Acton Institute Powerblog

Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments

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Kevin noted earlier this week that the UK has issued a paper bill featuring Adam Smith. I also received notice this week that the Adam Smith Review is planning a conference in January of 2009, celebrating the semiquincentennial (250th) anniversary of the publication of Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments.

The conference announcement notes that scholarship has “come to appreciate the importance of Smith’s moral philosophy for his overall intellectual project.”

For more on just how Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments fits in with works like Wealth of Nations, see this article in the Journal of Markets & Morality by Robert A. Black, “What Did Adam Smith Say About Self-Love?” Black makes the following methodological point: “The first two chapters of [Wealth of Nations] must be read as a whole and in light of Smith’s idea of ‘sympathy’ from the Theory of Moral Sentiments (TMS 1759) to get the full meaning of the appeal to self-love.”

Also, check out this nice introduction to Theory of Moral Sentiments from the Adam Smith Institute.

The Adam Smith Review is published by the International Adam Smith Society.

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.

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