Adam Smith and the Character of Virtue
Cambridge University Press, 2009.
by Defining Wisdom Project grantee Dr. Ryan Hanley
"Recent years have witnessed a renewed debate over the costs at which
the benefits of free markets have been bought. This book revisits the
moral and political philosophy of Adam Smith, capitalism's founding
father, to recover his understanding of the morals of the market age.
In so doing it illuminates a crucial albeit overlooked side of Smith's
project: his diagnosis of the ethical ills of commercial societies and
the remedy he advanced to cure them. Focusing on Smith's analysis of
the psychological and social ills endemic to commercial society -
anxiety and restlessness, inauthenticity and mediocrity, alienation and
individualism - it argues that Smith sought to combat corruption by
cultivating the virtues of prudence, magnanimity, and beneficence. The
result constitutes a new morality for modernity, at once a synthesis of
commercial, classical, and Christian virtues and a normative response
to one of the most pressing political problems of Smith's day and ours.
Ryan Patrick Hanley is Assistant Professor of Political Science at
Marquette University. His research in the history of political
philosophy has appeared in the American Political Science Review, the
American Journal of Political Science, the Review of Politics, History
of Political Thought, the European Journal of Political Theory, and
other academic journals and edited volumes. He is also the editor of
the forthcoming Penguin Classics edition of Adam Smith's Theory of
Moral Sentiments, featuring an introduction by Amartya Sen, and a
co-editor, with Darrin McMahon, of The Enlightenment: Critical Concepts
Go to the publisher's website.
(Something interesting I found)Posted: Monday, September 14, 2009