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By Charles L. Griswold Jr.

Even though Adam Smith is frequently considered at the present time as an economist, he used to be in reality (as his nice contemporaries Hume, Burke, Kant, and Hegel famous) an unique and insightful philosopher whose paintings covers an enormous territory together with ethical philosophy, political economic climate, rhetorical idea, aesthetics, and jurisprudence. Charles Griswold has written the 1st accomplished philosophical research of Smith's ethical and political inspiration. 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 historic philosophy, and his conscientiously balanced safeguard of a liberal and humane ethical and political outlook, also are explored. this can be 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 principles, rhetoric, and political economic climate.

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Surprisingly, he ascribes to the love of beauty a pervasive role in human life. Yet in spite of its apparently Platonic hue, Smith's strikingly aesthetic view of the world announces a deep break with classical philosophy, as we will see in the concluding chapter. Concerning the nature of "philosophy," its ability to grasp "the world," and the imagination, Smith may even seem to be a postEnlightenment thinker. The famous Platonic quarrel between philosophy and poetry remains with us, and viewed from the Platonic perspective, Smith has inclined to the side of the poets.

61). 50). Smith goes on to tell us that the "few" who have the "leisure and inclination" to philosophize can escape this dreadful debasement and reach extraordinary heights of intellectual refinement. But unless they happen 28 Smith read the essay in the original and both comments on and quotes from it in a letter to the Edinburgh Review (1756). Smith urges the Review to broaden its scope to include discussion of the Encydopedie as well as works such as Rousseau's (see EPS, pp. 242-56). , hold political or economic power), they will "contribute very little to the good government or happiness of their society": that is, they will become university professors rather than philosopher-kings or queens.

Because of his own keen awareness of the ironies and shadows of the Enlightenment, Smith is in a position to offer us valuable insights into the reasons why liberal Enlightenment social and institutional arrangements and ideals are not altogether at odds with the tradition of the virtues and of the communities based on virtues. His antidotes to the problems sketched in the preceding paragraphs include, strikingly, commerce, religion, education, and other "mediating institutions" (as we now call them).

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