Friday, December 14, 2007

Apologies for Very Light Posting This Week.

I am in the final stages of preparing the manuscript of 'Adam Smith: the moral philosopher and his political economy', for Palgrave's Great Thinkers in Economics series after the Editor's (A. P. Thirlwall) general comments and suggestions.

This requires considerable checking of references, tightening some of the arguments, and, critically, reducing the wordage from 128,000 towards 105,000. I hope to have this completed by next week (though 90 exam papers have arrived today from my previous day job!).

However, I thought I should share with regular readers another source of the use of an 'invisble hand' in literature before Adam Smith used it as a metaphor in Moral Sentiments and Wealth Of Nations (see numerous postings on Lost Legacy)

'To which may be added, that the silent and unseen hand of an all-wise Providence which over-rules all the events of human life, and all the resolutions of the human will, conducted him to that station in life, which tho' far from being the highest in external distinction, yet was perhaps of all others the most suited to the singular talents with which he was endowed, and gave him the opportunity of being more eminently and extensively useful than he could have been in any other.' (page XII)

The author was W. Leechman, Professor of Divinity, at Glasgow College [University] in the preface (dated 1754) he wrote for Francis Hutcheson's posthumous book, 'A System of Moral Philosophy', (1755), which contained the substance of his lectures on moral philosophy when Adam Smith was his student (1737-40). Professor Leeechman became acting Principal of the University when Principal Neil Campbell was incapacited by stroke from 1756-61, until Professor Leechman was appointed Principal in 1761.

Adam Smith subscribed to two copies of Hutcheson's 'A System...'.

I have added this reference to my chapter on the 'Invisible Hand: from metaphor to myth'. Copies of the original paper are available electronically (gavin /at]negweb{dot)com)

I trust regular readers (and authors) will understand my current focus on my manuscript.


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