Adam Smith's Non-foundationalism

29 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2016  

Daniel B. Klein

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 1, 2016

Abstract

This article is part of a symposium (in Society) on a target article by Amitai Etzioni. Using that article as a point of departure, I take the opportunity to elaborate a reading of Adam Smith’s moral philosophy that sees it as quite non-foundationalist. Whereas foundationalism’s metaphor is a block or pillar, as non-foundationalism’s metaphor I suggest a spiral. I claim that non-foundationalism and Smithian liberalism dovetail.

Keywords: Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, foundationalism, relativism

JEL Classification: A13, B12

Suggested Citation

Klein, Daniel B., Adam Smith's Non-foundationalism (March 1, 2016). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 16-08. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2740837 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2740837

Daniel B. Klein (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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