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Adam Smith's System of Liberty, Wealth, and Virtue

Athol Fitzgibbons

Published in print November 1997 | ISBN: 9780198292883
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596247 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198292880.001.0001
Adam Smith's System of Liberty, Wealth, and Virtue

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Adam Smith's System is a study in classical economic thought and methodology. It portrays Adam Smith as a Stoic philosopher who wanted virtue to be relevant to this life rather than to the next. His central purpose was to define a set of laws, a jurisprudence in the widest possible sense, which would permit economic and political liberalism to proceed without triggering long‐run moral degeneration. Smith argued that the conflict between morals and wealth was only apparent, because it was possible to synthesize the seeming contraries with better laws and moral rules.

All of Smith's writings are analysed, including his writings on morals and methodology, art and rhetoric, and his political and economic writings. The relevance of Wealth of Nations is analysed, and Smith's theories of free trade and economic growth are put into context. It is shown that Smith was primarily concerned with the very broad intellectual endeavour to replace the Aristotelian world‐view, the bulwark and inspiration of medieval Christian thought, with an outlook that was more consistent with Newtonian science.

Keywords: Christianity; free trade; laws; liberalism; methodology; morality; Newtonian science; philosophy; stoicism; wealth

Book.  222 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Economic Thought

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Table of Contents

Smith's Intention in Adam Smith's System of Liberty, Wealth, and Virtue

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The Character of Smith's System in Adam Smith's System of Liberty, Wealth, and Virtue

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God and Nature in Adam Smith's System of Liberty, Wealth, and Virtue

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Utility Versus Virtue in Adam Smith's System of Liberty, Wealth, and Virtue

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The Principle of Moral Impartiality in Adam Smith's System of Liberty, Wealth, and Virtue

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The Laws of Nature in Adam Smith's System of Liberty, Wealth, and Virtue

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Social and Political Laws in Adam Smith's System of Liberty, Wealth, and Virtue

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The Historical Spiral in Adam Smith's System of Liberty, Wealth, and Virtue

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The Celestial Model in Adam Smith's System of Liberty, Wealth, and Virtue

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The Moral Foundations of Economic Growth in Adam Smith's System of Liberty, Wealth, and Virtue

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