The Never to Be Forgotten Hutcheson

Ian Simpson Ross

in The Life of Adam Smith

Published in print October 1995 | ISBN: 9780198288213
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596827 | DOI:
 The Never to Be Forgotten Hutcheson

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Smith's university studies at Glasgow are described: in Greek, introducing him to the Stoic philosopher Epictetus; Aristotelian logic and metaphysics, including Locke's empiricism; and Euclidian geometry and Newtonian physics, which had seminal lessons for him in methodology. Above all, the inspiration of the teaching of Francis Hutcheson is assessed, who seized Smith's imagination with his teaching of ethics and economics as part of his jurisprudence course. Hutcheson's development of moral sense and benevolence theory is highlighted, as providing a kind of moral Newtonianism, offering answers in ‘new light’ or liberal theology to the ‘old light’ Calvinist stress on human depravity, and in moral philosophy to the egoistic theory of Hobbes and Mandeville. Clearly, Smith received great intellectual stimulation at Glasgow, and his ability was recognized with the award of a scholarship to Oxford in 1740.

Keywords: benevolence; Hutcheson; jurisprudence; Newtonianism; methodology

Chapter.  9759 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Economic Thought

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