A Review of Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life

The Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th century was fascinating be­cause it pondered the deepest questions of how a social order can be structured to maximize human welfare. This movement explored human nature and the social institutions that would work best with the forces that really govern behavior. Philo­sophers like Thomas Hobbes, Bernard Mandeville, David Hume and Montes­quieu contemplated these concerns extensively, but none of them put together a moral and social system as comprehensive as Adam Smith's.

This engaging and detailed biography by historian Nicholas Phillipson gives readers a clear sense of the intellectual dialogue going on among the thinkers of Smith's time while presenting insights into the cultural climate and social customs of 17th-century Scotland.


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