Adam Smith

adamsmith

Adam Smith died on this date in 1790 (b. 1723).

Frye in “Varieties of Eighteenth Century Sensibility”:

We saw that Locke, like Descartes before him, based his philosophy on a philosophical man abstracted from his social context, in short, a theoretical primitive.  Also that Robinson Crusoe was an allegory of another abstract primitive, the economic man of capitalist theory, whose outlines are already fairly complete in Adam Smith.  These are the individual primitives at the core of Augustan culture.  But such primitives have voluntarily entered a social contract and a historical tradition.  For this attitude nothing in the area of culture can develop except on the other side of the social contract: literature and the other arts are rooted in a historical context in both time and space.  (CW 17, 33)

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