Adam Smith on Statesmanship

About the Talk

Because Adam Smith is associated with free markets and a suspicion of the crafty politician and, perhaps less frequently, with rent-seeking by corporate interests, it may come as a surprise that he has a developed view of good statesmanship. But Smith has quite a bit to say about the art of statesmanship both in "Wealth of Nations" and in "The Theory of Moral Sentiments." In this lecture, Eric Schliesser will situate Smith's views by contrasting them with David Hume's approach. In particular, Schliesser will argue that, for Smith, a true statesman is guided by what he calls systematic theory, with an eye toward shaping a national interest for the common good.  

About the Speaker

Schliesser is professor of political science, with a focus on political theory, at the University of Amsterdam. His research encompasses a variety of themes, ranging from economic statistics in classical Babylon, the history of the natural sciences and forgotten 18th-century feminists (both male and female) to political theory and the history of political theory and the assumptions used in mathematical economics. Schliesser's interest in the influence of Chicago school of economics has increasingly moved his research toward the study of the methodology and political role of economists as experts. His publications include his monograph, "Adam Smith: Systematic philosopher and Public Thinker" (OUP, 2017). He has edited numerous volumes including (inter alia) "Newton and Empiricism." (OUP, with Zvi Biener, 2014); "Sympathy, a History of a Concept" (OUP, 2015); "Ten Neglected Classics of Philosophy" (Oxford, 2017). Right now he is working on a translation and critical edition of Sophie de Grouchy's "Letters on Sympathy" (together with Sandrine Berges). He keeps a daily blog "Digressionsnimpressions."

Co-sponsored with the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership

Center for the Study of Economic Liberty
Mason Hunt, MPA
Jan 30 2019 - 4:30pm
Memorial Union, 207 Gold Room
Tempe campus