Summary of Adam Smith and the Virtues of Enlightenment

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Adam Smith and the Virtues of Enlightenment book summary


5 Overall

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8 Innovation

8 Style


Put on your scuba gear - we’re diving down deep. Even though Charles L. Griswold, Jr. writes in a dense, academic style, it is worth swimming through his prose to learn about the remarkable work of 18th-century Enlightenment philosopher Adam Smith. Regarded as one of the fathers of modern economic thought, Smith has been misunderstood for the last century because his ethical philosophy has been overlooked. Instead, economists have drawn attention only to his thumbs-up for free enterprise and free trade. Smith believed neither was worthwhile without ethics, a point some modern economists might profitably revisit. getAbstract highly recommends this richly detailed, insightful book to anyone interested in economic, political, or social philosophy.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What other works the Scottish philosopher and ecomonist Adam Smith wrote;
  • What his ideas on freedom and morality were; and
  • How his support for “moral sensibility” stretched far beyond old-fashioned conventions.

About the Author

Charles L. Griswold, Jr.  is a professor of philosophy at Boston University. He has published in a variety of fields, including ancient philosophy, the Scottish Enlightenment, and German idealism.



Adam Smith: Economist and Philosopher
Adam Smith (1723-1790) was a Scottish philosopher and economist widely regarded as the founder of political economy. In his book, The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, he defined the wealth of a nation in terms of its labor. He said wealth comes...

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