‘Mere Inventions of the Imagination’: A Survey of Recent Literature on Adam Smith

  title={‘Mere Inventions of the Imagination’: A Survey of Recent Literature on Adam Smith},
  author={Vivienne Brown},
  journal={Economics and Philosophy},
  pages={281 - 312}
  • Vivienne Brown
  • Published 1 October 1997
  • Sociology
  • Economics and Philosophy
As late twentieth-century discourses of modernity and postmodernity invoke their Enlightenment heritage in a search for the origins of their present achievements and predicaments, Adam Smith's works are still seen as a canonic representative of that heritage. Smith has long been evoked as the ‘father’ of economics and the original proponent of laissez-faire capitalism, but the political changes in recent decades have reconstituted his iconic status. With the full range of Smith's published and… 
A tale of two traditions: Pierre Force's Self-interest before Adam Smith
To my mind Pierre Force’s work Self-interest before Adam Smith (Force 2003) marks an important moment in studies of Smith and of the Scottish eighteenth century. This research domain has, it is true,
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Dialogism, the Gaze, and the Emergence of Economic Discourse
In the symposium on "Living Alone Together" in a recent issue of this journal,1 a fascinating discussion of the constitutive sociality of human nature explored the radical incompleteness of the indi
Adam Smith: Critical Theorist?
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Adam Smith's Marketplace of Life: The “Adam Smith Problem”
By the time August Oncken published his article in 1897, the scholarly tide was already beginning to turn regarding the so-called Adam Smith Problem. During the previous half-century or so, several
Adam Smith's Ethics and the “Noble Arts”
Abstract Adam Smith's character-based ethical system lays the foundation for his vision of the social and economic good. Within this system, the arts perform a critical role. Smith's essays “Of the
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In his fascinating study on eighteenth-century thought, Cultural Capital (1993), Marxist critic John Guillory argued that in the British moral philosophy of the time, the problem of aesthetic
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Adam Smith (1723–90) was the towering figure of Enlightenment political economy, a stature he attained in his own lifetime much as Sir Isaac Newton had in his. The secondary literature on Smith is
Recent Engagements with Adam Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment
Recent literature on Adam Smith and other eighteenth-century Scottish thinkers shows an engaged conversation between the Scots and today's scholars in the sciences that deal with humans—the social


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During the last decade, there has been a steady growth in scholarship concerning the moral and philosophical dimensions of Adam Smith's economic theory. The reasons are various: a determination to
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Historicizing the "Adam Smith Problem": Conceptual, Historiographical, and Textual Issues
  • L. Dickey
  • History, Art
    The Journal of Modern History
  • 1986
In 1965, in his "Guide to John Rae's Life of Adam Smith, " Jacob Viner felt compelled to explain to his readers why a ''guide" had to be added to Rae's very old (1895) and conventional biography of
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In the two centuries since the death of Adam Smith much has been written about his ideas and his works. A comprehensive hagiogrophy has developed which now surrounds, and even obscures, the author of
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John Dwyer has investigated the output of the eighteenth-century literati as contributions to a contemporary debate about the state of Scotland, and numerous aspects of it deserve attention by all historians working on eighteenth- century cultural matters, whichever side of the Tweed they inhabit.
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In his Comment ‘Adam Smith on the Morality of the Pursuit of Fortune’, Richard Arlen Kleer accepts much of the argument in my article ‘Signifying Voices’ (Brown, 1991) but insists that I have ‘gone
Economic Justice in The Natural Law Tradition: Thomas Aquinas to Francis Hutcheson
After three or more decades of mainly positivistic readings of the economics of Adam Smith, there was a decided movement following the bicentennial of the publication of the Wealth of Nations to
Models of Value: Eighteenth-Century Political Economy and the Novel
James Thompson examines the concept of value as it came to be understood in eighteenth-century England through two emerging and divergent discourses: political economy and the novel. By looking at
Adam Smith' conception of the social relations of production
This article as a sequel to Song (1995), 'Adam Smith as an early pioneer of institutional individualism', aims to depict what Smith's conception of social relations of production looks like, and