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Contemplating with Adam Smith

Contemplating with Adam Smith discusses Adam Smith's non-foundationalist ethics. The impartial-spectator process is a dynamic call upward, to sustain one's locus of affirmation. The puzzle is always: Which way is up? Non-foundationalism advises against a foundationalist approach to that puzzle.

Chapter titles:

  1. Major Themes and Ambling through a Few Spirals
  2. Who Is Adam Smith's Impartial Spectator?
  3. In Praise of Adam Smith's Organon and Allegory
  4. Hume and Smith on Utility, Agreeableness, Propriety, and Moral Approval
  5. Adam Smith's Non-foundationalism
  6. Ought as an Is: On the Positive-Normative Distinction
  7. The Circumstantiality of Bivariate Relationships in Adam Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments
  8. In a Word or Two, Placed in the Middle: The Invisible Hand in Adam Smith's Tomes
  9. Adam Smith's Attitude toward Rousseau
  10. TMS's Appeal Moves with Openness to Non-foundationalism: 35 Critics, 1765–1949
  11. Circa 1800

Central Notions of Smithian Liberalism

Central Notions of Smithian Liberalism explores notions jural, political, and economic. The author does intellectual history as a way of theorizing—that is, to advance political theory, jural theory, moral theory, social theory, economic theory. The author treats Adam Smith and the liberalism he shared with David Hume and Edmund Burke. They represent classical liberalism at its best. Their classical liberalism is today aptly called conservative liberalism. The chapters derive mostly from substantial articles previously published in scholarly journals. Chapters expound Smith’s tri-layered justice, liberty, jural dualism, Humean conventionalist political theory, and Smithian liberalism. A chapter written with Erik Matson, “Convention without Convening,” explains natural convention, transcending “nature” and “convention” and attesting the place of Hume and Smith in natural law traditions and enlarging our understanding of those traditions. A chapter asks and answers, “Is It Just to Pursue Honest Income?”. Other chapters relate Smithian liberalism to various topics, including the pretense of knowledge, Iain McGilchrist’s divided brain, being grateful for without being grateful to, promises and trust, and the Export-Import Bank. The final chapter considers the fortunes of liberalism in relation to prevailing attitudes toward allegory and God.


Edmund Burke and the Perennial Battle, 1789-1797

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Edmund Burke’s interpretation of the revolution in France, beginning 1789, is nothing short of an interpretation of human nature, and of Western civilization. Edmund Burke and the Perennial Battle, 1789-1797 collects the most penetrating and timeless passages of Burke's writings from 1789 until his death. Published in partnership with:

     


Hume, Smith, Burke, Geijer, Menger, d’Argenson, et EJW cetera

This volume contains a selection of 15 items published in Econ Journal Watch (EJW), including Hume's original account of his affair with Rousseau. Adam Smith also looms large. Two items are by Edmund Burke. View content list  below (or by clicking LEARN MORE...).


Smithian Morals

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Smithian Morals takes up Adam Smith’s thought on justice, virtue, propriety, beneficialness, liberty, God, and the conscience. Smith is pursued as exemplar, sage, moral guide, and therapist. Smith teaches us to think dialectically. At the center of Smith’s thought Klein sees a robust affirmation: “allowing every man to pursue his own interest his own way, upon the liberal plan of equality, liberty, and justice.” Smith teaches a presumption of liberty. The strength of that presumption is up to us. Smith’s liberalism is outspoken to the point of abolitionism on particular issues, but in a broader sense it is conservative; it is an engaging, humane conservative liberalism. It emanates from a true moralist and his philosophy of virtue. Smith teaches a presumption of liberty not from first principles or purportedly self-evident propositions. He picks up midstream, mindful of the waters about all he treats and about his own weather-beaten vessel, for he is coursing upon the waters with us. As interpreter of Smith’s texts, Klein is open about his tendencies toward classical liberalism, non-foundationalism, and esoteric reading.