An Enlightened Life
Out of Print.
Named a Favorite Business Book of 2010 by James Pressley, Bloomberg BusinessWeek
Named a Best Book of 2010 by the Atlantic
Named a Critics' Favorite Book of 2010—The New Yorker
Named a Best Business Book of 2010 by Tyler Cowen, NPR's "Marketplace"
Recipient of the 2011 San Francisco Book Festival Honorable Mention in Biography
Winner of the 2011-2013 Annibel Jenkins Prize, given by the American Society for the 18th Century Studies.
The great eighteenth-century British economist Adam Smith (1723–90) is celebrated as the founder of modern economics. Yet Smith saw himself primarily as a philosopher rather than an economist and would never have predicted that the ideas for which he is now best known were his most important. This biography shows the extent to which Smith's great works, The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments, were part of one of the most ambitious projects of the Euruopean Enlightenment, a grand “Science of Man" that would encompass law, history, and aesthetics as well as economics and ethics, and which was only half complete on Smith’s death in 1790.
Nick Phillipson reconstructs Smith’s intellectual ancestry and shows what Smith took from, and what he gave to, in the rapidly changing intellectual and commercial cultures of Glasgow and Edinburgh as they entered the great years of the Scottish Enlightenment. Above all he explains how far Smith’s ideas developed in dialogue with those of his closest friend, the other titan of the age, David Hume.
Nicholas Phillipson is one of the leading scholars of the Scottish Enlightenment. An Honorary Research Fellow in History at the University of Edinburgh, he has held visiting appointments at Princeton, Yale, the Folger Library, and the Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität.
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