About this topic
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 1951. 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 — 50 / 836
  1. added 2019-01-23
    The Concept of Need in Adam Smith.Toru Yamamori - 2017 - Cambridge Journal of Economics 2 (41):327-347.
    There is no room for the concept of need in the prevailing neoclassical school of economics. Not so, however, in classical political economy. Through close analysis in this paper, I wish to trace the concept’s prominence in Adam Smith’s thought and to fine-tune its definitional aspects. The thrust of Smith’s argument is to delineate the mechanism via which the needs of the poorest in society are satisfied. Grounded in an understanding of need as limited and exhaustive rather than infinite, like (...)
  2. added 2019-01-08
    Alokacyjne konsekwencje wprowadzenia prywatnych dodatkowych/równoległych ubezpieczeń zdrowotnych w społeczeństwach kierujących się egoizmem, altruizmem lub zawiścią – perspektywa ekonomiczna.Christoph Sowada - 2017 - Diametros 51:90-112.
    Assessing the implementation of various instruments and solutions in a healthcare system, we cannot limit ourselves to examining their impact on the fulfillment of the criteria of justice and equity alone. Another important social objective is to maximize social welfare under the conditions of the scarcity of resources. The aim of the article is to analyze the impact on social welfare of the implementation of private insurance into the existing system of public security, with a view to the following factors: (...)
  3. added 2019-01-01
    A Comparison between Aristotle and Adam Smith on the Concepts of Justice.Elena Yi-Jia Zeng - 2018 - Shih Yuan, Journal of NTU History Department 9:33-61.
    The concept of Justice constitutes a requisite foundation in Aristotle’s and Adam Smith’s (1723-1790) moral thought. This essay examines Smith’s understanding and application of the Aristotelian concept of justice through a comparative study, which elucidates the prima facie resemblance between Smith’s and Aristotle’s moral thought. It also attests that both the thinkers acknowledge the external and internal meaning of justice, namely, the harmony of the whole society and the moral agent’s state of character. Smith’s commitment to the theory of justice (...)
  4. added 2019-01-01
    A Review of Alexander Broadie's A History of Scottish Philosophy. [REVIEW]Elena Yi-Jia Zeng - 2018 - NTU Philosophical Review 56:177-202.
    Scottish philosophy and intellectual history have become the increasingly fashionable fields of academic studies. Alexander Broadie, one of the pioneers and an accomplished scholar of the Scottish Enlightenment, returns to the basic question, namely, “what is Scottish philosophy?”, and presents a comprehensive work on the history of Scottish philosophy. Broadie successfully elucidates the nature and significance of Scottish philosophy both historically and philosophically. He argues that Scottish philosophy must be studied in its historical context, for it is not only a (...)
  5. added 2018-12-31
    Hume on Church Establishments, Secular Politics and History.Aaron Szymkowiak - 2017 - Diametros 54:95-117.
    In the third volume of the History of England, David Hume considers the political ramifications of the Protestant reformation with a “Digression concerning the ecclesiastical state.” He advocates the establishment of a state church, believing it will dampen religious “enthusiasm” in the polity. Unlike later secularization theorists, Hume assumes an intractable basis for religion in the human passions. Tensions in Hume’s “cooptation” strategy are evident from Adam Smith’s famous attack upon it in section five of The Wealth of Nations, and (...)
  6. added 2018-10-02
    Ape Imagination? A Sentimentalist Critique of Frans de Waal’s Gradualist Theory of Human Morality.Paul Carron - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (3-4):22.
    This essay draws on Adam Smith’s moral sentimentalism to critique primatologist Frans de Waal’s gradualist theory of human morality. De Waal has spent his career arguing for continuity between primate behavior and human morality, proposing that empathy is a primary moral building block evident in primate behavior. Smith’s moral sentimentalism—with its emphasis on the role of sympathy in moral virtue—provides the philosophical framework for de Waal’s understanding of morality. Smith’s notion of sympathy and the imagination involved in sympathy is qualitatively (...)
  7. added 2018-09-18
    Jalousie.Frédéric Minner - 2018 - Encyclopédie Philosophique.
    On conçoit souvent la jalousie comme une émotion ayant pour objet les relations de proximité (amour, amitié, fratrie, etc.). Elle a généralement mauvaise presse et est typiquement envisagée comme une émotion moralement condamnable, voire comme un vice. Or, la jalousie ne porte pas uniquement sur les relations de proximité : elle peut également porter sur divers biens (prestige, richesses, biens matériels, privilèges, etc.). Par ailleurs, certains auteurs soutiennent que des cas de jalousie pourraient être moralement justifiés, voire que la jalousie (...)
  8. added 2018-09-16
    Smith on Moral Sentiment and Moral Luck.Paul Russell - 1999 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 16 (1):37 - 58.
    Smith's views on moral luck have attracted little attention in the relevant contemporary literature on this subject.* More surprising, perhaps, the material in the secondary literature directly concerned with Smith's moral philosophy is rather thin on this aspect of his thought. In this paper my particular concern is to provide an interpretation and critical assessment of Smith on moral luck. I begin with a description of the basic features of Smith's position; then I criticize two particularly important claims that are (...)
  9. added 2018-09-06
    Moral Sense Theory and the Development of Kant's Ethics.Michael Walschots - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Western Ontario
    This dissertation investigates a number of ways in which an eighteenth century British philosophical movement known as “moral sense theory” influenced the development of German philosopher Immanuel Kant’s (1724-1804) moral theory. I illustrate that Kant found both moral sense theory’s conception of moral judgement and its conception of moral motivation appealing during the earliest stage of his philosophical development, but eventually came to reject its conception of moral judgement, though even in his early writings Kant preserves certain features of its (...)
  10. added 2018-07-23
    Adam Smith et le compte rendu (1756) du Discours sur l’inégalité parmi les hommes de Rousseau.Daniel Schulthess - 2012 - In Michel-E. Slatkine (ed.), Vitam Impendere Vero : Hommage à Raymond Trousson et Frédéric S. Eigeldinger. Genève-Paris: Slatkine-Champion. pp. 263-274.
    The article is about Adam Smith’s short account of J. J. Rousseau’s Deuxième Discours in a Letter to the Edinburgh Review (1756). Special attention is payed to how the report deals with its subject. Smith proposes a surprising rapprochement between Rousseau and Mandeville. Both deny the natural sociability of man (while recognizing his aptitude to pity others) and show the biased nature of the principles of civil life. The difference would be only “stylistic”: whereas the “aristocrat” Mandeville makes the apologue (...)
  11. added 2018-07-23
    La psychologie politique d’Adam Smith: Biais cognitifs et différences sociales dans la Théorie des sentiments moraux.Daniel Schulthess - 2009 - Studia Philosophica: Jahrbuch Der Schweizerischen Philosoph Ischen Gesellschaft, Annuaire de la Société Suisse de Philosphie 68:207-218.
    In his Theory of moral Sentiments , Adam Smith does not deal only with interpersonal moral issues. He also addresses some economic and political consequences that tie with his analysis of ‘sympathy’. Interestingly, these socially relevant outcomes do not feature as products of sympathy proper, but rather as byproducts of certain ‘irregularities’ or biases which affect the way sympathy actually works. The stability of a political society through a system of ‘ranks’ which are spontaneously granted a share of authority thus (...)
  12. added 2018-06-16
    Honor in Political and Moral Philosophy.Peter Olsthoorn - 2015 - State University of New York Press.
    In this history of the development of ideas of honor in Western philosophy, Peter Olsthoorn examines what honor is, how its meaning has changed, and whether it can still be of use. Political and moral philosophers from Cicero to John Stuart Mill thought that a sense of honor and concern for our reputation could help us to determine the proper thing to do, and just as important, provide us with the much-needed motive to do it. Today, outside of the military (...)
  13. added 2018-02-28
    E. Edson and E. Savage-Smith, Medieval Views of the Cosmos. With a Foreword by Terry Jones. Oxford: Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, 2004. Paper. Pp. 122; Color Frontispiece, 59 Color Figures, and Color Diagrams. $28. Distributed by the University of Chicago Press. [REVIEW]Naomi Reed Kline - 2006 - Speculum 81 (3):841-842.
  14. added 2018-01-25
    Problems with the Appeal to Intuition in Epistemology.Adam Feltz - 2008 - Philosophical Explorations 11 (2):131 – 141.
    George Bealer argues that intuitions are not only reliable indicators of truth, they are necessary to the philosophical endeavor. Specifically, he thinks that intuitions are essential sources of evidence for epistemic justification. I argue that Bealer's defense of intuitions either (1) is insufficient to show that actual human beings are in a position to use intuitions for epistemic justification, or (2) begs the question. The growing empirical data about our intuitions support the view that humans are not creatures appropriately positioned (...)
  15. added 2018-01-18
    Adam Smith’s Vision of the Ethical Manager.George Bragues - 2009 - Journal of Business Ethics 90 (S4):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 (...)
  16. added 2017-10-20
    Love Redirected: On Adam Smith's Love of Praiseworthiness.Sveinung Sundfør Sivertsen - 2017 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 15 (1):101-123.
    Why be moral? Why, in the language of Adam Smith, act on what you think is praiseworthy even when it does not get you praise from other people? Because, answers Smith, you love praiseworthiness. But what is this love of praiseworthiness, and where does it come from? In this article, 1) I argue that we start to love praiseworthiness when we redirect our love of praise away from other people toward the ‘impartial spectator’-aspect of ourselves, and 2) show how this (...)
  17. added 2017-10-04
    “Engineering Hubris: Adam Smith and the Quest for the Perfect Machine.”.Scott Forschler - 2014 - In David Goldberg, Natasha Mccarthy & Diane Michelfelder (eds.), Philosophy and Engineering: Reflections on Practice, Principles and Process. New York: Springer. pp. 267-277.
    I describe several historical cases of engineers or inventors obsessed with perfecting their products, illustrating how in some of those cases the perfectionist impulse led to tremendously valuable innovation, while in others to disaster, or at least to failure of the project to make the mark in history it otherwise could have. The psychological tendency towards perfecting an instrument for achieving some telos beyond what is pragmatically necessary or even desirable was diagnosed by Adam Smith, and may always be a (...)
  18. added 2017-02-28
    Love's Enlightenment: Rethinking Charity in Modernity.Ryan Patrick Hanley - 2017 - Cambridge University Press.
    A number of prominent moral philosophers and political theorists have recently called for a recovery of love. But what do we mean when we speak of love today? Love's Enlightenment examines four key conceptions of other-directedness that transformed the meaning of love and helped to shape the way we understand love today: Hume's theory of humanity, Rousseau's theory of pity, Smith's theory of sympathy, and Kant's theory of love. It argues that these four Enlightenment theories are united by a shared (...)
  19. added 2017-02-16
    SMITH, GERARD, S. J. "The Truth That Frees". [REVIEW]Vernon J. Bourke - 1956 - Modern Schoolman 34:306.
  20. added 2017-02-16
    Smith, Vincent Edward. "The Philosophical Frontiers of Physics". [REVIEW]Brian Coffey - 1947 - Modern Schoolman 25:202.
  21. added 2017-02-15
    Spread the Wealth: More Haves Fewer Have-Nots.David R. Breuhan - 2009 - Hamilton Books.
    This book offers a new approach to current economic policies in the United States. Anchored in the historically successful policies of free trade, stable currency, and private property rights, this superbly researched work leads the way in offering a renaissance in modern economic thought.
  22. added 2017-02-15
    Worlds Before Adam: The Reconstruction of Geohistory in the Age of Reform. [REVIEW]Claudine Cohen - 2009 - British Journal for the History of Science 42 (3):434-435.
  23. added 2017-02-14
    New Wealth for Old Nations: Scotland's Economic Prospects.Diane Coyle, Wendy Alexander & Brian Ashcroft (eds.) - 2005 - Princeton University Press.
    And faster growth must be seen to improve opportunities for the population as a whole. Further, setting out the evidence--as this book does for Scotland--is vital to overcoming entrenched institutional barriers to policy reform.
  24. added 2017-02-14
    An Early Irish Adam and Eve: Saltair Na Rann and the Traditions of the Fall.Brian Murdoch - 1973 - Mediaeval Studies 35 (1):146-177.
  25. added 2017-02-13
    "Christian Philosophy and Its Future," by Gerard Smith, S.J., Ed. B. H. Zedler.Richard J. Westley - 1975 - Modern Schoolman 52 (4):474-474.
  26. added 2017-02-12
    Comments on Smith and Wagner.Paul Breines - 1992 - Theory and Society 21 (4):533-541.
  27. added 2017-02-12
    Wealth and Virtue.Richard B. Sher - 1984 - Philosophical Books 25 (3):149-152.
  28. added 2017-02-10
    Beyond the Post-Modern Mind. By Huston Smith.Roland J. Teske - 1984 - Modern Schoolman 61 (3):207-207.
  29. added 2017-02-10
    Revelation and Theology. By E. Schillebeeckx, O. P. Tr. N. D. Smith.Eugene L. Donahue - 1968 - Modern Schoolman 46 (1):68-69.
  30. added 2017-01-31
    Response to Adam Swift on Private Schools.Antony Flew - unknown
  31. added 2017-01-31
    Response to Adam Swift on Private Schools.Antony Flew - unknown
  32. added 2017-01-30
    Fact and Feeling: Baconian Science and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. Jonathan Smith.Tess Cosslett - 1995 - Isis 86 (3):503-504.
  33. added 2017-01-29
    Charlotte Smith's Subversive Gothic.Katherine Ellis - 1976 - Feminist Studies 3 (3/4):51.
  34. added 2017-01-29
    B. Smith's "Memory". [REVIEW]Donald Gustafson - 1967 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 28 (2):295.
  35. added 2017-01-29
    A. H. Smith, Kantian Studies. [REVIEW]H. J. Paton - 1947 - Hibbert Journal 46:86.
  36. added 2017-01-29
    J. Sutherland Black and George Chrystal, The Life of William Robertson Smith. [REVIEW]S. A. Cook - 1912 - Hibbert Journal 11:211.
  37. added 2017-01-29
    The Smith-Watson System of Memory & Mental Training, by W.K. Smith and A. Watson.William K. Smith & Alfred Watson - 1892
  38. added 2017-01-28
    On Value and Value: A Reply to Quentin Smith: Discussion.Jonathan Westphal - 1991 - Philosophy 66 (258):525-526.
    In ‘Concerning the Absurdity of Life’ Quentin Smith accuses us of contradicting ourselves in our argument against Thomas Nagel. On the one hand we said that Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 is not ‘insignificant’ compared with cosmic radiation. On the other we said that the life of a man of integrity or humanity could be lived without a formal claim to Value, so that there was nothing for Nagel's external perspective to negate. But where is the contradiction? We put ‘emotional (...)
  39. added 2017-01-28
    Perush Ha-Rambam la-Sipurim Al Adam Be-Farashat Be-Reshit Perakim Be-Torat Ha-Adam Shel Ha-Rambam.Sara Klein-Braslavy - 1986 - R. Mas.
  40. added 2017-01-28
    SMITH, B. - "Memory". [REVIEW]H. Heidelberger - 1968 - Mind 77:451.
  41. added 2017-01-28
    Comment on M. B. Smith's Review of Wilber's Work on Il Khanid Architecture.Arthur Upham Pope - 1957 - Journal of the American Oriental Society 77 (3):216-217.
  42. added 2017-01-28
    SMITH, A. H. - Kantian Studies. [REVIEW]A. C. A. Rainer - 1947 - Mind 56:364.
  43. added 2017-01-28
    L'idéalisme de Villiers de l'Isle-Adam.Christiaan Johannes Cornelis van der Meulen - 1925 - H.J. Paris.
  44. added 2017-01-28
    Smith's A Primer of Logic.E. R. Guthrie - 1917 - Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 14 (26):717.
  45. added 2017-01-28
    On W. B. Smith's Biblical Criticism.K. Borinski - 1911 - The Monist 21:307.
  46. added 2017-01-28
    Meaning of the Epithet. By W. B. Smith.Nazorean Nazorean - 1905 - The Monist 15:25.
  47. added 2017-01-27
    Smith on Economic Happiness: Rejoinder to Dennis C. Rasmussen.Douglas Den Uyl & Douglas Rasmussen - 2011 - Reason Papers 33:102-106.
  48. added 2017-01-27
    Adam Smith on Commerce and Happiness: A Response to Den Uyl and Rasmussen.Dennis Rasmussen - 2011 - Reason Papers 33:95-101.
  49. added 2017-01-27
    Adam Smith on Economic Happiness.Douglas Den Uyl & Douglas Rasmussen - 2010 - Reason Papers 32:29-40.
  50. added 2017-01-27
    Adam H. Becker. [REVIEW]Maria Dobozy - 2006 - Speculum 81 (4):1181-1183.
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