Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Thought for the Day no 4

I came across this yesterday while checking citation references for a paper in proof. Buckle speaks of Smith’s Moral Sentiments and Wealth Of Nations:

No great truth which has once been discovered has ever afterwards been lost; nor has any important discovery yet been made which has not eventually carried everything before it’ (H. T. Buckle, 1867. History of Civilisation in England, 3 vos. vol 1. p 215).

Unfortunately, Buckle went on the miss-describe Smith’s concern with ‘sentiments’ in Moral Sentiments and self-interest in Wealth Of Nations, which started the hares among German Philosopher in the late-19th century, nowadays known as the so-called ‘Das Adam Smith problem’, which was neither Adam Smith's nor a problem.

This prompts me to re-cast Buckle’s sentence:

No great misunderstanding which once promulgated has ever afterwards been lost; nor has any trivial metaphor yet been popularised which has not eventually carried everything before it.’

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