Saturday, December 06, 2014


Propriety and Prosperity
New Studies on the Philosophy of Adam Smith
ISBN 9781137320681
Publication Date December 2014
Palgrave Macmillan
This book is a collection of specially commissioned chapters from philosophers, economists and political scientists, focusing on Adam Smith's two main works Theory of Moral Sentiments and Wealth of Nations. It examines the duality which manifests itself as an apparent contradiction: that is, how does one reconcile the view of human nature expounded in Theory of Moral Sentiments (sympathy and benevolence) and the view of human nature expounded in Wealth of Nations (self-interest)? New work by philosophers has uncovered the complex and nuanced connections between Smith's account of economic and moral motivation. His economic theory has presented conceptual challenges: the famous 'invisible hand' has proved an elusive concept much in need of scrutiny.
'Prosperity' in the title captures the economic side of Smith's thought. 'Propriety' points to his ethics. In recent philosophical scholarship two major shifts have occurred. One is that the originality of Smith's moral theory has been rediscovered and recognised. His account of sympathy is significantly different from Hume's: his idea of the 'impartial spectator' is independent, rich and complex and he is alert to the phenomenon of self-deception. The second shift is that Smith's image as an economic liberal has been drastically revised, reclaiming him from current ideological use in defence of free markets and the minimal state. Smith links economics, politics and ethics through notions of justice and utility in subtle ways that make the labels 'economic liberal' and 'laissez-faire theorist' at best inadequate and at worst misleading.
This collection was put together with a view to bringing Smith to a mainstream philosophy audience while simultaneously informing Smith's traditional constituency (political economy) with philosophically finessed interpretations.
1. Introduction; David F. Hardwick and Leslie Marsh
2. Adam Smith as a Scottish Philosopher; Gordon Graham
3. Friendship in Commercial Society Revisited: Adam Smith on Commercial Friendship; Spyridon Tegos
4. Adam Smith and French Political Economy: Parallels and Differences; Laurent Dobuzinskis
5. Adam Smith: 18th Century Polymath; Roger Frantz
6. Indulgent Sympathy and the Impartial Spectator; Joshua Rust
7. Adam Smith on Sensory Perception: A Sympathetic Account; Brian Glenney
8. Adam Smith on Sympathy: From Self-Interest to Empathy; Gloria Zúñiga y Postigo
9 . What My Dog Can Do: On the Effect of The Wealth of Nations I.ii.2; Jack Weinstein
10. Metaphor Made Manifest: Taking Seriously Smith's 'Invisible Hand'; Eugene Heath
11. The 'Invisible Hand' Phenomenon in Philosophy and Economics; Gavin Kennedy
12. Instincts and the Invisible Order: The Possibility of Progress; Jonathan B. Wight
13. The Spontaneous Order and the Family; Lauren K. Hall
14. Smith, Justice and the Scope of the Political; Craig Smith
Contributing Authors (In bold: scholars whom I know)
Laurent Dobuzinskis, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Roger Frantz, San Diego State University, USA
Brian Glenney, Gordon College, Massachusetts, USA
Gordon Graham, Princeton Theological Seminary, USA
Lauren K. Hall, Rochester Institute of Technology, USA
David F. Hardwick, The University of British Columbia, Canada
Eugene Heath, State University of New York at New Paltz, USA
Gavin Kennedy Heriot-Watt University, UK
Leslie Marsh, The University of British Columbia, Canada
Joshua Rust, Stetson University, USA
Craig Smith, University of Glasgow, UK
Vernon L. Smith
, Chapman University, USA
Spyridon Tegos, The University of Crete, Greece
Jack Weinstein, University of North Dakota, USA
Jonathan Wight, University of Richmond, USA
Gloria Zúñiga y Postigo, Ashford University, USA

This volume has been a long time in preparation. Palgrave-Macmillan is the publisher of my two books on Adam Smith:

‘Adam Smith’s Lost Legacy’ (2005) and Adam Smith: a moral philosopher and his political economy (2008, 2nd ed. 2010).


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