Cookies Policy
Cookie Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Das Adam Smith Problem - A Critical Realist Perspective

MyBook is a cheap paperback edition of the original book and will be sold at uniform, low price.

Buy this article

$30.00+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites

image of Journal of Critical Realism

The old Das Adam Smith Problem is no longer tenable. Few today believe that Smith postulates two contradictory principles of human action: one in the Wealth of Nations and another in the Theory of Moral Sentiments. Nevertheless, an Adam Smith problem of sorts endures: there is still no widely agreed version of what it is that links these two texts, aside from their common author; no widely agreed version of how, if at all, Smith's postulation of self-interest as the organising principle of economic activity fits in with his wider moral-ethical concerns.

We argue that the enduring Adam Smith problem may be solved by recourse to a realist perspective that recognises the different levels of social reality to which Smith refers in his discourse. Essential to Smith, we try to show, is the action-theoretic distinction between motive and capacity; between a typology of empirical human acts, on the one hand—self-love and benevolence in Smiths terminology—and the (non-empirical) condition of possibility of all human action—what Smith calls the sympathetic principle—on the other.


Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Create email alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Journal of Critical Realism — Recommend this title to your library

    Thank you

    Your recommendation has been sent to your librarian.

  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation