The nature and origin of morality: Adam Smith’s response to David Hume’s views on moral matters
Every reader of Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature (1738) and Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759/1790) will note that both authors anticipated many topics of current debates about the nature and origin of morality. We shall compare their respective views on matters of morality. Whereas the similarity of topics and even terminologies between these works by Hume and Smith is striking, their views are not quite as similar as they might first appear to be. Topics of comparison and discussion will include virtue, the evolution of morality and the role of cooperation in the raise and development of morality, the psychological foundations of morality, the interface of moral psychology and normative moral theory, and the content and justification of the principles of justice.
We shall focus on books II and III of Hume’s Treatise.
Participants are expected to do the reading assigned for each course meeting. They are expected to attend the course meetings on a regular basis.
For getting the study points, participants have to deliver two short summaries of reading material with 3 questions ahead of the meeting where this material will be discussed.
Furthermore, they have to deliver a draft of their semester paper and, of course, the final version of it.
The course will be taught in English (all the readings are in English).
The semester papers can be written either in English or in Norwegian.
On August 11 and 12, 2016, CSMN will host a workshop on the topic of this course.
Participants are encouraged to attend this workshop – but attendance of this workshop is not a formal requirement for getting the study points.
Hume, David (1738/2000) A Treatise of Human Nature (Norton, David F. and Norton, Mary J., eds) (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Smith, Adam (1759/1984) The Theory of Moral Sentiments (D.D. Raphael and A.L. Macfie, eds) (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund).
Students are strongly encouraged to provide themselves with these books – I mean real books, not electronic books.
Carrasco, Maria Alejandra (2004) ‘Adam Smith’s Reconstruction of Practical Reason’. The Review of Metaphysics 58, 81-116.
Carrasco, Maria Alejandra (2011) ‘From Psychology to moral normativity’. The Adam Smith Review 6, 9-29.
Carrasco, Maria Alejandra (2015) ‘Morality, Impartiality and Due Partialities’. In Journal of Value Inquiry .
Cohen, Rachel (2008) Hume’s Morality. Feeling and Fabrication. Oxford: OUP.
Darwall, Stephen (2004) ‘Equal Dignity in Adam Smith’, The Adam Smith Review I: 129–34.
Darwall, Stephen (2004). ‘Respect and the Second-Person Standpoint’. Proceedings and
Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 78/2: 43-59.
Fleischacker, Sam (2012) ‘Sympathy in Hume and Smith: A Contrast, Critique, and Reconstruction’. In: Christel Fricke und Dagfinn Føllesdal (eds) Intersubjectivity and Objectivity in Adam Smith and Edmund Husserl. (Frankfurt et. al: Ontos Verlag), 273-311.
Forman-Barzilai, F. (2010) Adam Smith and the Circles of Sympathy. Cosmopolitanism and Moral Theory, Cambridge: CUP.
Fricke, Christel (2010) Adam Smith and ‘the Most Sacred Rules of Justice’ In: The Adam Smith Review 6, 46-74.
Fricke, Christel (2011) ‘Adam Smith: The Sympathetic Process and the Origin and Function of Conscience.’ In: Christopher Berry, Maria Pia Paganelli, Craig Smith (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith. (Oxford: OUP), 177-200.
Fricke, Christel (2012) ‘Overcoming Disagreement – Adam Smith and Edmund Husserl on Strategies of Justifying Descriptive and Evaluative Judgments’. In: Christel Fricke und
Dagfinn Føllesdal (eds) Intersubjectivity and Objectivity in Adam Smith and Edmund Husserl. (Frankfurt et. Al: Ontos Verlag), 171-242.
Griswold, Charles (1999) Adam Smith and the Virtues of Enlightenment. Cambridge: CUP.
Lindgren, R.J. (1973) The Social Philosophy of Adam Smith. Den Hag: Martinus Nijhoff.
Mackie, J.L. (1980) Hume’s Moral Theory. London: Routledge and Kegan.
Penelhum, Terence (1992) David Hume. An Introduction to his Philosophy. West Lafayette/Indiana: Purdue University Press.
Spencer J. Pack, Eric Schliesser (2006) ‘Smith’s Humean Criticism of Hume’s Account of the Origin of Justice’. Journal of the History of Philosophy 44/1, 47-63.
Walker, Margaret Urban (1991) ‘Partial Consideration’. Ethics 101/4 , 758-774.
Walker, Margaret Urban (1998) ‘Ineluctable Feelings and Moral Recognition’. Midwest Studies in Philosophy XXII, 62-81.