Thursday, October 06, 2011

Does Anybody Know of This Book? What are its merits?

The Adam Smith Problem; Reconciling Human Nature and Society in 'The Theory of Moral Sentiments' and 'Wealth of Nations' by Dogan Göçmen. Tauris Academic Studies, July 2007

This is the first scholarly work to deal solely with the ‘Adam Smith problem’, namely the apparent contradiction between Adam Smith’s most famous works,The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Since the 1840s scholars have puzzled over and attempted to explain the fact that these works offer two fundamentally different and contradictory concepts of human nature. In this radical new approach Dogan Göçmen makes a major contribution to the debate. Accepting that Smith does indeed put forward two different and varied ideas, he argues that the ethical position articulated in The Theory of Moral Sentiments can be, and was intended by Smith to be, applied as a basis for criticising the commercial society analysed in the Wealth of Nations. Göçmen argues that this ethical position points to the character of an ideal future society, Adam Smith’s Utopia, a society in which its social components are completely in sympathy - and therefore harmonious - with each other. About the Author: Dogan Göçmen completed his PhD at the University of Edinburgh.

Table of Contents
Part I: Introduction * The Adam Smith Problem: what is it about? * The approaches to the Adam Smith Problem * An outline of the book * Part II: Smith’s theory of social individuality in the Theory of Moral Sentiments * What is crucial to the theory of the constitution of the self? * Impartiality as the basis of mutual constitution * How do we cognise and understand others and what do we understand from others? * Part III: Smith’s account of the situation of the self in the age of commercial society in the Wealth of Nations * How to approach Wealth of Nations * Smith’s account of the situation of the self in commercial society * Some comparative conclusions * Smith’s historical justification of commercial society * Part IV: Smith’s critique of commercial society and his utopia * Smith’s critique of commercial society * Smith’s utopia: society as an open and progressive system of mutual sympathy * Part V: Conclusions * Bibliography *


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