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Adam Smith and Economic Science

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Adam Smith and Economic Science

A Methodological Reinterpretation

9781858989198 Edward Elgar Publishing
Jan Peil, Assistant Professor in Economics, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Publication Date: 1999 ISBN: 978 1 85898 919 8 Extent: 224 pp
Since the celebration of the bicentenary of The Wealth of Nations, the last twenty years have seen a burgeoning interest in Adam Smith’s contribution to economics. Jan Peil’s book aims to provide a new model for interpreting Smith’s contribution to economic science.

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Since the celebration of the bicentenary of The Wealth of Nations, the last twenty years have seen a burgeoning interest in Adam Smith’s contribution to economics. Jan Peil’s book aims to provide a new model for interpreting Smith’s contribution to economic science.

This model elucidates Smith’s vision of the free market economy by placing it in the historical circumstances of the time. In the first part of the book the author discusses how we should read Smith and outlines the new hermeneutical model of interpretation of his economic thought. For example, in reviewing The Wealth of Nations, the author places Smith’s work firmly in the context of moral philosophy and the debate on the sense and meaning of the emerging commercial society which was taking place in the 18th century. In discussing Smith’s economics, the author clearly focuses on the question: why should we re-read Smith and according to which model of interpretation? Finally, he discusses the relevance of reinterpreting Smith’s economics as part of moral philosophy for today’s debate on the principles of economics.

This innovative book will be of great interest to historians of economic thought and political economy, scholars and students of the philosophy and methodology of economics and all those interested in Adam Smith and his relevance for economics today.
Critical Acclaim
‘There is much that is thought-provoking about this book, and for Smith aficionados it will be a pleasure to read the cogent and detailed discussions of some of Smith’s more obscure works.’
– David Gleicher, Review of Political Economy

‘Peil makes a valuable contribution to the literature on Smith. His scholarship is excellent and his line of argument has much to commend itself to the reader.’
– Pier Luigi Porter, History of Economic Ideas

‘The ongoing Ricardo debate appears to be more lively than the discussion on the work of Adam Smith. This scholarly written book by Jan Peil on the interpretation of Adam Smith and the foundations of present-day economics throws new light on the work of Adam Smith. Dr Peil’s book may give impetus to a renewed debate on Adam Smith.’
– A. Heertje, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Contents
Contents: Preface Introduction Part I: An Adam Smith Renaissance Anno 1976 Part II: A Contextual Approach to The Wealth of Nations Part III: Mutual Sympathy and Commerce Part IV: The Invisible Hand and Mutual Sympathy Part V: Adam Smith and the Crisis of Modern Economics Bibliography Index
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