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The 250th-anniversary edition of the influential treatise on social responsibility that has shaped leaders from Bill Gates to Barack Obama.
This textbook provided the ethical, philosophical, psychological, and methodological underpinnings to Smith's later works, including The Wealth of Nations , A Treatise on Public Opulence , Essays on Philosophical Subjects , and Lectures on Justice, Police, Revenue, and Arms.
Best known for his revolutionary free-market economics treatise The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith was first and foremost a moral philosopher. In his first textbook, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, he investigated the flip side of economic self-interest: the interest of the greater good. Smith’s classic work advances ideas about conscience, moral judgment, and virtue that have taken on renewed importance in business and politics.
Broadly speaking, Smith followed the views of his mentor, Francis Hutcheson of the University of Glasgow, who divided moral philosophy into four parts: Ethics and Virtue; Private rights and Natural liberty; Familial rights (called Economics); and State and Individual rights (called Politics).
More specifically, Smith divided moral systems into:
- Categories of the nature of morality. These included Propriety, Prudence, and Benevolence.
- Categories of the motive of morality. These included Self-love, Reason, and Sentiment.
Amartya Sen is a Nobel Prize-û winning economist, known for his work on the way economics affects the well-being of humans. Formerly the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, he now teaches at Harvard.
Ryan Patrick Hanley is an assistant professor of political science at Marquette University and the author of Adam Smith and the Character of Virtue.
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