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Type: Conference paper
Title: Adam Smith's pragmatic liberalism
Author: Hill, L.
Citation: Proceedings of the Santiago 2009 World Congress of Political Science, 2009: pp.1-34
Publisher: IPSA
Publisher Place: online
Issue Date: 2009
Conference Name: World Congress of Political Science (2009 : Santiago, Chile)
Statement of
Lisa Hill
Abstract: In this paper I begin by disputing claims that Adam Smith’s thought can be read as a civic humanist lament on progress and modernity, after which I argue that his thought is best understood as a kind of pragmatic liberalism. It is suggested that the popular characterization of Smith as a champion of negative liberty is basically correct; nevertheless, his delineation and defense of the system of natural liberty is not born of any desire to promote such abstract liberal values as individualism, freedom, and autonomy as ends in themselves but is a pragmatist’s response to problems associated with political corruption, public debt, suboptimal productivity levels, and economic, especially food, insecurity. In other words, he defends such values to the extent that they serve substantive ends and readily abandons them when the ends demand it.
Rights: © (2008) International Political Science Association
RMID: 0020097370
Published version:
Appears in Collections:Politics publications

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