Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-p2v8j Total loading time: 0.001 Render date: 2024-05-26T02:58:11.125Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

11 - Adam Smith

Stoic and Epicurean

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 September 2023

Paul Sagar
Affiliation:
King's College London
Get access

Summary

In this chapter I argue that Adam Smith’s moral, social and economic thought was influenced by both Stoic and Epicurean sources with surprising and fruitful results. Although these schools of thought conflicted in most respects, Smith adopted and adapted elements from each to creatively construct a kind of ‘benign-realist’ social science able to explain the order of the human universe while comprehending humans as they really were rather than as we might wish them to be. By combining the Stoic idea that all of nature is both divine and benign with a pragmatic Epicurean moral psychology, Smith not only reconciles his own realist intuitions with his sincere faith in a designed universe, but produces a compelling account of how economies and societies should operate. I show this by exploring how Smith responded to the Stoic and Epicurean approaches to virtue, self-interest, benevolence, justice and our obligations to others, especially strangers and foreigners. I also explore how he applied an Epicurean sensibility to reimagine Stoic cosmopolitanism.

Type
Chapter
Information
Interpreting Adam Smith
Critical Essays
, pp. 177 - 193
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Adam Smith
  • Edited by Paul Sagar, King's College London
  • Book: Interpreting Adam Smith
  • Online publication: 14 September 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009296335.012
Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Adam Smith
  • Edited by Paul Sagar, King's College London
  • Book: Interpreting Adam Smith
  • Online publication: 14 September 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009296335.012
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Adam Smith
  • Edited by Paul Sagar, King's College London
  • Book: Interpreting Adam Smith
  • Online publication: 14 September 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009296335.012
Available formats
×