Adam Smith, Condorcet, and the Enlightenment
Chapter 5: The Bloody and Invisible Hand
Harvard University Press
Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2001
Text pp. 116-156, Notes 288-316
1. A short summary of this chapter was presented at a session organized by Robert Nozick at the 1994 meetings of the American Economic Association, and published in the American Economic Review, 84, 2 (May 1994), 319-322. I am very grateful to Robert Nozick, and also to Stephen Martin, Amélie Rorty, Gloria Vivenza, and A. C. Waterman, for helpful discussions and comments.
2. Kenneth Arrow, “Economic Theory and the Hypothesis of Rationality,” in The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics (London: Macmillan, 1987), 2:71; Kenneth Arrow and Frank Hahn, General Competitive Analysis (San Francisco: Holden-Day, 1971), p. 1; James Tobin, “The Invisible Hand in Modern Macroeconomics,” in Adam Smith’s Legacy: His Place in the Development of Modern Economics, ed. Michael Fry (London: Routledge, 1992), p. 117.
3. See James Bonar, Philosophy and Political Economy in Some of Their Historical Relations (London: Sonnenschein, 1893), pp. 150, 173; Alec Macfie, “The Invisible Hand of Jupiter,” Journal of the History of Ideas, 32, 4 (October-December 1971); 595-599; Gloria Vivenza, Adam Smith e la cultura classica (Pisa: Il Pensiero Economico Moderno, 1984), pp. 15-16.
4. “The History of Astronomy,” in EPS, pp. 49-50. Wightman suggests that while the “History” may have been written in several parts, even the “last part’ was written before 1758,” W P. D. Wightman, “Introduction,” in EPS, pp. 5-11.
5. TMS, pp. 184-185.
6. “Nor is it always the worse for society that it was no part of it,” Smith continues. “By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good. It is an affectation, indeed, not very common among merchants, and very few words need be employed in dissuading them from it.” WN, pp. 453, 456,462,471.
7. Macfie, “The Invisible Hand,” pp. 595, 598.
8. Macfie notes that “the invisible hand appears only once in the Wealth of Nations in a rather slight way,” that the reference in the “History of Astronomy” is also slight, and that even the passage in the Theory of Moral Sentiments is not especially emphatic. A. L. Macfie, The Individual in Society (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1967), p. 103. Macfie and D. D. Raphael, too, oberve in their introduction to the Glasgow edition of the Theory of Moral Sentiments ( TMS, p. 7) that “commentators have laid too much stress on the ‘invisible hand.’”
9. In the centenary celebrations in London for the Wealth of Nations in 1876 - organized by the Political Economy Club, with W. E. Gladstone in the chair, and with eight speeches, including by Leon Say, then French minister of finance - the invisible hand is not mentioned; nor is it mentioned in articles about the occasion in the Economist, the Times, the Daily News, the Pall Mall Gazette, and Capital and Labour. Political Economy Club, Revised Report of the Proceedings held in celebration of the 100th year of the publication of the ‘Wealth of Nations” (London: Longmans, 1876). No mention is made in the record of a similar event organized in New York by the International Free Trade Alliance. “The Adam Smith Centennial,” in New Century (New York: Randolph, 1876). August Oncken, in 1874, does quote the invisible hand passage from the Wealth of Nations, but comments that “this principle of re-
alistic philosophy is not original.” August Oncken, Adam Smith in der Culturgeschichte (Vienna: Faesy and Frick, 1874), p. 19. The idea seems to have edged toward its present prominence by the end of the nineteenth century, and is noted by James Bonar in his article on Smith in the 1892 Palgrave Dictionary of Political Economy, ed. R. H. Inglis Palgrave (London: Macmillan, 1892), 3:413, 415.
10. Cliffe Leslie, in his attack on Smith’s “abstraction,” quotes the invisible hand passages from both the Wealth of Nations and the Theory of Moral Sentiments, and concludes that “the clerical system of deductive reasoning certainly runs through and warps the whole philosophy of Adam Smith”; “the mischief done in political economy by this assumption respecting the beneficent constitution of nature, and therefore of all human inclinations and desires, has been incalculable.” Thomas Edward Cliffe Leslie, Essays in Political and Moral Philosophy (Dublin: Hodges, Foster and Figgis, 1879), pp. 154-155, 158. Ingram is even more suspicious: “There is another vicious species of deduction which, as Cliffe Leslie has shown, seriously tainted the philosophy of Smith ... This theory is, of course, not explicitly presented by Smith as a foundation of his economic doctrines, but it is really the secret substratum on which they rest.” Ingram’s usual charge against Smith is of subversion: “a certain deadness to the high alms and perennial importance of religion,” and a failure to “keep in view the moral destination of our race.” But he is prepared, on this occasion, to add the supplementary charge that Smith is in fact too concerned with the importance of religious conceptions: Smith “is secretly led, as we have seen, by a priori theological ideas.” John Kells Ingram, A History of Political Economy (1888) (New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1967), pp. 89-90, 102, 104.
11. Carl Menger, “Die Social-Theorien der classischen National-Oekonomie und die moderne Wirthschaftspolitik” (1891), in Kieinere Schriften zur Methode und Geschichte der Volkswirtschaftslehre (London: London School of Economics, 1935), pp. 219-245; idem, Untersuchungen über die Methode der Socialwissenschaften, und der Politischen Oekonomie insbesondere (1883) (London: London School of Economics, 1933), pp. 200-207.
12. Marshall is retranslating, here, from the German of Adolf Held. He writes that “some misunderstanding of Adam Smith’s position has been imported into this country from Germany; but unfortunately the corrections of those mistakes, which have been made in Germany, have not been noted here.” Held, in Marshall’s account, objects to the emphasis by Smith’s critics on “natural and necessary harmony,” and the “laying excessive stress on occasional passages in which he speaks of ‘the unseen hand which leads a man to this end, though he has not intended it himself.” Alfred Marshall, Industry and Trade (London: Macmillan, 1923), pp. 747-748; and see Adolf Held, Zwei Bücher zur socialen Geschichte Englands (Leipzig: Duncker and Humblot, 1881), p. 160.
13. See Ernest Campbell Mossner, Adam Smith: The Biographical Approach
(Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 1969); and Ian Simpson Ross, The Life of Adam Smith (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995).
14. Letter of July 21, 1757, in The Complete Works of Voltaire, vol. 102 (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 1971), p. 106; and see John Morley, Voltaire (London: Macmillan, 1888), p. 339.
15. Macbeth, 3.2.47-51. Davenant’s “simplified” version of Macbeth, much favored in the eighteenth century, preserves the invisible hand, but substitutes:
Come dismal Night,
Close up the Eye of the quick sighted Day
With thy invisible and bloody hand
Quoted in Dennis Bartholomeusz, Macbeth and the Players (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969), p. 23. In the Piave libretto for Verdi’s Macbeth, the speech about night (“light thickens ...”) is given to Lady Macbeth, and the hand of night becomes the hand of the husband:
Notte desiata, provvida veli
La man colpevole che ferirà.
Giuseppe Verdi, Macbeth, ed. Eduardo Rescigno (Milan: Mondadori, 1983), 2.2, p. 94.
16. James C. Dibdin, The Annals of the Edinburgh Stage (Edinburgh: Richard Cameron, 1888), pp. 89, 95. In Paris and London, Smith had theatrical acquaintances; David Garrick wrote to Smith’s friend Mme. Riccoboni in 1767 that “I have seen and [co]nvers’d with Your friend Mr. Smith. He is a most agreeable Man.” The Letters of David Garrick, ed. David M. Little and George M. Kahrl (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963), 2:552.
17. See, on “the tragedy of Mahomet, one of the finest of Mr. Voltaire’s,” and “that beautiful tragedy of Voltaire, the Orphan of China,” TMS, pp. 177, 227.
18. The High Priest is vengeful:
Tremblez, malheureux roi, votre régne est passé;
Une invisible main suspend sur votre tête
Le glaive menaçant que la vengeance apprête
and Oedipus pathetic:
Pour la premiere fois, par un don solennel,
Mes mains jeunes encore enrichissaient l’autel:
Du temple tout-a-coup les combles s’entr’ouvrirent;
De traits affeux de sang les marbres se couvrirent;
De l’autel ébranlé par de longs tremblements
Une invisible main repoussait mes presents
Voltaire, Oedipe, 3.4.69, and 4.1.128. Voltaire does acknowledge the influence of Sophocles on these two scenes. See “Lettres sur Oedipe” (1719), in
Oeuvres computes de Voltaire (Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1876), 1:69, and, on Sophocles’ coarseness, or “grossièreté,” 1:66. The function of Jocasta’s old romantic interest - the same Philoctetes, keeper of the arrows of Hercules in the Trojan Wars, whom Sophocles in his Philoctetes had abandoned on a desert island with an excruciating foot wound - is, Voltaire writes, to make her less “insipid” by giving her “at least the memory of a legitimate love,” as well as some “passion,” in the form of anxiety as to the fate of someone she once loved (1:72). Smith, who was a student of Sophocles, and who was fascinated at the end of his life by the “piacular guilt” of Oedipus and Jocasta, would certainly have been familiar with Voltaire’s play; see TMS, pp. 30, 107, and LRBL, pp. 121-124. Voltaire’s preface to Oedipe of 1730, in which he discusses two of the literary topics with which Smith was most concerned - the three dramatic unities, and the shortcomings of blank verse - is likely to have influenced Smith’s lectures on poetry and his essays on syllables and rhymes, and on the imitative arts. LRBL, pp. 117-127; EPS, pp. 176-213, 220-225. Dugald Stewart indeed refers, in his biography of Smith, to the account of the “difficulté surmontée” in “the Preface to Voltaire’s Oedipe” as “probably” the source of Smith’s view of “the difficulty of the imitation.” Dugald Stewart, “Account of the Life and Writings of Adam Smith, LL.D” (1793), in EPS, pp. 305-306. Oedipe and its hands (4.1.165-166) are certainly notable instances of the shortcomings of the twelve-syllable rhyming couplet:
La main des dieux sur moi si long-temps suspendue
Semble ôter le bandeau qu’ils mettaient sur ma vue.
19. Ovid, Metamorphoses, trans. Frank Justus Millar (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984), 12.492-493, p. 215.
20. Smith, according to Mizuta’s catalogue, owned the 1662 Leyden edition of Ovid’s works. See Ovid, Opera omnia, ed. Heinsii (Leyden, 1662), vol. 2, plate opposite p. 574; Adam Smith’s Library: A Catalogue, ed. Hiroshi Mizuta (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000), p. 183.
21. “And from behind Zeus thrust him on with exceeding mighty hand.” Homer, The Iliad, trans. A. T. Murray (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1985), 15.695, p. 159.
22. Arthur Darby Nock, Essays on Religion and the Ancient World (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972), 1:146.
23. Macbeth, 2.3.129.
24. “Eloge de Pascal” (1776), in OC, 3:619; TMS, p. 139.
25. “Recherches sur les causes des progrès” (1748), in OT, 1:133; Zum ewigen Frieden (1795), in Immanuel Kant, Werkausgabe, ed. Wilhelm Weischedel (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1968), 11:198.
26. Joseph de Maistre, Considerations sur la France (1797) (Paris: Complexe, 1988), p. 49. Napoleon, in St. Helena, arrived at a similarly dismal metaphor, in an extended comparison of the English and the French Revolutions, and
the regicides of Charles I and Louis XVI: “In England, the affair was led by an invisible hand; it had more reflection and calm. In France, it was led by the multitude, whose fury was without limits.” Emmanuel de Las Cases, Memorial de Sainte-Hélène, ed. Joel Schmidt (Paris: Editions du Scull, 1968), p. 614.
27. The Latin adjective invisibilis, according to Lewis and Short, is first used, other than by Celsus, in Tertullian and Lactantius; see, for example, Lactantius, Dc divino praemio, 7; Augustine, City of God, 10.12-13.
28. See David Hume, The Natural History of Religion (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1957), pp. 27, 30, 32, and more than a dozen other references. “The term invisible is conspicuously emphasised throughout The Natural History.” Peter Jones, Hume’s Sentiments: Their Ciceronian and French Context (Edinburgh: University Press, 1982), p. 82. Hume and Smith were already friends by the early 1750s, and the “History of Astronomy” is one of the most “Humean” of Smith’s writings. Corr., pp. 8-11, 16-18; D. D. Raphael, “The True Old Humean Philosophy’ and Its Influence on Adam Smith,” in David Hume: Bicentenary Papers, ed. G. P. Morice (Edinburgh: University Press, 1977), pp. 23-38. In his essay on superstition, too, Hume speaks of the invisible in false religion. “Of Superstition and Enthusiasm,” in David Hume, Essays Moral, Political, and Literary, ed. Eugene F. Miller (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1987), p. 74. Miracles are ascribed to “the interposition of some invisible agent” in Hume’s Enquiry; he attributes the dislike of “jarring elements” to his stylized Stoic; he is concerned, in his discussion of causes, with the explanation of “irregular events.” “The Stoic,” in Hume, Essays, p. 154; David Hume, Enquiries concerning Human Understanding and concerning the Principles of Morals, ed. L. A. Selby-Bigge (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975), pp. 87, 115. Smith’s phrase about fire and water, immediately before the reference to the invisible hand of Jupiter, is itself distinctively Humean, and recalls an observation from the Treatise: “In all the incidents of life we ought still to preserve our scepticism. If we believe, that fire warms, or water refreshes, ‘tis only because it costs us too much pains to think otherwise.” David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, ed. L. A. Selby-Bigge (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 270.
29. LRBL, pp. 68, 71. There are many similar uses of the word “invisible” elsewhere in the writings of Smith’s acquaintances; Lord Kames, for example, complains at length about “the introduction of invisible powers” such as “deities, angels, devils, or other supernatural powers” into epic poetry. Lord Kames, Elements of Criticism (Edinburgh: A. Millar, 1762), 3:239, 248.
30. TMS, pp. 107, 251.
31. Smith, EPS, p. 42; there are at least a dozen other references in the “History of Astronomy” to chains of either intermediate or invisible events, including at pp. 44,45, 50, 58, 91,92.
32. EPS, p. 75; see also EPS, pp. 45-46, 119; LRBL, pp. 145-146; A. S. Skinner, “Adam Smith: Science and the Role of the Imagination,” in Hume and the
Enlightenment, ed. W. B. Todd (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1974), pp. 164-188; D. D. Raphael and A. S. Skinner, “General Introduction,” in EPS, pp. 12-13.
33. It is in some respects reminiscent of the invisible bodies, motions, and blows in Lucretius, De rerum natura, 2.128, 136, 714-715. Lucretius also makes fun of Jupiter’s thunderbolts, and of the theories of storms believed in by savages, whose ignorance of causes compels them to refer events to the dominion of the gods rather than seeking to understand, for example, the “invisible bodies of the wind” (1.295, 6.55, 387).
34. EPS, pp. 42, 50, 90-92.
35. “Review of Johnson’s Dictionary,” in EPS, pp. 233-238.
36. Macfie, The Individual in Society, p. 156.
37. I am grateful to Istvan Hont and Sylvana Tomaselli for discussion on this point. As Knud Haakonssen has written, of the section in the Theory of Moral Sentiments in which the invisible hand appears, “In this passage, Smith strikes that perfect equipoise between irony and encomium which is so characteristic of him.” Knud Haakonssen, The Science of a Legislator: The Natural Jurisprudence of David Hume and Adam Smith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), p. 91.
38. For an account of the modern invisible hand, see Karen I. Vaughn, “Invisible Hand,” in The New Palgrave, 2:997-999, and the discussion later in this chapter.
39. TMS, pp. 183-185. The title of the chapter is “Of the beauty which the appearance of Utility bestows upon all the productions of art, and of the extensive influence of this species of Beauty.” TMS, p. 179.
40. Dugald Stewart, Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind (1792), in Collected Works, ed. Sir William Hamilton (Edinburgh: Constable, 1854), 2:248.
41. Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1974), pp. 18-19.
42. Arrow and Hahn, General Competitive Analysis, p. 1.
43. “History of Astronomy,” in EPS, p. 46.
44. Thus Caeneus: “caecamque in viscera movit / versavitque manum vulnusque in vulnere fecit.” Ovid, Metamorphoses, 12.492-493.
45. Robert Nozick, Philosophical Explanations (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981), pp. 343, 347.
46. Ferguson goes on immediately to say that “nations stumble upon establishments, which are indeed the result of human action, but not the execution of any human design.” Adam Ferguson, An Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767) (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1966), p. 122; F. A. Hayek, Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1967), p. 96.
47. See Chapter 1.
48. Jeremy Bentham, The Theory of Legislation, ed. C. K. Ogden (London:
Kegan Paul, 1931), p. 368; Traites de legislation civile et penale par M. Jeremie Bentham, ed. Etienne Dumont (Paris: Bossange, 1802), 3:19.
49. “One cannot help noticing that Smith always tends to exaggerate ‘the weakness and folly of man,’ when in the presence of his invisible hand,” Alec Macfie writes. He also sees some tension in Smith’s apparent presumption that providence is “deceiving” men: “‘Deception’ seems strange, as it is consistent neither with a perfect Deity nor with a proper recognition of human dignity.” Macfle, The Individual in Society, pp. 122-123, 125. If the invisible hand is invisible of necessity (because it is the hand of God), then the individual is not blind by virtue of his or her incapacity to see it; I am grateful to A. C. Waterman for emphasizing this point. But the invisible hands of social theory, including those in the Wealth of Nations and the Theory of Moral Sentiments, are not invisible in this sense; they are visible, in fact, to social theorists. The hand of God is itself something to be glimpsed, in the view of some theologians; this is one of the implications, presumably, of the use of the metaphors of “revelation” and “revealed” religion. When Adolf Held translates “invisible” as unsichtbar, and Alfred Marshall translates it back into English as “unseen” (of which the more usual German translation would be ungesehen), then the meaning of the phrase changes; the invisible hand was not in fact seen (just as the hand of Caeneus/Caenis was not seen by the centaurs), but it could be seen, under other circumstances or by other people. The relationship between God’s knowledge and man’s, or between the all-seeingness of God and the limited vision of men, was indeed one of the continuing preoccupations of the sect of enlightenment. The new empire of light and reason aspired to illuminate the pleasing illusions of power, and it also aspired to illuminate the secrets of the universe. There was nothing, in principle, which could not be seen by men. “To attribute sovereignty to the people to make man eternal is to make him God,” Felicité de Lamennais wrote of Condorcet’s ideas of political reform and physiological perfectibility. To make men enlightened, too, is to make them like gods; Felicité de Lamennais, “Influence des doctrines philosophiques sur Ia société” (1815), in Réflexions sur l’état de l’église en France (Paris: Tournachon-Molin, 1819), p. 156.
50. TMS, p. 234; on resemblances between Frederick and Smith’s “royal reformer,” see Chapter 2.
51. Epictetus, The Discourses, trans. W. A. Oldfather, (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1925), 1.19.13-15; Vivenza, Adam Smith a la cultura classica, pp. 69-72.
52. See TMS, pp. 104-107, 288, 338.
53. WN, p. 678; TMS, p. 234. On Smith’s views of Quesnay, see Istvan Hont, “The Political Economy of the ‘Unnatural and Retrograde’ Order: Adam Smith and Natural Liberty,” Franzosische Revolution und Politische Okonomie, 41 (1989), 122-149. Smith’s language here echoes Lucian’s description of the foolish Stoic in “Philosophies for Sale.” The Stoic who is about to be
sold is described by Hermes as imagining that he is “the only wise man… the only just man, brave man, king, orator, rich man, lawgiver, and everything else that there is.” The Works of Lucian, vol. 2, trans. A. M. Harmon (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1915), p. 487.
54. Vie de Voltaire (1789), in OC, 4:20, and see Chapter 1.
55. “Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose” (1784), in Kant’s Political Writings, ed. Hans Reiss (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), pp. 41-42; Kant, Werkausgabe, 11:34. Kant was familiar with the Theory of Moral Sentiments, and there is some similarity of cadence between his individuals- with their ends “an welcher, selbst wenn sie ihnen bekannt würde, ihnen doch wenig gelegen sein würde” - and Smith’s, who pursue ends “without intending it, without knowing it.” Kant concludes, a little later in the essay (p. 39), that the cunning of nature leads one to infer the design of a wise creator, and not “die Hand eines bösartigen Geistes” (the hand of a malicious spirit). On Kant, Smith, and the “marketplace of feelings,” see Samuel Fleischaker, “Philosophy in Moral Practice: Kant and Adam Smith,” Kant -Studien, 82, 3 (1991), 249-269.
56. G. W. F. Hegel, Vorlesungen über die Philosophic der Geschichte (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1961), pp. 78-79. Hegel does go on to exempt a certain side of the lives of individuals, seen as an end and not as a means: their “Moralitat, Sittlichkeit, Religiosität.” The idea of reason, or nature, as cunning is characteristically Stoic, as in Balbus’ description, in De natura deorum, of “naturam, qua nihil potest esse callidius.” Cicero, De natura deorum, 2.142.
57. This is the phrase Smith uses in the Theory of Moral Sentiments (TMS, p. 158).
58. Immanuel Kant, Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime (1764), trans. John T. Goldthwait (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1960), p. 74.
59. See, on the interests which lie behind ostentatiously public-spirited or pious-spirited actions, Smith’s remarks on the Quakers, who would never have agreed to free their slaves if the slaves had “made any considerable part of their property.” WN, pp. 388-389; see also, for comments in a similar tone, pp. 51-52 (on the interest of princes in adulterating the coinage), p. 141 (the interest of manufacturers in incorporated towns), p. 144 (the sophistry of merchants and manufacturers in conveying that the general interest of the country is identical with their own private interests), p. 153 (the interest of parish worthies in making it difficult for the poor to become settled), p. 188 (the interest of dukes of Cornwall in offering mineral rights to the people who discover tin mines), p. 393 (the interest of proprietors, who were also legislators, in passing laws to restrict the rights of tenants), pp. 401-402 (the interest of medieval kings in granting privileges to wealthy burghers, as the “enemies of [their] enemies”), pp. 455-456 (the “invisible hand” passage), pp. 728-729 (the interest of the “proud minister of an ostentatious court” in executing conspicuous public works), p. 737 (the lack of interest, by direc-
tors of regulated colonial companies, in the companies’ “general trade”), p. 760 (the interest of university teachers in performing their functions in a “careless and slovenly” manner), pp. 797-79 8 (the interest of established clergy in maintaining their authority, through the menace of “eternal misery”), pp. 802-803 (the interest of medieval clergy in perpetuating “the grossest delusions of superstition”).
60. WN, pp.663-664.
61. Frank Hahn, “Reflections on the Invisible Hand,” Lloyds Bank Review, 144 (April 1982), pp. 17, 20.
62. Smith wrote later, of Turgot’s economic reforms, that they “did so much honour to their Author, and, had they been executed without alteration, would have proved so beneficial to his country.” See Corr., p. 286, and Chapter 1.
63. “Lit de Justice” of March 12, 1776, in OT, 5:288-289.
64. WN, pp. 266-267,459,467, 660, 662.
65. “Lit de Justice,” in OT, 5:288.
66. Note (f), in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,11th ed., ed. Playfair (London: T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1805), 2:559; comment on Book 4, chap. 8 (WN, p. 660).
67. Lionel Robbins, The Theory of Economic Policy in English Classical Political Economy (London: Macmillan, 1952), p. 56.
68. WN, pp. 454-456.
69. WN, pp. 144, 157, 471-472.
70. WN, p. 267; and, on competition and policies of economic and political reform, see Chapter 6.
71. Jacob Viner, The Role of Providence in the Social Order (Philadephia: American Philosophical Society, 1972), pp. 81-82; Macfie, “The Invisible Hand of Jupiter,” p. 595. Macfie refers on several other occasions to the “theological” character of the invisible hand, and to the “very general theological framework” in which it should be seen, as part of “a seventeenth century, almost Newtonian picture.” Macfie, The Individual in Society, pp. 49, 54, 56, 69.
72. “DOCTOR SMITH, when the hour of his departure hence shall arrive, will copy the example of the BELIEVER, or the INFIDEL, as it liketh him best.” [George Home], A Letter to Adam Smith LL.D. on the Life, Death, and Philosophy of his friend David Hume Esq. By one of the people called CHRISTIANS (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1777), pp. 29, 36.
73. On the circumstances of Stewart’s “Account,” see Chapter 2. Hume wrote, in 1759: “Three Bishops called yesterday at Millar’s shop to buy Copies, and to ask Questions about the Author: The Bishop of Peterborough said he had passed the Evening in a Company, where he heard it extolled above all books in the World. You may conclude what Opinion true Philosophers will entertain of it, when these Retainers to Superstition praise it so highly.” The sentence emphasized is the one which Stewart chose to omit. The other passage in Hume’s letter which Stewart omitted is similarly incautious: “Voltaire has
lately published a small Work called Candide, ou L’optimisme. It is full of Sprightliness and Impiety, and is indeed a Satyre upon Providence, under Pretext of criticizing the Leibnitian System. I shall give you a Detail of it.” Corr., pp. 34-35; Dugald Stewart, “Account of the Life and Writings of Adam Smith, LL.D” (1793), in EPS, pp. 297-298.
74. John Dunn, “From Applied Theology to Social Analysis: The Break between John Locke and the Scottish Enlightenment,” in Wealth and Virtue: The Shaping of Political Economy in the Scottish Enlightenment, ed. Istvan Hont and Michael Ignatieff (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), pp. 119-120. “It would certainly be a profoundly implausible claim to make in relation to either [Hume or Smith] that the framework of their thinking was in any sense ‘theocentric,” Dunn writes. It is interesting that John Stuart Mill, in a letter of 1852 in which he objects to the charge that political economy “unless connected with Xtianity is ‘a true child of the devil’” says of “A. Smith, Turgot, Say, Ricardo & my father not one of whom was a believer in Xtianity,” that they were in no respect concerned to justify universal selfishness. Letter to John Lalor of July 3, 1852, in The Later Letters of John Stuart Mill, 1849-1873, ed. Francis E. Mineka and Dwight N. Lindley (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1972), p. 93.
75. See, for example, TMS, pp. 92, 111, 166, 171, 178, 305; also Raphael and Macfie, “Introduction” and Appendix 2.
76. “The laws concerning corn may every where be compared to the laws concerning religion,” Smith writes; both show the power of “prejudices” and unreason. He criticizes “great sects” and ecclesiastical establishments, which he describes in the characteristically scornful language of “incorporation” and “plan,” reserved in general for manufacturers and merchants: “The clergy of every established church constitute a great incorporation. They can act in concert, and pursue their interest upon one plan.” The church, for Smith, is a part of government. But it is also an outside influence on government, imposing its interests in much the same way as merchants and monopolists; its worldly power is simply strengthened, from time to time, by “all the terrors of religion.” WN, pp. 539, 797. Jacob Viner describes the “virtual disappearance from the Wealth of Nations of the doctrine of an order of nature designed and guided by a benevolent God”; he says that “there are only a few minor passages in the later work which can be adduced as supporting evidence of the survival in Smith’s thoughts of the concept of a divinity” who promotes economic welfare, and concludes that “such general statements” as the one about the invisible hand “play a much more modest role” in the Wealth of Nations. Jacob Viner, “Adam Smith and Laissez Faire,” in The Long View and the Short (Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1958), pp. 126-129. A. C. Waterman, by contrast, interprets Smith’s use of the word “nature,” in the Wealth of Nations, as evidence of a continuing theological framework; see A. C. Waterman, “Pure and Rational Religion’: A Theological Reading of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations,” University of Manitoba, 1997.
77. See Walther Eckstein, “Einleitung,” in Adam Smith, Theorie der ethischen Gefühle, ed. Eckstein (Leipzig: Felix Meiner, 1926), 1:xlv-l, and also notes at 1:300-301; Macfie, The Individual in Society, pp. 108, 111; Raphael and Maclie, “Introduction,” pp. 19-20 and Appendix 2 in TMS.
78. One such passage is Smith’s discussion of the relative contributions of “the duties of devotion, the public and private worship of the Deity,” of “futile mortifications,” and of “a whole life spent honourably,” to prospects of reward and punishment in “the life to come.” See TMS, pp. 132-134, and notes to this passage in the Raphael-Macfie and Eckstein editions. A second is also concerned with eternal punishment and with the doctrine of atonement, where Smith’s successive emendations, and his eventual deletion of an extended exposition of orthodox views of atonement, suggest a declining concern with what Raphael and Macfie describe as “pious sentiments.” See TMS, p. 91, and Appendix 2 in TMS, p. 383. Smith’s discussion of religious fanaticism is similarly harsh: “Even to the great Judge of the universe, they impute all their own prejudices, and often view that Divine Being as animated by all their own vindictive and implacable passions.” TMS, pp. 155-156. In his minor emendations, too, he sometimes seems to be emphasizing his differences with religious thought, as when he inserts the words “whining and” - the adjective “whining” being particularly associated, apparently, with Christianity - into his description of “melancholy moralists”; he refers here to Pascal, the object of Condorcet’s distaste over the heavy, all-powerful hand of the Christian God. TMS, p. 139.
79. Smith’s description of religion in the new additions to the Theory is reminiscent of the statements of both Cleanthes and Philo in the last part of Hume’s Dialogues: religion is a “consolation” to men (Cleanthes), and it is also an object of “contemplation,” as of “so extraordinary and magnificent a question” (Philo). David Hume, Dialogues concerning Natural Religion (1779) (London: Penguin Books, 1990), pp. 136-138. Like Hume, Smith is interested in religious belief as the expression of the emotional and intellectual needs of men. His account of faith is more profound than Hume’s - and also, perhaps, more sympathetic to the foundations of religious feeling - in that he describes belief as a way of making sense of the world as it is. For Hume, man is made miserable by the prospect of eternal punishment: “When melancholy, and dejected, he has nothing to do but brood upon the terrors of the invisible world, and to plunge himself still deeper into affliction.” Dialogues, p. 137. For Smith, he is melancholy because he cannot bring himself to believe that the world is orderly and just. The two extended new discussions of religion in Parts 3 and 6 of the Theory, concerned with eternal justice and with universal benevolence, take the form of dismal choices between impossible optimism and frightful loneliness. On the one hand, Smith says, the idea of universal benevolence is the source “of no solid happiness” to “any man who is not thoroughly convinced that all the inhabitants of the universe, the meanest as well as the greatest, are under the immediate care and protection
of that great, benevolent, and all-wise Being, who directs all the movements of nature; and who is determined, by his own unalterable perfections, to maintain in it, at all times, the greatest possible quantity of happiness.” This idea, Smith says, repeating that the “divine Being” has contrived the universe “so as at all times to produce the greatest possible quantity of happiness,” “is certainly of all the objects of human contemplation by far the most sublime.” On the other hand, for Smith “the very suspicion of a fatherless world, must be the most melancholy of all reflections; from the thought that all the unknown regions of infinite and incomprehensible space may be filled with nothing but endless misery and wretchedness.” TMS, pp. 235-236. The dilemma is characteristically Humean. One possibility is to be convinced of something quite unconvincing, that is to say, of the existence of a super-eternal and super-utilitarian God. The other possibility is to be endlessly gloomy, unconsoled by the sort of conviction which almost everyone, ever, has held.
80. Smith’s resolutely secular language in the Wealth of Nations is in some contrast to the language of the contemporaries by whom he was influenced (such as Quesnay), and whom he in turn influenced (such as Burke). Quesnay thus says of the natural law that “all men and all human powers should be subject to these sovereign laws, instituted by the Supreme Being; they are immutable and beyond question, and the best possible laws... It is only the knowledge of these supreme laws which can constantly assure the tranquillity and prosperity of an empire.” François Quesnay, “Le Droit Naturel” (1765), in François Quesnay et la Physiocratie (Paris: Institut National d’Etudes Demographiques, 1958), 2:740-741. For Burke, later, it is an error for governments to interfere with “the Divine Providence” which occasionally imposes bad harvests: “We, the people, ought to be made sensible that it is not in breaking the laws of commerce, which are the laws of Nature, and consequently the laws of God, that we are to place our hope of softening the Divine displeasure to remove any calamity under which we suffer or which hangs over us.” Edmund Burke, “Thoughts and Details on Scarcity” (1800), in The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke (Boston: Little, Brown, 1894), 5:157.
81. See Duncan Forbes, “Hume’s Science of Politics,” in Morice, David Hume: Bicentenary Papers, pp. 39-50; Deborah A. Redman, “Adam Smith and Isaac Newton,” Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 40,2 (May 1993), 210-230.
82. “We all know, Sir,” Bishop Home wrote in his letter to Smith, “what the word SUPERSTITION denotes, in Mr Hume’s vocabulary, and against what Religion his shafts are levelled, under that name… [H]e so often sate down calmly and deliberately to obliterate from the hearts of the human species every trace of the knowledge of GOD and his dispensations; all faith in his kind providence, and fatherly protection.” [Horne], A Letter to Adam Smith, pp. 12-13, 16. It was his friendship with Hume, under these circumstances, that was held against Smith, as evidence of his subversive beliefs. “Ascanius” (Lord Buchan, who was James Steuart’s nephew) wrote of Smith that “when
he met with honest men whom he liked, and who courted him, he would believe almost anything they said... Smith’s well placed affection for Hume, as a man, hindered him from being a Christian, from the same foible I have described... O venerable, amiable, and worthy man, why was you not a Christian!” “Ascanius,” The Bee, June 8 1791, pp. 165-167. Archbishop Magee, as D. D. Raphael has shown, attributed Smith’s backsliding on the doctrine of atonement to “the infection of David Hume’s society.” Appendix 2, in TMS,p. 384.
83. The Reverend John Sinclair, Memoirs of the Life and Works of Sir John Sinclair (Edinburgh: Blackwood, 1837), 1:39-40.
84. There is no reason to infer from the circumstance that Smith was Hume’s “dearest friend” that they agreed on all subjects. Smith indeed alluded to minor differences, saying, of the philosopher John Bruce, that “he and I differ a little, as David Hume and I used to do.” Corr., pp. 208, 296. Smith and Hume differed in public over utility and virtue, as well as over strategies for good temper in religion. But the tone of Hume’s and Smith’s correspondence, over a period of more than twenty years - the sense of intimacy and complicity, or of Sinclair’s “identity of sentiment” - is difficult to reconcile with the presumption of serious religious differences. Smith’s letters to Hume have something of the sprightliness which Hume admired in Voltaire, and which is characteristic of Hume’s own letters to Smith. Of his pupil the duke of Buccleuch, Smith writes: “He has read almost all your works several times over, and was it not for the more wholesome doctrine which I take care to instill into him, I am afraid he might be in danger of adopting some of your wicked Principles. You will find him very much improved”; of Hume’s opponent John Oswald, “The Bishop is a brute and a beast.” Corr., pp. 105, 131. Smith’s letter to Alexander Wedderburn about Hume’s last weeks, which is an early version of the letter later published to so much “clamour,” is hardly pious: “Poor David Hume is dying very fast, but with great cheerfulness and good humour and with more real resignation to the necessary course of things, than any Whining Christian ever died with pretended resignation to the will of God.” The changes that Smith himself made in the published version of the letter are again interesting: to Wedderbumn he quotes Hume as asking Charon to have patience until “I have the pleasure of seeing the churches shut up, and the Clergy sent about their business,” and in the published letter as having patience until “I may have the satisfaction of seeing the downfall of some of the prevailing systems of superstition.” Corr., pp. 203-204,219 (italics added). Hume entrusted to Smith the posthumous publication of his most profoundly skeptical work, the Dialogues concerning Natural Religion, and Smith had earlier entrusted to Hume the posthumous publication of his “History of Astronomy,” which was also relatively subversive. See Corr., pp. 168,251; Ernest Campbell Mossner, The Life of David Hume (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980), pp. 323-328; Ross, The Life of Adam Smith, chap. 17.
85. LRBL, pp. 23, 50-51. The editors add that the sentence is “in large letters in MS.” The conjunction of Lucian, with his ridicule of such “solemn and respectable characters, as Gods, Goddesses, Heroes, Senators, Generals, Historians, Poets, and Philosophers,” and Swift with his more severe irony was for Smith a system of ridicule and also of instruction: “Both together form a System of morality from whence more sound and just rules of life for all the various characters of men may be drawn than from most set systems of Morality.” LRBL, pp. 50-51. The evidence about Hume’s preferences – “since Lucian is your favourite author and since you know that I like him as much as you do” - is in a letter of 1767 from Morellet, in The Letters of David Hume, ed. J. Y. T. Greig (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1932), 2:158. Hume was also reading Lucian’s dialogues before he died, as Smith pointed out in his published letter. Corr., pp. 219, and also pp. 203-204.
86. Ernest C. Mossner, “Hume and the Legacy of the Dialogues,” in Morice, David Hume: Bicentenary Papers, p. 13; John Valdimir Price, The Ironic Hume (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1965). Mossner does add “a word of caution: although Hume is a consummate ironist, one has to learn not to be overzealous and to see irony lurking around every corner.”
87. TMS, p. 339. Turgot said of Hume, in a letter to Condorcet, “I know that there are men who are very insensitive (“très peu sensibles”) and who are at the same time honest, such as Hume, Fontenelle, etc.; but they all have as the basis of their honesty justice, and even a certain degree of goodness.” Letter of December 1773, in Correspondance inédite de Condorcet et de Turgot, 1770-1779, ed. Charles Henry (Paris: Didier, 1883), p. 144.
88. LRBL, p. 50.
89. Macfie, The Individual in Society, pp. 108, 111.
90. Raphael and Macfie, “Introduction,” in TMS, pp. 6-7, 10; Macfie, “The Invisible Hand of Jupiter,” p. 599.
91. “Adam Smith’s main references are in fact to Cicero, De Officiis and Dc Finibus. . [which] would be fairly familiar to his young audiences,” Macfie writes. Peter Jones says of Hume that “he names Cicero more than fifty times,” and that “explicit allusion was often unnecessary since Cicero was the one classical writer familiar to and admired by almost every educated person in France and England in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.” Macfie, The Individual in Society, p. 44; Jones, Hume’s Sentiments, p. 30.
92. Cicero, De natura deorum, 1.10.
93. The imperfect virtues of the Stoics, Smith says, were “proprieties, fitnesses, decent and becoming actions, for which a plausible or probable reason could be assigned, what Cicero expresses by the Latin word officia, and Seneca, I think more exactly, by that of convenientia.” TMS, p. 291. It was decent, in this sense, to try not to make other people distressed, as they would be, for example, by the publication of Hume’s Dialogues. The word “tranquillity,” which Smith uses amazingly often - fifteen times in five paragraphs, in the new discussion of duty in the sixth edition of the Theory of Moral Sentiments,
four times in two paragraphs in his discussion of friendship, three times in his discussion of Epicurean virtue - is associated, after all, with the “quiet” which he wished to preserve in the months after Hume’s death: a “locus quietis et tranquillitatis plenissimus.” Cicero, De oratore, 1.1 .2.
94. Vivenza, Adam Smith e la cultura classica, pp. 90-9 1.
95. “It was desirable, not merely as the means of procuring the other primary objects of natural desire, but as something which was in itself more valuable than them all.” TMS, p. 300.
96. TMS, p. 277.
97. See, for example, on vices as part of the plan of the universe, TMS, p. 36; on suicide, TMS, pp. 279-288; on Stoic astronomy, EPS, p. 62; and on the paradoxes of the Stoics, TMS, pp. 289-29 1; see also Vivenza, Adam Smith e la cultura classica, pp. 66, 76-78. The Stoical wise man enjoys his own self-applause, has a “breast in which dwells complete self-satisfaction,” and “enjoys his own complete self-approbation.” TMS, pp. 143, 147-148. This endlessly happy wise man is common, in fact, to Stoic and Epicurean thought; Cicero’s Epicurean “derives no inconsiderable pleasure from comparing his own existence with the life of the foolish.” Cicero, Definibus, 1.62.
98. “The stoical apathy is, in such cases, never agreeable, and all the metaphysical sophisms by which it is supported can seldom serve any other purpose than to blow up the harsh insensibility of a coxcomb to ten times its native impertinence.” The “sense of propriety,” for Smith, is “much more offended by the defect, than it ever is by the excess of that sensibility” which “we naturally feel for the misfortunes of our nearest connections.” TMS, p. 143. Smith does not accept the Stoic apathy, Vivenza says: “Apathy tends to make man indifferent to the success or failure of the action undertaken; Smith by contrast is anything other than unaware of consequences... such arguments lead to a passivity in human behavior which is totally foreign to Adam Smith’s thought.” Gloria Vivenza, “Elementi classici nel pensiero di Adam Smith: giurisprudenza romana e morale Stoica,” in Gli Italiani c Bentham, ed. R. Faucci (Milan: FrancoAngeli, 1982), 1:161.
99. The other doctrine is the “contempt of life and death”; on these two, Smith says, “rested the whole fabric of Stoical morality.” TMS, p. 288.
100. See, on Stoic “indifference,” TMS, pp. 273, 275, 277, 290, 292. Smith seems to have been rereading Arrian’s Discourses of Epictetus, in considerable irritation, when he was preparing the sixth edition of Theory of Moral Sentiments. See TMS, pp. 277-293. Epictetus compares Socrates to a skillful ballplayer: “So ought we also to act, exhibiting the ballplayer’s carefulness about the game, but the same indifference about the object played with, as being a mere ball” (Discourses 2.5.21).
101. See Smith’s references to the “direction of conduct” at TMS, pp. 274, 277 (twice), 280, and 281 (twice): “The directors of my conduct never command me to be miserable… Whether we are to be drowned, or to come to a harbour, is the business of Jupiter, not mine” (p. 277).
102. “The plan and system which Nature has sketched out for our conduct, seems
to be altogether different from that of the Stoical philosophy... By the perfect apathy which it prescribes to us ... it endeavours to render us altogether indifferent and unconcerned in the success or miscarriage of every thing which Nature has prescribed to us as the proper business and occupation of our lives.” TMS, pp. 291-293; see also pp. 143, 235. In Smith’s anti-utilitarian and anti-contractarian theory, Vivenza writes, “the principle which unites men in society is of a nature to do with sentiments... [S]ociety emerges from a relationship which is in some sense affective.” Gloria Vivenza, “Studi classici e pensiero moderno: la sintesi di Adam Smith,” Atti e Memorie della Accademia di Agricoltura, Scienze e Lettere di Verona, 6,41(1989-90), 128.
103. TMS, pp. 278,289,292; on ridicule and the mock heroic, see LRBL, pp. 44-47; and on “paranomasia, when we don’t name but describe a person, as the Jewish lawgiver for Moses,” LRBL, p. 32.
104. Stoicism had the function, in England and France in the eighteenth century, of a substitute religion; a deism for the pious, or a demonstration of respect for virtue. Samuel Clarke thus praises the Stoics for their defense of virtue, but chides them for their failure to proceed to “a firm belief and expectation of a future state of rewards and punishments, without which their whole scheme of morality cannot be supported.” Samuel Clarke, A Discourse of Natural Religion, in British Moralists, 1650-1800, ed. D. D. Raphael (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969), 1:215-216. To be demonstratively Stoic was to be a safe deist. See Gunter Gawlick, “Hume and the Deists: a Reconsideration,” in Morice, Hume: Bicentenary Papers, pp. 128-138. It was also to be demonstratively opposed to Epicureanism. Smith seems to have been characteristically prudent in avoiding any suspicion of promoting “licentious systems”; of being accused, like Hume, of Epicurean tendencies. See Richard B. Sher, “Professors of Virtue: The Social History of the Edinburgh Moral Philosophy Chair in the Eighteenth Century,” in Studies in the Philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment, ed. M. A. Stewart (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), pp. 110-111. Smith says of Epicurus that his “system is, no doubt, altogether inconsistent with that which I have been endeavouring to establish,” and he distinguishes the prudence he himself favors from the “inferior prudence” of the Epicurean. TMS, pp. 216,298. He rejected, without irony, the Epicurean view of sentiments as the objects of moral action, in relation to which virtue is no more than an instrument. But his descriptions of the sentiments of friendship, of sympathy with our friends’ pain, of guilt, of affection for places and things, are distinctively Epicurean. Sentiments are of moral importance even when they are not the objects of morality; the morality without sentiments of the Stoics is for Smith a sort of delusion. Definibus is one of Smith’s principal sources in the Theory of Moral Sentiments, and there are striking similarities between his description of sentiments and the descriptions in the account of the Epicurean system in Book 1 of Definibus: the dread of being seen of the guilty (1.51, TMS, p. 118); the anxiety and torment of the man who dreams of wealth and station (1.60, TMS, pp. 18 1-183); the tranquility
of the man with friends, and the secret brooding of the solitary man (1.66-67, TMS, pp. 22-23); our partiality to our own surroundings (mostly people, for Smith, and places, for Torquatus, 1.69, TMS, p. 227). Vivenza says that there is “a certain Epicurean coloration” to Smith’s Stoic-inspired ideas; she speaks, too, of the closeness of Epicurean and Stoic positions in the period of Smith’s sources. Vivenza, “Elementi classici,” 1:169-170. Smith, she concludes, adopts “a position in part Stoic and in part Epicurean.” Vivenza, Adam Smith e la cultura classica, pp. 64-66.
105. On Stoic insensibility, TMS, pp. 140-143 and 147-149; on suicide, pp. 278-288; on providence, pp. 288-293; and on the Stoic paradoxes, pp. 289-291. Smith’s reorganization of the material on Stoic doctrines also tends to reduce its importance; as Raphael and Macfie say, the arrangement in the earlier editions has a greater impact, and “shows up more clearly the pervasive character of Stoic influence.” “Introduction,” in TMS, p. 5.
106. Letter of September 10, 1759, in Corr., p. 47; it is this picture of Stoic philosophy which Smith deletes in the sixth edition, restoring it in part at the end of the volume.
107. In Lucian’s “Zeus Catechized,” Zeus tries unsuccessfully to explain the Stoic doctrines of destiny and providence; in “The Tragic Zeus,” he looks on with mounting irritation as the Stoic Timocles is vanquished by the Epicurean Damis in a public debate about the order of nature, providence, and the evidence of divine design; in the “Parliament of the Gods,” he is told that if he goes on turning himself into gold, he is at risk of being made into a bracelet; in the “Double Indictment,” he complains about the wearying business of dispensing hail and lightning, watching battles in Babylon and banquets in Ethiopia, and not being able to sleep, lest Epicumus should be confirmed in his denial of divine providence, and the supply of sacrifices and oblations should come to an end. “This notion of providence, as the foundation of Socratic and Stoic theology, was in that capacity most specifically singled out for Lucian’s attacks,” the Lucian scholar Maurice Croiset concluded in Essai sur la vie et les oeuvres de Lucien (Paris: Hachette, 1882), p. 228. “By contrast with the Epicureans, their traditional enemies the Stoics are perhaps Lucian’s favorite butt,” C. P. Jones writes; “he is clearly influenced by philosophic debates… and above all by attacks on Stoic views of providence.” C. P. Jones, Culture and Society in Lucian (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1986), pp. 28, 40-41. It is interesting that the work of Lucian’s which Smith singles out for its “Gaiety” - and of which he says that “few things are more entertaining” - is his account of the false prophet Alexander of Abonoteichos. LRBL, p. 52. This is Lucian’s most powerful defense of Epicumus, and of those, “atheist or Christian or Epicurean,” who resisted Alexander, while “the followers of Plato and Chrysippus and Pythagoras were his friends.” Epicurus, Lucian wrote, was a man who set men free; who brought them peace and tranquillity, freeing them “from terrors and apparitions and portents, from vain hopes and extravagant cravings, developing in them
intelligence and truth, and truly purifying their understanding, not with torches and squills and that sort of foolery, but with straight thinking, truthfulness and frankness.” “Alexander the False Prophet,” 25, 38, 47, in The Works of Lucian, 4:209, 225, 235.
108. See, on “the business of Jupiter” in Epictetus’ ship, TMSp. 277. In the “History of Ancient Physics,” Smith speaks of “this almighty Jupiter, who, at a destined period, should, by an universal conflagration, wrap up all things.” In his lectures on rhetoric, he describes a poem by John Harvey, the author of The Bruciad, in which Harvey omits “the effects of the Music on Jupiter himself, the thunder bolt falling from his hand and the eagle[s] settling herself at that particular moment on his hand.” EPS, p. 117; LRBL, p. 67. This is in the spirit of Lactantius, whose works Smith owned, and presumably lectured from; Defalsa religione, for example. In his lectures on jurisprudence, Smith asks, “What had Jupiter who dwelt in the Capitol to do with a slave who came from Syria or Cappadocia. Besides, the deities then could never be addressed empty handed; whoever had any request to ask of them must introduce it with a present. This also entirely debarred the slaves from religious offices as they had nothing of their own to offer.” LJ, p. 179; there is some resemblance here to Oedipus’ providence, whose “invisible main repoussait mes presents.”
109. “All his affections were absorbed and swallowed up in two great affections; in that for the discharge of his own duty, and in that for the greatest possible happiness of all rational and sensible beings... His sole anxiety was about the gratification of the former; not about the event, but about the propriety of his own endeavours.” TMS, p. 277, and, on Epictetus, p. 288. The Stoic, here, unites the least charming characteristics of several different ethical personalities: the self-obsession of the deontologist; the insensitivity of the utilitarian; the quietude of the pietist.
110. To deny the sincerity of public spirit and the disinterestedness of private friendship, Hume says, is to be deficient in self-knowledge. The philosopher of universal self-love “does not know himself: He has forgotten the movements of his heart; or rather he makes use of a different language from the rest of his countrymen, and calls not things by their proper names.” “Of the Dignity or Meanness of Human Nature,” in Hume, Essays, p. 85.
111. Hume, Dialogues, p. 128.
112. Cicero, De natura deorum, 2.17.
113. The world is so imperfect, Philo responds, that it might be taken to be “the work only of some dependent, inferior deity”; in some circumstances, too, “its origin ought rather to be ascribed to generation or vegetation than to reason or design.” Hume, Dialogues, pp. 66, 79, 86.
114. TMS, p. 185. “If you see a spacious and beautiful house, you could not be induced to believe, even though you could not see its master, that it was built by mice and weasels,” Balbus says; when a man goes into a house, or into a gymnasium, or into the forum, “and observes in all that goes on arrange-
ment, regularity, and system, he cannot possibly suppose that these things come about without a cause: he realizes that there is someone who presides and controls.” It is interesting that the passage in Smith’s “History of Astronomy” about the invisible hand of Jupiter recalls the immediately preceding discussion in De natura deorum. This is the account, attributed by Balbus to “our master Cleanthes,” of the origin of ideas of the gods. One explanation is “the awe inspired by lightning, storms, rain, snow... all of which alarming portents have suggested to mankind the idea of the existence of some celestial and divine power.” The more powerful explanation, however, is “the uniform motion and revolution of the heavens ... [the] ordered beauty of the sun, moon, and stars, the very sight of which was in itself enough to prove that these things are not the mere effect of chance.” De natura deorum, 2.14-17.
115. The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence, ed. H. G. Alexander (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1956), p. 14.
116. It is easier, evidently, to show that an idea or simile was important in the thought of a theorist than that it was unimportant; that he or she referred to it frequently, that it was consistent with other parts of his or her work, and so forth. The infrequency of references to the invisible hand in comments of contemporaries (and of nineteenth-century scholars) on Smith’s work provides some supporting evidence of unimportance. But the proposition that references of a particular sort are infrequent in a population of which the size is unknown, but known to be very large - in this case, the population of comments about Smith - is quite elusive. There could be other explanations, too, for the apparent paucity of references; for example, that ideas of providential order were so obvious, to contemporaries, as to require no comment.
117. Macfie, The Individual in Society, p. 122. Viner suggested, in “Adam Smith and Laissez Faire,” that the “doctrine of a harmonious order of nature, under divine guidance” - or what Macfie calls the “theistic invisible hand type of argument” - is far more important in the Theory of Moral Sentiments than in the Wealth of Nations, and he describes its “virtual disappearance” in the later book. Jacob Viner, “Adam Smith and Laissez Faire,” p. 127. One of Viner’s early commentators, Henry Bittermann, extended the argument in that he questioned the importance of harmonious order even in the Theory of Moral Sentiments. “It is contended further that Smith’s theory of ethics did not rest directly on the doctrine of the order of nature, that this order contained no implications of specific standards or policies, which had to be found in phenomena directly.” Henry Bittermann, “Adam Smith’s Empiricism and the Law of Nature,” pt. 2, Journal of Political Economy, 48 (1940), 717-718. Macfie, too, accepts Viner’s argument about the unimportance of natural harmony in the Wealth of Nations; he, too, shows that the invisible hand was of only minor importance in the Theory of Moral Sentiments, and goes on to question the contrast Viner draws between the two works. Having noted all
the references to “Nature, the Deity or the invisible hand,” in the Theory of Moral Sentiments, Macfie concludes that “it is quite remarkable how little relation they have with the main sympathy-spectator argument.” Macfie The Individual in Society, p. 102. Raphael sees the “more metaphysical elements in Smith’s ethics and economics” as of only hypothetical importance: “He does not in fact need them for his causal explanations ... [T]he ‘invisible hand’ is not to be understood literally as the hand of God.” D. D. Raphael, “Adam Smith: Philosophy, Science, and Social Science,” in Philosophers of the Enlightenment: Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures, vol. 12, ed. S. C. Brown (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press, 1979), p. 92. Gloria Vivenza, in her discussion of Smith’s relations to Stoic ethics, speaks of the “fundamental problem” posed by the “need to find some accord between a theological model of Stoic origin (the providentialist concept of universal harmony, applied in some fashion by Smith also to the economy), which is optimistic, and definitely - despite Smith’s generally antidogmatic orientation - to a substantial extent aprioristic,” on the one hand, and, on the other, “a philosophy of practice which begins with the individual,” and which recognizes both natural instincts and the “exquisitely social character” of people’s motives. Vivenza, Adam Smith e la cultura classica, p. 91. The sequence of these arguments, over most of the past century, seems to be as follows: it is recognized that the invisible hand, while of evident importance to Smith’s thought, is in some tension with this thought; it is suggested, by Viner, that providentialist conceptions are important only in the Theory of Moral Sentiments, and not in the Wealth of Nations; it is further shown, by Macfie and others, that these conceptions are not even important in Smith’s ethics. The suggestion in this chapter has been of a next step in the sequence: to question whether the invisible hand is indeed in some sense important to Smith, as distinct from being important in nineteenth- and especially in twentieth-century interpretations of his work. The principal difference with Macfie’s account, thereby, is over his description of the invisible hand as an “overruling concept,” or as the “energizing power of the whole system.” Macfie, The Individual in Society, p. 54; idem, “The Invisible Hand of Jupiter,” p. 599. If the invisible hand is seen, instead, as a concept of only unimpressive power, then its ontology - whether it is to be understood “in the wider context of [Smith’s] ultimate faith,” as it is for Macfie, or as a useful conceit, as has been suggested here - is itself a matter of relatively minor importance.
118. David Hume, Dialogues concerning Natural Religion, p. 84; “History of Astronomy,” in EPS, p. 105.
119. Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason (1787), trans. N. Kemp Smith (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1965), pp. 147-148. It is interesting that one of the charges advanced against Hume by Bishop Home, in his open letter to Smith, is of glorifying the understanding: Hume believed, he said, “that the nature of all things depends so much upon man, that two and two could not be equal to four, nor fire produce heat, nor the sun light, without an act
of the human understanding.” [Home], Letter, pp. 42-43. The editors of Smith’s “History of Astronomy” in 1795 - of whom one, Joseph Hutton, had been criticized for the quasi-atheistical tendencies evinced in his geology, and the other, Joseph Black, was closely involved, as the attending physician, in the suspect episode of Hume’s happy and composed death - add a note at the end of the History saying that Smith “left some Notes and Memorandums, from which it appears, that he considered this last part of his History of Astronomy as imperfect,” and explaining that it “must be viewed, not as a History or Account of Sir Isaac Newton’s Astronomy.” EPS, p. 105. One object of this gloss could have been to defend Smith against the posthumous charge of glorifying the imagination, to the detriment of the glory of God’s order; or of presenting Newton’s system as one philosophical system among others, to the detriment of its dignity as the description of God’s celestial clockwork.
120. WN, p. 456. As Richard Schuller wrote, if Smith’s point is no more than that private interests coincide “as a general rule” with the interests of society, then he is asserting nothing with which his historicist critics (such Wilhelm Roscher and Karl Knies) would disagree. The “dubious” point in Smith’s position would be if he were to assert that the harmony of public and private interests holds “without exception.” But this he is careful not to do. The historical economists, Schüller writes, cite Smith “without consideration for the context, and even falsely”; Bruno Hildebrand, for example, following Smith’s German translator Max Stirner, in his account of the invisible hand passage “leaves out the word ‘frequently,’ which is here of decisive importance.” Richard Schüller, Die Klassische Nationalökonomie und ihre Gegner:
Zur Geschichte der Nationalökonomie und Socialpolitik seit A. Smith (Berlin: Carl Heymann, 1895), pp. 42—44. See also Alfred Marshall’s comments, cited in note 12 above.
121. See, for example, TMS, pp. 186, 336; see also Maclie, The Individual in Society, p. 115; Vivenza, “Studi classici,” p. 113.
122. TMS, pp. 183-187.
123. “Monopole et monopoleur” (1775), in OC, 11:46; and see Chapter 6.
124. “History of Astronomy,” in EPS, pp. 77, 105.
125. Vaughn, “Invisible Hand,” p. 998.
126. Bernard Williams, Shame and Necessity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), pp. 50-52; see also, on the “unprofound” quality of the insight that actions can have unintended consequences, Amartya Sen, “The Profit Motive,” in Resources, Values, and Development (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1984), pp. 92—93.
127. TMS, pp. 104, 107, 338-339; the two discussions of “piacular guilt” were added in the sixth edition.
128. Vaughn thus writes that the unintended consequences “may, given the right circumstances, result in an order that… appears as if it were the product of some intelligent planner.” Vaughn, “Invisible Hand,” p. 998.
129. “The notion that a social system moved by independent actions in pursuit of different values is consistent with a final coherent state of balance, and one in which the outcomes may be quite different from those intended by the agents, is surely the most important intellectual contribution that economic thought has made to the general understanding of social processes.” Arrow and Hahn, General Competitive Analysis, p. 1; Vaughn, “Invisible Hand,” p. 998.
130. Hayek, Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, p. 97.
131. In the “ancient wisdom,” in Proudhon’s description, everything depended on an arbitrary divinity, and on the “terror of an invisible master.” P.-J. Proudhon, Système des contradictions économiques ou philosophic de la misère (1846), in Oeuvres computes, ed. C. Bougle and H. Moysset (Paris: Marcel Rivière, 1923), 1:52-53.
132. EPS, p. 77; Smith speaks of bestowing coherence at EPS, pp. 63, 69, and 76.
133. See Amartya Sen, “Internal Consistency of Choice,” Econometrica, 61, 3 (May 1993), 498-499. As Hayek says, in his criticism of Schumpeter’s “positivism” (in which valuations of factors of production are “implied in” the valuation of consumers’ goods), “Implication is a logical relationship which can be meaningfully asserted only of propositions simultaneously present to one and the same mind.” F. A. Hayek, “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” American Economic Review, 35, 4 (September 1945), 530. In one sense of what Arrow and Hahn describe as the “equilibrium concept,” the equilibrium is coherent (or the acts of agents are compatible) in that there is no excess demand at nonnegative prices; no goods are unsold in the “final coherent state of balance.” In a different concept, it is the disposition of household utility which is coherent; there is no household which is unsatisfied in the sense that it has fallen below “the minimum guaranteed utility level.” Arrow and Hahn, General Competitive Analysis, pp. 1, 23, 120. Order is in both cases, here, a characteristic of events, and not of propositions. But the order is bestowed by the theorist in the sense that she has a theory (a concept) of demand and supply, or of household utility.
134. “History of Astronomy,” in EPS, pp. 43-44.
135. The theorist starts, in Nozick’s account, with the idea of a “realm,” which may be “some overall pattern or design.” To provide a “fundamental explanation” of the realm is to explain it in terms which are not its own; to “make no use of any of the notions of the realm.” In the social investigations which are the principal subject of “invisible hand explanations,” the initial realm or pattern is the sort of thing which tends to be thought of, by present consensus, as having been designed or invented. (It is the sort of thing which “one would have thought had to be produced by an individual’s or group’s successful attempt to realize the pattern,” which “one would have thought could arise only through intelligent design,” or which “looks to be the product of someone’s intentional design.”) But the pattern turns out to have arisen as the result of actions which, while they are intentional (and therefore conscious), do not include among their objectives the establishment of this
particular pattern or realm. Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia, pp. 18-19.
136. Hayek, Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, pp. 104-105.
137. F. A. Hayek, “Scientism and the Study of Society, Part III,” Economica, 41 (February 1944), 31.
138. Marcus Aurelius, The Communings with Himself of Marcus Aurelius, trans. C. R Haines (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1930), 7.48.
139. Hayek thus defended the effort to understand social life from the “inside,” to start from “our knowledge of the inside of these social complexes,” or of “what things mean to the acting men,” and to think about other people as if “we have a mind like theirs.” F. A. Hayek, “Scientism and the Study of Society, Part II,” Economica, 38 (February 1943), 40-41, 47.
140. “Discours de Reception prononcè dans l’Académie Française” (1782), in OC, 1:392.
141. Jacques Necker, Sur la legislation et le commerce des grains (1775), in Oeuvres computes (Paris: Treuttel and Würtz, 1820), 1:4; and see Chapter 1.
142. Stewart, Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind, 2:248.
143. Nozick, Philosophical Explanations, pp. 347-348, and n. 56, p. 714.
144. Ibid., p. 347. It is possible that economic agents have multiple intentions, of different sorts: that they intend to increase their own profits, that they also (although this is, as Smith says, “an affectation, indeed, not very common among merchants”) intend to increase the economic well-being of the society, and that they even intend to influence the behavior of other merchants, with a view to improving the norms of the economic system. The controls exercised in a decentralized “invisible hand” order are, as Geoffrey Brennan and Philip Pettit have suggested, “contingently non-intentional”: “The consumers intentionally go elsewhere for a better price, and, while it is not intentional on their part that doing so punishes the original vendor for non-competitive pricing, they might also have performed the action intentionally under that description.” The device is invisible because “those who remain mere participants in the system, those who fail to adopt a theoretical stance on what happens, will necessarily fail to recognise what is going on ...
[T]hey lack any sense of the aggregate shape of things.” Brennan and Pettit are concerned with “essentially non-intentional” controls - the “intangible hand,” in their description - in which the sanctions on certain kinds of behavior take the form of being disapproved of, or of attitudes rather than actions. Geoffrey Brennan and Philip Pettit, “Hands Invisible and Intangible,” Synthese 94 (1993), 196, 200. There is an additional, quite different sense in which the patterns or orders which are the outcome of invisible hand explanations are “essentially non-intentional” from the point of view of the individuals who are their subjects. An order could thus never be among the purposes or intended objects of “mere participants” if it were to exist, or to be expressed, only in the mind of the theorist; of the Kantian investigator, bestowing order upon nature. The orders which are contingently non-intentional, in this sense, are ones which are sufficiently widely known, or which have been discussed sufficiently extensively, that they could, at least, form
part of the intentions of individuals. The imaginative orders of the theorist are not written on her forehead; if she keeps them to herself, they are of necessity invisible. But if these imaginative orders, or social objectives, are indeed the subject of extensive public discussion - as is the case for Smith’s own two “invisible hand” outcomes, of equitable distribution of goods (in the Theory of Moral Sentiments) and of increased national income (in the Wealth of Nations) - then they are, by virtue of their publicness, the sort of objectives about which people tend to reflect, or which they tend to discuss, in much the same way that they discuss political or moral choices. They are associated with the sort of behavior which is self-conscious, reflective, and discursive; the behavior, in fact, which is in Nozick’s account particularly unsusceptible to invisible hand explanations.
145. Vaughn, “Invisible Hand,” p. 998.
146. The invisible hand is indeed often interpreted, in the post-Second World War economic literature, as little more than a depiction of the particular body of economic analysis constituted by general equilibrium theory; the authors of a 1990 history of the invisible hand describe it as “a theoretical system based on the idea of economic equilibrium”: Bruna Ingrao and Giorgio Israel, The Invisible Hand: Economic Equilibrium in the History of Science, trans. Ian McGilvray (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1990), p. ix.
147. “You take refuge in the principle of ‘equilibrium’ (for so with your consent we will translate isonomia)”; this is the Academic Cotta’s accusation in De natura deorum against the Epicurean Velleius, who has been talking about “forces of preservation.” De natura deorum, 1.109, and see also 1.50. Cicero is credited by Lewis and Short with coining the word “aequilibritas,” as a translation of Epicurus’ isonomia, “aequilibrium” they attribute to Seneca. Turgot and Condorcet use the word “èquilibre” fairly frequently in their economic writings, in a wide variety of senses. See Jacques Bourrinet, “Les prodrômes de l’equilibre économique,” Revue d’économie politique, 76 (1966), 255-277; Ingrao and Israel, The Invisible Hand, pp. 42-54; and Chapter 3. Turgot refers to equilibrium five times in a letter to Hume of 1767, with which Smith may have been familiar. The letter, which is about economic value, begins with advice to Hume in his quarrel with Rousseau, and is in this respect part of a joint effort of Smith and Turgot - whom Smith describes as “a friend every way worthy of you” - to dissuade Hume from further public dissension. Letter of March 25, 1767, from Turgot to Hume, in OT, 2:658-665; letter of July 6, 1766, from Smith to Hume, in Corr., pp. 112-114.
148. WN, pp. 488-489; Fred R. Glahe, ed., Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations: A Concordance (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefleld, 1993).
149. TMS, pp. 235-237.
150. WN, pp. 455-456. Smith does refer to social maximization – “the greatest possible neat produce,” the “greatest possible” annual reproduction - in his
account of the “system” of the sect of Economists, but with considerable skepticism as to the prospects for an “exact regimen of perfect liberty and perfect justice.” WN, pp. 673-674, 678.
151. WN, p. 456. Turgot says much the same thing in his “Eloge de Vincent de Gournay” of 1759. Gournay’s principles, he says, “seemed to him to be no more than the maxims of the simplest good sense. The whole of this supposed system was founded on the following maxim: a man knows his own interest better than another man to whom this interest is entirely indifferent…
It is pointless to prove that each individual is the only judge of the most advantageous use of his land and his labor. He alone has the local knowledge without which the most enlightened man reasons only blindly. He alone has that experience which is the more sure because it is limited to a single object.” OT, 1:602, 605-606; and see Chapter 1. Dugald Stewart quotes part of this passage in the notes to his account of Smith’s life, adding that Turgot’s memoir “till lately, was very little known, even in France.” Stewart, “Account,” in EPS, p. 344.
152. Note (p), in The Wealth of Nations, ed. Playfair, 2:253; comment on Book 4, chap. 3(WN, p. 493).
153. The system of equilibrium is a model. It is not a description of the ordinary, imperfectly competitive conditions of particular economies. But it is also an ideal. It identifies an outcome, or an order, which is optimal in a quite precise sense. It is (or would be) beneficial for the individuals by whom it is constituted. The “point of equilibrium” is in Turgot’s description, as was seen in Chapter 3, such as to “procure for the entire society the greatest sum of production, enjoyment, wealth, and strength.” “Lettres sur le commerce des grains,” in OT, 3:315, 334. Competitive equilibrium, in modern theory, yields an optimal or efficient allocation of resources, in which “there is no way of making everyone better off.” See Arrow and Hahn, General CompetitiveAnalysis, p.91.
154. F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (1944) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972), pp. 39, 42.
155. Necker, Sur la legislation et le commerce des grains, p. 173.
156. Robbin, The Theory of Economic Policy, pp. 56-57; see also Macfie’s review of Robbins’s book, in Macfie, The Individual in Society, pp. 156-158.
157. Hahn, “Reflections on the Invisible Hand,” pp. 17, 20. Hahn talks of reasons for actions in his discussion of the incentive structure and reward differentials in market economies: “If one wants people to act in a certain way one must give them a reason for doing so” (p. 18). But the agent, here, is the policy maker, the person who wants other people to act in particular ways. The “reasons” of these other people are not the outcome of their own reflection; they are no more than rewards.
158. Necker, Sur la legislation et le commerce des grains, p. 321.
159. The “optimal economic policy” in such a social order (or the criterion for ordering different policies) is a matter, rather, of efficiency in the sense of in-
creasing the chance, for any randomly selected member of society, of having a high income. Hayek, Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, p. 173.
160. Hayek, Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, pp. 87-88, 160-161; F. A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1960), p. 56.
161. Hayek, Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, pp. 161-162.
162. Hayek, “Scientism and the Study of Society, Part III,” pp. 28-29.
163. Hayek, Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, p. 164; idem, The Constitution of Liberty, pp. 61, 63.
164. Stewart, “Account,” p. 311, n. G, p. 339; and see Chapter 2.
165. Stewart, Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind, 2:226, 235.
166. WN, pp. 385, 418, 776.
167. U, p. 5.
168. TMS, p. 210.
169. Menger, Untersuchungen, pp. 201, 207; and see Chapter 2; Hayek, Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, pp. 99-101.
170. Lawrence H. White, “Introduction,” in Carl Menger, Investigations into the Method of the Social Sciences with Special Reference to Economics, trans. Francis J. Nock (New York: New York University Press, 1985), p. xvi.
171. Hayek, Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, p. 100.
172. James Buchanan, “Public Goods and Natural Liberty,” in The Market and the State: Essays in Honour of Adam Smith, ed. Thomas Wilson and Andrew S. Skinner (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976), p. 274.
173. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, pp. 73-74; on Condorcet’s political thought, see Chapters 6 and 7.
174. WN, pp. 687, 708.
175. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, p. 87.
176. Hayek, “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” pp. 526-527.
177. Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), ed. Conor Cruise O’Brien (London: Penguin Books, 1982), pp. 119-120, 183. Among the “fathers” of the genuinely historical approach, Hayek writes, “Edmund Burke is one of the most important and Adam Smith occupies an honourable place.” Hayek, “Scientism and the Study of Society, Part II,” pp. 50-51.
178. Max Weber’s Science as a Vocation, ed. Peter Lassman, Irving Velody, and Herminio Martins (London: Unwin Hyman, 1988), pp. 13-14.
179. F. A. Hayek, “Scientism and the Study of Society, Part I,” Economica, 35 (August 1942), 286.
180. “Eloge de Vincent de Gournay,” in OT, 1:605-606. It is interesting that Turgot contrasts local experience, here, to the wisdom of the state, and also to the wisdom of speculators; the local individual “instructs himself by repeated attempts, by his successes, by his losses, and acquires a subtlety of which the refinement, sharpened by the sentiment of need, by far surpasses all the theory of the indifferent speculator.”
181. WN, pp. 782, 788.
182. Hume, Dialogues concerning Natural Religion, p. 58. There is some irony in Hume’s insistence on the puniness of individual knowledge, to which he indeed draws attention. “Let us become thoroughly sensible of the weakness, blindness, and narrow limits of human reason,” Philo says at the outset of the Dialogues. The devout Demea reacts to this exhortation with “unreserved satisfaction.” The more subtle Cleanthes, by contrast, adopts “an air of finesse; as if he perceived some raillery or artificial malice in the reasomngs of Philo” (pp. 41-42).
183. “History of Astronomy,” in EPS, p. 104; and see Chapter 8.
184. “Of Commerce,” in Hume, Essays, p. 254.
185. These are qualities “by which we are capable of discerning the remote consequences of all our actions, and of foreseeing the advantage or detriment which is likely to result from them.” TMS, p. 189.
186. “Of Refinement in the Arts,” in Hume, Essays, p. 271.
187. WN, pp. 25, 782, 784, 787-788, 796; and see Chapter 4. The particular advantage of the study of science and philosophy, together with “the frequency and gaiety of public diversions,” is to “correct whatever was unsocial or disagreeably rigorous in the morals of all the small sects into which the country was divided,” and notably of the small religious sects which the “common people” tend to join when they live in great cities. WN, pp. 795-796.
188. Burke, Reflections, pp. 124, 171, 183.
189. The Friend, in The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969), vol. 4, pt. 1, p. 189.
190. Benjamin Constant, “De la force du gouvernement actuel” (1796) and “Des reactions politiques” (1797), in De la force du gouvernement actuel de la France et de la necessite de s’y rallier (Paris: Flammarion, 1988), PP. 95, 134, 151-152. On the “slow” and “almost imperceptible” reform of “old establishments,” as against those who “commence their schemes of reform with abolition and total destruction,” see Burke, Reflections, pp. 279-280.
191. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, p. 18.
192. The Contest of Faculties, in Kant’s Political Writings, p. 183; and see Chapter 7. De Maistre’s gardener, with his invisible hand and his pruning tools, is a spectacularly less agreeable figure. “The adept gardener directs his pruning less toward absolute vegetation than toward the fructification of the tree: it is fruits, and not wood and leaves, that he demands from the plant. Now, the true fruits of human nature, the arts, the sciences, the great enterprises, the lofty conceptions, the masculine virtues, are associated, above all, with the state of war.” De Maistre, Considerations sur Ia France, pp. 49-50.
193. Hayek, Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, p. 166; and see Chapter8.
194. Burke, Reflections, p. 151.
195. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, p. 75; idem, Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, p. 162; idem, “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” p. 527.
196. Hayek, Studies in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, pp. 174-175.
197. LJ, p. 403.
198. See, on independence and autonomy as the basis of obligations, Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason, trans. Thomas Kingsmill Abbott (London: Long-mans, Green, 1889), p. 122.
199. On Kant’s inquiry “What is money?... What is a book?” see Chapter 1.
200. De natura deorum, 2.57.
201. This is the phrase Vaughn uses of her second step, about the understandability of unintended consequences. Vaughn, “Invisible Hand,” p. 998. Vaughn is herself admirably free of blind confidence in the desirability of unintended orders: “One could easily imagine a spontaneous order in which people were led as if by an invisible hand to promote a perverse and unpleasant end. The desirability of the order that emerges… depends ultimately on the kind of rules and institutions within which human beings act,” and “how one views the institutions of society makes a difference not only to one’s political views, but also to how one evaluates an economic system.”
202. Proudhon, Système des contradictions economiques, p. 53.
203. Maclie, The Individual in Society, p. 102.
204. Cicero, Definibus, 1.62-70.
205. Macfie, The Individual in Society, p. 111.