Political Theory

Adam Smith and the Circles of Sympathy: Cosmopolitanism and by Fonna Forman-Barzilai

By Fonna Forman-Barzilai

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This 2010 textual content pursues Adam Smith's perspectives on ethical judgement, humanitarian care, trade, justice and overseas legislation either in ancient context and during a twenty-first-century cosmopolitan lens, making this an immense contribution not just to Smith reviews but additionally to the background of cosmopolitan concept and to modern cosmopolitan discourse itself. Forman-Barzilai breaks flooring, demonstrating the spatial texture of Smith's ethical psychology and the methods he believed that actual, affective and cultural distance constrain the identities, connections and moral duties of recent advertisement humans. Forman-Barzilai emphasizes his resistance to this sort of relativism, ethical insularity and cultural chauvinism that too frequently accompany localist evaluations of cosmopolitan proposal this present day. this can be a attention-grabbing, revisionist learn that integrates the views of highbrow heritage, ethical philosophy, political thought, cultural concept, diplomacy conception and political economic climate, and should attraction around the humanities and social sciences.

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Extra resources for Adam Smith and the Circles of Sympathy: Cosmopolitanism and Moral Theory (Ideas in Context)

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I am committed to approaching the “historical Smith” as he emerged from his own unique cluster of influences and concerns. 66 At the same time, I remain wary of the claim that contextual method effectively insulates historical interpretation from the historian’s critical impulses. More or less overtly we are driven to ask questions of history not merely because a text or a context demands it of us, as if questions are simply there like artifacts under the sand waiting for the asking, and not merely because certain questions may be professionally in vogue; but very often because we are stirred in our own lives by ethical and political questions that seem to find some bearing in earlier sets of questions.

227–234), esp. 3–6 (pp. 228–230). My thanks to John Pocock for sharing this formulation with me. 24 Introduction and visionary cultural theorist, and a valuable ally for those who are committed today to preserving the category of “culture” and wary of the “thick” and “unreflective” universalisms so frequently brandished in political and academic discourse. But, in the end, what I find most compelling is that the troubled particularist in Smith refused to sit trapped in the proverbial box of moral relativity.

2 Are the books consistent or continuous? And if not, which in Smith’s mind was prior? Was Smith primarily an ethical or an economic thinker? Were human beings driven primarily by sympathy or self-interest, virtue or vice? Homo socius or homo oeconomicus? Interpretation of Smith’s thought throughout the last two centuries was dominated by “present-minded” people who wanted to say something or another about capitalism. In that environment the “Adam Smith Problem” was most often resolved in the direction of self-interest, with the Wealth of Nations and its purported “celebration of avarice”3 rising triumphant as the motivating center of Smith’s thought, and the Moral Sentiments set aside as puerile and academic.

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