The Enduring Significance of Theory of Moral Sentiments

Source: Law & Liberty
by James Otteson

“The year of our Lord 2023 was the tercentenary of Adam Smith’s 1723 birth. That would seem an apt occasion to reevaluate Smith’s contributions, and a quick internet search will discover indeed many conferences, books, and articles that have marked the occasion by examining, or reexamining, various aspects of Smith’s thought. Smith continues to be cited in both academic and popular literature, by professors as well as pundits — often, it must be acknowledged, in support of seemingly inconsistent aims. People across various economic, philosophical, and political spectrums apparently continue to find value in claiming Smith as an authority. What is also often apparent is that many who cite Smith have not actually read Smith — beyond, perhaps, the quote or two they found online. Like the Bible, Smith’s work is frequently cited but infrequently read.” (02/08/24)