Who is Adam Smith?December 13, 2020
Since he is a famous philosopher and professor of moral philosophy, the effects of this branch of science are seen in his economic explanations. He says that there is order in economy and natural events and that this can be determined by observation and sense of morality.
Adam Smith was born to a customs inspector working in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland. Although the exact date of birth is not recorded, he was baptized on June 5, 1723, 6 months after his father’s death. He was kidnapped by a gypsy gang around the age of 4, but was soon rescued by his uncle and returned to his mother. Smith overcame this problem in a short time and quickly caught his former affinity with his mother.
At the age of fourteen, he began studying moral philosophy at Glasgow University under Francis Hutcheson. His passion for freedom, law, and freedom of expression is fueled here. He began studying at Balliol College in Oxford in 1740, but left school in 1746 to criticize Oxford’s franchise control. In 1748 he gave public lectures in Edinburgh under Lord Kames’ patronage, addressing the art of speech and belles-lettres. Later he dealt with the subject of “wealth management” and in this period, in his late twenties, he tackled the “clear and simple system of natural freedom”, which he later explained to the world in his book “Inquiry into the Nautre and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”. Around 1750, he met David Hume, whom he would become a very close friend of. He was a regular at Edinburgh’s Poker Club with other friends who played an important role in the rise of the Scottish Enlightenment.
Smith’s father, a Christian, was deeply devoted to his religion and was a member of the moderate wing of the Scottish Church. Although it is said that the reason behind Smith’s departure to England was that he wanted to pursue a career in the Church of England, there is no definitive evidence on this subject, and on the contrary, it is known that Smith returned to Scotland as a deist. He also escaped from the church where he was sent by his father when he was a child and returned. Smith philosophically saw religion as an obstacle to the economy and thought through atheism. He agrees with Darwin in many ways.
In 1751 Smith was appointed professor of logic at Glasgow University and the following year professor of moral philosophy. He taught ethics, the art of speech, law, political economy and “police and income” in his lectures. In 1759, he published his book The Theory of Moral Sentiments, in which he gathered some of his lectures in Glasgow. This book helped spread Smith’s reputation at the time of its release. The main theme of the book was on how much human relationships depend on sympathy and understanding between donors and receivers (ie the individual and other members of society). The analysis of language evolution in Smith’s first book was superficial, as demonstrated in Lord Monboddo’s detailed study in “Of the Origin and Progress of Language,” published 14 years later. Still, Smith’s fluid and persuasive defenses are eloquent, yet indisputable. Smith imposes his explanations on understanding rather than on “moral sense” like Lord Shaftesbury and Hutcheson, or on utility like Hume.
After this period, Smith began to focus on law and economics from moral theories in his conferences. An impression of the development of Adam Smith’s ideas on political economy can be obtained from a student’s lecture notes from around 1763 in the book “Lectures on Justice, Police, Revenue and Arms” compiled and published by Edwin Cannan. A more comprehensive adaptation of this book was published in 1976 by the Glasgow edition of “Lectures on Jurisprudence”.
Charles Townshend, who met Smith through David Hume, asked Smith to tutor his stepson, the young Duke of Buccleuch, at the end of 1763. For the next two years, Smith met with his students, mostly during his travels in France, leading intellectuals such as Turgot, Jean D’Alembert, André Morellet, Helvétius, and especially François Quesnay, the head of physiocratic thought, whose work he relied on. After returning to Kirkcaldy, he spent the next 10 years working on his masterpiece “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”, published in 1776. The book was welcomed by the overwhelming majority and remained popular, making Smith famous. In 1778 Smith was appointed as a state minister in charge of taxes in Scotland, he settled in Edinburgh with his mother. He died on 17 June 1790 after a serious illness. As far as it is known, he left most of his income to secret aid funds.
The followers of Smith’s literary testament are two of his old friends from the Scottish academic world: the physicist / chemist Joseph Black and the pioneering geologist James Hutton. The author has left behind many notes and unpublished articles, but everything not suitable for publication is destroyed.