Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 22 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Adam Smith is often cited as one of the intellectual forefathers of the concept of civil society. Although there is undeniable truth to this characterization, this chapter seeks to illuminate the major differences between Smith’s vision of civil society and contemporary appropriations. Unlike latter-day communitarians, social scientists, or Marxians who define civil society as the realm of the voluntary and private, or as the structural antithesis of the state, Smith’s account represents a complex blend of moral, historical, legal, sociological, and economic elements. In particular, understanding the nature and origins of a civil society requires a fuller attention to the moral virtue of civility.

Keywords: Adam Smith, civility, manners, virtue, civil society

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.