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date: 10 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

An examination of Smith’s and as complementary to one another and as refinements in earlier eighteenth-century revisions of rhetorical theory and moral philosophy. Smith’s scientific approach to language, rhetoric, and moral thinking emphasizes the improvement of the individual by exposure to stimulating works of art, literature, and spoken language, and encourages individuals to produce such works in order to provide examples to their fellows. Smith’s emphasis upon history in all his works provides an example of his theory and practice of perspicuity and mutually beneficial social exchanges past and present. Smith’s recommendations to the historian, later seen as exemplary, led Dugald Stewart to refer to Smith’s histories and those of his contemporaries as speculative and conjectural vehicles for advancing the science of man.

Keywords: Adam Smith, language, rhetoric, style, propriety

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