Every generation has complained that their successors are intellectually inferior and poorly educated. Sometimes the weaker of us are forced to wonder whether this time it might be true.". (shrink)
John Rawls, the Harvard Professor, died rights open to any and all challenges, even stupid last month. He was, without question, the most ones. important political philosopher of the Twentieth What does a country do when faced century. It is a terrible time to lose him because with a person, group, or nation that claims that America, and the world, is faced with dire such rights are not obvious but dubious? What questions of justice, rights, and political stability. do we (...) do when faced with an enemy – foreign or These are questions that Rawls spent his life domestic – who rejects justice? Wars were pursuing, and his answers, while not always fought for much less; wars are being fought for convincing, taught us a great deal about much less. Believers in the rights announced by ourselves, and our political priorities. the Declaration of Independence need a theory Few people have heard of Rawls. In that can justify inalienable rights more part, this is because he shied away from convincingly than by simply appealing to publicity, but mostly this is because Americans Jefferson’s personal preference. This is where tend not to regard philosophy as important. John Rawls comes in. Many college students who become interested in In his 1971 book, A Theory of Justice, the subject are pressured by their parents to study Rawls attempted to provide a justification of something else because, their parents claim, rights that would apply to all people, for all time, philosophy is not practical. It is, in fact, quite that everyone would ultimately consent to no difficult to get a job as a philosopher, but matter who they are or what religious or cultural philosophy itself is far from useless. Virtually beliefs they held. This is a massive achievement, everything that we value comes out of and in addition to a lifetime of success in his philosophy in one form or another. chosen field, it won him the Medal of Honor Political philosophy, for example, is from Bill Clinton in 1999. responsible for the creation of individual rights, Rawls revised his theory throughout his theories of justice and equality, the creation of career but his early work will be his most lasting. capitalism and the free market (and, of course, It will be read for generations alongside the opposing theories such as communism and greatest of philosophers, partly because at its anarchy).. (shrink)
A. Twentieth Century Progressivism............................................ 4 B. Nineteenth Century Reforms................................................... 6 C. Historians on Progressivism................................................... 8 D. Contemporary Issues in Progressive Theory.............................. 9..
to Mankind in general”. The same holds for the “Ties of Blood”, which let us prefer the interests of our close relatives. He realizes that such a denial of private desire may be strenuous, and he offers two ways out: On the one hand, he says that we have to cultivate public affections – which shows that not all customs and habits are bad and not all natural dispositions are good. On the other, he claims that those who are most (...) benevolent to their relatives are, as an empirical fact, also most beneficient for the public at large, so that there is no real conflict. Hutcheson’s consideration for “oeconomy” and his presentation of moral relations by mathematical formulas foreshadows Bentham’s utilitarianism, and Hutcheson’s theory of punishment anticipates Bentham’s reforms: “Who can dwell upon a Scene of Tortures, tho practis’d upon the vilest Wretch; or can delight either in the Sight or Description of Vengeance, prolonged beyond all necessity of Self-Defense, or publick Interest? […] Human Punishments are only Methods of Self-Defense; in which the Degrees of Guilt are not the proper Measure, but the Necessity of restraining Actions for the Safety of the Publick”. (shrink)
In analyzing specific battles, many pundits will point to the Paul Wellstone memorial service as a major tactical mistake, one that alienated the electorate at large and did more harm than good. The Republicans assaulted the event immediately, charging Wellstone's mourners with wrongly converting a memorial into a political rally, calling it the worst kind of partisanship.
In the midst of a long and unpredictable rules are in alignment with those set forth by the election season, American voters find themselves divine. Martin Luther King, Jr. made this exact asking very difficult questions: How is the..
Our children need ethical skills as much as they need and wisdom, and substitutes regurgitation for any others, and if we wish our children to grow up to judgment. It presumes, for example, that if we can be good people and good citizens, we must allow for..
In this paper, I examine the claim that Rawls’s overlapping consensus is too narrow to allow most mainstream religions’ participation in political discourse. I do so by asking whether religious exclusion is a consequence of belief or action, using conversion as a paradigm case. After concluding that this objection to Rawls is, in fact, defensible, and that the overlapping consensus excludes both religious belief and action, I examine an alternative approach to managing religious pluralism as presented by Adam Smith. I (...) show that Smith’s so-called “marketplace of religions” assumes and encourages religious conversion. I then offer objections to Smith’s approach from Rawls’s point of view, concluding that, while Rawls cannot adequately respond to the Smithian challenge, in the end the two positions are complimentary. (shrink)
Nicholas Phillipson’s biography of Adam Smith was published just forty-five days before the second edition of Ian Simpson Ross’s definitive biography The Life of Adam Smith (Oxford, 2010).The contrast is telling. Ross’s is a book for scholars with ubiquitous in-text references to recent scholarship. Phillipson’s is a narrative intellectual biography for a wider audience that relegates recent work to the bibliography. Ross is reticent to make claims about Smith’s motivations, but Phillipson thrives on it. Ross is usually explicit when he (...) takes positions on controversial issues, but Phillipson’s interpretations dominate the text. In short, it is easier to see how Ross’s work fits into contemporary debate, but it is .. (shrink)
In this article, I examine Adam Smith's theory of the ways individuals in society bridge social and biological difference. In doing so, I emphasize the divisive effects of gender, race, and class to see if Smith's account of social unity can overcome such fractious forces. My discussion uses the metaphor of “proximity” to mean both physical and psychological distance between moral actors and spectators. I suggest that education – both formal and informal in means – can assist moral judgment by (...) helping agents minimize the effects of proximity, and, ultimately, learn commonality where difference may otherwise seem overwhelming. This article uses the methods of the history of philosophy in order to examine an issue within contemporary discourse. While I seek to offer an authentic reading of Smith representative of his eighteenth-century perspective, I do so with an eye towards determining the extent to which Smith anticipated central issues in modern multiculturalism. (Published Online April 18 2006) Footnotes1 I would like to thank Luc Bovens, Kim Donehower, David Levy, Elizabeth Sund, and Leah M. McClimans, for their help on previous drafts of this article. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to investigate appropriate methods for educating students into citizenship within a pluralistic state and to explain why civic education is itself important. In this discussion, I will offer suggestions as to how students might be best prepared for their future political roles as participants in a democracy, and how we, as theorists, ought to structure institutions and curricula in order to ensure that students are adequately trained for political decision making. The paper is divided (...) into six sections. In the first two sections, I argue that community is a learned understanding and that such education,even when it supports liberal commitments,cannot be neutral. I use the social contract tradition as an entrance into the perpetual nature of conflict within a pluralist society. In the third and fourth sections, I develop a pedagogy geared towards educating students into what I call cognitive conflict, and argue that the arts, widely understood, should be privileged over other disciplines. In the fifth section, I examine two difficulties inherent inmy pedagogy â first that it seems to demandthat all perspectives be taught, and second that it seems to promote anxiety among students. In the final section, I ask that political theory reexamine the role of harmony in justice. I conclude that a managed conflictis a more acceptable organizational description of liberal political structures. (shrink)