‘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

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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”

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Beyond natural selection and divine intervention: The Lamarckian implication of Adam Smith's invisible hand

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A Language of Taste in the Moral Philosophy of

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

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

Adam Smith and colonialism

In the context of debates about liberalism and colonialism, the arguments of Adam Smith have been taken as illustrative of an important line of anti-colonial liberal thought. The reading of Smith



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In launching modern economics, Adam Smith paved the way for laissez-faire capitalism, Marxism, and contemporary social science. This book scrutinizes Smith's disparagement of politics and religion to

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

Adam Smith Reviewed

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

Virtuous discourse: sensibility and community in late eighteenth-century Scotland

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.

A System of Social Science: Papers Relating to Adam Smith

  • A. Skinner
  • Economics
    The Journal of Economic History
  • 1980
The second edition of this guide to Adam Smith's system of thought has been fully updated to reflect recent developments in Smith scholarship and Professor Skinner's experience of teaching Smith to a

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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

Cultural Capital: The Problem of Literary Canon Formation

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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