Adam Smith and Rousseau

Day 2
Session 4
5:05 PM

Jean-Jacques Rousseau is widely considered the first Counter-Enlightenment thinker. Adam Smith was the first Enlightenment thinker to provide a significant response to Rousseau. The lecture will examine three key ways in which Smith’s work responded to Rousseau: the differences in their views on the impact of commerce on morality, the relationship between liberty and citizenship, and the idea of progress.


Recommended Reader

Griswold, Charles L. 2018. Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Adam Smith: A Philosophical Encounter. London: Routledge. ISBN: 978-0-367-88499-4

Hanley, Ryan P. Adam Smith and the Character of Virtue. Cambridge University Press, 2009. 978-0521449298

Rasmussen, Dennis C. The Problems and Promises of Commercial Society: Adam Smith's Response to Rousseau. Penn State University Press, 2008. ISBN: 978-0271033495

Rousseau, J.J. Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality among Men (Second Discourse). Smith, Adam, The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Liberty Fund.

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Ross B. Emmett, Ph.D.

Professor of Political Economy, School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, and Director of the Center for the Study of Economic Liberty
Arizona State University