Adam Smith and the Virtues of Enlightenment

Adam Smith and the Virtues of Enlightenment

3.85 (13 ratings by Goodreads)

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 7-12 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.


Charles Griswold has written a comprehensive philosophical study of Smith's moral and political thought. Griswold sets Smith's work in the context of the Enlightenment and relates it to current discussions in moral and political philosophy. Smith's appropriation as well as criticism of ancient philosophy, and his carefully balanced defence of a liberal and humane moral and political outlook, are also explored. This 1999 book is a major philosophical and historical reassessment of a key figure in the Enlightenment that will be of particular interest to philosophers and political and legal theorists, as well as historians of ideas, rhetoric, and political economy.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 428 pages
  • 153 x 230 x 24mm | 620g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 0521628911
  • 9780521628914
  • 1,068,091

Table of contents

Texts and acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. Rhetoric, method, and system in The Theory of Moral Sentiments; 2. Sympathy and selfishness, imagination and self; 3. The passions, pleasure, and the impartial spectator; 4. Philosophy and skepticism; 5. The theory of virtue; 6. Justice; 7. The moral sentiments and The Wealth of Nations; 8. Philosophy, imagination, and the fragility of beauty: on reconciliation with nature; Epilogue; Bibliography; Index.
show more

Review quote

'Griswold's arguments are deep, far-reaching and all the more effective for the many interesting examples, drawn from recent events and biographical accounts. He sets a paradigm before us, in which one person injures another, seeks forgiveness and then receives it ... Griswold tells us much about forgiveness, about the mental processes involved in it, and the way in which interpersonal relations are shaped by it.' Roger Scruton, The Times Literary Supplement 'In a rich and detailed examination of The Theory of Moral Sentiments Griswold presents Smith as a rhetorically sophisticated dialectical thinker, defending Enlightenment values while aware of their profound costs, seeking a philosophical system while distrustful of the system, and aiming to guard ordinary moral life against excessive reflection. This is a major study, resting on a thorough rethinking of all of smith's work. Griswold shows Smith to be a more complex moral thinker than he has been taken to be, and one far more pertinent to current issues.' Jerome B. Schneewind, John Hopkins University 'With one eye on the eighteenth century and the other on our current predicament, Charles Griswold's Adam Smith and the Virtues of Enlightenment is wonderfully interesting and informative, philosophically stimulating and acute, and beautifully written.' Stephen Darwall, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor '... exemplary in spelling out many of Smith's arguments and subjecting them to analytic scrutiny. If reading it required effort, the reward is substantial.' Wall Street Journal
show more

Rating details

13 ratings
3.85 out of 5 stars
5 23% (3)
4 46% (6)
3 23% (3)
2 8% (1)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X