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Adam Smith: An Enlightened Lifeby Nick Phillipson
"Smith has had too few biographers, and that most of them have fallen into one of two traps — the purely intellectual biography, in which the man is merely the vehicle for his ideas, and the purely contextual biography in which the man is just a representative of his time and place. The best modern studies of Smith — Joseph Cropsey's Polity and Economy, and Jerry Muller's Adam Smith in His Time and Ours — fall respectively into these two camps. Like so much that has been written about Smith, they make the reader yearn for something more. With this superb new book, Nicholas Phillipson has answered that yearning at last." Yuval Levin, The New Republic (Read the entire New Republic review)
Synopses & Reviews
The great eighteenth-century British economist Adam Smith (1723andndash;90) is celebrated as the founder of modern economics. Yet Smith saw himself primarily as a philosopher rather than an economist and would never have predicted that the ideas for which he is now best known were his most important. Thisand#160;biography shows the extent to which Smith's great works,and#160;The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments, were part of one of the most ambitious projects of the Euruopean Enlightenment, a grand andldquo;Science of Manandquot; that would encompass law, history, and aesthetics as well as economics and ethics, and which was only half complete on Smithandrsquo;s death in 1790.
Nick Phillipson reconstructs Smithandrsquo;s intellectual ancestry and shows what Smith took from, and what he gave to, in the rapidly changing intellectual and commercial cultures of Glasgow and Edinburgh as they entered the great years of the Scottish Enlightenment. Above all he explains how far Smithandrsquo;s ideas developed in dialogue with those of his closest friend, the other titan of the age, David Hume.
About the Author
Nicholas Phillipson is one of the leading scholars of the Scottish Enlightenment. An Honorary Research Fellow in History at the University of Edinburgh, he has held visiting appointments at Princeton, Yale, the Folger Library, and the Ludwigs-Maximillian Universitat. An associate editor on the New Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and a founding editor of the journal Modern Intellectual History, he was codirector of the Science of Man in Scotland project and past president of the Eighteenth-Century Scottish Studies Society.
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