Chapter

Adam Smith and the Prospects for Moral Reflection in Enlightenment Thinking

James Halteman and Edd Noell

in Reckoning with Markets

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199763702
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932252 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199763702.003.0004
Adam Smith and the Prospects for Moral Reflection in Enlightenment Thinking

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This chapter begins with a description of changes that were occurring in the European world and the way they led to the Enlightenment climate of scientific discovery. Most of the chapter develops the moral philosophy of Smith by showing how sympathy, the impartial spectator, and the “all-seeing eye” filter the human passions to make behavior virtuous and workable in an economy based on self-regard. But Smith had a role for rules that evolve and become accepted, forming effective social glue. Ultimately Smith’s economic system was a complex arrangement of conformity to moral principles and the pursuit of self-interest. Two vignettes conclude the chapter: “Adam Smith and the Moral Prerequisite of Markets” and “Adam Smith and Deceitful Conspiracy in the Marketplace.”

Keywords: adam smith; sympathy; impartialspectator; moral philosophy; enlightenment

Chapter.  11012 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Financial Markets

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