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Adam Smith and the Circles of Sympathy
Cosmopolitanism and Moral Theory

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Part of Ideas in Context

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  • This 2010 text pursues Adam Smith's views on moral judgement, humanitarian care, commerce, justice and international law both in historical context and through a twenty-first-century cosmopolitan lens, making this a major contribution not only to Smith studies but also to the history of cosmopolitan thought and to contemporary cosmopolitan discourse itself. Forman-Barzilai breaks ground, demonstrating the spatial texture of Smith's moral psychology and the ways he believed that physical, affective and cultural distance constrain the identities, connections and ethical obligations of modern commercial people. Forman-Barzilai emphasizes his resistance to the sort of relativism, moral insularity and cultural chauvinism that too often accompany localist critiques of cosmopolitan thought today. This is a fascinating, revisionist study that integrates the perspectives of intellectual history, moral philosophy, political theory, cultural theory, international relations theory and political economy, and will appeal across the humanities and social sciences.

    • Provides a real introduction to Smith's moral philosophy, situating it amongst relevant twenty-first-century concerns
    • Diverse in approach and methodology, integrating intellectual history, moral philosophy, political and cultural theory, international relations theory and political economy, reflecting the multidisciplinary trends within Smith studies
    • Applies Smith's thought to the debates in global ethics about the proper scope of moral concern
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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2010
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9780511686252
    • availability: Adobe Reader ebooks available from eBooks.com
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: Smith's oikeiosis
    Part I. The Circle of the Self:
    1. Conflicted self
    2. Sympathetic self
    Part II. The Circle of Society:
    3. Discipline and the socialized conscience
    4. Perfectionism and social order
    Part III. The Circle of Humanity:
    5. Sympathy in space: Section 1. Physical Immediacy
    Section 2. Affective 'Connexion'
    Section 3. Historical Familiarity
    6. The commercial cosmopolis
    7. Negative justice
    Conclusion: Cultural pluralism, moral goods, and the 'laws of nations'.

  • Author

    Fonna Forman-Barzilai, University of California, San Diego

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