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date: 04 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Using Smith’s own references to thinkers he identifies as significant pioneers, the chapter presents a synoptic and necessarily gross-grained selective survey. It pays particular attention to the thought of Descartes, Bacon, Hobbes, Locke, Pufendorf and also to Shaftesbury, Mandeville, and Hutcheson. Newton, because he is the chief subject of another chapter, is not here considered but Harrington, though not mentioned by Smith in this context, is included. While Smith can be seen to take something from all these thinkers, without exception this is done critically. This duality recurs as the survey proceeds.

Keywords: Adam Smith, philosophy, natural law, Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Pufendorf, Locke, Hutcheson

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