Written by Richard Wiseman, sergeant-surgeon to King Charles II of England, ‘A Treatise on the King’s-Evil’ within his magnum opus Severall Chirurgicall Treatises, acts as a proto-case series which explores the treatment and cure of 91 patients with the King’s-Evil. Working within the confines of the English monarch’s ability to cure the disease with their miraculous touch, Wiseman simultaneously elevates and extends the potential to heal to biomedicine. Wiseman’s work on the King’s-Evil provides an interesting window through which the political (...) expediency of the monarch’s thaumaturgic touch may be explored. The dependence of the thaumaturgic touch on liturgy, theatricality and its inherent political economy in Restoration England allowed Wiseman to appropriate the traditionally monarchical role of healer as his own, by drawing attention to a medical ritual of healing that was as reliant, just as the theatrical ritual of monarchical thaumaturgy was, on symbolic binaries of healer–healed, head–body and touch–sight. (shrink)
The purpose of Donald Winch’s "historiographic revision" is to show that most recent interpretations of Smith have distorted his meaning because they have misread the intention of Smith’s work, treating it either as the first great justification of the nascent liberal capitalist polity, or as such a justification infiltrated by intimations of the Marxian notion of alienation. In Winch’s view, either account of Smith’s project is misleading by virtue of imposing nineteenth-century perspectives and categories upon "what is quintessentially a work (...) of the eighteenth century." The problem, then, is to determine the historically appropriate context or problematic within which the complex and at times paradoxical thought of the Wealth of Nations, the Theory of Moral Sentiments, and the Lectures on Jurisprudence can reasonably be situated. As Winch notes, his study is an application of the contextualist methodological principles of Quentin Skinner and J. G. A. Pocock, and is similar in design to recent works on Locke by John Dunn and on Hume by Duncan Forbes. (shrink)
In the late 19th century great changes in theories of light and electricity were in direct conflict with certitude, the view that scientific knowledge is infallible. What is, then, the epistemic status of scientific theory? To resolve this issue Duhem and Poincaré proposed images of fallible knowledge, Instrumentalism and Conventionalism, respectively. Only in 1919–1922, after Einstein's relativity was published, he offered arguments to support Fallibilism, the view that certainty cannot be achieved in science. Though Einstein did not consider Duhem's Instrumentalism, (...) he argued against Poincaré's Conventionalism. Hitherto, Einstein's Fallibilism, as presented at first in a rarely known essay of 1919, was left in the dark. Recently, Howard obscured its meaning. Einstein's essay was never translated into English. In my paper I provide its translation and attempt to shed light on Einstein's view and its context; I also direct attention to Einstein's images of philosophical opportunism in scientific practice. (shrink)
By the standard of popular approval, the South African state has no legitimacy, since only whites are enfranchised and blacks are being denationalized. This institutionalized politicization of ethnicity increasingly erodes the efficiency of private and state institutions alike. Enforced ethnic identities without representative leadership undermine proposed liberal arrangements of negotiated power-sharing as well as the government policy of cooptation. In the absence of political democracy, politicized labor relations substitute for restricted mobilization elsewhere. There are three basic responses to this legitimation (...) crisis of the South African state: 1) the radical left response of revolutionary reversal of power 2) the reformist business response of co-optation and 3) the technocratic government response of further political separation with increased economic collaboration. (shrink)
The article aims to present the concepts of Adam Smith which are important considering the current disputes over liberalism, as well as the challenge that is the maintenance of the world’s economic order. Firstly, the article analyses the significance of the division of labour which is perceived as a fundamental premise for transitioning from small communities and face-to-face exchanges to the impersonal exchange and the expanded social order in which relations with strangers become meaningful. Secondly, the present work indicates (...) that Smith did not neglect the matter of justice when proclaiming the need for freedom. He believed that efficient functioning of the market depends on the political system and a man’s ethical system, and his criticism of interventionism was not directed against the state as an institution co-creating the social order, but against the act of granting special privileges to certain interest groups. Thirdly, the article refers to the concept of coordination described by Scottish moral philosophers and the so-called Smith Problem. In this context, the article presents arguments against the assumption that John Nash’s theory provided proof of the erroneous nature of Adam Smith’s concepts. Arguments in favour of the timelessness of the economic philosophy of the father of economics are also drawn from Vernon Smith’s experimental economy and the research of evolutionary psychologists. (shrink)
The creation story in Genesis speaks of humankind being given dominion over nature. Does this support the view that nature has solely instrumental value, and is of worth only insofar as it serves the necessities and conveniences of the human species? Does dominion amount to unfettered domination here? An interpretation of the story is advanced employing procedures of practical criticism. Three central images are focussed on: Adam's being given dominion over the other creatures, his naming of them, and his (...) being made in God's likeness. It is argued that these images, in their qualification and enrichment of each other, develop the idea that animals are of worth independently of their usefulness to us. Other key parts of the Bible, that at first may seem to promote unfettered domination, are shown to be more properly read as supporting an animal-benign religious ethics. (shrink)
Adam Smith’s account of sympathy or ‘fellow feeling’ has recently become exceedingly popular. It has been used as an antecedent of the concept of simulation: understanding, or attributing mental states to, other people by means of simulating them. It has also been singled out as the first correct account of empathy. Finally, to make things even more complicated, some of Smith’s examples for sympathy or ‘fellow feeling’ have been used as the earliest expression of emotional contagion. The aim of (...) the paper is to suggest a new interpretation of Smith’s concept of sympathy and point out that on this interpretation some of the contemporary uses of this concept, as a precursor of simulation and empathy, are misleading. My main claim is that Smith's concept of sympathy, unlike simulation and empathy, does not imply any correspondence between the mental states of the sympathizer and of the person she is sympathizing with. (shrink)
This study analyses the influence that Adam Smith's philosophy had on his Wealth of Nations, and reveals the unity in Smith's extensive system of morals, politics, and economics. It concludes that Smith was motivated by a political ideal, which was moral liberalism.
Adam Smith wrote two books, one about economics and the other about morality. How do these books go together? How do markets and morality mix? James Otteson provides a comprehensive examination and interpretation of Smith's moral theory and demonstrates how his conception of morality applies to his understanding of markets, language and other social institutions. Considering Smith's notions of natural sympathy, the impartial spectator, human nature and human conscience, the author addresses whether Smith thinks that moral judgments enjoy a (...) transcendent sanction. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 211 - 228 In this Reply, I argue that _pace_ Knud Haakonssen it is dubious that Adam Smith managed to ‘blow up’ Hugo Grotius’s universalist system of natural jurisprudence. Rather, Smith emerges as a closet rationalist who put forward crypto-normative universalist claims himself and found that he could not in the end improve upon Grotius’s system. Grotius was not seen by Smith as a ‘casuist’ _tout court_. I try to give an explanation (...) for the tensions introduced into Smith’s work by his incorporation of key aspects of Grotius’s theory of justice. Furthermore, I try to clarify in what regard Grotius should be seen as a novel and original thinker. Lastly, I argue in favor of according ideas and arguments their own weight, against a facile contextualism that is always in danger of falling prey to the genealogical fallacy. (shrink)
The invisible hand image is at the centre of contemporary debates about capacities of markets, on which discussion of many other topics in business ethics rests. However, its meaning in Adam Smith's writings remains obscure, particularly the religious associations that were obvious to early readers. He drew on Isaac Newton's theories of divine action and providence, mediated through the moderate Calvinism of the eighteenth century Scottish circles in which he moved. I argue within the context of Smith's general providential (...) account of markets, the invisible hand operates restrain inequality and capital flight, thereby stabilizing the market system. Such an understanding of the invisible hand raises questions for contemporary religious and secular discussions of the capacities of markets in the wake of the global financial crisis. (shrink)
1. Introduction Geoff Cockfield, Ann Firth and John Laurent -/- 2. The Role of Thumos in Adam Smith’s System Lisa Hill -/- 3. Adam Smith’s Treatment of the Greeks in The Theory of Moral Sentiments: The Case of Aristotle Richard Temple-Smith -/- 4. Adam Smith, Religion and the Scottish Enlightenment Pete Clarke -/- 5. The ‘New View’ of Adam Smith and the Development of his Views Over Time James E. Alvey -/- 6. The Moon Before the (...) Dawn: A Seventeenth-Century Precursor of Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments Jack Barbalet -/- 7. Adam Smith’s Moral Philosophy as Ethical Self-formation Ann Firth -/- 8. Science and its Applications in The Theory of Moral Sentiments David Thorpe -/- 9. Adam Smith, Charles Darwin and the Moral Sense John Laurent and Geoff Cockfield. (shrink)
Adam Smith’s ‘natural price’ has long been interpreted as a ‘normal price’ or ‘centre of gravitation price’ based on the famous gravitation metaphor of the Wealth of Nations I.vii, natural in the sense that it is the price that would … More ›.
Adam Smith argued in The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments that in order to create an effective and productive capitalist system, individuals must pursue interests of both the self and society. Despite this assertion, modern economic theory has become tightly focused on the pursuit of economic self-interests at the expense of other, higher order motives. This paper will argue that the tendency to employ such an egocentric strategy often generates externalities and inequalities that serve to (...) detract from the greater welfare of society. However, by tempering these economic self-interests with non-economically motivated considerations, this paper will suggest that individuals may create tremendous benefits to society, precisely as Smith outlined more than two centuries ago. In defense of this assertion, this paper will review an array of theoretical arguments and empirical findings that suggest that today''s entrepreneurs are not only seeking to satisfy both selfish and ethical motivations, but in so doing they are also contributing substantially to the overall welfare of society through job creation, wealth redistribution, and a lack of discrimination. As such, it appears that spirit and impact of the capitalist system that Smith envisioned is being realized through entrepreneurship. (shrink)
Adam Smith’s lasting fame certainly does not come from his work on language. He published very little on this topic and he is not usually mentioned in standard histories of linguistics or the philosophy of language. His most elaborate publication on the subject is a 1761 monograph on the origin and development of languages (FoL). Smith’s monograph joins a long list of speculative work on this then fashionable topic (cf. Hewes 1975, 1996). The fact that he later included it (...) as an appendix to his successful.. (shrink)
Chapter one is an introduction. In chapter two, I argue that, due to a lack of knowledge of Newton, Hume is unable to use the "Science of Man" to provide a foundation for the other sciences. Hume's account of causality and the missing shade of blue receive special attention. Hume tries, without paying attention to scientific practice, to constrain what science can be about. ;In chapter three, I reconstruct Adam Smith's epistemology. The major theoretical concept of Smith's moral psychology, (...) the "Impartial Spectator," illuminates his views on the articulation and reception of scientific theories; it brings out the open-ended, social and norm-governed nature of science. Sentiments motivate inquiry, but adopting its results can still be reasonable. After Newton, Smith is not a skeptic, but a realist. ;In chapter four, I explain Smith's methodology in Wealth of Nations . Smith employs a model to enable observed deviations from expected regularities to uncover genuine social causes and aid in improving theory in a potentially open-ended process of successive approximation. I draw on The History of Astronomy where Smith attacks Descartes for trying to explain away deviations from general rules. ;In Chapter five, I explain the political aims of Smith's WN. Smith is an Incremental Redistributionist . Smith's reform proposals and the values that guide his theorizing are in aid of the working poor. I attack a possible political counter-argument against this by attending to Smith's historical understanding of property; Smith's defense of property rights, following Hume's critique of Locke, is by no means absolute. Yet, Smith's appeals to "humanity" appear without justification in WN. ;In chapter six, I investigate the purpose of philosophy in commercial society. In the debate between Rousseau and Hume on philosophic self-understanding, between self-sufficiency and independence, Smith sides with the latter. Smith emphasizes, however, that once basic needs are met, friendship among equals is a more valuable than wealth; it provides happiness and is within every one's reach. Philosophers can enjoy immortality after death if they attempt to be benefactors to humanity, but Smith believes that philosophic friendship is its own and highest reward. (shrink)
Adam Smith’s formal legacy to posterity consisted of meticulously revised editions of his two published works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations; long-standing plans for treatises on Jurisprudence, Rhetoric, and the Fine Arts were abandoned on the grounds that there was no time to complete them. This chapter discusses Smith oeuvre as component parts of an unrealized plan to develop a Science of Man on experimental principles. Smith’s introduction to this grand projet as a student (...) is explored and the influence of Hutcheson and Hume is emphasized as is the fact that Smith developed both the published and unpublished components of his Science of Man simultaneously. The question of the meaning Smith attached to ‘science’ is a continuing theme of the chapter. (shrink)
D. D. Raphael examines the moral philosophy of Adam Smith (1723-90), best known for his famous work on economics, The Wealth of Nations, and shows that his thought still has much to offer philosophers today. Raphael gives particular attention to Smith's original theory of conscience, with its emphasis on the role of 'sympathy' (shared feelings).
Adam Smith was a philosopher before he ever wrote about economics, yet until now there has never been a philosophical commentary on the Wealth of Nations . Samuel Fleischacker suggests that Smith's vastly influential treatise on economics can be better understood if placed in the light of his epistemology, philosophy of science, and moral theory. He lays out the relevance of these aspects of Smith's thought to specific themes in the Wealth of Nations , arguing, among other things, that (...) Smith regards social science as an extension of common sense rather than as a discipline to be approached mathematically, that he has moral as well as pragmatic reasons for approving of capitalism, and that he has an unusually strong belief in human equality that leads him to anticipate, if not quite endorse, the modern doctrine of distributive justice. Fleischacker also places Smith's views in relation to the work of his contemporaries, especially his teacher Francis Hutcheson and friend David Hume, and draws out consequences of Smith's thought for present-day political and philosophical debates. The Companion is divided into five general sections, which can be read independently of one another. It contains an index that points to commentary on specific passages in Wealth of Nations . Written in an approachable style befitting Smith's own clear yet finely honed rhetoric, it is intended for professional philosophers and political economists as well as those coming to Smith for the first time. (shrink)
Adam Smith's name has become synonymous with free market economics. Recent scholarship has given us a richer, more nuanced figure, steeped in the intricacies of enlightenment social and political philosophy. Adam Smith's Discourse develops this literature and gives it a radical new dimension. The first book on Adam Smith to deal with recent debates in literary theory, this interdisciplinary work examines Smith's major texts and places them within the context of enlightenment thought. It considers Smith's major writings--the (...) Lectures on Jurisprudence and On Rhetoric and Belles Letters as well as The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations --and places each within its own discursive context and with reference to its stylistic and rhetorical features. Adam Smith's Discourse debunks the view of Smith as a dogmatic free-marketeer. In its place, the book offers a portrait of a more skeptical, philosophical andpolitically focused figure. It shows that Smith's enthusiasm for the transition to a society based on trade and manufacturing was tinged with a more dispassionate recognition of the losses as well as the benefits derived from commercial society. (shrink)
This book defines the relationship between the thought of Adam Smith and that of the ancients---Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and the Stoics. Vivenza offers a complete survey of all Smith's writings with the aim of illustrating how classical arguments shaped opinions and scholarship in the eighteenth century.
(2005). Wonder in the face of scientific revolutions: Adam Smith on Newton's ‘Proof’ of Copernicanism. British Journal for the History of Philosophy: Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 697-732. doi: 10.1080/09608780500293042.