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date: 22 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys recent literature arguing for and against the view that Smith was deeply egalitarian, and then examines both the elements of Smith’s texts that lend support to such a view, and the elements that militate against it. It concludes by considering various different senses in which one might be an egalitarian—distinguishing the belief in moral equality from a belief in political equality, and both from a belief in socio-economic equality—and suggesting that Smith is clearly an egalitarian along some of these dimensions but more ambiguously so along others.

Keywords: Adam Smith, egalitarianism, justice, mob, honour, poverty

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