Adam Smith's Moral Philosophy: A Historical and Contemporary Perspective on Markets, Law, Ethics, and Culture

Adam Smith's Moral Philosophy: A Historical and Contemporary Perspective on Markets, Law, Ethics, and Culture

Paperback Historical Perspectives on Modern Economics

By (author) Jerry Evensky

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  • Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Paperback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 226mm x 18mm | 476g
  • Publication date: 31 March 2007
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521703867
  • ISBN 13: 9780521703864
  • Illustrations note: 2 line diagrams
  • Sales rank: 841,879

Product description

Adam Smith is the best known among economists for his book, The Wealth of Nations, often viewed as the keystone of modern economic thought. For many he has become associated with a quasi-libertarian laissez-faire philosophy. Others, often heterodox economists and social philosophers, on the contrary, focus on Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, and explore his moral theory. There has been a long debate about the relationship or lack thereof between these, his two great works. This work treats these dimensions of Smith's work as elements in a seamless moral philosophical vision, demonstrating the integrated nature of these works and Smith's other writings. This book weaves Smith into a constructive critique of modern economic analysis (engaging along the way the work of Nobel Laureates Gary Becker, Amarty Sen, Douglass North, and James Buchanan) and builds bridges between that discourse and the other social sciences.

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Author information

Jerry Evensky is Associate Professor of Economics and Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence at Syracuse University. He coedited Adam Smith and the Philosophy of Law and Economics (1994) with Robin Malloy and is the author of the textbook Economics: The Ideas, the Issues. Professor Evensky serves on the editorial board of The Journal of the History of Economic Thought and served on the Executive Committee of the History of Economics Society from 1997 to 2000. He has published articles in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, History of Political Economy, Southern Economic Journal, American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Scottish Journal of Political Economy, and Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology.

Review quote

'... the mature result of a lifelong project.' History of Economic Ideas

Table of contents

Part I. On Adam Smith's Moral Philosophical Vision: 1. Adam Smith's vision; 2. On human nature, social norms, co-evolution, natural selection, and the human prospect; 3. On the role of positive law in humankind's evolution; 4. On the role of religion in humankind's evolution; Part II. On the Place of The Wealth of Nations in Adam Smith's Moral Philosophical Vision: 5. On the progress of opulence, setting the scene in Book I of The Wealth of Nations; 6. The role of capital in the progress of opulence: the analysis of Book II of The Wealth of Nations; 7. An unnatural path to natural progress: Smith represents the power of his principles in Book III of The Wealth of Nations; 8. Smith on the mercantile system and the evolution of His Voice: Book IV of The Wealth of Nations and Part VI of The Theory of Moral Sentiments; 9. On the role of government: Book V of The Wealth of Nations; Part III. On Adam Smith's Moral Philosophical Vision and the Modern Discourse: 10. 'Chicago Smith' versus 'Kirkaldy Smith'; 11. Toward a dynamic three dimensional analysis; 12. The liberal plan and the quandary of capital.