Preface Introduction Christopher J. Berry: Adam Smith: Outline of Life, Times, and Legacy Part One: Adam Smith: Heritage and Contemporaries 1: Nicholas Phillipson: Adam Smith: A Biographer's Reflections 2: Leonidas Montes: Newtonianism and Adam Smith 3: Dennis C. Rasmussen: Adam Smith and Rousseau: Enlightenment and counter-Enlightenment 4: Christopher J. Berry: Adam Smith and Early Modern Thought Part Two: Adam Smith on Language, Art and Culture 5: Catherine Labio: Adam Smith's Aesthetics 6: James Chandler: Adam Smith as Critic 7: Michael C. (...) Amrozowicz: Adam Smith: History and Poetics 8: C. Jan Swearingen: Adam Smith on Language and Rhetoric: The Ethics of Style, Character, and Propriety Part Three: Adam Smith and Moral Philosophy 9: Christel Fricke: Adam Smith: The Sympathetic Process and the Origin and Function of Conscience 10: Duncan Kelly: Adam Smith and the Limits of Sympathy 11: Ryan Patrick Hanley: Adam Smith and Virtue 12: Eugene Heath: Adam Smith and Self-Interest Part Four: Adam Smith and Economics 13: Tony Aspromourgos: Adam Smith on Labour and Capital 14: Nerio Naldi: Adam Smith on Value and Prices 15: Hugh Rockoff: Adam Smith on Money, Banking, and the Price Level 16: Maria Pia Paganelli: Commercial Relations: from Adam Smith to Field Experiments Part Five: Adam Smith on History and Politics 17: Spiros Tegos: Adam Smith: Theorist of Corruption 18: David M. Levy & Sandra J. Peart: Adam Smith and the State: Language and Reform 19: Fabrizio Simon: Adam Smith and the Law 20: Edwin van de Haar: Adam Smith on Empire and International Relations Part Six: Adam Smith on Social Relations 21: Richard Boyd: Adam Smith, Civility, and Civil Society 22: Gavin Kennedy: Adam Smith on Religion 23: Samuel Fleischacker: Adam Smith and Equality 24: Maureen Harkin: Adam Smith and Women Part Seven; Adam Smith: Legacy and Influence 25: Spencer J. Pack: Adam Smith and Marx 26: Craig Smith: Adam Smith and the New Right 27: Tom Campbell: Adam Smith: Methods, Morals and Markets 28: Amartya Sen: The Contemporary Relevance of Adam Smith. (shrink)
When Adam Smith published his celebrated writings on economics and moral philosophy he famously referred to the operation of an invisible hand. Adam Smith's Political Philosophy makes visible the invisible hand by examining its significance in Smith's political philosophy and relating it to similar concepts used by other philosophers, revealing a distinctive approach to social theory that stresses the significance of the unintended consequences of human action. This book introduces greater conceptual clarity to the discussion of the invisible hand and (...) the related concept of unintended order in the work of Smith and in political theory more generally. By examining the application of spontaneous order ideas in the work of Smith, Hume, Hayek and Popper, Adam Smith's Political Philosophy traces similarities in approach and from these builds a conceptual, composite model of an invisible hand argument. While setting out a clear model of the idea of spontaneous order the book also builds the case for using the idea of spontaneous order as an explanatory social theory, with chapters on its application in the fields of science, moral philosophy, law and government. (shrink)
The following interview of Mark William Westmoreland with Anthony Paul Smith–well-known scholar and translator of François Laruelle –considers both implications and extensions of Laruelle's non-philosophy for contemporary thought. Smith has helped bring about a surge of interest in Laruelle due to his many translations of his texts as well as being the author or co-editor of several books on Laruelle. Discussed are in particular the difficulties and joys of translating and the usefulness of Laruelle's thought for Smith's own work, especially (...) in environmental and animal studies. Also considered are some themes of non-philosophy, the adaptability of Laruelle's thought for various disciplines, as well as new paths for Laruelle studies –new, unforeseen landscapes and uses of non-philosophy –that explore social phenomena such as race, racism, sexism, victim a.o. (shrink)
John E. Smith has contributed to contemporary philosophy in primarily four distinct capacities; first, as a philosopher of religion and God; second, as an indefatigable defender of philosophical reflection in its classical sense ( a sense inclusive of, but not limited to, metaphysics); third, as a participant in the reconstruction of experience and reason so boldly inaugurated by Hegel then redically transformed by the classical American pragmatists, and significantly augmented by such thinkers as Josiah Royce, william Earnest Hocking, and Alfred (...) North Whitehead; fourth, as an interpreter of philosophical texts and traditions (Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche no less than Charles Peirce, WIlliam James and John Dewey; German idealism as well as American; the Augustinian tradition no less than the pragmatic). Reason, Experience, and God provides an important and comprehensive look at the work of John E. Smith by collected essays which each address aspects of his life-long work. A response by John E. Smith himself draws a line of continuity between the pieces. (shrink)
Recently two distinct forms of rule-utilitarianism have been introduced that differ on how to measure the consequences of rules. Brad Hooker advocates fixed-rate rule-utilitarianism, while Michael Ridge advocates variable-rate rule-utilitarianism. I argue that both of these are inferior to a new proposal, optimum-rate rule-utilitarianism. According to optimum-rate rule-utilitarianism, an ideal code is the code whose optimum acceptance level is no lower than that of any alternative code. I then argue that all three forms of rule-utilitarianism fall prey to two fatal (...) problems that leave us without any viable form of rule-utilitarianism. (shrink)
Twentieth century philosophers introduced the distinction between “objective rightness” and “subjective rightness” to achieve two primary goals. The first goal is to reduce the paradoxical tension between our judgments of what is best for an agent to do in light of the actual circumstances in which she acts and what is wisest for her to do in light of her mistaken or uncertain beliefs about her circumstances. The second goal is to provide moral guidance to an agent who may be (...) uncertain about the circumstances in which she acts, and hence is unable to use her standard moral principle directly in deciding what to do. This paper distinguishes two important senses of “moral guidance”; proposes criteria of adequacy for accounts of subjective rightness; canvasses existing definitions for “subjective rightness”; finds them all deficient; and proposes a new and more successful account. It argues that each comprehensive moral theory must include multiple principles of subjective rightness to address the epistemic situations of the full range of moral decision-makers, and shows that accounts of subjective rightness formulated in terms of what it would reasonable for the agent to believe cannot provide that guidance. (shrink)
Why would God make us ask for some good He might supply, and why would it be right for God to withhold that good unless and until we asked for it? We explain why present defences of petitionary prayer are insufficient, but argue that a world in which God makes us ask for some goods and then supplies them in response to our petitions adds value to the world that would not be available in worlds in which God simply supplied (...) such goods without our asking for them. This added value, we argue, is what we call ‘partnership with God’. (shrink)
An assessment is made of Rudolf Otto's criticisms of Friedrich Schleiermacher's claim that religious feeling is to be interpreted as essentially involving a feeling of absolute dependence. Otto's criticisms are divided into two kinds. The first suggest that a feeling a dependence, even an absolute one, is the wrong sort of feeling to locate at the heart of religious consciousness. It is argued that this criticism is based on misinterpretations of Schleiermacher's view, which is in fact much closer to Otto's (...) than the latter appreciated. The second kind of criticism suggests that the feeling of absolute dependence cannot play the foundational role assigned to it by Schleiermacher, since it is itself a secondary response. It is argued not only that Otto provides no justification for this criticism, but that Otto's own position is incoherent unless Schleiermacher's view is accepted. (shrink)
James Lenman is critical of my claim that moral requirements are requirements of reason. I argue that his criticisms miss their target. More importantly, I argue that the anti-rationalism that informs Lenman's criticisms is itself implausible.
This essay contends that the debate between subjectivism and objectivism in ethics is better understood as a dispute among three alternatives: subjectivism, objectivism, and intrinsicism. Ayn Rand has identified intrinsicism – the belief that certain things are good “in, by, and of” themselves – as the doctrine that is actually operative in many defenses of moral objectivity. What intrinsicism fails to appreciate, however, is the significant role of the subject, the person to whom and for whom anything can be valuable. (...) Objective value, in Rand's view, is relational. Its existence depends on contributions of both external reality and human consciousness. Values are not reducible to psychological states, as in subjectivism, but nor are they independent of them, as in intrinsicism. Objectivity in ethics is attained neither through revelation of the intrinsic property of goodness nor through the subject's creation of goodness, but through a rational procedure of evaluation that is governed by the method of objectivity. This essay is in three parts, explaining Rand's view of exactly what intrinsicism is; elaborating on her view of the nature of moral objectivity; and highlighting certain features that make plain the differences between an intrinsicist and an objectivist account of value. (shrink)
Writing in the foreword to Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind and speaking of his upbringing in Chicago between the wars Saul Bellow attests that …as a Midwesterner, the son of immigrant parents, I recognized at an early stage that I was called upon to decide for myself to what extent my Jewish origins, my surroundings [‘the accidental circumstances of Chicago’], my schooling, were to be allowed to determine the course of my life. I did not intend to (...) be wholly dependent upon history and culture. Full dependency must mean that I was done for. The commonest teaching of the civilized world in our time can be stated simply: ‘Tell me where you come from and I'll tell you what you are’. (shrink)
Mill's feminism has been attacked as being logically incoherent. The general verdict has been that Mill can easily be defended from the charge. However, both sides in the debate have ignored the fact that his feminism is part of a broader theory of liberal empiricism. Placing The Subjection of Women in this context re–opens the question of its logical credentials and reveals a basic weakness in Millian feminism.
An interpretation of the work of Schleiermacher and Otto recently offered by Andrew Dole, according to which these two thinkers differed over the extent to which religion can be explained naturalistically, and over the sense in which the supernatural can be admitted, is examined and refuted. It is argued that there is no difference between the two thinkers on this issue. It is shown that Schleiermacher's claim that a supernatural event is at the same time a natural event does not (...) invite, but rather forecloses the possibility of, a naturalistic explanation of the event. It is further demonstrated that Otto, like Schleiermacher, denied the existence of supernatural events interpreted as events that infringe the laws of nature. (shrink)
A market may be defined as a set of competitive relationships in which agents strive, within limits set by ground rules, to better their own economic positions, not necessarily at the expense of other people, but not necessarily not at their expense either. A degree of indifference to the market fates of others is, manifestly, an inevitable feature of the market practice, so defined. But though indifference is clearly logically endemic to markets, it has been denied that selfishness is necessarily (...) involved in the raw competition of market activity. Thus, Hayek maintains that market behaviour is not selfish on the grounds that the market is a competitive non zero-sum ‘wealth-creating game’ in which individuals ‘use their own knowledge for their own ends’ in a system whose operations, via the ‘Invisible Hand’, also produce unintended benefits for others. But for behaviour to be selfish it clearly need not necessarily disbenefit other people; it is enough that it is pursued, or persisted in, regardless of its effects upon others. And this is precisely what the institutional ‘indifference’ of market activity amounts to. Admittedly individuals who understand the Hayekian logic of the market know that the long-run chances of everyone's benefiting are maximized by acting in a rigorously competitive manner, and so they at least in one sense act with a ‘regard for others’. But ipso facto this category of market agents has an even stronger reason than the ignorantly selfish for disregarding the specific interests of all the particular individuals with whom they have economically to do. ‘Market selfishness’, the disregard for others' market interests, is thus a logically inevitable feature of market activity. (shrink)
We often, in effect, take it for granted that some word or phrase is what is called ‘the name of a class, be that class empty or non-empty’. We do so whenever in effect we either wonder about, or mean to be taking a view on, the number of members a certain suppositious class has, on the ultrasimple number scale: ‘None, more than none’.
John Finnis's powerfully and deservedly influential modern classic, Natural Law and Natural Rights, expounds a theory of law and morality that is based on a picture of “persons” using practical reason to pursue certain “basic goods.” While devoting much attention to practical reason and to the goods, however, Finnis says little about the nature of personhood. This relative inattention to what “persons” are creates a risk—one that Finnis himself notices—of assuming or importing an inadequate anthropology. This essay suggests that the (...) “new natural law” developed by Finnis suffers in places from the inadvertent adoption of a flawed anthropology—an anthropology under the thrall of modern individualistic commitments. To explain this suspicion, this article discusses three difficulties in his natural law theory: difficulties in accounting for the basic good of friendship, for obligations we owe to others, and for legal authority. These difficulties may seem disconnected, but this article suggests that they may all reflect an inadequate anthropology—one that Finnis does not exactly embrace but that is pervasive today and that in places may affect his theorizing. (shrink)
A moral code consists of principles that assign moral status to individual actions – principles that evaluate acts as right or wrong, prohibited or obligatory, permissible or supererogatory. Many theorists have held that such principles must serve two distinct functions. On the one hand, they serve a theoretical function, insofar as they specify the characteristics in virtue of which acts possess their moral status. On the other hand, they serve a practical function, insofar as they provide an action-guide: a standard (...) by reference to which a person can choose which acts to perform and which not. Although the theoretical and practical functions of moral principles are closely linked, it is not at all obvious that what enables a principle to fill one of these roles automatically equips it to fill the other. In this paper I shall briefly examine some of the reasons why a moral principle might fail to fill its practical role, i.e., be incapable of guiding decisions. I shall then sketch three common responses to this kind of failure, and examine in some detail the adequacy of one of the most popular of these responses. (shrink)
The principles of historical materialism involve Marx in making two crucial claims about freedom. The first is that the revolutionary proletariat is, in an important sense, more free than its class antagonist the bourgeoisie. The second is that the beneficiaries of a successful proletarian revolution—the members of a solidly established communist society—enjoy a greater freedom than even proletarians engaged in revolutionary praxis. It is perhaps natural to take Marx to be operating here with what might be called a logically continuous (...) notion of freedom, established communists enjoying to perfection what revolutionary proletarians merely imperfectly experience and what the bourgeoisie entirely misses. But whatever one's views might be about what Marx in fact says about freedom this cannot be what he ought to say for his theory of freedom to work. The kind of line Marx need to take finds a significant precedent in his economics where we find a theory implying two quite distinct logical dimensions in that the principles and concepts designed to apply to the transactions of capitalism necessarily lack descriptive purchase on communist economic reality. The existence of these two dimensions, and particularly Marx's comparative silence as to the nature of the second, reflect his conviction that the transition between the two systems must be marked by a profound conceptual as well as material break. Consequently it is not unreasonable, perhaps, to look for an analogous discontinuity in his metaphysics and to expect to find two distinct varieties of freedom, the one reflecting the nature of class society, the other of human community. (shrink)
During the war, I worked in aircraft design. About a year after D-day, an exhibition was arranged at Farnborough of the mass of German equipment that had been captured, including the doodlebug and the V2 rocket. I and a friend spent a fascinating two days wandering round the exhibits. The questions that kept arising were ‘Why did they make it like that?’, or, equivalently ‘I wonder what that is for?’ We were particularly puzzled by a gyroscope in the control system (...) of the V2. One's first assumption was that the gyroscope maintained the rocket on its course, but, instead of being connected to the steering vanes, it was connected to the fuel supply to the rocket. Ultimately my friend remembered that the rate of precession of a gyro depends on acceleration, and saw that the Germans had used this fact to design an ingenious device for switching off the engines when the required velocity had been reached. (shrink)