Journal of the History of Philosophy 49 (4):499-501 (2011)

Jack Weinstein
University of North Dakota, Grand Forks
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 ..
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DOI 10.1353/hph.2011.0086
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