Adam Smith on Morality and Self-Interest

In Christoph Luetge (ed.), Handbook of the Philosophical Foundations of Business Ethics. Springer. pp. 281--296 (2013)
Abstract
Adam Smith is respected as the father of contemporary economics for his work on systemizing classical economics as an independent field of study in The Wealth of Nations. But he was also a significant moral philosopher of the Scottish Enlightenment, with its characteristic concern for integrating sentiments and rationality. This article considers Adam Smith as a key moral philosopher of commercial society whose critical reflection upon the particular ethical challenges posed by the new pressures and possibilities of commercial society remains relevant today. The discussion has three parts. First I address the artificial separation between self-interest and morality often attributed to Smith, in which his work on economics is stripped of its ethical context. Second I outline Smith’s ethical approach to economics, focusing on his vigorous but qualified defence of commercial society for its contributions to prosperity, justice, and freedom. Third I outline Smith’s moral philosophy proper as combining a naturalistic account of moral psychology with a virtue ethics based on propriety in commercial society.
Keywords Virtue Ethics  Self-Command  Capitalism  Sympathy  Impartial Spectator  Prudence  Justice  Benevolence  Invisible Hand  Adam Smith
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 32,587
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Adam Smith's Marketplace of Life.James R. Otteson - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
Smith, Friedman, and Self-Interest in Ethical Society.Farhad Rassekh - 2000 - Business Ethics Quarterly 10 (3):659-674.
Adam Smith and Self-Interest.Eugene Heath - 2013 - In Christopher J. Berry, Maria Pia Paganelli & Craig Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith. Oxford University Press. pp. 241.
Sympathy, Beauty, and Sentiment: Adam Smith's Aesthetic Morality.Robert Fudge - 2009 - Journal of Scottish Philosophy 7 (2):133-146.
Added to PP index
2014-01-27

Total downloads
26 ( #225,203 of 2,235,700 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #56,575 of 2,235,700 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature