The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-07-12
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Adam Smith (1723-90) is a thinker with a distinctive perspective on human behaviour and social institutions. He is best known as the author of the An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). Yet his work is name-checked more often than it is read and then typically it is of an uninformed nature; that he is an apologist for capitalism, a forceful promoter of self-interest, a defender of greed and a critic of any 'interference' in market transactions. To offset this caricature, this Handbook provides an informed portrait. Drawing on the expertise of leading Smith scholars from around the world, it reflects the depth and breadth of Smith's intellectual interests. After an introductory outline chapter on Smith's life and times, the volume comprises 28 new essays divided into seven parts. Five sections are devoted to particular themes in Smith's corpus - his views on Language, Art and Culture; his Moral Philosophy; his Economic thought, his discussions of History and Politics and his analyses of Social Relations. These five parts are framed by one that focuses on the immediate and proximate sources of his thought and the final one that recognizes Smith's status as a thinker of world-historical significance - indicating both his posthumous impact and influence and his contemporary resonance. While each chapter is a discrete contribution to scholarship, the Handbook comprises a composite whole to enable the full range of Smith's work to be appreciated.

Author Biography

Christopher J. Berry is Professor (Emeritus) of Political Theory and Honorary Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow. He has established himself as a leading international scholar of the Scottish Enlightenment. In addition to seminal articles, and contributions in this area, he is the author of the key text Social Theory of the Scottish Enlightenment (Edinburgh, 1997), which is shortly to appear in both Japanese and Chinese translations His scholarship ranges more widely. He is the author of six books, including The Idea of Luxury (Cambridge, 1994 Chinese translation, 2005) and David Hume (Continuum 2009). He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, of which Adam Smith was a founder member. His book The Idea of Commercial Society in the Scottish Enlightenment (Edinburgh) is scheduled to appear in 2013.

Maria Pia Paganelli is an assistant professor of economics at Trinity University and an affiliated faculty at New York University. She works on Adam Smith, David Hume, 18th century monetary theories, and also explores the links between the Scottish Enlightenment and the results from behavioural economics. She won the 2009 European Society of the History of Economic Thought's Best Article of the Year prize and is book review editor of the Journal of the History of Economic Thought.

Dr Craig Smith is a lecturer in the Department of Moral Philosophy at the University of St Andrews. He works on the history of political thought with particular reference to the eighteenth century and the Scottish Enlightenment. He is the author of Adam Smith's Political Philosophy: The Invisible Hand and Spontaneous Order (Routledge, 2006) and is book review editor of the Adam Smith Review.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Adam Smith: An Outline of Life, Times, and Legacy, Christopher J. Berry
Part I: Adam Smith: Heritage and Contemporaries
1. Adam Smith: A Biographer's Reflection, Nicholas Phillipson
2. Newtonianism and Adam Smith, Leonidas Montes
3. Adam Smith and Rousseau: Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment, Dennis C. Rasmussen
4. Adam Smith and Early Modern Thought, Christopher J. Berry
Part II: Adam Smith on Language, Art, and Culture
5. Adam Smith's Aesthetics, Catherine Labio
6. Adam Smith as Critic, James Chandler
7. Adam Smith: History and Poetics, Michael C. Amrozowicz
8. Adam Smith on Language and Rhetoric: The Ethics of Style, Character, and Propriety, C. Jan Swearingen
Part III: Adam Smith and Moral Philosophy
9. Adam Smith: The Sympathetic Process and the Origin and Function of Conscience, Christel Fricke
10. Adam Smith and the Limits of Sympathy, Duncan Kelly
11. Adam Smith and Virtue, Ryan Patrick Hanley
12. Adam Smith and Self-Interest, Eugene Heath
Part IV: Adam Smith and Economics
13. Adam Smith on Labour and Capital, Tony Aspromourgos
14. Adam Smith on Value and Prices, Nerio Naldi
15. Adam Smith on Money, Banking, and the Price Level, Hugh Rockoff
16. Commercial Relations: From Adam Smith to Field Experiments, Maria Pia Paganelli
Part V: Adam Smith on History and Politics
17. Adam Smith: Theorist of Corruption, Spiros Tegos
18. Adam Smith and the State: Language and Reform, David M. Levy and Sandra J. Peart
19. Adam Smith and the Law, Fabrizio Simon
20. Adam Smith on Empire and International Relations, Edwin van de Haar
Part VI: Adam Smith on Social Relations
21. Adam Smith on Civility and Civil Society, Richard Boyd
22. Adam Smith on Religion, Gavin Kennedy
23. Adam Smith on Equality, Samuel Fleischacker
24. Adam Smith on Women, Maureen Harkin
Part VII: Adam Smith: Legacy and Influence
25. Adam Smith and Marx, Spencer J. Pack
26. Adam Smith and the New Right, Craig Smith
27. Adam Smith: Methods, Morals, and Markets, Tom Campbell
28. The Contemporary Relevance of Adam Smith, Amartya Sen

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