The Science of a Legislator

The Science of a Legislator : The Natural Jurisprudence of David Hume and Adam Smith

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Combining the methods of the modern philosopher with those of the historian of ideas, Knud Haakonssen presents an interpretation of the philosophy of law which Adam Smith developed out of - and partly in response to - David Hume's theory of justice. While acknowledging that the influences on Smith were many and various, Dr Haakonssen suggests that the decisive philosophical one was Hume's analysis of justice in A Treatise of Human Nature and the second Enquiry. He therefore begins with a thorough investigation of Hume, from which he goes on to show the philosophical originality of Smith's new form of natural jurisprudence. At the same time, he provides an over all reading of Smith's social and political thought, demonstrating clearly the exact links between the moral theory of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, the Lectures on Jurisprudence, and the sociohistorical theory of The Wealth of Nations. This is the first full analysis of Adam Smith's jurisprudence; it emphasizes its normative and critical function, and relates this to the psychological, sociological, and histroical aspects which hitherto have attracted most attention. Dr Haakonssen is critical of both purely descriptivist and utilitarian interpretations of Smith's moral and political philosophy, and demonstrates the implausibility of regarding Smith's view of history as pseudo-economic or 'materialist'.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1139239600
  • 9781139239608

Table of contents

Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; 1. Introduction; 2. Hume's theory of justice; 3. Smith's moral theory; 4. Smith's theory of justice and politics; 5. Smith's analytical jurisprudence; 6. Smith's critical jurisprudence; 7. Smith's historical jurisprudence; 8. Natural jurisprudence in the face of history; Notes; Bibliography; Index.show more

Review quote

"Students of the Scottish Enlightenment are indebted to Knud Haakonssen for this excellent monograph on the theories of justice of David Hume and Adam Smith." American Historical Review "...provides a very full account of Smith's theory of law, its basis in the psychology of the spectator, and its amplification in precise historical detail, while at the same time presenting a personal ordering of the mass of Smith's complex work." The Times Higher Education Supplementshow more

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