Adam Smith was a philosopher before he ever wrote about economics, yet until now there has never been a philosophical commentary on the Wealth of Nations. Samuel Fleischacker suggests that Smith's vastly influential treatise on economics can be better understood if placed in the light of his epistemology, philosophy of science, and moral theory. He lays out the relevance of these aspects of Smith's thought to specific themes in the Wealth of Nations, arguing, among other things, that Smith regards social science as an extension of common sense rather than as a discipline to be approached mathematically, that he has moral as well as pragmatic reasons for approving of capitalism, and that he has an unusually strong belief in human equality that leads him to anticipate, if not quite endorse, the modern doctrine of distributive justice. Fleischacker also places Smith's views in relation to the work of his contemporaries, especially his teacher Francis Hutcheson and friend David Hume, and draws out consequences of Smith's thought for present-day political and philosophical debates. The Companion is divided into five general sections, which can be read independently of one another.
It contains an index that points to commentary on specific passages in Wealth of Nations. Written in an approachable style befitting Smith's own clear yet finely honed rhetoric, it is intended for professional philosophers and political economists as well as those coming to Smith for the first time.
Acknowledgments xi Abbreviations xiii Introduction xv PART I: Methodology CHAPTER ONE: Literary Method 3 1. Obstacles to Reading Smith 4 2. Rhetoric 12 3. Genre 15 4. Style and Philosophical Method 19 CHAPTER TWO: Epistemology and Philosophy of Science 27 5. Epistemology 27 6. Philosophy of Science 31 7. Philosophy of Social Science 34 8. Types of Evidence 36 9. Providentialism 44 CHAPTER THREE: Moral Philosophy 46 10. Moral Sentimentalism 46 11. The Wealth of Nations and Moral Philosophy 48 12. A Moral Assessment of Capitalism? 55 PART II: Human Nature CHAPTER FOUR: Overview 61 13. Philosophy and the Theory of Human Nature 61 14. Smith's Picture of Human Nature 66 15. Religious Sentiments 70 16. Impartiality and Equality 72 17. Culture and History 80 18. From Homo Moralis to Homo Economicus 82 CHAPTER FIVE: Self-Interest 84 19. WN in Context 84 20. "Bettering One's Condition" in WN II. 87 21. Self-love in WN I.ii 90 22. Self-interest versus "General Benevolence" 95 23. Self-interest as an Assumption in WN 97 24. Smith and Hobbes: A Response to Cropsey 100 CHAPTER SIX: Vanity 104 25. Vanity in TMS IV.i 105 26. TMS IV.I in the Light of WN 108 27. TMS IV.I and the 1790 Edition of TMS 112 28. The Importance of Vanity 115 29. From Homo Moralis to Homo Economicus (Reprise) 118 PART III: Foundations of Economics CHAPTER SEVEN: Foundations of Economics 123 30. Natural Price/Market Price 123 31. Real Price/Nominal Price
Labor Theory of Value 124 32. The Long Term versus the Short
Growth versus Allocation
Definition of Wealth 131 33. Productive and Unproductive Labor 134 34. The Invisible Hand 138 PART IV: Justice CHAPTER EIGHT: A Theory of Justice? 145 35. Some Puzzles about Smith's Treatment of Justice 145 36. Smith's Different Accounts of Justice 148 37. A First Argument for the Precision of Rules of Justice 153 38. Critical Jurisprudence and the Problems in Defining "Harm" 158 39. A Second Argument for the Precision of Rules of Justice 161 40. Reconstructing Smith's Theory of Natural Justice 166 41. Smith's Critical Jurisprudence in LJ and WN 169 CHAPTER NINE: Property Rights 174 42. Property as Central to Justice 174 43. Utilitarian Accounts of Property 178 44. Locke, Hutcheson, and Hume on "Original" Ownership 180 45. Smith on "Original" Ownership 185 46. Property in WN 192 47. Taxation and Property Rights 193 48. Inheritance and Property Rights 197 49. Redistribution and Property Rights 200 CHAPTER TEN: Distributive Justice 203 50. Two Meanings for "Distributive Justice" 203 51. Smith's Contribution to the Politics of Poverty 205 52. A Brief History of Distributive Justice 209 53. The Right of Necessity 215 54. Smith and Natural Law Views of Property 221 PART V: Politics CHAPTER ELEVEN: Politics 229 55. Moral Vices of Politicians 229 56. Cognitive Vices of Politicians 233 57. Problems with the "Private Sector" 236 58. Law over Policy
Well-designed Institutions 242 59. Republics versus Monarchies
Civic Republicanism 246 60. National Glory
War 250 61. Conclusion 257 Epilogue CHAPTER TWELVE: Learning from Smith Today 261 Notes 283 Index Locorum 313 General Index 321