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Type: Journal article
Title: Further reflections on the 'hidden theology' of Adam Smith
Author: Hill, L.
Citation: European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 2004; 11(4):629-635
Publisher: Routledge
Issue Date: 2004
ISSN: 0967-2567
Statement of
Lisa Hill
Abstract: In the article, the author explores in more detail philosopher Adam Smith's "Hidden Theology." The author suggests that Smith's explanation of the spontaneous social, moral and economic physics of commercial societies is best understood as his particular contribution to eighteenth century theodicy, which means any attempt to reconcile a belief in an omnipotent, benign God with the apparent evils of life. On the author's interpretation Smith holds to the perfection of God and all his works. Smith endorses and applies to contemporary conditions that since the world was governed by the all-ruling providence of a wise, powerful and good God, every single event ought to be regarded as making a necessary part of the plan of the universe. The first criticism the author deals with a simple problem of misidentification. According to critics, a key flaw of her analysis is the assumption of the inevitability and permanence of the commercial stage. It has also been commented that her interpretation of Smith's stadial historiography fails to take account of Smith's suggestion that, not only do many societies never reach the fourth stage, due to a number of climatic and terrain factors but that Smith points the likelihood of the stationary state.
Description: © 2004 Taylor & Francis Ltd
DOI: 10.1080/0967256042000292141
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 2
Politics publications

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