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The Life of Adam Smith

Ian Simpson Ross

Published in print October 1995 | ISBN: 9780198288213
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596827 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198288212.001.0001
The Life of Adam Smith

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Adam Smith (1723–90) was a Scottish moral philosopher, famous for writing the Wealth of Nations (WN: 1776), widely regarded as one of the foundation works of free‐market economics. He also contributed notably to ethics with his Theory of Moral Sentiments (TMS: 1759, 6th edn. 1790). The Introduction summarizes the biography, which depicts the personality and experience behind these books; their origin in studies at Glasgow and Oxford; then his teaching at Edinburgh and Glasgow; and their matrix in the cultural ferment of the Scottish Enlightenment, with its attention both to moral and natural science. The era of economic growth of Britain and political revolution in America and France is sketched in the background. Smith's legacy for legislators that the establishment of perfect justice, liberty, and equality is the ‘very simple secret,’ which secures prosperity for all, is presented as an ethical as well as economic ideal.

Keywords: economics; enlightenment; equality; ethics; free‐market; justice; liberty; moral; revolution; science

Book.  524 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Economic Thought

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Table of Contents

Kirkcaldy in The Life of Adam Smith

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Boyhood in The Life of Adam Smith

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Glasgow in The Life of Adam Smith

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Oxford in The Life of Adam Smith

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A Respectable Auditory in The Life of Adam Smith

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Called to Glasgow University in The Life of Adam Smith

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Teacher in The Life of Adam Smith

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