This is the first full-scale biography of Adam Smith for a hundred years. It examines the personality, career, and social and intellectual circumstances of the Scottish moral philosopher regarded as the founder of scientific economics, whose legacy of thought - most notably about the free market and the role of the state - concerns us all.Ian Simpson Ross draws on correspondence, archival documents, the reports of contemporaries, and the record of Smith's publications to fashion a lively account of Adam Smith as a man of letters, moralist, historian, and critic, as well as an economist. Supported with full scholarly apparatus for students and academics, the book also offers 20 halftone illustrations representing Smith and the world in which he lived. -;Adam Smith (1723-1790) is perceived, through his best-known book, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, as the founder of economics as a science. His thought has shaped modern ideas about the market economy and the role of the state in relation to it. Yet Smith needs to be recognized as more than this, as a man of letters, moralist, historian, and critic, as well as an economist, if we are to get full value for his ideas and perspectives incontemporary applications.Ian Simpson Ross is the biographer of Lord Kames, Smith's patron, and of the Scottish poet William Dunbar, and has edited, with E C Mossner, Smith's correspondence for the Glasgow edition of his works. In this, the first full-scale biography of Adam Smith for a hundred years, Ross brings his subject in to historical light as a thinker and author by examining his family circumstance, education, career, and social and intellectual circle, including David Hume and Francois Quesnay, revealedthrough his correspondence, archival documents, the reports of contemporaries, and the record of his publications.Readers will meet Smith as a student at a lively Glasgow and sleepy Oxford; freelance lecturer in rhetoric; innovative university teacher; tutor travelling abroad with a Duke; acclaimed political economist; policy advisor to governments during and after the American crisis; and finally, if paradoxically in view of his tenets, a Commissioner of Customs coping with the free traders in the smuggling business.This is the life of a Scottish moral philosopher whose legacy of thought concerns and affects us all. Its lively and informed account will appeal to those interested in the social and intellectual milieu of the eighteenth century, and in scottish history. Economists and philosophers will find much to read about the history of their disciplines, supported by full documentation.
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Oxford University Press
November 23, 2012
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