Contributors provide succinct and accessible discussions of Smith’s landmark works and the historical context in which he wrote them, the core concepts of Smith’s social vision, and the lasting impact of Smith’s ideas in both academia and the broader world. They reveal other sides of Smith beyond the familiar portrayal of him as the author of the invisible hand, emphasizing his deep interests in such fields as rhetoric, ethics, and jurisprudence. Smith emerges not just as a champion of free markets but also as a thinker whose unique perspective encompasses broader commitments to virtue, justice, equality, and freedom.
An essential introduction to Adam Smith’s life and work, this incisive and thought-provoking book features contributions from leading figures such as Nicholas Phillipson, Amartya Sen, and John C. Bogle. It demonstrates how Smith’s timeless insights speak to contemporary concerns such as growth in the developing world and the future of free trade, and how his influence extends to fields ranging from literature and philosophy to religion and law.
Adam Smith is best known today as the founder of modern economics, but he was also an uncommonly brilliant philosopher who was especially interested in the perennial question of how to live a good life. Our Great Purpose is a short and illuminating guide to Smith's incomparable wisdom on how to live well, written by one of today's leading Smith scholars.
In this inspiring and entertaining book, Ryan Patrick Hanley describes Smith's vision of "the excellent and praiseworthy character," and draws on the philosopher's writings to show how each of us can go about developing one. For Smith, an excellent character is distinguished by qualities such as prudence, self-command, justice, and benevolence—virtues that have been extolled since antiquity. Yet Smith wrote not for the ancient polis but for the world of market society—our world—which rewards self-interest more than virtue. Hanley shows how Smith set forth a vision of the worthy life that is uniquely suited to us today.
Full of invaluable insights on topics ranging from happiness and moderation to love and friendship, Our Great Purpose enables modern readers to see Smith in an entirely new light—and along the way, learn what it truly means to live a good life.