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Title: Adam Smith and Adam Ferguson : philosophy, economic change and class limitations in 18th century Scotland
Author: Dey, Michael
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1984
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The central problem addressed in this study is that of the nature of bourgeois consciousness in eighteenth century Scotland. I take Adam Smith and Adam Ferguson as representative of visions and difficulties which were particular to the century and which tell us something of the nature of social consciousness. I isolate a number of factors in the works of Smith and Ferguson which I take to be central to the problem. One is their attachment to and search for a scientific methodology. A second factor is Smith's and Ferguson's religious beliefs. This I use as a building block to illustrate the two philosophers' naturalism and their commitment to an anthropocentric vision. This finds developed expression in Smith's and Ferguson's philosophies of stadial progress. The next stage-of my analysis is to look at Smith's and Ferguson's ethical stances and examine how their methodological and philosophical assumptions relate to these. I employ the extent to which both men held to some degree of pessimism about the impact of social progress upon the individual to illustrate the conflicts between the actual historical trajectory of bourgeois society and that which Smith and Ferguson desired. This is taken as an example of both the strengths and weakness of their philosophies and is related to the notion of "the Adam Smith problem". In the final section I reflect briefly upon the emergence of new aspects of bourgeois consciousness and I suggest that the emergence of industrial capitalism was the basis for the eclipse of Adam Smith's and. Adam Ferguson's ethical and class positions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Economics & economic theory Economics History