By Charles L. Griswold Jr.
Even supposing Adam Smith is frequently considered this day as an economist, he used to be in reality (as his nice contemporaries Hume, Burke, Kant, and Hegel well-known) an unique and insightful philosopher whose paintings covers a big territory together with ethical philosophy, political economic system, rhetorical idea, aesthetics, and jurisprudence. Charles Griswold has written the 1st finished philosophical research of Smith's ethical and political proposal. Griswold units Smith's paintings within the context of the continued debate concerning the nature and survival of the Enlightenment, and relates it to present discussions in ethical and political philosophy. Smith's appropriation in addition to feedback of historical philosophy, and his rigorously balanced safeguard of a liberal and humane ethical and political outlook, also are explored. it is a significant reassessment of a key determine in modernity that might be of specific curiosity to philosophers and political and felony theorists, in addition to historians of rules, rhetoric, and political economic system.
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Additional info for Adam Smith and the Virtues of Enlightenment (Modern European Philosophy)
47 Smith did not provide us with an autobiography that, like Hume's "My Own Life," would give us insight into his view of the relationship among his writings. 48 See section 5 in Chapter 6. Consider D. Winch's statement that "Although we now have two sets of students' notes on the lectures on jurisprudence, there is a great deal of THE PROJECTED CORPUS 31 the Lectures on Jurisprudence, and much of the material collected in Essays on Philosophical Subjects remained unpublished at his death, any reconstruction of the projected corpus must work with a web of published and (by Smith) unpublished documents, as well as with letters and student lecture notes.
If, as I am suggesting, one part of Smith's projected natural jurisprudence is effectively absent from the published and unpublished materials on the topic, perhaps because it could not be written, then the fit between these materials still leaves us with an interpretive and philosophical "system" issue of significance. 62 In the letter to Hume of Apr. , the MS of WN] there are none worth the publishing, but a fragment of a great work which contains a history of the Astronomical Systems that were successively in fashion down to the time of Des Cartes.
The Enlightenment is a vast canvas of extraordinary complexity. I am not claiming that all of its themes can be reduced to those of Adam Smith, or that Smith provides the magic key to unlocking the Enlightenment's mysteries, let alone that he somehow solves the many contemporary quandaries traceable to the period. Smith is a resource for our reflections on modernity, but that is not the same thing as a solution. Although he does not use the term "the Enlightenment," I do believe that he encapsulates both Enlightenment claims and a profound appre37 Much valuable work remains to be done, such as a comprehensive discussion of Smith's relation to Hume that builds on K.