- The Autonomous Male of Adam Smith, and: Adam Smith in His Times and Ours: Designing the Decent Society, and: Adam Smith: International Perspectives (review)
- Journal of the History of Philosophy
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 35, Number 4, October 1997
- pp. 629-632
- View Citation
- Additional Information
BOOK REVIEWS 629 The translation also includes some errors and curious choices, however. In chapter III the phrase translated "before the year six thousand or sixty thousand or six hundred thousand" (16) should have been translated "more than six thousand or sixty thousand or six hundred thousand years ago." In Chapter V, Adam Kadmon is referred to as the "first-born" (23), instead of the 1692 edition's "First Begotten" son of God. This difference may seem slight, but readers seeking feminist implications in Conway's work (and there are many such implications) may be led by the use of"born" to conclude that Conway ascribed some maternal attributes to God. That she did not do so is seen elsewhere, for example, in her reference to "one common Father, namely, God in Christ or the word incarnate" (31). This work will be valuable for anyone interested in seventeenth-century philosophy or in historical women philosophers. Lois FRANKEL Educational Testing Service Stewart Justman. The Autonomous Male of Adam Smith. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, a993. Pp. xv + 22o. Cloth, $27.95Jerry Z. Muller. Adam Smith in His Times and Ours: Designing the Decent Society. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995. Pp. x + 272. Paper, $14.95. Hiroshi Mizuta and Chuhei Sugiyama, editors. Adam Smith: International Perspectives. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993. Pp. xii + 328. Cloth, $75.oo. Although Adam Smith's works were admired by the likes of Hume, Burke, Kant, Hegel, and Marx, he gradually fell out of the philosophical canon and became known primarily as an economist. In recent years the process has reversed itself. Smith has by steps been rediscovered by scholars working in rhetoric and literary theory, political economy, social philosophy, ethics, philosophy of law, and the philosophy of history. As with Nietzsche, Smith's passage in and out and back into the philosophical canon reflects not just academic fashion but our own views about what counts as "philosophy." Smith is a philosopher who will comment on Aristotle, Thucydides, Newton, Hume, Voltaire, Racine, Rousseau, among many others, as suits his purposes. His eclecticism is evident not just when viewed through the lens of disciplinary distinctions, but also of the history of thought. For he clearly saw himself as also bringing together well-known ancient and modern views. Among the ancient views that concerned him most were the Stoics', and the struggle to fit them into the larger picture of the modern Enlightenment pervades his work. Justman's volume is a novel approach to Smith's appropriation of Stoicism. Its point of departure is Smith's use of gender. Like many philosophers--Plato and Nietzsche come readily to mind--Smith toys with and upsets conventional views about gender. Smith is a key theorist of modern commercial society, and the way in which the Enlightenment treats of gender has attracted a great deal of attention. The feminist literature on Smith dates back to Mary Wollstonecraft. Justman unites his points about 630 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 35:4 OCTOBER 1997 gender and about Stoicism in the thesis that forms the core of his book. It runs as follows. In Smith's analysis, the energies of individuals in the modern age are to be directed towards commerce rather than politics, war, or philosophy. The attractions of commerce , however, are understood in terms of status seeking, vanity, the craving for applause and admiration, and the passion for luxury and fashion, all of which Smith understands as based in part on a "deception of the imagination" that erroneously leads agents to think they will gain happiness by such means. Smith's defense of the pursuit of wealth is thus "thoroughly ironic" (146). Justman argues that Smith's picture of commercial "man" in fact "womanizes" us all. Modern society is fundamentally theatrical; but Smith saw (as did Rousseau) that this is problematic. Why does this "deception" not lead to moral corruption? Can people who are deeply mistaken about the summum bonum nonetheless be habituated in some form of virtue? How can people who are so thoroughly other-directed exercise any autonomy? Justman goes on to argue that the "bourgeois " virtues of modern liberal commercial society--prudence, fairness, moral sentiment , sympathy towards...