The Adam Smith Review [11]

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The Adam Smith Review Volume 11

Adam Smith’s contribution to economics is well recognised, but scholars have recently been exploring anew the multidisciplinary nature of his works. The Adam Smith Review is a rigorously refereed annual review that provides a unique forum for interdisciplinary debate on all aspects of Adam Smith’s works, his place in history, and the significance of his writings to the modern world. It is aimed at facilitating debate between scholars working across the humanities and social sciences, thus emulating the reach of the Enlightenment world which Smith helped to shape. This eleventh volume brings together leading scholars from across several disciplines, and offers a particular focus on Smith and Rousseau. There is also an emphasis throughout the volume on the relationship between Smith’s work and that of other key thinkers such as Malthus, Newton, Freud and Sen. Fonna Forman is Associate Professor of Political Science and Founding Co-Director of the Center on Global Justice and the Blum Cross-Border Initiative at the University of California, San Diego, USA. She is Editor of The Adam Smith Review on behalf of the Adam Smith Society.

The Adam Smith Review

Published in association with the International Adam Smith Society Editor: Fonna Forman (Department of Political Science, University of California, San Diego) Book Review Editor: Craig Smith (School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow) Managing Editor: Aaron Cotkin (University of California, San Diego and Johns Hopkins University) Editorial Assistant: Ike Sharpless (Department of Political Science, University of California, San Diego) Editorial Board (as of Volume 11): Christopher J. Berry (University of Glasgow, UK); Vivienne Brown (Open University, UK); Neil De Marchi (Duke University, USA); Stephen Darwall (University of Michigan, USA); Douglas Den Uyl (Liberty Fund, USA); Laurence W. Dickey (University of Wisconsin, USA); Samuel Fleischacker (University of Illinois, Chicago, USA); Charles L. Griswold (Boston University, USA); Knud Haakonssen (University of Sussex, UK); Ryan Patrick Hanley (Marquette University, USA); Iain McLean (Nuffield College, Oxford, UK); Hiroshi Mizuta (Japan Academy, Japan); John Mullan (University College London, UK); Takashi Negishi (Japan Academy, Japan); Martha C. Nussbaum (University of Chicago, USA); James Otteson (University of Alabama, USA); Nicholas Phillipson † (University of Edinburgh, UK); Emma Rothschild (Harvard University, USA and King’s College, Cambridge, UK); Ian Simpson Ross (British Columbia, Canada); Amartya Sen (Harvard University, USA; and Trinity College, Cambridge, UK); Richard B. Sher (New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA); Shannon C. Stimson (University of California, Berkeley, USA); Kathryn Sutherland (St Anne’s College, Oxford, UK); Keith Tribe (King’s School, Worcester, UK); Gloria Vivenza (University of Verona, Italy); Donald Winch † (University of Sussex, UK). The Adam Smith Review is a multidisciplinary annual review sponsored by the International Adam Smith Society. It aims to provide a unique forum for vigorous debate and the highest standards of scholarship on all aspects of Adam Smith’s works, his place in history, and the significance of his writings for the modern world. The Adam Smith Review aims to facilitate interchange between scholars working within different disciplinary and theoretical perspectives, and to this end it is open to all areas of research relating to Adam Smith. The Review also hopes to broaden the field of English-language debate on Smith by occasionally including translations of scholarly works at present available only in languages other than English. The Adam Smith Review is intended as a resource for Adam Smith scholarship in the widest sense. The Editor welcomes comments and suggestions, including proposals for symposia or themed sections in the Review. Future issues are open to comments and debate relating to previously published papers. The website of The Adam Smith Review is: http://www.adamsmithreview.org/ For details of membership of the International Adam Smith Society and reduced rates for purchasing the Review, please visit https://smithsociety.org/membership-2 The Adam Smith Review (Volume 11) Edited by Fonna Forman Published 2019 For a full list of titles in this series, please visit www.routledge.com/series/ASR

The Adam Smith Review Volume 11

Edited by Fonna Forman

First published 2019 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business  2019 selection and editorial matter, Fonna Forman; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Fonna Forman to be identified as the author of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record has been requested for this book ISBN: 978-0-367-00242-8 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-429-40059-9 (ebk) Typeset in Times New Roman by Swales & Willis Ltd, Exeter, Devon, UK

Contents

List of contributors From the editor Donald Winch, Adam Smith and intellectual history

vii xi xii

RICHARD WHATMORE

Nicholas Phillipson, 1937–2018

xxi

JAMES HARRIS

In memory of Nick Phillipson

xxiv

JENG-GUO S. CHEN

Smith and Rousseau

1

GUEST EDITOR: CRAIG SMITH

Symposium on Adam Smith and Jean-Jacques Rousseau

3

CRAIG SMITH

Rousseau and Julie von Bondeli on the moral sense

7

CHRISTOPHER KELLY AND HEATHER PANGLE

Smith, Rousseau and Cato the younger

21

GLORIA VIVENZA

Rousseau’s influence on Smith’s theory of unintended consequences, the invisible hand and Smith’s understanding of history

36

SPENCER J. PACK

Speech, the affective, and the insult in not being believed: Rousseau and Adam Smith.

53

BYRON DAVIES

Smith and Rousseau on imitation and impassioned musical expression: the challenge of instrumental music in the second half of the eighteenth century KRIS WORSLEY

67

vi  Contents Rousseau and Smith in the Age of Imagination

90

IAGO RAMOS

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith

109

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith

111

K. I. MACDONALD

1 Introduction: on shame and poverty  116 2 Sen on the logic of poverty  117 3 Smith on the logic of taxation  119 4 On prevalent interpretations  123 5 Smith on the shame of poverty  127 6 Smith not an egalitarian  150 7 The logic of shame and poverty  213 8 Conclusion  237 Articles

263

Adam Smith’s Humean attitude towards science: illustrated by “The History of Astronomy”

265

ERIK W. MATSON

Thomas Robert Malthus and his unrealized edition of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations 281 TARO HISAMATSU

Adam Smith’s Newtonian ideals

297

TONI VOGEL CAREY

Smith and Freud’s use of pain and pleasure as human motivations in morality

315

ŞULE ÖZLER AND PAUL A. GABRINETTI

Adam Smith’s science of commerce: the effect of communication

338

SHINJI NOHARA

Report on work in the Smith archives

353

Adam Smith’s library: recent work on his books and marginalia

355

NICHOLAS PHILLIPSON, SHINJI NOHARA, AND CRAIG SMITH

Notes for contributors

378

Contributors

Toni Vogel Carey, Ph.D. (Columbia, Philosophy), independent scholar, has published since 1976 on ethics, scientific method and the history of ideas (Journal of Philosophy, Philosophical Studies, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Isis, Erkenntnis). Since 1998 she has focused increasingly on the Scottish Enlightenment, particularly Adam Smith, and the relation between Smithian and Darwinian evolution (Biology and Philosophy, Journal of Scottish Philosophy, Adam Smith Review). She contributed an entry to Just the Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Arguments in Western Philosophy (Wiley, 2011). Since 2002 she has been a regular contributor to the British magazine Philosophy Now, and serves on its board of U.S. Advisors. Jeng-Guo S. Chen’s interest lies in intellectual history with particular regard to the European Enlightenment and Chinese receptions of enlightenment ideas. He is a Research Fellow at the Institute of History and Philology and a Concurrent Research Fellow at the Center for Political Thought, Academia Sinica, Taipei. Byron Davies is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Before coming to UNAM Byron wrote a dissertation on Rousseau’s understanding of our dependence on others in the Department of Philosophy at Harvard University. Byron has published on the work of Stanley Cavell in the journal Modern Language Notes, as well as on Rousseau and the films of the Spanish director Víctor Erice on the website Aesthetics for Birds. Paul A. Gabrinetti did his graduate studies in Psychology at the University of Southern California and his analytic training at the C.G. Jung Institute in Los Angeles. He taught graduate students at USC and Pacifica Graduate Institute, and analytic candidates at the C.G. Jung Institute in Los Angeles. Dr. Gabrinetti has lectured, taught and written on the applications of psychoanalytic and Jungian analytic psychology on clinical and academic issues over the past 40 years. His current research interests include psychoanalytic reflections on moral philosophy and the application of mythological themes within analytic practice. Dr. Gabrinetti is co-author with Dr. Şule Özler of Psychoanalytic Reflections on the Work of Adam Smith: Towards a Theory of Moral Development and Social Relations (Şule Özler and Paul Gabrinetti,

viii  Contributors Routledge, 2018). He is a practising psychologist and Jungian psychoanalyst in Santa Monica and Woodland Hills California. James Harris is Professor of the History of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews. He has taught at St Andrews since 2004. He is the author of Hume: An Intellectual Biography (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and Of Liberty and Necessity: The Free Will Debate in Eighteenth-Century British Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2005). He has published articles on Hume, Hutcheson, Reid, Beattie, and Priestley, and on a number of themes in eighteenth-century British philosophy. He is the editor of The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Oxford University Press, 2013), and also (with Aaron Garrett) of Volume One of Scottish Philosophy in the Age of Enlightenment (Oxford University Press, 2015). He has edited texts by Reid (with Knud Haakonnsen), Beattie, Kames, and Abraham Tucker. He currently has two research projects. One concerns the persona of the philosopher and the nature and social role of philosophizing in eighteenth-century Britain. The focus of the other is British political thought from Locke to Burke, in particular changes and continuities in the period’s discussion of political obligation. Taro Hisamatsu is Associate Professor at Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan. His previous positions include Associate Professor at Kobe University, Hyogo, Japan, and Lecturer at Fukuyama University, Hiroshima, Japan. He received his PhD in Economics at Kobe University in 2008 with a dissertation on Robert Torrens’ theory of value and distribution. His fields of research are the theory of value and distribution, the classical theory of economic growth and the history of international trade theory. Christopher Kelly is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at Boston College. He is the co-editor of The Collected Writings of Rousseau and author of Rousseau’s Exemplary Life (1987) and Rousseau as Author (2003). K. I. Macdonald is an Emeritus Fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. He has taught in departments of government and of social policy, and published on quantitative sociology and political science, and on political theory. His current research is on the nature of obligation to adult lateral kin. Erik W. Matson is an adjunct Instructor of Economics at Northern Virginia Community College and an online course lecturer in economics at The King’s College, New York. In the fall of 2018, Erik will be joining the Program on the Foundations of the Market Economy at New York University as a postdoctoral research fellow. His work on the history of thought has been published in The Journal of Scottish Philosophy, The Review of Austrian Economics, and Society. Shinji Nohara, Ph.D. (Kyoto University, Economics), Associate Professor (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo) researches the contexts of Smith’s moral philosophy and political economy. He has published a monograph in Japanese and essays in Japanese and in English. Recently, he has been researching how Smith confronted international relationships. His essay ‘Hume and Smith

Contributors  ix on morality and war’ (published in War in the History of Economic Thought, A. Rosselli and Y. Ikeda (eds), London: Routledge, 2017), focused on how Hume and Smith viewed war. In 2018, he published Commerce and Strangers in Adam Smith (Springer). He has also been researching Adam Smith’s books, especially Smith’s library at the University of Tokyo, and Smith’s marginalia. A part of his research has already been published in ‘In the Library of Adam Smith’ (in Changing Arts of Communication in the Eighteenth Century, P. J. Corfield and L. Hannan (eds), Honoré Champion, 2017). Şule Özler is an Associate Professor at UCLA Economics Department. She also taught at Harvard, Stanford Universities, and Koç (Istanbul Turkey) University. She won national fellowships from the Hoover Institute and the National Bureau of Economics. She worked as a consultant to the UN and the World Bank. Her work, prior to becoming a psychoanalyst, was in the areas of international trade, finance and gender economics. She published extensively in these areas, including at top journals such as the American Economic Review, Journal of Development Economics and Journal of International Economics. Her recent work focuses on psychoanalytic examination of moral philosophy, and history of thought. She recently published a book with the title Psychoanalytic Studies of the Work of Adam Smith: Towards a Theory of Moral Development and Social Relations (Şule Özler and Paul Gabrinetti, Routledge, 2018). She is working on a new book on human nature in Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments. She has a psychotherapy/psychoanalysis practice in Santa Monica. Spencer J. Pack is Professor of Economics at Connecticut College. He is the author of, among other books: Capitalism as a Moral System: Adam Smith’s Critique of the Free Market Economy (Elgar, 1991); and Aristotle, Adam Smith and Karl Marx: On Some Fundamental Issues in 21st Century Political Economy (Elgar, 2010). His most recent work includes a paper ‘Rousseau’s Influence on Smith’s Theory of Unintended Consequences, the Invisible Hand and Smith’s Understanding of History’, and ‘Adam Smith, Natural Movement and Physics’, co-authored with Eric Schliesser, Cambridge Journal of Economics (forthcoming). Heather Pangle received her B.A. from Middlebury College and is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Boston College. She studies ancient and modern political philosophy, with a particular interest in themes of democracy, liberty, greatness, and empire. Her dissertation examines Alexis de Tocqueville and J.S. Mill’s writings on colonial empire; it explores the connections and tensions between their liberal sympathies and their support for colonial imperialism. Iago Ramos is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Salamanca where he obtained his PhD with a dissertation about the anthropological theory of JeanJacques Rousseau, published by EUSAL with the title Rousseau y el ser del hombre. Forthcoming paper ‘Rousseauistes, amis ou ennemis?’ in Annales de la Société Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the chapter ‘Rousseau: les limites

x  Contributors des sciences naturelles’, in Olga Pombo and Nuno Melim’s Rousseau e as Ciências are his internationally published works. Craig Smith is the Adam Smith Senior Lecturer in the Scottish Enlightenment in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of Adam Smith’s Political Philosophy: The Invisible Hand and Spontaneous Order (2006) and Adam Ferguson and the Idea of Civil Society: Moral Science in the Scottish Enlightenment (2018). He was co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith and is Book Review editor of The Adam Smith Review. Gloria Vivenza is a former Professor of Economic History and History of Economic Thought in the universities of Catania and Verona. She is a member of the Società Italiana degli Storici dell’Economia, of the Accademia di Agricoltura Scienze e Lettere in Verona, and life member of Clare Hall College in Cambridge, UK. She is interested in the influence of the ancient classics on modern economic thought, and wrote on this subject in her book Adam Smith and the Classics (2001), and several essays and articles dealing with classical themes developed in modern scholarship. Richard Whatmore is Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews and Director of the St Andrews Institute of Intellectual History. He is the author of Republicanism and the French Revolution (Oxford, 2000), Against War and Empire (Yale, 2012), What is Intellectual History? (Polity, 2015) in addition to a number of edited books and editions of texts. Kris Worsley is a pianist and musicologist specialising in the performance and aesthetics of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century music. As a pianist, he has performed on modern and historic instruments, playing both established and little-known repertoire, and has performed his own realisations of unfinished works from Beethoven’s sketchbooks. He teaches at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Royal Northern College of Music and Leeds College of Music.

From the editor

I am delighted to see ASR 11 in print, not only for its excellent papers from a diverse set of authors, including a much-anticipated set of papers guest-edited by Craig Smith from the 2015 conference he organized in Glasgow on Smith and Rousseau, but especially for the moving tributes to Donald Winch and Nick Phillipson, by Richard Whatmore, James Harris and Jeng-Guo S. Chen. Donald and Nick were giants in our ever-expanding and diverse field, whose impact on Smith studies is almost synonymous with the very revival of Smith scholarship itself across the social sciences and humanities over the last decades. They inspired my own work more intrinsically than perhaps anyone else, and in ways that have become more evident to me over time, by helping me appreciate the critical potential and currency of intellectual history. My thanks, as always, to our editorial board and the dozens of referees who participated in the production of this volume. Finally, I am pleased to introduce Ike Sharpless, our new editorial assistant, who participated in the final stages of production for ASR 11. Ike is a PhD candidate in political theory, and I thank the University of California San Diego, Division of Social Sciences, once again, for supporting his position. Thanks also to Aaron Cotkin for staying with us, to help Ike ease into his new role. Fonna Forman Editor

Donald Winch, Adam Smith and intellectual history Richard Whatmore

I In 2010 Donald Winch published an appreciation of his old friend R. D. Collison (Bob) Black, commenting that Black ‘provided a model for everything that I would wish to emulate in the complete historian of economic thought’.1 I feel exactly the same about Donald Winch as a man and as an intellectual historian. I was Winch’s colleague at the University of Sussex for two decades, during which time he acted as the best of mentors, an incomparable friend, and a model to be revered, rather than matched, as a scholar and as a writer. Winch taught me that in order to understand a figure such as Adam Smith, for example, it was necessary to follow the adage of his colleague, the historian John W. Burrow, and reconstruct the conversations and arguments of the past, by listening to the voices of historical actors in their writings. The Smith who emerged was worried by enthusiasts and projectors, those who believed that communities facing problems could easily be united and transformed, and that reformist legislation just had to be declared in order to be realised. Rather, Smith was an advocate of the wisdom of Solon, that all laws had to be formulated for the second-best world of human frailty and failure. Furthermore, Smith was aware that unintended consequences were powerful in the realms of men, and that any project for improvement had to take seriously the limits of human capacity to predict what would happen in future. As such, Smith was far from being an advocate of ‘economic man’, which would have seemed to Smith to be a caricature of human nature. Smith was also an enemy of revolution by the imposition of free markets, which Smith associated with the physiocrats and considered to be madness. Winch knew the writings of Smith backwards, and those of most of his contemporary interlocutors. Everyone acknowledged that Winch’s view of figures such as Hume, Smith, Malthus, Ricardo, Jevons and Marshal had to be taken seriously. How did Winch come to have such a formidable mastery of his subject? One answer lies in the fact that Winch was one of the last of a long and distinguished line of professional economists and historians. Bob Black was also of that ilk. The master practitioner for both men was the great Princeton economist Jacob Viner. This is significant for Winch’s view of Smith. Winch had been put in contact with Black by Viner at the end of the 1950s. Both men had been supervised by Viner, and were inspired to follow him,

Donald Winch, Adam Smith and intellectual history  xiii especially in the final stages of Viner’s long career, during which he turned more directly to the history of economic thought. Winch was inspired in turn by Black’s Economic Thought and the Irish Question, 1817–1870, which was published by Cambridge University Press in 1960, and this book influenced Winch’s own first book, Classical Political Economy and the Colonies, which appeared with Harvard University Press in 1965. Looking back, Winch accepted the verdict of another friend, Crauford Goodwin, that a ‘golden age’ could be identified in the study of the history of economic thought between the 1940s and 1960s, because the subject was then ‘an overlay of all economics, a distinct approach to all economic problems that should be explored as fully as more conventional theoretical and empirical approaches’.2 In other words, economists could be expected to value the history of economic thought, and it was perfectly possible to be a historian of the discipline in conjunction with being a professional economist. The model, again, was Viner because he combined meticulously high standards of historical research with an avoidance of the commonplace pitfalls that plagued the study of historical economics. As Winch later put it, Viner gave ‘none of the concessions to present-mindedness that still serve to keep the subject on the curriculum today’ and refused to offer ‘ideological comfort or ready-made historical parallels with present predicaments or promise the key to large-scale historical developments’.3 Historians of economic thought, in Winch’s view, oftentimes failed to follow such paths. At the same time, economists increasingly turned away from history. These were two themes of all of Donald Winch’s mature work, criticising teleological accounts of the rise of economics as a science, and seeking to explain economists’ general lack of interest in the history of their disciplines. The final essay published during Winch’s lifetime described this decline, and the parallel process of the rise of the distinct field of intellectual history.4 As the history of economic thought was deemed increasingly irrelevant to economics, intellectual history became more prominent in the humanities and social sciences. This was reflected in Winch’s own career, as he moved in the 1980s from the Economics Subject Group at Sussex to the History Subject Group. Research needs to be undertaken on Jacob Viner’s academic children, and their relationship with the economics profession. This is not the subject of this short essay. Rather, I want to describe Winch’s sense of excitement when, in the 1970s he began to engage with the historians of political thought who helped him to frame the questions that Adam Smith’s Politics (1976) addressed. Winch’s discovery of the work of intellectual historians led him to ask new questions about the past and led him to alter his perspective on Smith. Like his earlier discovery of Jacob Viner, Winch’s contribution to the labours of this second tribe began at Princeton.

II In April 1975 Winch, then professor of economics at the University of Sussex, commenced a correspondence with Duncan Forbes, reader in history at the

xiv  Richard Whatmore University of Cambridge, about how Adam Smith should be understood. Winch confessed to having been smitten by recent interpretations emphasising the importance of civic humanism to eighteenth-century authors, a perspective which had been introduced to him at Princeton by Quentin Skinner, both men being visitors at the Institute of Advanced Study. As Winch explained to Forbes, civic humanism might well illuminate what exactly the enlightened Scots had been up to: When I came here [to Princeton] to spend my sabbatical year away from Sussex my intention was to begin work on a collaborative enterprise with my colleague, John Burrow, with a view to writing a book on some selected themes in the history of the social sciences. For obvious reasons this meant returning to the Scots, and since I am a historian of economic thought by trade, to Smith in particular. Much of the ground is already well-tilled, and it was with some relief that I took up some suggestions made by Quentin Skinner, one of my temporary colleagues here. This entailed doing some reading in the fairly recent literature on civic humanism and the concept of virtue and corruption. I was familiar with your own account of Ferguson on virtue, and some of the other literature on the theme of ‘alienation’ in Scottish writings, but I had never understood the system of republican ideas to which the ideas of ‘corruption’ and ‘virtue’ belonged.5 Winch declared that ‘fired with enthusiasm’, he had begun work on a re-reading of Adam Smith in the light of ‘the civic humanist tradition’, which he was sure provided ‘a welcome alternative to the dominant liberal capitalist perspective on Smith which stretches from Locke and Hobbes on the one side to Marx and Mill on the other’. Sheldon Wolin, in his book Politics and Vision (1960) was identified as an example of such an interpretation, turning Smith into some kind of Whig, anticipating ‘liberalism and the decline of political philosophy’. On the opposite side to Wolin were Marxist advocates of the economic determination of ideas, such as C. B. Macpherson in his The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: from Hobbes to Locke (1962); in Winch’s view Macpherson and other Marxists enunciated a teleological perspective on the development of capitalism alongside their liberal critics. Winch’s correspondence shows that he was reading other authors on the civic humanist side of the divide, notably John Pocock, whose The Machiavellian Moment had appeared in 1975, and Nicholas Phillipson, who had co-edited Scotland in the Age of Improvement in 1970. Pocock’s work was especially important in formulating what Winch termed ‘the system of republican ideas’. At Princeton Quentin Skinner was a direct link to Pocock, as he had come up with the title of The Machiavellian Moment and had read and commented in detail on the text prior to publication.6 A similar sense of excitement about the possibility of reconstructing the lost tradition of civic humanism was conveyed by Pocock to Skinner: All this [revision] was blown open by my discovery, in working through things like Defoe’s Review [of the Affairs of France, 1704–13] in search of

Donald Winch, Adam Smith and intellectual history  xv origins for the Court thesis, of a presentation of Credit (public paper credit) as an inconstant female figure and irrational historical dynamic, unmistakeably none other than Fortuna (and to a lesser degree Fantasia) under a new name. So I had to rewrite my whole interpretation of the debate under William and Anne, using the title ‘Neo-Machiavellian political economy’ and arguing for an eighteenth-century version of the ‘Machiavellian Moment’ in which (1) the virtue-fortune-corruption pattern is repeated as virtue-commercecorruption (2) early capitalism is apprehended, in a thoroughly un-Lockean and un-Macphersonian way, under the paradigm of credit-fantasy-passionhonour, so that an eighteenth-century version of false consciousness appears and we get the beginning of the sort of thought later to become Marxian.7 For Pocock too it was especially significant that civic humanism provided an alternative account of the development of capitalist ideas to that supplied by Marxists. Winch was sure that by drawing upon such work as Pocock’s, and by applying it to the case of Smith, more complicated stories about ‘the relationship between polity, economy and society’ could be formulated.8 As noted above, Quentin Skinner proved integral to Winch’s work both through his direct advice and through his own publications. Since the publication of his classic article defining the practice of intellectual history, ‘Meaning and Understanding in the history of ideas’ (1969), Skinner had been announcing that he expected to complete ‘a more systematic discussion of the subject [the history of modern political thought], with particular reference both to the study of history, and to the use of historical examples’.9 One branch was intended to address Max Weber’s question, outlined in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905), as to why Calvinism had appeared to go hand in hand with economic development, while Catholic areas remained relatively backward. For Weber, uncertainty about salvation induced by Calvinist predestinarian teaching had induced an intense search for the signs of grace in daily life, in turn leading to the disciplined ethos and conduct that comprised the capitalist spirit. Skinner in particular was fascinated whether faith in providence accompanied conduct that was ‘provident’.10 When Skinner’s Foundations of Modern Political Thought appeared in 1978, with the first volume being concerned with Renaissance thought and the second concerned with the period of the Reformation, a number of innovative claims were made about the history of European thought. One was that Pocock had neglected the Roman legacy in politics, because civic humanism was as much a product of Cicero’s advocacy of republican virtue as Aristotle’s Politics. A second claim by Skinner refuted Michael Walzer’s argument, in The Revolution of the Saints (1966) that Protestantism and political liberty advanced in tandem; instead Skinner traced the origin of the connection between liberty and self-government to glossators upon Roman Law, such as Bartolus de Saxoferrato (1313–1357), and concern with the liberties of the free cities of Italy in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Equally iconoclastic was Skinner’s assertion that the resistance theories of the Calvinists and the Lutherans of the 1530s, founded on assumptions about natural rights and about the sovereignty of the people, found their origins in the

xvi  Richard Whatmore neo-Thomists of the School of Salamanca, such as Francisco de Vitoria, Francisco Suárez, and Juan de Mariana, and Parisian theologians of the early sixteenth century such as John Mair and Jacques Almain. Catholic and conciliarist origins of modern ideas about liberty and law, the alternative tradition to civic humanism, were being posited by Skinner. A sense of how radical Skinner’s Foundations was accepted as being in its reorientation of the history of political thought is apparent from his correspondence with James H. Burns, a historian at University College London whose own interests, like Skinner’s, ranged from the ancient to the modern. Burns read various versions of Skinner’s book and made a number of criticisms that Skinner took on board. One point, however, continued to divide them, concerning the definition of the community that could be accepted as being the locus of rights, and in consequence that might justify action against a ruler who violated those rights. Discussion focussed on certain texts of the conciliarist and professor of theology at Paris, Jacques Almain (1480–1515). Skinner wanted to draw a line from Almain ultimately to Locke, with the latter restating the conciliarist argument that the rights that princes enjoyed under positive law were originally possessed by each individual living under the law of nature. Burns felt this was taking things too far, because Almain believed in corporate entities as the foundational units for rights; rights were implanted in communities by God, rather than being granted to individuals who then formed communities, in order to defend their individual rights: What strikes me most forcibly . . . is the reiterated emphasis placed by Almain on the community as the original possessor of the coercive power normally exercised by rulers . . . What worries me is the reference, crucial for your argument, to the prior possession of this power ‘by members of the community itself’. The phrase ‘the members of the community’ is perhaps ambiguous; and if one reads it in the context of what Almain says . . . it is unexceptionable – but it then doesn’t, I suggest, sustain your interpretation. What Almain seems to be saying, with a good deal of emphasis, is that the individual is essentially part of a corporate, even organic whole: quaelibet persona singularis comparetur ad totam Communitatem sicut pars ad totum; and I take this to mean that it is only as incorporated parts of such a whole that the individuals ut universi rather than ut singuli dispose of the power in question . . . Almain does state that ‘God, the author of nature, made man with a natural right or power to take what is necessary for his sustenance and conservation and to repel what is harmful . . .’; and this includes the right of slaying an unjust aggressor. I also agree that he goes on to say that ‘likewise’ (similiter) ‘a community . . . has a natural power of preserving not only its existence but its peaceful existence, to which it pertains to cut off, even to kill, those whose lives tend to disturb the community’. But I do not think that Almain either explicitly or implicitly derives the second of these powers from the first. It seems to me that he regards them as, so to speak, parallel powers, each of them conferred directly by God, ‘the author of nature’ – the first conferred on every individual, the second on every civil society.11

Donald Winch, Adam Smith and intellectual history  xvii Whatever Burns’s criticisms, he accepted that Skinner’s work was likely to challenge those who argued in favour of Enlightenment origins for modern politics. The implication of Skinner’s argument was that seventeenth-century and eighteenth-century authors had to be reconsidered by looking again at ideas about liberty and resistance across Catholic Europe, and that a tradition of civic humanism had been established in medieval times that continued to exert its influence into modern times; this understandably enthused Winch. Forbes, Skinner’s colleague at Cambridge, doused the enthusiasm with regard to civic humanism and Smith. Forbes replied to Winch on 28 April, welcoming the latter’s project, and identifying himself ‘as a historian of ideas whose lot is that, very much, of an under-labourer’. As such, Forbes was sceptical of ‘trying to put Smith into any sort of “tradition”’. He informed Winch that later in 1975 his book Hume’s Philosophical Politics would be published by Cambridge University Press. This book formed a part of a bigger project Forbes envisaged, encompassing Smith, which was also critical of established interpretations, associated especially with economists studying the rise of capitalism, but without wishing to move to an emphasis upon civic humanism as the key interpretative context for authors like Smith: Meanwhile I am going on with the larger business of which the Hume book was an offshoot, and that includes Smith, who after Hume is the next most important person. But this ‘tradition’ business I do not feel competent to write about, and I must confess I am a bit less enthusiastic about ‘civic humanism’ than some other people as a key to these thinkers, who are exceedingly complex, and too big to be bottled in any way. The old interpretation of Smith was of course absolutely wrong, but it was (forgive me) the work of economists who knew damn all and cared less about the background, and especially about the project in natural jurisprudence, of which Wealth of Nations was a part. Forbes went on to explain what he intended to do with Smith, which was to reconstruct what being a philosopher entailed in the eighteenth century, recapturing the myriad contexts that such figures were exposed to, beyond the civic humanism emphasised by historians such as Pocock: I may be wrong but my line about Smith is that he must be seen, like Hume, as the philosopher (with all the eighteenth-century implications of the word ‘philosophy’) until one gets that right, the other aspects are secondary. In other words, one must begin further back, I think, than you are doing at the moment. For what it is worth, therefore my advice is: don’t sell yourself to the ‘civic humanism’ business. John Pocock used to have a bee in his bonnet about it. I am persuaded to do so, provided lots and lots of other bees are given total license to buzz also. And anyway, the ‘civic humanism’ in the context of Smith, Ferguson and whomsoever becomes something else again. That is why I am so suspicious of ‘traditions’ of thought.

xviii  Richard Whatmore Forbes ended his letter by calling himself a ‘pointilliste’ in scholarship, noted that his book Hume’s Philosophical Politics ‘is meant to be Humean’, and that it was unlikely as such ‘to be liked’ by contemporaries.12 Forbes’ book made natural jurisprudence a Protestant story, revealing Hume’s debt to Grotius, Pufendorf, and the jurists who laboured towards the end of the wars of religion, and after the Treaty of Westphalia, in the hope of establishing civil liberty and peace across Europe. They had formulated what Forbes termed ‘a modern theory of natural law’.13

III When Winch’s book Adam Smith’s Politics appeared with Cambridge University Press in 1978, Forbes wrote an admiring review in the Times Higher Educational Supplement, and wrote separately to Winch about the one critical point made in the review, about the lack of analysis of natural justice: I’ve said in my review that if you had gone into the question of natural justice in Hume and Smith more deeply you would have thrown the whole essay out of balance, but that there are one or two places where, as a consequence, a draught blows in, so to speak. Forbes added that ‘the natural justice approach makes a nonsense of Meekery’, referring to the work of the Marxist historian Ronald L. Meek, whose Social Science and the Ignoble Savage had appeared in 1976; once again, the need to refute Marxist perspectives on the history of ideas was foregrounded. Forbes’ final advice to Winch was to look up something he had recently become aware of as a PhD examiner, ‘an excellent thesis on ‘Natural Justice in Hume, Smith, Millar and Craig, for Edinburgh, by Knud Haakonssen’.14 Haakonssen was, Forbes noted to Winch, ‘a philosopher’. Nevertheless, Forbes, a difficult person to please, considered Haakonssen’s thesis to have been outstanding, because it provided an account distinct from the current trend towards civic humanist explanations, and focussed on the innovations of Hume and Smith with regard to ideas about justice: Hume and Smith between them outline a new theory of justice as the foundation for all social and political life. Justice is a mode of assessing social and political behaviour, the central point of which is that the motives behind such behaviour must not have an injurious tendency which would arouse the resentment of an impartial spectator. This means that they must be in accordance with a general rule which is negative, telling people what not to do and which thus ensures that the behaviour which is allowed as just is as widely compatible as possible with the rest of the values and aims accepted at any given time by a society. The latter can only be understood as they have developed through the interaction of individual men; and jurisprudence as a critical discipline is therefore dependent upon history as the new ‘science of human nature.’ Justice is a negative virtue, the rules of which are enforcible for negative utilitarian reasons.15

Donald Winch, Adam Smith and intellectual history  xix In his reply, Winch acknowledged ‘the big hole created by my failure to face up to TMS [Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments] and natural justice more squarely’. In consequence, he wrote, ‘my version of Smith’s politics lacks an adequate philosophical base’. This was ‘partly due to my ignorance concerning antecedents, and partly because, for reasons of earlier deformation, I knew the economistic enemy best’. Winch promised to look up Haakonssen’s work, as he had ‘a vague idea of following up the career of the ‘science of politics’ in the hands of Dugald Stewart and his pupils’ and would be visiting Edinburgh, his ‘favourite city, the place where I started my teaching career’.16 Later in 1978 Donald Winch acted as reader for Cambridge University Press for a manuscript by Knud Haakonssen, which appeared in 1981 as The Science of a Legislator: The Natural Jurisprudence of David Hume and Adam Smith. Haakonssen’s great achievement, in the view of Forbes and now also of Winch, was to have plugged the gap in scholarship, by revealing the importance of the philosophical foundations of Smith’s thought in reconstructing his science of the statesman or legislator. It was this side of Smith’s work that Winch himself began to work on more directly in the years up to the publication of his masterpiece Riches and Poverty: An Intellectual History of Political Economy in Britain, 1750–1834 (1996). Having mastered both the civic humanist and natural juristic approaches to eighteenth-century political economy, Winch’s conclusion was that Smith’s was an ‘enduring particular result’.17 In historical research, as in political ideology, it was a mistake to corral authors into clubs whose membership they themselves would have rejected.

Notes 1 Donald Winch, ‘R. D. Collison Black, 1922–2008: A Personal Tribute’, History of Political Economy, 42/1 (2010), 1–17. 2 Crauford Goodwin, ‘History of Economic Thought’, in Steven H. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume, eds., The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 2nd edn. 3 Donald Winch, ‘Jacob Viner as Intellectual Historian’, in W. J. Samuels, ed., The Craft of the Historian of Economic Thought (Connecticut: JAI Press, 1983), 1–17. 4 Donald Winch, ‘Intellectual History and the History of Economics’, in Richard Whatmore and Brian Young, eds., A Companion to Intellectual History (New York and London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016), 170–183. 5 Donald Winch to Duncan Forbes, 17 April 1975, Donald Winch papers, University of Sussex Special Collections. 6 Richard Whatmore, ‘Introduction’, to J. G. A. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition (Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 2016 [1978]). 7 Pocock to Skinner, October 12, 1972, private papers of Quentin Skinner. I am extremely grateful to Quentin Skinner for giving me access to such letters. 8 Donald Winch to Duncan Forbes, 17 April 1975, Donald Winch papers, University of Sussex Special Collections. 9 Quentin Skinner, ‘Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas’, History and Theory 8/1 (1969), 3–53, n. 192, 45. 10 Mark Goldie, ‘The context of the Foundations’, in Annabel Brett and James Tully, (eds.) Rethinking the Foundations of Modern Political Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 3–19.

xx  Richard Whatmore 11 James H. Burns to Quentin Skinner, 20 December 1977, pages 3–4, papers of James H. Burns, Special Collections, University of St Andrews. 12 Duncan Forbes to Donald Winch, 28 April 1975, Winch papers. 13 Duncan Forbes, Hume’s Philosophical Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), 59–90. 14 Duncan Forbes to Donald Winch, 19 May 1978, Winch papers. 15 Duncan Forbes’ notes on Knud Haakonssen’s PhD thesis, private papers of Knud Haakonssen. 16 Donald Winch to Duncan Forbes, 25 May 1978, Winch papers. 17 Donald Winch, ‘Adam Smith’s Enduring Particular Result; A Political and Cosmopolitan Perspective’, in Istan Hont and Michael Ignatieff (eds.), Wealth and Virtue; The Shaping of Political Economy in the Scottish Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 253–269.

Nicholas Phillipson, 1937–2018 James Harris

As his many friends among the readers of this journal will already know, Nicholas Phillipson died at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary on 24 January 2018. He was 80, and had been suffering for some time from severe pain in his hips and lower back that turned out, far too late for anything to be done about it, to be caused by prostate cancer. As Nick would have wanted, his funeral was very far from being a sombre affair. Like Nick’s life, it echoed with music, conversation, and laughter. But it is in the nature of funerals that they are organised at short notice, and I know that many people who wanted to be there could not be. Thomas Ahnert and I are putting together a celebration of Nick’s academic achievements to take place in Edinburgh on 1–2 March 2019. All will be very welcome, and we hope that the Smith community will be well represented. In the meantime, I have been asked by the editor to write something in memory of the author of Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life. Nick arrived in Edinburgh in 1965 to take up a lectureship in the Department of History at the University, and he never left. He had written his PhD at Cambridge on the Whig programme for reform of the Court of Session in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, and some of his earliest publications, including some notable pieces on Sir Walter Scott, grew out of that work. At the same time, Nick was preparing a series of essays on the then still relatively neglected question of the origins and nature of the Scottish Enlightenment. These essays introduced themes which he would spend the rest of his life refining and elaborating upon. They argued that the impetus for Scotland’s intellectual achievement in the eighteenth century was provided by a crisis of identity among the country’s elites caused by the 1707 union of parliaments. This was a crisis felt particularly acutely in Edinburgh, now a capital without a political role. It was in the great institutions of Edinburgh life – the law, the church, and the university – that resources were found for addressing and overcoming the crisis, in the form of the development of a new moral and political language, indeed a new understanding of social life itself, orientated towards the pressing question of how to make the most of the economic opportunities that the union provided. The project for the Scottish literati, Nick claimed, was not so much to legitimise the values of the union as to define them. This general framework for understanding the Scottish Enlightenment was both confirmed and transformed by the publication in 1975 of J. G. A. Pocock’s

xxii  James Harris The Machiavellian Moment. After that, a major question for Nick was how the Scots adapted the language of neo-Machiavellian civic humanism to their own distinctive purposes. The traditional republican model of freedom through selfgovernment was no longer available to them. But an alternative was provided by the life of the coffee house and club as described, and instantiated, in The Tatler and The Spectator. Here, according to Nick, was a language of civic morality uniquely appropriate to Scotland’s situation. The great achievement of the Scottish Enlightenment, he argued, was the way its philosophers were able to show how this language could be used for discussing the moral, political, and economic organization of commercial society at large. It was in this spirit that Nick approached Hume in the book he published in 1989 for a series called ‘Historians on Historians’. ‘All of Hume’s philosophy, all of his history’, Nick wrote, ‘was to be directed towards the goal of teaching men and women to seek happiness in the world of common life, not in the life hereafter, and to pay attention to their duties to their fellow citizens rather than to a suppositious God’. Nick despatched effectively with the absurd idea that Hume was more of a philosopher than he was a moralist and historian, and sketched what remains a powerfully plausible account of Hume’s intellectual life considered as a whole. As was entirely appropriate, Penguin reissued the book in the tercentenary year of 2011. It is, to my mind, easily the best short book about Hume, and the only one worth giving to someone who doesn’t know much about Hume and wants to know what all the fuss is about. Aftershocks of Pocockian revolution in the study of the moral and political thought of Britain in the eighteenth century are audible in the chapter Nick wrote on Smith for the seminal collection Wealth and Virtue, edited by István Hont and Michael Ignatieff. Smith, Nick argued there, was ‘a philosopher who was concerned with the principles of propriety as well as with those of virtue and valued the spirit of independence and sense of ego of commercial man rather than the libertarian civic virtues of the classical republican’. In 1995 Nick signed a contract with Penguin to write a book on Smith. It was not until he retired from his position at Edinburgh in 2004, however, that he was able to give the book his full attention. When it finally appeared in 2010, it was, as every reader of The Adam Smith Review will be well aware, a spectacular triumph. I still have some notes that I took at the discussion of the book at the Edinburgh Book Festival. In his presentation of its major themes, Nick began, as he very often did, with the science of man, interpreted, à la Smith, as the science of how, through socialisation, we become who and what we are. Human beings are, he continued, everywhere thrown into a world of trade – trade in opinions, manners, sentiments, trade with others, and trade with ourselves. Through this trade – and only through this trade – we become individuals. Nick was at pains to point how far his Smith was from the Smith of enthusiasts for maximally free markets and maximally small government. His Smith saw government as absolutely necessary in the enforcement of the law, and also in the securing of fairness in the distribution of wealth. And his Smith was also very much not only the author of The Wealth of Nations. He was, just as importantly, a giver of lectures on rhetoric and on jurisprudence,

Nicholas Phillipson, 1937–2018  xxiii and – as Nick was always keen to emphasize – a commentator on and developer of the scepticism of his friend David Hume. The first question Nick fielded after his introduction was from someone who, unaccountably, wanted to know what this had to do with The Merchant of Venice. Needless to say, Nick was unperturbed. After the huge success of his book on Smith, Nick returned to where he began, and started work on a comprehensive account of the Scottish Enlightenment. It is not clear for now how far he had got with this new yet old project by the time he died. There is no reason, though, to think that he changed his mind about the fact, as he saw it, that the history of the Enlightenment in Scotland was, to a very large extent, the history of Edinburgh in the eighteenth century. Enlightenment, as he saw it, happened in the discussion of ideas at clubs and societies, among the audiences of recitals and concerts, at dinner, and over long evenings drinking claret and port. As anyone who met with Nick in Edinburgh will remember, this was his world too. I expect many people reading this have their own memories of refined, hilarious, erudite, gossipy lunches with him at The Outsider or Centotre. He was immensely generous in spirit, and always humane in his scholarship. Our world is smaller without him.

In Memory of Nick Phillipson Jeng-Guo S. Chen

I first came across the name of Nicholas Phillipson upon learning the term ‘Scottish Enlightenment’ in 1992, and first met him while presenting a project to him on Adam Smith in 1995. I was granted a prestigious studentship by the Taiwanese government in 1992 that would cover all my tuition fees in any humanities discipline and in almost any country in which I chose to study. I was, however, greatly confused by this indulgent liberty, pondering what subject I should or could take beyond my congenial home discipline of Chinese history. Serendipitously, the name of Adam Smith came into my mind. The voice of Clio started to whisper in my ears: what kind of society could Smith have lived in, and what kind of society could produce a writer like Smith? I was soon taken away by such historical questions I proposed for myself. I started to do preliminary research concerning these questions and found with awe the term of the ‘Scottish Enlightenment’ as Columbus did when he thought he had discovered the ‘New Continent’. Obviously he did not. Neither did I, despite the fact that this specific Enlightenment was a terra incognita in the Taiwanese college curriculum. The article on ‘The Scottish Enlightenment’ collected in Porter and Teich’s volume, Enlightenment in National Context (Cambridge 1982), led me to the world that had occupied Phillipson and many other historians for years. It is in the brief biography of Dr. Phillipson in the Porter’s volume that I knew he had been preparing for a book on Smith in 1982. I did not encounter ‘natives’ of the Scottish Enlightenment until 1995, when I embarked on my journey to Edinburgh from Brighton, where I did my first postgraduate study. Among the ‘natives’, Nick instantly impressed me with his unusual height among academics – and uncommon kindness among tutors – when I was first received by him at William Robertson Building of Edinburgh University, in early October 1995, with a proposal on Adam Smith’s moral philosophy and agricultural economy. In that year, Ian Ross published an acclaimed and highly detailed biography of Smith. Many Smith scholars might envisage themselves writing something brilliant based on the toolkit-like reference that Ross contributed to the world (I, at least, was one). After the ritual reception of a beer at Blind Poet’s Club on the Richmond Street near WRB, however, five years of exciting-cum-grooming days awaited me. Edinburgh became dark far too soon for a man born below the Tropic of Cancer. So went my first years of supervised days under Nick, the gentle giant.

In Memory of Nick Phillipson  xxv After the first-year report, I told Nick that I was ready to write up my thesis on Smith, because, as I said to him, ‘I have read all Smith’s publications twice.’ ‘Oh, really,’ said he. ‘I have read them seven times. And I do not know how to start.’ He concluded our conversation that day with self-exploration. The frankness in this self-exploration was certainly a warning against my complacency in presenting a study of Smith that was original in any sense of the term. I retired to my study room and read, more voraciously, the secondary literature on Smith. The result is that I started to steer astray from Smith and toward the generation after him, including John Millar, Francis Jeffrey, and James Mill, among others. Nick noticed this deviation of my intellectual trajectory and tried to resuscitate me: ‘For a PhD thesis, it is good enough if you can do a great summary of 200 books of the study of Smith.’ This is characteristic of Nick’s suggestions given to comfort his students on the brink of withdrawing from their studies. At last, I finished my supervised work with Nick but ended the thesis with a study of James Mill in the Scottish Enlightenment. In a sense, the thesis is one of, to borrow Colin Kidd’s apt term, ‘Phillipsonian Enlightenment’, but only in reverse. From time to time during tutorials, Nick confided to his students that the central and final task of the study of the Scottish Enlightenment was ‘how to contextualize Hume and Smith’. Such a statement might sound overly authoritarian to the ears of Hutchesonian, Fergusonian, Reidian and Robertsonian scholars – among those many others searching the Enlightenment with different approaches. Nick’s literary career nonetheless supports the track of this conviction, as Hume and Smith present the largest part of his publications. By ‘contextualizing’ Hume and Smith, Nick meant much more to endorse the existence of imminent relation of society and intellectual culture, than the existence of the so-called Cambridge School of ‘contextualism’. Partisanship is the least characterstic trait of Nick’s intellectual life, after all. Intellectually he has been associated with Jack Plumb, the Hegelian scholar Duncan Forbes, John Pocock, Istvan Hont, Quentin Skinner, and many other historians of ideas. In the later years of his literary career, Nick worked closely with Susan Manning, the late professor of literature, on the project of the ‘Science of Man’. It is crucial, nonetheless, to note that in the 70s Nick closely worked with social historians, including Rosalind Mitchison and Lawrence Stone. One day in a tutorial, Nick told me: ‘Chen, I found it very curious that your papers seem to be written from a pen of the 70s, just like mine.’ By ‘the 70s’, Nick meant the old school of sociologist historians, who studied history with the hope that they could portray a distinct society, or, rather, try to bring a distinct society in the past back to life. Unlike the modern cultural historians who tend to objectify cultures as social practices without agents, Nick aimed at painting a society by using cultural history as the colour. The culture of politeness is the sharpest colour that Nick used to draw on the Scottish society of the period with which he was infatuated, during which Hume and Smith also lived. Nick might not agree with my representation, which somehow puts him in opposition to cultural historians. He is by no means a partisan, but Nick had a good reason for this denial. That ‘we cannot truly know others’ minds’ is probably the most profound motto that Nick

xxvi  Jeng-Guo S. Chen derived from the Scottish Enlightenment. Upon this conviction was built the trunk of the Phillipsonian Scottish Enlightenment model of modern scepticism. What makes Nick distinct from conventional social historians is that he was himself ‘absolutely meticulous about details’, as Nick once applied this phrase in praise of a historian. If polite culture and scepticism represent the Humean society, the meticulousness of niceties represent Smith’s Science of Man. Both in TMS and WN, Smith generously spares considerable pages for quotidian lives and the behaviors of people’s economic and sentimental exchanges, the process of production, the evolution of institutions, and psychological happenings and mutations. As a great lover of art, Nick appreciated the Smithian historian’s craft. One of the prominent features of Dr. Phillipson’s Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life is a long quotation of Smith’s own words. And his students know why very well. In another tutorial, Nick admonished me: ‘Chen, you are too thrifty to your people.’ He told me not to represent my heroes by summarizing their works. ‘You have to let your people speak.’ ‘Your readers like to listen to historical figures speak for themselves.’ The historian, in this sense, is like a conductor, leading the whole orchestra to sound harmoniously, or, rather, a playwright writing non-fictions. But how can a historian giving out long quotations be free from inviting blame on account of tediousness and pedantism? It requires thorough familiarity with the texts, the society and the ages the historian is dealing with. It also asks for patience and attention to detail, so that every quotation appears in the most proper context. Since Dugald Stewart’s Account of the Life and Writings of Adam Smith, given at the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1793, the public have received some very distinct biographies of Smith. Among them, John Rae’s (1895), Ian Ross’ (1995) and Phillipson’s (2010) are three milestones. It is extremely hard for new generations to vie with the achievements of these pathbreaking works, in terms of the collection of biographical information and details, in the fluidity of motif-change in each chapter, and their readable prose, although it nonetheless won’t be an obstacle for young generations to strive onward with the the Smithian studies, to which Nick contributed so much. Last September I invited Nick to be a tutor at a conference of Smith in China. He ended up not coming. I shall let my historical hero, my old supervisor, speak for himself on this anecdote to close this piece of my memory of him: Dear Chen I’m afraid you’re going to be very annoyed with me, and you will be right to be so. Very regretfully, I’m going to say no to taking on this project. I’m too old to take on such an important and demanding assignment. I feel guilty about not having come out directly with a ‘no, thank you’ when you first invited me to take this on, and I can only say now, thank you very much for having asked me in the first place and I hope and trust that the event, particularly with Fonna as well as you taking part will be a great success with very best wishes as always Nick (13 March 2017)

In Memory of Nick Phillipson  xxvii Dear Chen The great sadness of not coming to China is that I shan’t see you. Let’s hope that we can do something about that in the near future! As ever Nick (14 March 2017)

Smith and Rousseau Guest editor: Craig Smith

Symposium on Adam Smith and Jean-Jacques Rousseau Craig Smith

The genesis of this symposium was a joint meeting of the International Adam Smith Society and the Rousseau Association that was designed to foster further work on the intellectual connections between these two great thinkers by bringing together the two scholarly communities. The meeting, held in July 2015 at the University of Glasgow and generously supported by the British Academy/ Leverhulme fund, led to a series of highly productive discussions cutting across the academic disciplines. The papers in this symposium are drawn from the more than fifty papers prepared for the joint meeting. Additional papers will appear in forthcoming volumes of The Adam Smith Review and in the forthcoming edited volume Adam Smith and Rousseau: Ethics, Politics, Economics (Edinburgh University Press). Smith scholars will be familiar with the recent flourishing of interest in the relationship between Rousseau and Smith. See for example: Pack (2000); Larrère (2002); Force (2003); Hurtado Prieto (2003, 2004); Berry (2004); Hanley (2006, 2008a, 2008b); Rasmussen (2006, 2013); Schliesser (2006); Neuhouser (2008); Vaughan (2009); Griswold (2010); Phillipson (2010); Kukathas (2014); Rathbone (2015); Stimson (2015); Niimura (2016). Two recent book-length treatments of Smith and Rousseau by Dennis Rasmussen (2008) and Istvan Hont (2015) are about to be joined by a third by Charles Griswold (forthcoming). We are clearly dealing with a developing sub-field of eighteenth-century studies. The papers collected in this symposium have been selected because they represent new work on aspects of the Smith/Rousseau relationship that has been under-explored in the recent literature. The symposium takes as its broad organisational principle the desire to include a new approach to each of the key points where Smith directly engages with Rousseau’s thought. The papers are prefaced by a contextual piece which examines a possible Rousseauian engagement with Smith’s thought and ends with a consideration of what the study of Smith and Rousseau might mean for Enlightenment studies more generally. Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Adam Smith are two of the foremost thinkers of the European Enlightenment, thinkers who made seminal contributions to moral and political philosophy and who shaped some of the key concepts of modern political economy. Though we have no solid evidence that they met in person, we do know that they shared many friends and interlocutors, particularly the

4  Craig Smith French thinkers Smith met during his time on the Continent in the mid 1760s. Most famously Smith’s close friendship with David Hume brought him into the quarrel between the latter and Rousseau following Rousseau’s stay in England in 1766. Smith comments on the incident in his letters to Hume (Corr. 90: 110; 93: 112–13; 96: 118; 103: 125; 109: 132; 111: 133–6; 112: 136–7). The usually mildmannered Smith is clearly exercised on his friend’s behalf and refers to Rousseau as a ‘great . . . Rascal’ and a ‘hypocritical Pedant’ (Corr. 93: 112–13). That said, Smith was clearly very familiar with Rousseau’s writings and both men were part of a wider culture of cosmopolitan intellectuals exchanging ideas across Europe. The first paper in the symposium, by Christopher Kelly and Heather Pangle, engages with this cultural and intellectual milieu. It reverses the usual trend in the current literature on Rousseau and Smith. Instead of examining Smith’s response to Rousseau, or placing the two in a comparative context, Kelly and Pangle explore a potential point of interaction between Rousseau and Scottish moral philosophy in the letters of Julie von Bondeli. The paper explores Rousseau’s interaction with Bondeli, a leading Bernese literati, whose letters reflect on enlightened life and ideas. Their correspondence in the early 1760s comes at a time when Bondeli was absorbing the work of Hutcheson and Smith and refining her own views on the moral sense. Her response to La Nouvelle Héloïse is informed by her reading of Scottish moral philosophy and the exchanges with Rousseau provide intriguing insight into the continental reception of Scottish sentimentalism. The second paper, by Gloria Vivenza, examines an aspect of Rousseau and Smith’s shared immersion in the cultural legacy of the classics. Vivenza examines and compares the attitude of both thinkers to Cato the Younger. The discussion of the example of Cato was a key part of the political tradition of republicanism, and their quite distinct responses to the emblematic example of Cato’s life and, more importantly, his death, offer us an interesting angle on one of the symbols of Roman political virtue. Smith’s first published mention of Rousseau lies in the letter to the Edinburgh Review (1756) where he discusses contemporary philosophy, the Encyclopédie and Rousseau’s Discours sur l’origine et les fondemens de l’inégalité parmi les hommes (1755). The discussion comes at a key point in Smith’s intellectual development as he was engaged in writing the Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) which established his international reputation. In the letter Smith famously traces the inspiration for elements of Rousseau’s thought to the work of Bernard Mandeville (Letter: 250–4). This provides the subject for our third paper by Spencer J. Pack. Pack examines the evolutionary account of history found in Smith and Rousseau in the light of the central notion of unintended consequences. Pack explores how a very similar evolutionary approach leads Smith and Rousseau to very different conclusions about the evolution of commercial society. Smith also discusses Rousseau in some of his less well-known writings such as the Considerations Concerning the First Formation of Languages (1761) (CL 2: 205; see also LRBL i.19: 9–10). In his paper Byron Davies explores the relationship between language and moral judgement in the Discours and The

Symposium on Adam Smith and Rousseau  5 Theory of Moral Sentiments. Davies examines the illocutionary implications of giving credit to an individual’s statements. Given the stress on interpersonal judgement in Rousseau and Smith’s accounts of socialisation, we are able to explore the effect of crediting testimony on social status. Smith also mentions Rousseau in the essay on the Imitative Arts (1795) and Kris Worsley takes this as his inspiration for a fascinating study of Smith and Rousseau’s respective discussions of the idea of understanding instrumental music through the notion of imitation (see IA: 199–200). Worsley situates Rousseau and Smith’s thinking on the issue within the wider context of eighteenth-century music theory and shows how both thinkers make novel contributions to the discussion. By comparing and contrasting their views on this issue we are also able to gain insight into other areas of their thinking where imitation is a key concept. The final paper in the symposium, by Iago Ramos, widens out the discussion to consider what the study of the Rousseau and Smith connection can contribute to the study of the Enlightenment more generally. Ramos explores Rousseau and Smith’s shared fascination with sentiment and imagination and considers whether this axis might provide us with an alternative analytic for the Age of Reason. If reason is less than central to the interests and accounts of human experience to be found in two such central Enlightenment figures, then perhaps much of the existing scholarship on the Enlightenment is mischaracterising the thought of the period. Taken together these papers continue the discussions started in the recent literature and highlight new avenues along which to consider Rousseau and Smith.

Bibliography Berry, Christopher J. (2004), ‘Smith under Strain’, European Journal of Political Theory, 3, pp. 455–63. Force, Pierre (2003), Self-Interest before Adam Smith: A Genealogy of Economic Science, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Griswold, Charles L. (2010), ‘Smith and Rousseau in Dialogue: Sympathy, Pitié, Spectatorship and Narrative’, in Vivienne Brown and Samuel Fleischacker (eds), The Philosophy of Adam Smith, London: Routledge, pp. 59–84. Griswold, Charles L. (forthcoming), Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Adam Smith: A Philoso­ phical Encounter, New York: Routledge. Hanley, Ryan Patrick (2006), ‘From Geneva to Glasgow: Rousseau and Adam Smith on the Theater and Commercial Society’, Studies in Eighteenth Century Culture, 35, pp. 177–202. Hanley, Ryan Patrick (2008a), ‘Commerce and Corruption: Rousseau’s Diagnosis and Adam Smith’s Cure’, European Journal of Political Theory, 7, pp. 137–58. Hanley, Ryan Patrick (2008b), ‘Enlightened Nation Building: The “Science of the Legislator” in Adam Smith and Rousseau’, American Journal of Political Science, 52, pp. 219–34. Hont, Istvan (2015), Politics in Commercial Society, ed. Béla Kapossy and Michael Sonenscher, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Hurtado Prieto, Jimena (2003), ‘The Risks of an Economic Agent: A Rousseauian Reading of Adam Smith’, Columbian Economic Journal, 1, pp. 194–220.

6  Craig Smith Hurtado Prieto, Jimena (2004), ‘Bernard Mandeville’s Heir: Adam Smith or Jean-Jacques Rousseau on the Possibility of Economic Analysis’, European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 11, pp. 1–31. Kukathas, Chandran (2014), ‘Das Rousseau Problem: Adam Smith’s Politics and Economics,’ Adam Smith Review, 7, pp. 174–80. Larrère, Catherine (2002), ‘Adam Smith et Jean-Jacques Rousseau: sympathie et pitié’, Kairos, 20, pp. 73–94. Neuhouser, Frederick (2008), Rousseau’s Theodicy of Self-Love: Evil, Rationality, and the Drive for Recognition, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Niimura, Satoshi (2016), ‘Adam Smith: Egalitarian or Anti-Egalitarian? His Responses to Hume and Rousseau’s Critiques of Inequality’, International Journal of Social Economics, 43, pp. 888–903. Pack, Spencer J. (2000), ‘The Rousseau-Smith Connection: Towards an Understanding of Professor West’s “Splenetic Smith”’, History of Economic Ideas, 8, pp. 35–62. Phillipson, Nicholas (2010), Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life, New Haven: Yale University Press. Rasmussen, Dennis C. (2006), ‘Rousseau’s “Philosophical Chemistry” and the Foundations of Adam Smith’s Thought’, History of Political Thought, 27, pp. 620–41. Rasmussen, Dennis C. (2008), The Problems and Promise of Commercial Society: Adam Smith’s Response to Rousseau, University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press. Rasmussen, Dennis C. (2013), ‘Adam Smith and Rousseau: Enlightenment and CounterEnlightenment’, in Christopher J. Berry, Maria Pia Paganelli, and Craig Smith (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 54–76. Rathbone, Mark (2015), ‘Love, Money and Madness: Money in the Economic Philosophies of Adam Smith and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’, South African Journal of Philosophy, 3, pp. 39–89. Schliesser, Eric (2006), ‘Adam Smith’s Benevolent and Self-Interested Conception of Philosophy’, in Leonidas Montes and Eric Schliesser (eds), New Voices on Adam Smith, New York: Routledge, pp. 328–57. Smith, Adam (1977), The Correspondence of Adam Smith, ed. E.C. Mossner & I.S. Ross, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Smith, Adam (1980) [1790], ‘Imitative Arts’, in Essays on Philosophical Subjects (ed.) W.P.D. Wightman, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 176–213. Smith, Adam (1980) [1790], ‘A Letter to the Edinburgh Review’, in Essays on Philosophical Subjects (ed.) W.P.D. Wightman, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 242–256. Smith, Adam (1983), Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, (ed.) J.C. Bryce, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Smith, Adam (1983), ‘Considerations on the First Formation of Languages’, in (ed.) J.C. Bryce Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, (ed.) J.C. Bryce, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Stimson, Shannon C. (2015), ‘The General Will after Rousseau: Smith and Rousseau on Sociability and Inequality’, in James Farr and David Lay Williams (eds), The General Will: The Evolution of a Concept, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 350–81. Vaughan, Sharon K. (2009), ‘The Noble Poor: Jean Jacques Rousseau and Adam Smith’, in Poverty, Justice, and Western Political Thought, Lanham, MD: Lexington, pp. 63–104.

Rousseau and Julie von Bondeli on the Moral Sense Christopher Kelly and Heather Pangle

In recent years, scholars such as Ryan Hanley (2009) and Dennis Rasmussen (2008) have been arguing that important parts of Adam Smith’s thought can best be understood as responses to Rousseau following from a more sympathetic reading than had previously been accepted. Even more recently, Charles Griswold (2013) has stressed differences between the two that nevertheless indicate a common frame of reference. To date, no one has suggested that the relations between the two move in more than one direction: Smith is known to have read and written about Rousseau, and there is no evidence that Rousseau read Smith’s works or those of most other important figures from the Scottish Enlightenment. Rousseau’s relations with the Scottish Enlightenment, it has seemed, can be limited to his quarrel with Hume, a quarrel in which he showed rather little detailed knowledge of Hume’s published writings.1 We will show, however, that Rousseau did, in fact, have an indirect brush with the Scottish Enlightenment even before his stay in England. This contact came from a surprising source – his correspondence with and about a Swiss woman who was an enthusiastic reader of Smith and of other participants in the Scottish Enlightenment. Numerous of Rousseau’s most successful literary works take the form of letters in which he addressed the general public indirectly while ostensibly writing to an individual. Even in his actual correspondence he knew that his letters would be copied and circulated to a broad audience. He also knew that they might be opened by the public authorities. On a number of occasions, sets of correspondence (such as the Botanical Letters) were collected and published as literary works that went through many editions. Some of the most interesting of the exchanges of letters are with women and young men who wrote to Rousseau asking for advice from a writer who had inspired them.2 Scholars who study these letters usually focus on Rousseau’s portion of the correspondence, but sometimes his correspondents compel attention as well. Our intention is to take a brief look into the correspondence with and about Rousseau by one correspondent who stands out from the crowd in many ways, Julie von Bondeli. The existence of this correspondence has been known to some readers in part because Goethe refers to it in his autobiographical From My Life: Poetry and Truth. He mentions listening to readings from Bondeli’s letters on a visit to her friend Sophie von La Roche, who was herself well known across Europe as one

8  Christopher Kelly and Heather Pangle of the first successful female authors of fiction in German. Goethe reports that correspondence was a valued means of fostering ‘moral and literary exchange’ and that letters were often read at friendly gatherings. He adds, ‘The letters of a certain Julie Bondeli were highly esteemed: she was famed as a woman of sense and merit, and as a friend of Rousseau. Anyone with any connection whatever to this extraordinary man basked in the glory emanating from him, and a silent congregation had been established far and wide in his name’ (1987: 411). This remark could be read as suggesting that her letters owed their interest primarily to her relations with Rousseau, and no doubt this is true. Nevertheless, one should not ignore Goethe’s remark that she was famed as a woman of sense and merit, a reputation she acquired without the aid of emanations from Rousseau. Indeed, Rousseau himself went even further in his praise than Goethe did. After seeing a letter from her for the first time – a letter written to a friend in which she discussed La Nouvelle Héloïse and its critics – he wrote to a mutual acquaintance, [S]he brings together what is rarely found anywhere at all and what I would not have looked for at Berne: solidity and shading, precision and pleasure, the reasoning of a man and the intelligence of a woman, Voltaire’s pen and Leibniz’s head, she refutes my censors as a philosopher and mocks them as a woman of elegance. (Leigh 1965–1991: XIII, 200) Who is this woman who combined Voltaire’s pen and Leibniz’s head, both of which were much admired by Rousseau? What did she say that led Rousseau to this characterization?

Julie von Bondeli and her circle Born in Berne in 1732 to parents of distinguished birth and intellect, Bondeli was by all accounts a leading light of Swiss society who became perhaps the most important female letter-writer of the German enlightenment (Christensen 2012: 57). Despite difficult personal and familial circumstances – the bankruptcy of her father, his death and the prolonged illness and subsequent death of her mother, and unrelenting bad health that lead to her own painful and premature death at the age of 47 – she had a superlative education and acquired a coterie of devoted friends and intellectual partners. Although considered physically unattractive and not materially well off, she was recognized as astute, lively, and kind-hearted. Even prior to gaining Rousseau’s notice, Bondeli already stood as a central figure of an intellectual and personal web in which she was recognized as a woman of sense, wit, analytic rigor, and sharp powers of observation. In Berne, she frequented circles of active and highly educated men and women who hosted one another in salons and on country estates, engaging in both serious intellectual exchange and leisurely amusement.3 Her close friend (and later an acquaintance of Rousseau) Vincenz Bernhard Tscharner, a politically active

Rousseau and Bondeli on the Moral Sense  9 Swiss author, historian, and publisher, described her as the ‘soul’ of the circles she was a part of (Christensen 2012: 25, 45 f. 186). The salon in which she spent many of her Berne evenings went so far as to secretly plan and then dramatically execute a theatrical declaration of her as their Queen. She playfully declared her acceptance of her selection, expounded the principles she meant to rule by, and conferred posts and offices on her delighted electors (Schädelin 1838: 24–5, Bodemann 1874: 10). Friends and acquaintances, many of whom were authors of substantial fame and influence, frequently sent her theoretical and literary works in draft form seeking her advice and critical comments. She took part in intensive intellectual exchange on literary, philosophic, political, and scientific matters, sometimes in circles that were otherwise entirely male but in which she was treated as an equal.4 Her friends and admirers included numerous friends of Rousseau’s – men such as Vincenz Bernhard Tscharner, Leonhard Usteri, Niklaus Anton Kirchberger, Daniel Fellenberg and Paul-Claude Moultou.5 It will be useful to say a word about some of these friends. In her surviving correspondence, Julie von Bondeli emerges as a woman with wide-ranging influence and diverse interests. One illustration from early in her life is her relationship with Christoph Martin Wieland (1733–1813), who shaped the development of the modern novel, writing what may be considered the first Bildungsroman, and who introduced the German-speaking world to Shakespeare, translating 22 of his plays. He began an influential literary journal, and later in life became a professor of philosophy and a tutor to several Weimar princes. His work, written in a wide range of literary forms from epic verse narrative to political satire, was admired (and also at times criticized) by contemporaries including Goethe and Lessing. Recalling a stay in Prussia around the turn of the century, John Quincy Adams noted that ‘Wieland was there, I think, decidedly the most popular of the German poets’ (Van Abbé 1961: 163). Wieland described Julie von Bondeli as deserving the title of ‘the tenth muse or the fourth grace’ – at least for him (Bodemann 1874: 59). While Wieland’s early poetry was sentimental and effusive, even mystical, Bondeli drew him toward a more philosophic and earthly, observation-based style. Insofar as Wieland had an effect on the trajectory of German poetry – an effect which has been depicted as freeing German poetry from its old stiffness and cutting a new path (Bodemann 1874: 80; McCarthy 1979: 156–158; Van Abbé 1961: 60, 65) – Bondeli had an unmistakable hand in the character of that effect. They fell in love and spent some time planning to marry, although a misunderstanding and perhaps a misdeed on Wieland’s part that is alluded to in surviving letters caused the engagement to be broken off. They maintained a close friendship and Wieland continued to send his work to ‘the subtle Julie’ for her comments and criticism (Bodemann 1874: 80). J. G. Zimmerman, a mutual friend of Bondeli and Wieland’s as well as an acquaintance of Rousseau, was another notable member of her circle. Bondeli corresponded with him beginning in her youth on the matter of her ill health – he was a physician who would go on to gain wide repute across Europe and hold stations in several royal entourages, first as court physician at Hanover for King George III and subsequently as physician for Fredrick the Great. Zimmerman was

10  Christopher Kelly and Heather Pangle also a successful author across a range of medical, theoretical, and political subjects. The professional acquaintance between Zimmerman and Bondeli bloomed into an enduring friendship. As the most extensive trove of Bondeli’s surviving correspondence, her letters to Zimmerman testify to her steadiness, sense, and warm compassion as well as to her intellectual curiosity and independence of judgment. These letters range widely across literature, philosophy, and science. Considering her correspondence as a whole, her thinking appears to have been most influenced by the German philosophers Christian Wolff and Gottfried Leibniz and the English and Scottish philosophers Shaftesbury, Henry Home, David Hume, Francis Hutcheson, and Adam Smith.6 As we shall see, these latter served as the basis of Rousseau’s brush with the Scottish Enlightenment through his acquaintance with Bondeli. Of all pursuits, she understood herself most suited to ‘the chase’ of ideas. One principle directing her studies was her conviction that knowledge ought to have the purpose of bettering the moral character and the passions. She was therefore uninterested in pure logic or metaphysics (Christensen 2012: 42–3).7 Her particular interest was the ‘moral sense.’ Her letters show evidence of her engagement with thinkers including Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Hobbes, Bayle, Diderot, Voltaire and of course Rousseau (Bodemann 1874: 13–14, 19, 28, 29, 323–4). Bondeli and Zimmerman’s correspondence about Rousseau ranges from assessments of his philosophic and literary ideas and aims to friendly concern and interest in his political difficulties and personal circumstances. Although Bondeli herself met and talked with Rousseau only a couple of times, she received a stream of information on him from friends who saw him more frequently and for longer periods.8 One such friend was the Swiss theologian and educator Leonhard Usteri (1741–1789). Usteri worked in Zürich as a professor, where he held several positions over the course of his lifetime in subjects including Hebraic languages, rhetoric, logic, and mathematics. Usteri took an interest in educating and influencing Bondeli’s artistic knowledge and tastes. He also consulted her about both theoretical and practical questions regarding education. In Zürich he was at the forefront of successful efforts to promote substantial reform and improvement of the public schools, including the creation of the city’s first public school for girls. Bondeli took a keen interest in these projects; in 1775 she wrote to Usteri praising him for his efforts and the progress he had made, saying: Wherever good takes place, it interests me; I am convinced that its rays radiate like those of Light. Only a better guided Education can imperceptibly create a new humankind, and only a new humankind can perfect the laws, and only perfected laws can enable the so great and so simple Machine of the general Good to run better. (Bondeli 2012: 402, Bodemann 1874: 141–2, 363) Two other notable friendships with interesting characters of the era for which evidence of lively correspondence survives include those of Johann Lavater and Goethe’s friend Sophie von La Roche. Lavater (1741–1801) was a preacher, poet,

Rousseau and Bondeli on the Moral Sense  11 and author remembered for his influential publications on religion and on physiognomy, his correspondence with Herder, and his friendship with Goethe (who was also severely critical of him). When Julie von Bondeli met him for the first time in 1764, she was impressed by the fineness of his observations on characters and physiognomies, though sceptical of his tendency toward religious mysticism and effusiveness (Bodemann 1874: 149). Lavater subsequently invited her to contribute to advancing the study of physiognomy. She wrote to him setting forth all the doubts and difficulties that she found in physiognomy and his approach to studying it, as well as her cautious optimism that it might be able to be developed as a science (Bodemann 1874: 152–3). Lavater ignored her criticisms and concerns; he simply sent her back a plan that he suggested she could work from. This plan ‘shocked me’, Bondeli wrote to Usteri, ‘because it contained a too well-ordered and definite (although nevertheless ingenious) direction for a science which, if it even is one, is still too new to have strict rules which depend on intellect, while the science itself seems to me only to depend on tact’ (Bodemann 1874: 153, 348–9). Bondeli’s friendship with Lavater, never very close, came undone in subsequent years as he judged her religious beliefs to be of questionable soundness and enthusiasm and persuaded Zimmerman, who was suffering under the strain of severe depression and hypochondria, to distance himself from her. Bondeli had a warmer and more long-lasting friendship with Sophie von La Roche (1730–1807). La Roche first became well known across Europe for a popular novel written for young women, The History of Lady von Sternheim. She subsequently published numerous volumes of fiction, travel writing, and letters and was for a time the hostess of a lively literary salon. She wrote primarily for and about women, and she and Julie von Bondeli engaged frequently with one another on the topics of women and education. While Bondeli found her friend too apt to revel in sentimentalism and exuberant ideals and cautioned her against eccentric idealism, this difference of opinion and taste did no harm to their friendship. After all, Bondeli took the position that ‘a lively life of feeling holds more worth than coldness of heart in even a clear understanding’ (Bodemann 1874: 166). Bondeli’s opinion corroborates the description of the ‘feminine genius’ that she ascribed to La Roche after reading her novel, The History of Lady von Sternheim. Perhaps someone would yet say that you cannot have genius because . . . you are a woman, and a woman . . . cannot have genius, since it cannot be of the same currency as that of a man, she wrote. Let us preserve our feminine countenance, my dear, and let them chatter; let us preserve our tact, our feeling, our piercing clear sight and leave [those of such opinions] to themselves! . . . And so it is as much as determined, that you have only a feminine genius: a sad compound of tact, sensitivity, truth, piercing understanding, and fineness and accuracy in your opinions and remarks. (Bodemann 1874: 168)

12  Christopher Kelly and Heather Pangle That a similar description might have been applicable to Bondeli herself is borne out by statements from Wieland (‘she is a woman of genius, or if you will, a feminine genius’) (Bodemann 1874: 57). This, in sum, is the woman who, according to Rousseau, combined the pen of Voltaire with the head of Leibniz.

Bondeli and the moral sense The immediate cause of Rousseau’s effusive praise was a letter Bondeli wrote analysing his novel, Julie. This letter was originally sent in 1761 to Suzanne Curchod – at one time Edmund Gibbon’s fiancée and later the banker Jacques Necker’s wife. Bondeli circulated copies of the letter to members of her entourage along with a short discourse ‘Sur le sens moral et l’esprit de l’observation’. One of the recipients, Caspar Hess, showed both of them to Rousseau, who quickly decided that he wanted to publish the letter (but not the discourse) in a collection of correspondence he had received about his novel. This proposal sent Bondeli into a mild panic. She insisted that she had no aspiration to become a published author and feared the consequences at Berne if she was discovered to have defended Rousseau. It should be kept in mind that, by the time Rousseau read her letter, both Emile and The Social Contract had been banned or burned in a number of European communities. The specific ground for Bondeli’s concern was that she had sharply attacked those critics who objected to Rousseau’s presentation in La Nouvelle Héloïse of the atheistic Wolmar as an honourable man in spite of his lack of religion. Her own private opinions were in fact quite unorthodox. This position became less publicly acceptable once the persecution of Rousseau had begun. Rousseau himself says that he had written La Nouvelle Héloïse with a secret object which was to show religious people that a sceptic could be moral and to show sceptics that a religious person could be tolerant. The second of these possibilities was exemplified by his heroine, Julie, and the first by her husband, Wolmar.9 Given the importance of this dimension of Rousseau’s plan for the novel, it is worth considering Bondeli’s defence of Rousseau on this score as well as her criticism of another part of his portrayal of Wolmar. Bondeli defends Rousseau’s portrait by pointing out that the commonness of vice among Christians makes it impossible to assert that religion is both necessary and sufficient for morality. Then she makes a distinction between two different sorts of moral virtue. She suggests that Wolmar’s is what she calls ‘the Virtue of Temperament’ (Bondeli: 2012: 128). She contrasts this with a different virtue that is based on principle reinforced by habit. Only the latter is capable of acting consistently as a brake upon the passions. Wolmar is virtuous precisely because he is almost completely lacking in passions: there is nothing that leads him to vice. It is important to see that Wolmar is not simply perfect in his virtue; if he were he would be a totally unrealistic character. He does, however, have one passion: his love for Julie. Bondeli says that ‘this passion causes him to commit a stroke of a dishonourable man, precisely because he did not have principles to oppose to it’. He marries Julie even though he knows that she does not love him and, indeed, is in love with someone else. Bondeli concludes, ‘Thus, then, Rousseau is justified, because he

Rousseau and Bondeli on the Moral Sense  13 shows that a single passion, even not a strong one (by Wolmar’s own admission) overturns the morality of a man without principles, from which it results that, with less phlegm Wolmar would have had more passions and would consequently have committed more Stupidities’.10 She insists that the complexity of Wolmar’s character has not been grasped by Rousseau’s critics. The perceptiveness of Bondeli’s analysis of Wolmar is shown by the fact that it is quite close to the presentation of virtue in Rousseau’s ‘Letter to Franquières’, written several years later, where Rousseau argues that a non-believer would have no compelling reason to resist a temptation that he could yield to with impunity (Rousseau 2000: 267–8). The particular temptation to which he refers involves love specifically. Rousseau concedes that such a non-believer could, out of a good disposition, meet moral standards much of the time if temptation were lacking. Rousseau differs from Bondeli only in denying that the moral behavior of such a man should be considered as virtuous in any sense. What she calls the virtue of temperament he insists is merely ‘goodness’ rather than virtue. In fact, her discussion suggests without quite saying that Wolmar’s ‘virtue of temperament’ is not really virtue at all. In any event, Rousseau’s argument, if not his formulation, is virtually identical to the one made by Bondeli and which he had read a few years before responding to Franquières. Having defended Rousseau’s morality in his depiction of Wolmar, Bondeli goes on to suggest that he is open to criticism on different grounds. She asserts about Wolmar, ‘Never has a man so cold had such a fine and accurate moral Tact.’ While such a man could reason and observe, he could not discern the sentiments of others with the perfection that Wolmar displays. The tact necessary for such discoveries has its ultimate root, not in the intellect, but in ‘mechanical Sensibility’, exactly like the causes of the passions. In short, Wolmar’s limited experience of passions would impose rather strict limits upon his understanding of how the passions operate on others.11 While Rousseau cannot be faulted on moral grounds, he can be criticized on the grounds of psychological realism. Bondeli does not explain this flaw in the characterization of Wolmar in any detail in the letter, but she makes the precise target of her criticism clear in her discourse ‘Sur le sens moral et l’esprit de l’observation’ (‘On the Moral Sense and the Spirit of Observation’). This work is where the connection to the Scottish Enlightenment appears. Bondeli’s general argument in this essay relies on a critical engagement with Francis Hutcheson. Although she bases her argument on Hutcheson’s notion of the moral sense developed in An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections, with Illustrations on the Moral Sense, she also criticizes him for his lack of clarity in explaining this sense. Seeking to cover a wide diversity of moral phenomena, he ends by multiplying ‘Being upon Being and faculty upon faculty’ as he develops the different applications of this sense. The result is that Hutcheson turns the moral sense into an indefinite number of moral senses in a way that loses all contact with ordinary moral experience. Although Bondeli sees some value in Hutcheson’s discussion, she feels compelled to simplify his understanding to make it more coherent.

14  Christopher Kelly and Heather Pangle Bondeli’s reservations about and modifications of Hutcheson seem to have been confirmed by her reading of Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which she began in 1763. This reading commenced two years after her commentaries on Rousseau’s Julie and continued both during the period leading up to her meetings with Rousseau and, indeed, for years afterward. In Smith she found a similar critique of Hutcheson and a new understanding of moral sentiments that corresponded more closely to her own ideas about the moral sense. In her discussion of The Theory of Moral Sentiments she says that she was particularly struck by Smith’s account of the different systems of moral philosophy. The specific discussion to which she refers includes the extensive discussion of Hutcheson in Section III, Chapter 3 (Bondeli 2012: 132). Both Bondeli and Smith find Hutcheson inclined to invent faculties for ad hoc purposes. Two weeks after her first reference to Smith in her correspondence she wrote to a friend, ‘I have read this Book two times because it seemed good to me; I have read the final part three times because it seemed to me that I had never seen anything clearer about the different systems of moral Philosophy’ (Bondeli 2012: 134). Her enthusiasm for Smith led her to loan her copies of the English editions to friends and to urge Suzanne Curchod to translate the Theory of Moral Sentiments into French (Bondeli 2012: 172). Although these initial references do not make a direct comparison between Smith and Rousseau, they show Bondeli’s affinity for the Scottish Enlightenment in general and Smith in particular. They surely support the idea that Bondeli’s own position, expressed by means of a treatment of Rousseau, was compatible with Smith’s. Six months after her earliest references to Smith, von Bondeli did make such a comparison in a discussion of Isaak Iselin’s Philosophische Muthmassungen über die Geschichte der Menschheit (Philosophical Conjectures on the History of Mankind). She says that Iselin, ‘is of all those who have refuted R[ousseau] the one who has acquitted himself most solidly’ (Bondeli 2012: 167). Nevertheless, she finds that Iselin failed altogether to refute Rousseau and that his relative success consisted in offering an alternative perspective based on opposite assumptions. She does, however, praise him for his account of the state of nature which draws heavily on Smith. Although she tempers this praise by saying, ‘Smith has provided him with some good observations on the State of the savages, he suppressed some others that appeared even more pertinent to me.’ Apparently she thought that Smith’s thought contained a greater potential for a critique of Rousseau. The lines of such a critique can be found in her essay, ‘Sur le sens moral’. Bondeli gives an almost materialist account of a single moral sense, although she also argues that it is subject to modification by education and habit. She introduces the example of Wolmar to illustrate the distinction between ‘the spirit of observation’ and ‘moral tact’. She concedes that his ability to observe (coupled with his experience of love) make it possible for him to perceive that Julie and St. Preux are still in love with each other. What she denies is that he could understand the precise nature of this love in a way that would allow him to train or cure their sentiments. She explains that ‘he needed to have passions himself, he needed to have known from experience the different forms that they can take in order to observe that in Mme. de Wolmar St. Preux loved only his Julie of times past, and that

Rousseau and Bondeli on the Moral Sense  15 his Wife loved in St Preux only her fine Friend of yesteryear’ (Bondeli 2012: 128). In his depiction of Wolmar as a teacher, Rousseau’s failure is an artistic one of depicting an unrealistic character. What are we to make of this criticism? Clearly Rousseau was impressed with Julie von Bondeli’s reasoning power. His specific comment about her criticism is positive, but somewhat vague. He says, ‘Her critique is as well reasoned as her witticisms are salient. The manner in which she defends the Héloïse, almost makes me love its defects and – based on the only one of which she took notice – I am very happy that she did not want to find any others’ (Leigh 1965–1991: XIII, 200). Although this can be taken as mere politeness, it is at the very least a nod to the penetrating character of her analysis. Would Rousseau agree that he mistakenly gave Wolmar a moral tact incompatible with the rest of his character or might he concede that Bondeli has made a perceptive observation while denying that it points to a failing on his part? Wolmar’s moral tact, or lack of it, bears on his much discussed method of curing St Preux and Julie.12 He gradually introduces the two lovers to situations in which each sees the new status of the beloved. The goal is to make them realize that the person with whom they live is no longer the same person with whom they fell in love. The issue here is what we make of Wolmar’s ‘cure’. Most scholars now agree that Wolmar’s cure fails in its aim. It is true that St Preux’s observation of Julie in her roles as wife and mother give him a respect for her virtue that he did not have before. He does, indeed, discover that Mme de Wolmar is not Julie d’Etange. It is less clear that Julie regards him as a completely transformed being and, at her death, it is clear to her that she has never stopped loving him. This is a hint that there is something wrong with Wolmar’s plan from the beginning; its failure does not come solely from Julie’s premature death. He is either attempting something impossible, or the means he employs are inadequate to the end. In other words, Rousseau intended to portray some limitation in Wolmar. Some help in settling this question is provided by Jean-François Perrin (2014) in his recent treatment of the issue of ‘sentiment moral’ in Julie. Perrin describes Wolmar’s therapeutics as an attempt to ‘disenchant love by a concerted manipulation of amorous imaginaries’ (2014: 179, 239). In effect Wolmar works on the imagination by substituting one image of the beloved object for another: Madame Wolmar for Julie. The problem is that the new image merely covers over without replacing the old one which is always capable of re-emerging. This is particularly true of images in which, from the beginning, the heart is engaged. It is less the image than the attachment of the image to a particular passion that must be worked on. Wolmar’s failure then, does not reside in his inability to perceive the nature of the love between Julie and St Preux – his own experience of love is enough for this. Rather, as Perrin suggests, ‘[H]e acknowledges its affective basis but believes he can master it by privileging a rational approach’ (2014: 258–9). Viewed from this perspective, Bondeli’s critique is weakened, but it is clear that she had a point. What she failed to see is that Rousseau agrees with her more than she had thought. Rousseau agrees that Wolmar is lacking in moral tact. This lack, however, does not manifest itself in his perception of the problem to be

16  Christopher Kelly and Heather Pangle solved. His own experience of the sentiments is enough to protect him against such an error. Instead, it is shown in the weakness of the means he chooses to solve the problem. He understands the form of the sentiments, but not the nature of their force. What Bondeli regards as a weakness in the characterization of Wolmar could reasonably be regarded as a realistic depiction of weakness in Wolmar that verifies the strength and subtlety of Rousseau’s characterization. It is fair to say that Rousseau’s response to Bondeli’s argument is already found in Julie. The fact that he agrees with so much of what she says indicates a kinship with her thought. There is one more chapter in the history of the dissemination of Bondeli’s writings about Wolmar and the moral sense. This chapter takes her work to Great Britain in a quite unexpected form. One of her young male acquaintances was Henry Fuseli (or as she knew him, Füssli), later famous as a painter. Determined to make his way in the world, Fuseli arrived in England during the period of the quarrel between Rousseau and Hume. He entered the literary fray with his short book, Remarks on the Writings and Conduct of J. J. Rousseau, published anonymously in 1767. Early the next year Julie von Bondeli read this volume. Shortly afterward, Leonhard Usteri informed her of the identity of the author. She wrote back, ‘By telling me the name of the author of a Certain English Book, you have extricated me from a perplexity of curiosity that was all the more lively since I did not see any exit from it. Imagine my perplexity, on almost every page I found citations from a manuscript the ideas and style of which reminded me of something that I knew as well as the author himself’ (Bondeli 2012: 939). The reason that she knew these ideas and style as well as Fuseli did was that they were, in fact, her own. Fuseli liberally borrowed – it would not be an exaggeration to say, simply translated – her essay on the moral sense. It remains to be learned whether Fuseli’s work – and with it Bondeli’s ideas and style – found its way across the Scottish border. It almost surely was known by Mary Wollstonecraft, who knew Fuseli well and was smitten by him. Julie von Bondeli’s thoughts about Rousseau had a remarkable, if subterranean career. More work can be done on this subject. For now we can return to her relations with Rousseau himself.

Bondeli meets Rousseau As revealing as it is, the confrontation on the issue of the moral sense hardly exhausted the correspondence between Rousseau and Bondeli, a correspondence that lasted until 1765. We have eight letters from her to Rousseau and only one of at least three that he sent her. One further theme that entered into their letters should be mentioned.13 In January of 1764, Rousseau sent her a copy of his abstract drawn from Platonic dialogues, Imitation Théâtrale. He accompanied it with the remark, ‘Accept a piece of scribbling about which it is not worth the trouble of speaking and whose reading I dare to propose to you only under the auspices of the friend Plato’ (Leigh 1965–1991: XIX, 90). This indicates that Rousseau was wellacquainted with Bondeli’s admiration for Plato and, indeed, she had referred to Plato in her previous letter to Rousseau and had also compared herself to Plato in a letter to someone else (Bondeli 2012: 291). The next month she replied saying that

Rousseau and Bondeli on the Moral Sense  17 he had no need of these auspices for her to be grateful for the manuscript, as ‘For a long time you Alone have Been Able to console me for not having been born his contemporary’ (Leigh 1965–1991: XIX, 172). Perhaps the best testimony for her regard for both Rousseau and Plato occurs in a letter she wrote to Sophie von La Roche in 1764, probably one of the letters read to Goethe. She mentions that she is planning a trip to the area of Môtiers where Rousseau was living. She explains, ‘I will not go there without warning him of it, not wanting to put him in the position of not daring to refuse it. If I see in his answer the slightest impulse to do so, I will not go, certainly I will not go. Even if he is Rousseau, I am a woman and in the order of things my feminine dignity is worth as much as his repugnance for receiving visitors, I would not want to see even Plato or the antichrist against their will’ (Leigh 1965–1991: XXI, 93).14 Evidently she considered these two personages as the only ones more fascinating than Rousseau. By the time they finally did meet in May of 1765, Julie von Bondeli was not the only person comparing Rousseau to the antichrist: the pastor Montmollin was making the comparison in a far less humorous way in a series of sermons that preceded the stoning of Rousseau’s house. Even with this ominous background it appears that the woman whom Rousseau compared with Leibniz and Voltaire and the man whom she compared with Plato and the antichrist were, after some initial hesitation, both charmed by their meeting. This essay began by suggesting that the encounter between Rousseau and Julie von Bondeli was also an indirect encounter with the Scottish Enlightenment. It is not an exaggeration to say that there were Smithian elements in Bondeli’s thought and that Rousseau’s estimation of her position is evidence of a harmony between himself and Smith worthy of further investigation, particularly through the study of Julie and the Letter to Franquières. This encounter was, to use the language of the science fiction movie, not a close encounter of the third kind for which direct contact between Rousseau and Smith would be necessary. Nevertheless, it was an encounter, interesting in its own terms, that shows Rousseau’s acquaintance with a sort of theory of moral sentiments similar to Smith’s.

Appendix This is a translation of the copy of her letter to Suzanne Curchod on La Nouvelle Héloïse that Julie von Bondeli allowed to be sent to Rousseau. It contains significant variations from the original. JvB to Suzanne Curchod: Leigh 1402 30 April 1761 I do not at all approve of the project of abridging Heloise at the expense of the arguments; without them it will be nothing but a Commentary on the story of the first Heloïse. The Book would doubtless find a greater number of People who love it, but it would have terrible consequences for them. Let those who cannot digest it along with the antidote also do without the Poison.

18  Christopher Kelly and Heather Pangle I have just seen a Critique of it entitled Prediction drawn from an old Manuscript. I admire how much Wit one can have when one wants only to be wicked; how many great principles one can parade when one does not want to go back to those of other people; how many dangerous consequences one can see when one possesses the precious talent of extracting the Venom from a Work; how venomous every work of Morality can become when one takes out of context what was written in a specific Order, when one omits the intermediate ideas, and finally when one loses sight of the goal for which the whole was composed. But unfortunately false Minds and Wicked people are not Heloïse’s only enemies. Recently, I saw a Letter from a man of sense and merit, who charitably deplored all the evils this Book has already caused and will continue to cause. Satire did not enter into these reflections to the slightest degree: but its place was taken by the illusion that an exaggerated Orthodoxy can cause. To listen to this letter, this Book teaches atheism, Deism, Socinianism, Seduction, filial disobedience, and above all very specifically Suicide and the uselessness of Prayer all at the same time. How could he know so well that St Preux wrote in favor of suicide, and how did he not see at all that Bompston overturned his arguments? How did he notice that the same St Preux makes objections against Prayer without noticing that Julie refutes them, and that the intimate Sentiment of its necessity and sweetness gave a new energy to her Style; and finally what surprised me the most was to see a man who adds to all his essential merits the advantage of being a Literary man forget that in Works that are not dogmatic, discussion is the only way truths can be brought out. That people who cannot even grasp the Plan, the details, the connection and the goal of a Work are scandalized at the appearance of an Atheist who is a decent man, I can pardon them; but let them also pardon the author of Heloïse for not having written for them. Rousseau wanted a chain in the belief of his Characters. Julie occupies one of the ends, Wolmar the other, the Deist St Preux, and the Socianian Bomston fill up the interstices. But there must not be an atheist who is a decent man; that causes scandal they say. Very good, but without a doubt would Rousseau be any less scandalized at seeing people believing in God and all his Revelations, and behaving like Atheists? The contradiction is much more manifest. I do not pardon people who reason for being shocked at the former; they have only to reflect and they will at least be reassured unless prejudice takes the place of judgment for them. Decency results from Virtue. On the one hand, this Virtue can be a reasoned one consisting in a sequence of principles, these same principles rendered active form the habit, and the whole together causes the harmony or the brake upon the Passions that are the obstacle to Virtue. On the other hand, the absence of these same passions forms the Virtue of Temperament and such is the case of the phlegmatic Wolmar who, for example, might have been very well prevented from breaking the 6th Commandment in an attack of anger, given that he lacked the faculty of putting himself into a rage.

Rousseau and Bondeli on the Moral Sense  19 If he had not committed any stupidities at all, he would have been a Being of Reason, and R. would be blameworthy for producing a Being of Reason who was constantly a good man even though he was an Atheist. But he gives him one Passion, and this passion causes him to commit a stroke of a dishonourable man, precisely because he did not have principles to oppose to it. Thus, then, Rousseau is justified, because he shows that a single passion, even one that was not a strong one (by Wolmar’s own admission) overturns the morality of a man without principles. From this it results that, if he were less phlegmatic, Wolmar would have had more passions and as a consequence would have committed more Stupidities. What are they complaining about then? That Rousseau did not judge it suitable to the plan and the aim of his story to give more boiling blood to Wolmar, for he fulfilled moral consequences by letting him commit a dishonorable action as soon as he had a sufficient degree of passion to be tempted to commit it. He even settled upon this action in the manner that was least excusable for Wolmar, by giving him in every other respect a cold temperament and a Spirit of reflection. One makes a better founded reproach to Rousseau, but one that his Critics neglect, because it falls only upon his talents as a Writer which they allow him in order to be able to devote themselves more Zealously to belittling and suspecting his moral Character. I want to speak about the composition of Wolmar’s sort of Mind. It appears to me that no man who is so cold has ever had such a fine and accurate moral Tact. He could have the Spirit of reasoning, even that of observation except on matters of Sentiment since that depends less on the precision of the Mind, on the multitude of its combinations, than on a Tact that is prior to all reasoning, and whose primitive causes ought, I believe, to be sought in mechanical Sensibility, exactly like the causes of the passions.

Notes 1 In the Confessions Rousseau indicates that he had read a portion of a translation of Hume’s History and that he was aware of the latter’s works on commerce and politics (Rousseau 1995: 527). On the quarrel between them see Zaretsky and Scott (2010). 2 Some of these exchanges, such as those with the pseudonymous ‘Henriette’, have been much commented on. 3 See Christensen (2012: 45) for a list of several of the societies and salons she frequented, as well as a description of the comic society whose president she was. 4 For further statements see Bodemann (1874: 55–6), quoting Wieland; see also the statements of Sophie von La Roche: ‘Consider, that Julie Bondeli united the two highest merits and best goods of this life: wisdom and virtue; and that she loved me and that I know nothing greater and sweeter in the happiness of human beings, as I found in love for Julie’ (Bodemann 1874: 170–2). 5 Cf. Bodemann’s descriptions of some of the notable men and women in her circles (1874: 8–9). 6 As suggested by Christensen (2012: 40). See also Bodemann (1874: 17–18, 271). 7 Compare Bondeli’s praise of the good effects of mathematics and pure metaphysics for concentrating and calming the mind (Bodemann 1874: 27–9, 231–2).

20  Christopher Kelly and Heather Pangle 8 For example, Kirchberger’s 22 November, 1762 letter to Bondeli (Bodemann 1874: 244–5 f.), or von Bondeli’s 3 April, 1763 letter to Zimmerman (255–6). 9 On the depiction of Wolmar as part of Rousseau’s secret plan for the novel, see Rousseau (1995: 366). 10 This is consistent with Wolmar’s account of himself in Part IV, Letter XII. For an analysis of Wolmar’s dilemma and his tact in dealing with it, see Habib (2014: 345–60). 11 She could apply the same criticism to Rousseau’s legislator. See Social Contract II: 2 (Rousseau 1994: 100). 12 Discussions of this project all stem from Gilson (1955: 275–98). 13 It is also the case that Bondeli aided Rousseau in his burgeoning interest in botanizing. 14 In another letter she says, ‘for all the ancient and modern Plato’s’ (Bondeli 2012: 190).

Bibliography Bodemann, E. (1874) Julie von Bondeli und ihr Freundeskreis, Hannover: Hahn. Bondeli, J. von (2012) Briefe. 4 vols, (eds) A. Baum and B. Christensen, Zürich: Chronos. Christensen, B. (2012) ‘Julie Bondeli – “la raison d’un home et l’esprit d’un femme, la plume de Voltaire et la tête de Leibniz”’, in Bondeli, J. Briefe, Zürich: Chronos. Gilson, É. (1955) ‘La méthode de M. de Wolmar’, in Les Idées et les Lettres, Paris: Vrin. Goethe, J. W. (1987) From My Life: Poetry and Truth (Parts One to Three), trans. R. R. Heitner, (eds) T. P. Saine and J. L. Sammons, New York: Suhrkamp Publishers. Griswold, C. L. (2013) ‘Exchange and Self-Falsification: J.-J. Rousseau and A. Smith in Dialogue’, 8 November, Boston College, Boston. Hanley, R. (2009) Adam Smith and the Character of Virtue, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Leigh, R. A. (ed.) (1965–1991), Correspondance complète de Rousseau, Oxford: Voltaire Foundation. McCarthy, J. A. (1979) Christoph Martin Wieland, Boston: Twayne. Perrin, J.-F. (2014) Rousseau, le Chemin de Ronde, Paris: Hermann. Rasmussen, D. (2008) The Problems and Promise of Commercial Society: Adam Smith’s response to Rousseau, University Park: Penn State University Press. Rousseau, J.-J. (1994) Social Contract, trans. J. R. Bush, R. D. Masters, and C. Kelly, in C. Kelly and R. D. Masters (eds) The Collected Writings of Rousseau Vol. 4, Hanover NH: University Press of New England. —— (1995) The Confessions, trans. C. Kelly in R. D. Masters, C. Kelly and P. G. Stillman (eds) The Collected Writings of Rousseau Vol. 5, Hanover NH: University Press of New England. —— (1997) Julie, or the New Heloise, trans. P. Stewart and J. Vaché in R. D. Masters, C. Kelly (eds) The Collected Writings of Rousseau Vol. 6, Hanover NH: University Press of New England. —— (2000) ‘Letter to Franquières’, trans T. E. Marshall in, C. Kelly (ed.) The Collected Writings of Rousseau Vol. 8, Hanover NH: University Press of New England. Schädelin, J. J. (1838) Julie Bondeli, die Freundin Rousseaus und Wielands, Bern: Jenni. Smith, A. (1976) The Theory of Moral Sentiments, (eds) D. D. Raphael and A. L Macfie, Oxford: Oxford University Press; Glasgow Edition. Van Abbé, D. M. (1961) Christoph Martin Wieland: A Literary Biography, London: George G. Harrap & Co. Zaretsky, R. and Scott, J. T. (2010) The Philosophers’ Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Smith, Rousseau and Cato the younger∗ Gloria Vivenza

The emblematic figure of Cato Uticensis has been variously represented in history, philosophy, political thought, and drama. It is not easy to examine the traces that he (and his suicide) left on medieval and modern scholarship: they range from a poet’s warm appreciation (Dante Alighieri’s eulogy in Purg. I, 23–25) to the criticism of several modern scholars asking themselves why an Ancient Rome politician should be so admired for refusing to accept the monarchical outcome of a civil war,1 and through so strong a gesture like killing himself. Suicide has been sometimes considered a symptom of individual cowardice – and this perspective is in obvious contrast with Cato’s historical figure; perhaps this is the reason why modern scholarship does not seem to be always at ease in evaluating Cato’s final decision. This paper deals with how Cato’s death has been perceived, in the eighteenth century, by such different scholars as Adam Smith and Jean Jacques Rousseau. Of these two authors, the first is better known to me, especially from a particular point of view, namely his classical training. But Rousseau had the same training,2 and this is why I intend to explore this subject, despite my greater competence about the Scottish rather than the French author, each of them posing sufficient challenges to any scholar. Classical training was a pillar3 of modern education, both private and public. Love for the classics spread over the European continent during Humanism and the Renaissance,4 and did not lessen in the following centuries. One of the advantages the classics offered was a different relationship with religious authority,5 which was still important but not as it was in the Middle Ages; another was the different perspective they offered on matters like philosophy, history, politics, literature and other aspects of learning. An instance of this new point of view is represented by the famous “battle of the books”6 in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which centered in France and Great Britain, although it began in Italy before spreading to other parts of Europe.7 All learned men in the continent were connected, so to speak, by a deep knowledge of classical languages,8 of ancient history, science/philosophy, literature – in sum, the subject was of general interest. The main editions and commentaries on the classics were known and available all over Europe. In this view, France had some advantage over England, as the development of classical studies was indebted in

22  Gloria Vivenza some aspects to French scholarship: for instance, many Renaissance translations of the classics into English were not made directly from the Latin (or Greek) original, but from a French version.9 So, I’ll try to define a relationship between Smith and Rousseau from this point of view: what they thought, in the perspective of Enlightenment classical scholarship, about a well known “hero” of ancient political history. Rousseau certainly made use of the classics more frequently than Smith did: his subjects (philosophy, pedagogy, social and political reflections, poetry) are more sensitive to classical interpretations than Smith’s, whose writings (if we except TMS and something in the EPS) “needed” the classics much less than Rousseau’s. The first contact a very young Smith had with Rousseau was through the famous Discours sur l’origine et les fondements de l’inégalité parmi les hommes, the second “discours” read by Rousseau at the Academy of Dijon.10 It is well known that A. Smith wrote a letter to the editors of the Edinburgh Review in 1755, recommending the knowledge of foreign scholarship; a letter which has been credited with implementing “la première initiation du public britannique à la connaissance du mouvement encyclopédique dans son ensemble”.11 About the origins of inequality, however, the two authors had different opinions. Rousseau was notoriously favourable to “égalité”, which was a feature of the state of nature, lost with the beginning of society. Smith, on the other hand, though conceding that equality could be attractive,12 gave his opinion against it very clearly both in LJ and TMS;13 firstly reviving the argument that a world of equals would be a world of poor;14 then (in a less “economic” mood) stating that The distinction of ranks, the peace and order of society, are, in a great measure, founded upon the respect which we naturally conceive for the former. The relief and consolation of human misery depend altogether upon the compassion for the latter. The peace and order of society, is of more importance than even the relief of the miserable.15 Needless to say, the distinction of ranks is a feudal and anti-egalitarian political organization; and I think that, despite a recent trend to define Smith as “egalitarian”,16 it would not be fair to neglect his abovementioned position. If he left intact this statement, it means that he believed it true. After all, TMS went through six editions during Smith’s lifetime, and he was not unable to write exactly what he meant. On the other hand, his position reflected the condition of the (unequal) society he lived in; if we want to find an egalitarian aspect in his general attitude, we may perhaps recognize it in his support of sentiments like sympathy and self-interest, common to all mankind, which may be considered, so to speak, someway “horizontal”, that is, independent from hierarchical principles. The breaking novelty of his position about economics may have contributed to persuade part of the scholarship to judge him an innovator also in other fields. There has been, in recent years, a deepening interest in examining the possible relationship between Smith and Rousseau.17 I prefer, however, not to touch

Smith, Rousseau and Cato the younger  23 the main argument they had in common, namely commercial society,18 of which Smith was the advocate (though seeing its failures), and Rousseau the most ruthless opponent. The main question seems to be Adam Smith’s opinion about Rousseau; we know that he held Voltaire in high regard; but about Rousseau, today’s scholarship does not seem to agree on whether or not Smith had a positive opinion of him.19 On the whole, Smith’s attitude towards the French author is ambiguous: he calls him both “ingenious and eloquent”20 and “more capable of feeling strongly than of analising accurately”21 – which is not exactly a compliment to whatever author. About the insulting epithet used by Smith in his correspondence with David Hume, we cannot forget that the latter had had serious problems with Rousseau, and that Smith was likely to be informed of them much better than we are.22 As both authors shared the usual classical training, I think it’s possible to single out some points they have in common, and this can limit my approach to Rousseau to his classical scholarship. In this instance, obviously, I won’t try to discover what classical influences have been crucial on Rousseau’s general thought, rather how he dealt with certain topics also discussed by Adam Smith. For instance, the abovementioned episode of ancient Roman political history: Cato’s suicide in Utica after Caesar’s victory – on which both authors expressed a judgment, although briefly and without special delving into it. I’ll single out some passages where both Rousseau and Smith (not to speak of some other scholars, Adam Ferguson or Thomas Reid, for instance) described in a similar way Cato the younger’s death. They drew it from a well-known description by Seneca (de prov. II, 9–11), expressing admiration for Cato’s inflexible adherence to his political ideal. Rousseau writes that between Caesar and Pompey, Cato seems a god among simple mortals; whereas Reid comments on Cato’s character by suggesting that one would prefer to be Cato instead of Caesar, despite all the latter’s triumphs.23 It is also interesting that Reid saw Cato as “the last pillar of the liberty of Rome, and falling nobly in his country’s ruin” (ibid.), suggesting that the transition from the Roman republic to the empire was judged by Reid a “ruin” and a loss of liberty. Ferguson, on the other hand, judged Cato superior to all his opponents in understanding, penetration and disinterestedness, up to the point of comparing him to a man among children, trying “to baffle the designs of a vain and childish ambition, that was operating to the ruin of mankind”.24 Again the “ruin”, this time of the whole mankind. In TMS I.iii.1.13 Smith repeats Seneca’s description,25 including its context: that of a vir fortis cum fortuna mala compositum – a strong man fighting against “bad luck”.26 Echoing Seneca, Smith concludes that Cato appeared “a spectacle which even the gods themselves might behold with pleasure and admiration”. Reid also deals with a “great soul struggling with misfortune”;27 this is the framework, the literary topos in which the story is arranged: the praise of virtue even if unsuccessful. Cato’s problem was, as we know, Caesar’s political role; but Smith’s comment, on the whole, does not center on this issue. Rather, he seems to point out that Cato,

24  Gloria Vivenza with his action, rendered suicide fashionable. Cato’s “political” death, on which Caesar and Cicero expressed opposite sentiments, acquired a symbolic value, attracting to suicide a “character of splendour” (Smith’s own words) which lasted for centuries (TMS VII.ii.1.32). It is open to doubt whether Smith considered all this admiration as deserved. He seems to imply that the great prestige enjoyed by Cato was perhaps excessive: describing Caesar’s and Cicero’s opposed reactions to Cato’s death, Smith again reports one of Seneca’s judgments: whatever quality was attributed to the republican martyr took on automatically the character of a virtue – in other words, even a fault of his was presented in a positive light.28 As long as the chief of a party has a following, Smith concludes, he can do whatever he pleases without it being recognized as wrong (TMS, ibid.). How different is Rousseau’s passionate peroration: “Ferons-nous cet affront à l’heroisme d’en refuser le titre à Caton d’Utique? Et pourtant cet homme ne s’est point illustré dans les combats, et n’a point rempli le monde du bruit de ses exploits”; and also: “Caton . . . périt avec Rome et la liberté, parce qu’il fut déplacé dans son siècle; et le plus grand des hommes ne fit qu’étonner le monde qu’il eut gouverné cinq cents ans plus tôt”.29 “Le plus grand des hommes”: this is how Rousseau considered Cato. However, his judgment was questioned, for instance by a M. Charles Bordes, author of a refutation of Rousseau’s “Discours sur les sciences et les arts” which included the following observation: Vouloir rappeler les grands Etats aux petites vertus des petites républiques, c’est vouloir contraindre un homme fort et robuste à bégayer dans un berceau; c’état la folie de Caton; avec l’humeur et les préjugés héréditaires dans sa famille, il déclama toute sa vie, combattit, et mourut enfin sans avoir rien fait d’utile pour sa patrie.30 To whom Rousseau replied: “Je ne sais s’il n’a rien fait pour sa patrie; mais je sais qu’il a beaucoup fait pour le genre humain, en lui donnant le spectacle et le modèle de la vertu la plus pure qui ait jamais existé”,31 etc. In short, Rousseau was a convinced supporter of Cato’s ideal figure: not only did he emphasize his heroic death, but also pointed out that the man had not distinguished himself in military enterprises, which were usually the main title of honour for a Roman. Cato had only been a politician, but of the highest quality, unable to survive the defeat of what he considered the best form of government. Smith’s position seems more ambiguous. He repeats Seneca’s eulogy on Cato’s death, but just the fact that he reproduces the Latin text almost verbatim means that he did not find words of his own to pronounce in this circumstance; I am persuaded that he would have found them if he had been really moved. Even the witty quotation in TMS VII.ii.1.32 (that it was easier to maintain that drunkenness is a virtue than to attribute whatever vice to Cato) is evidence of a critical attitude, although expressed with humour. In fact, Cato’s suicide had become emblematic since the beginning, namely ancient times; early on he became the symbol of (Stoic) opposition to tyranny. Seneca refers to this aspect not only in de providentia, but also in many of his

Smith, Rousseau and Cato the younger  25 other writings.32 In general, Cato’s suicide was considered from a double perspective: as the deed of an advocate of republican liberty, and as a philosophical example of the Stoic sage facing adversity through fortitude. Seneca’s “catonism” has been estimated from both a moral and a political point of view; rather moral than political according to some scholars 33 – mistakenly, perhaps, as it was essentially a political action. It was generally acknowledged that Cato did not accept to recognize a “superior” in Caesar: Adam Ferguson appropriately makes Cato speak so: “If I were disposed to make my peace with Caesar I should repair to him in person; but I have done him no wrong, I am not an object of his pardon, and shall not request what it were insolence in him to offer me as a favour”34 (namely life). Ferguson rightly points out that Cato “had long foreseen the dangers to which the republic was exposed; and determined to live only while he could counteract the designs that were formed against it”.35 Another important aspect of Ferguson’s version is that, while describing Caesar’s reaction to Cato’s death, he reports the dictator’s words as follows: “I must be allowed . . . to envy this man the splendour of his death, as he has refused me the honour of preserving his life”.36 It is impossible not to recall Smith’s observation that Cato’s death brought on suicide the above mentioned “character of splendour” – on which he cannot completely agree, all the while recognizing that Seneca, despite being a “great preacher of insensibility” (TMS I.iii.1.13) was unable to be indifferent (as a Stoic should have been) towards such a death. Smith’s own position is that “Nature, in her sound and healthful state, seems never to prompt us to suicide” (TMS VII.ii.1.34); and certainly this opinion was shared by many. We have plenty of documents revealing how Cato’s suicide was still hotly debated in modern times, due to an additional reason: the moral stigma that Christian doctrine put on suicide,37 as ancient Paganism never did. In the eighteenth century the classics, besides being well known, were also freely employed in literature. In theatres, tragedies were performed which, for instance, represented Cicero’s daughter Tullia in love with Catilina, with consequences easily imaginable on her father’s situation.38 Something similar happens in the celebrated tragedy Cato, by Joseph Addison. The hero’s two sons are in love with the same woman; until one of them asks his brother for help in order to disclose his feelings to the girl. In the end, the problem is solved by the timely death of the one who did not enjoy the girl’s favour. On the other hand, Cato’s daughter Marcia is in love with the African king Juba. True, he is an ally of the Romans; but Cato begins by forbidding the relationship as unworthy of his daughter. Only at the very end, in dying, he consents to the marriage – probably because he thinks that Rome is no longer the caput mundi of his political ideal, therefore he deems it useless to keep ancient Roman pride up to the point of putting such an obstacle in the path of his daughter’s happiness.39 Among the various descriptions of Cato’s death handed down by the classics,40 we find some noteworthy details. One of them, which also strikes Smith,41 is the hero’s concern for his friends’ safety: he was ready to kill himself, but only after providing for their escape. The second remarkable point of Cato’s behaviour is that before his suicide he read (twice) Plato’s Phaedo.42 It is well known

26  Gloria Vivenza that the dialogue describes the moments immediately preceding Socrate’s death – and for this reason, I suppose, a durable connection between Cato and Socrates established itself in literature.43 But there is a difference between a death sentence (Socrates had received just that), and Cato’s voluntary suicide. There were many cases of suicide in the Roman imperial period: when a sentence of death was passed, the condemned could escape execution by killing themselves.44 However, this was not the case with Cato: nobody had sentenced him to death, it was his own choice, a voluntary rejection of life: the alternative was between life and death, not between two different ways of dying. In any case, Cato’s action was not universally praised in modern times. The anonymous author of Self-Murther and Duelling45 says: For after all that Ancients and Moderns have said of this case,46 I would only ask, what there was in the voluntary Death of this admir’d Roman, that can, upon a closer and cooler Review of things, be thought worthy of the least Commendation? ’Tis not very easie, I believe, to discover any one commendable Motive, any one generous Principle, that might prompt him to this unnatural Act. . . . to shrink at the Approach of Danger, to retreat in a Pet, to quit his Post, when there was most need of his Presence, speak neither the Patriot, nor the Philosopher, nor the Hero.47 Maybe Cato’s position had been better understood by J. Henley, who wrote that Cato “would not make an addition to Caesar’s trophies”.48 And after other reasonings, his conclusion was that “Curtius and Cato, Brutus, Otho, and others, are celebrated as great Hero’s: But a Christian cannot quote a Heaten to justify what the Scripture forbids”.49 In general, Cato and the “tyrannicides” Brutus and Cassius could be respected, but they were the representatives of a troubled political condition, whereas Augustus brought peace, order and good government. To the modern man the problem was of a religious nature (the Christian prohibition of killing oneself) on the one hand; but on the other it was political, namely Cato’s firm determination not to be the subject of a monarch: an attitude which, in modern times when almost all Europe was ruled by absolute monarchies could not be considered so unquestionable. Obviously the “moderns” had been trained to think that monarchy was the best regime available: republics were quarrelsome, ready to be involved in political disorders and violence, whereas a good sovereign could secure peace, order, wellbeing and so on. Now, what did Adam Smith think about all this? We have seen Rousseau’s unrestricted support of Cato’s figure. To Rousseau, Cato’s uncompromising and inflexible attitude was entirely admirable, whereas of Caesar he gave a “tyrannical” image.50 Smith seems to uphold a different standard: his admiration for the Roman hero is not altogether unconditional. The hints he devotes to the great Roman’s life and character are not quite or always positive, apart from the “Senecan” description of Cato’s attitude in the face of death, where the only “personal” comment by Smith seems to be that Cato was “reduced, by the proud

Smith, Rousseau and Cato the younger  27 maxims of that age, to the necessity of destroying himself” (TMS I.iii.1.13, my emphasis). This would seem a tentative explanation, criticizing the spirit of the time rather than the hero’s decision – Smith does not approve of suicide, but Cato’s political-ideological stand and ensuing action had already been consecrated by centuries of comments: true, not all of them were praises, but enough to render it impossible to consider Cato’s deed as a “normal” suicide. So, here Smith pays what may perhaps be called a “lip service” to the republican martyr; but in other passages about him he gives more realistic definitions: a party-man in TMS VI.iii.30;51 a bottle companion in VII.ii.1.32. On the other hand, Smith’s position is clear enough if we reflect on his observation, “Had Caesar, instead of gaining, lost the battle of Pharsalia, his character would, at this hour, have ranked a little above that of Catiline . . . ”(TMS VI.iii.30) – which means, more or less, that history is written by the winners.52 In fact, if Smith showed no unreserved admiration for Cato, we cannot suppose that he was especially fond of Caesar, either. In TMS there are few cold hints: Caesar’s well known assertion to have lived enough both for nature and for glory, followed by Smith’s sharp observation that, if he could have foreseen his assassination by those who should have been his friends, he had lived too much for true glory (TMS I.iii.3.8). Another weakness of the dictator (shared however with many others) was excessive selfadmiration: he considered himself descended from a goddess (TMS VI.iii.28). About his military glory, nothing could be objected: it is well known that Caesar, like Alexander, won all his battles,53 but Smith seems to think that he had been successful not only thanks to his great qualities, talents and value, but also because fortune was constantly on his side, at least on the battlefield. What Smith thought about Caesar may also be evinced by some passages of LRBL, although from a “literary” rather than a historical point of view. We find him compared with other classical authors (Polybius, Thucydides, Xenophon), who according to Smith had something in common with Caesar: they all participated in most of the battles they described.54 From different points of view, however, there were substantial differences. Smith does not examine this subject too closely, but we should recall that LRBL are lecture notes, and Smith would not have permitted their publication. The parallel between Caesar and Xenophon55 starts with the “classical” comparison between Xenophon’s description of the retreat of the Ten Thousand and Caesar’s Commentaries.56 Parallels between Greek and Latin authors were frequent; in fact, Smith says that the two texts are “commonly compared” (LRBL ii.52). He certainly knew the numerous examples of such comparisons, starting from the rhetorical treatise by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and Quintilian’s book X – but his “nearest model” may have been the list published in the seventeenth century by R.Rapin.57 Getting back to Caesar, we may notice something lacking in Smith’s commentary. For instance, he says that Xenophon is careful in recording small events that are apparently irrelevant, but useful to understand why his soldiers became fond of him. Compared with a historian like Thucydides, Xenophon is by no means able to stir up violent emotions; he is attractive for his simple-heartedness: he delineates, from his detailed description of facts (not always historically relevant),

28  Gloria Vivenza a psychological portrait which becomes an artistic creation. Explaining why the soldiers appreciated their commander, Xenophon reveals his own qualities of plainess, ingenuity and openness of heart (LRBL ii.52–53). Caesar, on the other hand, is dispatched by Smith in a few lines: “he hurrys from one fact of importance to another without touching on anything that is not of importance betwixt them”. That is what Smith says in LRBL ii.52; we know from history, however, that no general like Caesar was able to gain the trust and, yes, the affection of his soldiers – up to the point that they resented it when he called them Quirites instead of milites:58 they were first and foremost soldiers, his soldiers. Smith, however, keeps silent on this – not so Rousseau. Rousseau alludes to this well-known episode in Considérations sur le gouvernement de Pologne,59 giving however a different interpretation: he thought that, by the time of the civil wars, the Roman army had become a standing army, and “republicanism” had been substituted by a military government, so that the soldiers were offended at being called Quirites, simply “people of Rome” and not “members of the army”. Rousseau (and others) recognized in this episode the proof that the army had degenerated into a corpus of professional mercenaries, ready to take advantage of their strength for their own benefit; whereas modern scholarship is inclined to think that Caesar used his great psychological talent to obtain what he wanted from his soldiers. The classical author, in fact, ascribes the episode to Caesar’s well-known ability to dominate his men, even when they tried to revolt. Thus, we don’t know whether Smith thought that Xenophon had more “persuasive” power over his soldiers than Caesar, or that the latter used different means to conquer his army’s heart. However, even though Smith’s judgment that Caesar omitted small pieces of information about his conquering campaigns is true, we may think that, being a general giving an account of a military enterprise, he rightly neglected small details that did not weigh on the final outcome. But we should also remember that Smith was speaking to his students, and had to account for the different stylistic choices in the accounts of the two generals, whom he considered, in this context, as authors. He was dealing now with literature, rather than with military history. Let us go back to our main subject, Cato’s suicide. In Smith’s time the “literary” aspects of this historical drama were too strong to be completely ignored; this is confirmed by reading further in TMS I.iii.1.14, where Socrate’s death is also recalled. Frequent comparisons between Cato’s and Socrates’ suicides have been made in modern literature,60 and it does not seem by chance that Smith mentions Socrates just in analysing the philosopher’s attitude to appear less concerned for himself in order not to be overwhelmed by his dreadful situation. This analysis is produced in the case of Socrates, not in that of Cato – where it would have been equally appropriate. But Socrates, as we have seen, was thought to have acted in obedience to the law of his country, whereas Cato’s suicide was a sign of revolt against the “law” that was to become dominant in his own country: it was a powerful censure against all monarchies and tyrannies. Reverting to Rousseau’s eulogy of Cato, his expression (that the hero, with his suicide, “surprised” the world he would have ruled 500 years earlier) means

Smith, Rousseau and Cato the younger  29 that Rousseau saw Cato as a man of the Roman “golden age”: the Rome of M. Scaevola, of Cincinnatus, of A. Regulus.61 He should have lived in those heroic times, but was born too late, when the city had lost sight of its values, whereas Cato still preserved them: so he was somehow “foreign” to his own time. Rousseau resumes the connection, mentioned above, between Socrates and Cato: in his synthesis Socrates was wise, but Cato was great; the former could instruct people, but the latter was a true leader. Socrates was the philosopher, Cato the citizen; and whereas the first died to uphold the truth, the second died because he could no longer serve a country that had renounced its fundamental character.62 In short, both Smith and Rousseau recognize in Cato a problematic figure; Smith clearly suggests that all eulogies somehow conceal the real man; Rousseau thinks that Cato is an ill-adjusted man, who would have been suited to earlier times, but is unfit for his own century. We may say that Smith judges out of place the legend, Rousseau the real man. Something similar had been expressed earlier by Montaigne: “La vertu de Caton était vigoureuse outre la mesure de son siècle: et à un homme qui se mélait de gouverner les autres, destiné au service commun, il se pourrait dire, que c’était une justice, sinon injuste, au moins vaine et hors de saison”.63 The same author gave in his Essays, more than once, the usual picture of a stubborn Cato, admirable perhaps but hard to follow, and unsuitable to his own time.64 Part of this picture was also the extraordinary impassivity which allowed Cato to sleep soundly before his suicide – a trait shared with emperor Otho, together with the care for the safety of their friends.65 So we may discover that some of these motives were little more than loci communes, repeated by different modern authors in various moral contexts; but the underlying passion, whether political, moral, or perhaps also literary but with strong philosophical implications, was ready to arouse, as is sometimes the case in history, a much greater storm than its academic origins would lead to believe.66 As I have already suggested, European politics dealt with a situation in which the monarchical rule had prevailed against republican ideals.67 Cato could be admired, but he was on the wrong side of the political values appreciated in absolutist Europe. The main problem, as I see it, was the difference in the way people were used to judge the political setting, in ancient and modern times: in the past, the ancient form of citizenship was enough to consider every citizen equal to any other, rich or poor; the republic was a collective government, and the rule of a (single) king68 was automatically considered tyrannical. Small wonder that a politician who loved this organization and saw it destroyed by its opposite, struggled with all his might and ended by killing himself because he would not live in such a reality. In modern times, however, such a reality was the political organization of almost all European nations and, as I have already suggested, it had been not only accepted, but it was considered proper and more suited to large expanses of land; in sum, kingly power was seen in a positive light, provided that the monarch was not a foolish or a cruel man. A revolt like Cato’s was not easily understood or appreciated, because classical citizenship no longer existed, neither classical “equality”69 – not even in the (few) still existing republics which on the one hand had no monarch, it is true, but on the other had to a certain extent altered

30  Gloria Vivenza the ancient character, so that they could have an aristocracy,70 for instance, or some other kind of “difference” between their citizens, as becoming to a feudal constitution. The general context is neatly expounded by Smith to his students: In the modern republicks every person is free, and the poorer sort are all employed in some necessary occupation. . . . But in the ancient states the mechanick arts were exercised only by the slaves. The freemen were mostly rich, or if they were not rich they were at least idle-men, as they could have no business to apply themselves to. They therefore would find no inconvenience in being called to the publick affairs.71 Besides this, the vast difference betwixt a freeman of the lowest rank and a slave was so great that it made that amongst the freemen themselves not perceptible; whereas nowadays the difference betwixt the freemen is not much less than betwixt the free and the slaves formerly.72 I will not insist on the importance given to the institution of slavery; it has (and had) ideological implications and cannot be dealt with shortly. But it is not true that it “monopolized” all available labour.73 And the existence of slavery does not in itself grant leisure to the well-off: a working class is enough for that. In modern Western Europe, where slavery no longer existed since the Middle Ages, conditions were the same as in the ancient world: well-off people had leisure, the poor had to work. But Smith’s observation that in the ancient world the difference between a poor freeman and a slave was strong enough to cancel the difference between rich and poor (freemen) hits the mark. However, it should have been a juridical rather than an economic difference; but the economic aspect was beginning to prevail over the socio-political framework – or at least to be considered on equal footing. So, the great divide in the ancient world was between freemen and slaves, no matter whether rich or poor,74 whereas in the modern world wealth was to become the discriminating element. It was not my intention, in writing this essay, to give a definite assessment of Smith’s and Rousseau’s “reading” of ancient history in general; neither to examine Smith’s political thought in relationship with general concepts like republicanism, ancient or modern,75 liberalism, progress, freedom, and so on; or to transfer ancient values into the modern world. I only tried to understand how they valued this particular episode, which was in itself open to discussion, and whether they interpreted it mainly from a political or a historical point of view (perhaps a moral one, too?). In fact, Cato’s decision was firstly a political action, his “answer” to the transformation of the Roman republican constitution into a monarchy – that is, a tyranny in the classical view. But why should we neglect Cato’s proud temper? Caesar famously used to “forgive” his opponents, and he eagerly wanted to do the same with Cato: given the stature of such an opponent, the forgiveness would have redounded to Caesar’s credit and added to his glory. Cato refused to give him such a satisfaction, and this perhaps aroused Rousseau’s admiration. Smith’s position was more “realistic”: he saw the man with all his qualities and failings, and judged him simply as belonging to the opposing side of the party which was fated to win, namely an autocratic power.

Smith, Rousseau and Cato the younger  31 At first sight, Rousseau shows a definite commendatory attitude towards Cato, Smith is more open to avoid excesses of praise, although maintaining a positive appreciation of the Roman hero. On the other hand, however, both authors seem to have a point in common: they judged Cato unfit for his own time. He would have been a leader five centuries earlier, according to Rousseau, whereas in his own time people were “surprised” by his action – which means that they did not fully understand it. Smith’s approval, we have seen, is expressed with Seneca’s words, rather than with his own. Modern political thought could admire Cato, but, I would say, mainly because he was so admired by the ancients, not because his deed fitted modern political outlook. And perhaps it was really a moral rather than a political admiration, as pointed out by some contemporary scholar;76 but this is the reading of the moderns, not of the ancients.

Notes ∗ Just a few remarks about abbreviations. Smith’s works are quoted, as usual, from the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith, with shortened title, book, chapter, paragraph. Quotations from the classics usually abbreviate the author’s name (Plat., Aristot., Cic.), and the title too – but no title is needed when only a single work of that author survived. There is no need to quote the publisher, because all editions of the classics give the same text; the references are given by book, chapter and paragraph – no page number is required. 1 It is well known that Cato could not accept Caesar’s victory, which marked the transition from the republic to the empire; another illustrious victim, although not suicidal, was, as is well known, Cicero. 2 I do not dwell on the difference between France and Great Britain about the classics, on which see G. Highet, The Classical Tradition. Greek and Roman Influences on Western Literature, Oxford, Clarendon, 1985, and J. E. Sandys, A History of Classical Scholarship, Cambridge University Press, 1921. 3 Upholding the whole edifice, just to recall Smith’s well known definition of justice in TMS II.ii.3.4. 4 In the Middle Ages the influence of the Christian religion tended to reduce the importance of the classics, who were not ignored even then, however. 5 One may object that the ancient Romans had religious practices which bordered on superstition (A. Ferguson, An Essay on the History of Civil Society, ed. by F. Oz-Salzberger, Cambridge University Press, 1995, p. 89); and, besides, they practised an instrumental use of religion (L. Canfora, Un mestiere pericoloso. La vita quotidiana dei filosofi greci, Palermo, Sellerio, 2000, p. 176). But in the ancient world religion could never have had the same weight and significance held by Christianity in medieval and modern world, were it only for the difference between polytheism and monotheism. 6 Swift’s expression (Highet, The Classical Tradition, p. 262); in the rest of Europe the French definition of “querelle des anciens et des modernes” tended to prevail. 7 Highet, The Classical Tradition, chap. 14, especially pp. 277–288 (Phases of the Battle). Cf also J. M. Levine, The Battle of the Books, Ithaca/London, Cornell University Press, 1994, pp. 19, 35, 40–41, 173–175, 275. 8 Especially Latin; a lesser knowledge of Greek was more common in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, whereas the strong revival of classical studies, in the late eighteenth and in the ninteenth century, “was through a deepened understanding of Greek”, Highet, The Classical Tradition, cit., p. 277.

32  Gloria Vivenza 9 Highet, ibid., pp. 113–126; Sandys, A History, vol. II, pp. 241–242. 10 The first being Si le rétablissement des sciences et des arts a contribué à épurer les moeurs. 11 H. Roddier, J.-J.- Rousseau en Angleterre au XVIII° siècle. L’oeuvre et l’homme, Paris, Boivin & C. Editeurs, s.d., p. 38. 12 LJA iii.138; cf G. Vivenza, “Adam Smith as a Teacher on Classical Subjects”, The Adam Smith Review, 3 (2007), p. 100. 13 About TMS, see quotation in the text; about LJ, the distinction of ranks is dealt with in LJA i.10–11; iv.3; iv.68–74 (in the ancient world); LJB 282; 334. 14 Not so recent an argument as we may be induced to think: a relationship between the economic resources of the wealthy citizens and of the state is sketched out by Cicero in de off. III, 63; and he was obviously against equality, see ibid., II, 73. Smith says that “a people who are all on an equality will necessarily be very poor. . .” (LJA iii.138). 15 TMS VI.ii.1.20, emphasis added. “The former” and “the latter” are respectively “the rich and powerful” and “the poor and the wretched” (TMS, ibid.). 16 Especially in the “Symposium on Emma Rothschild’s Economic Sentiments”, The Adam Smith Review, 1 (2004), pp. 125–164. The participants in the Symposium discuss the multifarious kinds of ‘egalitarianism’ (equal dignity, mutual respect) arising from Smith’s moral, political, economic thought; and, obviously, the equal relationship which is connected with a commercial society – namely a society whose main institutional feature is, or should be, to consider men on equal footing. Commerce is based on contract, which can only be stipulated when the two parties are equally able to will the agreement. It is possible that Smith’s bent towards an economic perspective renders his writings – even those not strictly economic –sensitive to egalitarian motives. Some time earlier than Smith, the baron of Montesquieu wrote: “le commerce est la profession des gens égaux” (De l’esprit des lois, V.viii, Paris, Belles Lettres, 1950, I, p. 111). This does not mean, however, that either author supported an “egalitarian” society like that created by the French revolution, in which every man got equal rights and the feudal privileges were famously abolished. Smith, although favourable to that kind of equality implicit in his description of a society endowed with the instinct “to truck, barter and exchange”, therefore projected towards “la profession des gens égaux”, nonetheless never said or suggested that the feudal distinction of ranks had to be abolished in the name of the principle that the philosopher and the porter were born equal. 17 See for instance (the list is not complete) R. P. Hanley, “Commerce and Corruption. Rousseau’s Diagnosis and Adam Smith’s Cure”, European Journal of Political Theory, 7(2), 2008, pp. 137–158; D. C. Rasmussen, The Problems and Promise of Commercial Society: Adam Smith’s Response to Rousseau, University Park, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2008. See, by the same author, Smith and Rousseau. Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment, in C. Berry, M. Paganelli, C. Smith (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith, Oxford, 2013, pp. 54–76. A previous connection between the two authors was made by E. G. West, “Adam Smith and Rousseau’s Discourse on inequality: inspiration or provocation?”, Journal of Economic Issues, 5(2), (1971), pp. 56–70, only dealing with the concept of alienation. See also M. Ignatieff, Smith, Rousseau and the Republic of Needs, in T. C. Smout (ed.), Scotland and Europe 1200–1850, Edinburgh, John Donald, 1986; S. J. Pack, “The Rousseau–Smith Connection: Towards an Understanding of Professor West’s ‘Splenetic Smith’”, in History of Economic Ideas, VIII (2000), 2, pp. 35–62; see also the list drawn up by Rasmussen in Smith and Rousseau, p. 55, n. 4. 18 See, however, Marya Kylmaekoski’s valuable The Virtue of the Citizen. Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Republicanism in the Eighteenth-Century French Context, Frankfurt am Main, Peter Lang, 2001, passim. 19 We are not informed about what Rousseau thought of Smith. In the past there have been some hypotheses about a meeting of the two authors in December 1765 when they were both in Paris; but this is now called in question by Rasmussen, The Problems, p. 54.

Smith, Rousseau and Cato the younger  33 20 A. Smith, Considerations Concerning the First Formation of Languages. 2, in LRBL p. 205. 21 A. Smith, “Of the Nature of that Imitation which takes place in what are called The Imitative Arts”, II.24 in EPS, p. 198. Smith published the Considerations in 1761 (see LRBL, “Introduction”, pp. 26–27) and the “Imitative Arts” were written around 1777 (see “Introduction to Of the Nature of that Imitation”, in EPS, p. 171, referring to a letter of Smith stating that four years after 1773 he had returned at Kirkaldy, and was busy writing about imitative arts). 22 Letter n. 93, to David Hume, in Corr., pp. 112–13. 23 The two mentioned passages are in Rousseau’s article on political economy (see n. 29 below), and Th. Reid, Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, Edinburgh, J. Bell and G. G. J. & J. Robinson, 1785, p. 729. 24 Ferguson, An Essay, p. 130. 25 We recognize the concluding sentence (a spectacle enjoyable by the gods themselves), the circumstance of being surrounded everywhere by enemies, and the detail of providing for the safety of his friends. 26 In Smith’s expression, “magnanimity amidst great distress”, TMS I.iii.1.13. 27 Reid, Essays, pp. 729–730. 28 In Seneca’s words, facilius efficiet, quisquis obiecit ei, crimen honestum quam turpem Catonem, Sen., Tranq. an.17.4.9. I have briefly dealt with the subject in G. Vivenza, Adam Smith and the Classics, Oxford, 2001, pp. 73 and 181. 29 Cf J.-J. Rousseau, Oeuvres complètes, Paris, Editions Du Seuil, vol. II, 1971, pp. 122 and 246. The first refers to the “Discours sur la vertu du héros” proposed by the Academy of Corsica in 1751; the second is in the famous “Discours sur l’origine et les fondements de l’inégalité parmi les hommes”. In the “Discours sur l’oeconomie politique” (published 1755 in the 5th vol. of the Encyclopédie) we find that “entre César et Pompée, Caton semble un dieu parmi des mortels” (ibid., vol. II, p. 283), along with a comparison between Cato and Socrates (see Griffin’s article quoted at note 42, and my comments at p. 28 below). 30 Quoted in Rousseau, Oeuvres complètes, vol. II p. 137. Let us recall that the republic was then considered a political regime only suitable to small states. Smith himself says that “Holland, Switzerland, etc. are no ways comparable (tho they be very respectable states) to France, England, etc.” (LJA v.57). 31 Rousseau, Oeuvres complètes, vol. II, p. 148. 32 See also de const. sap. 2, 2; epist. 95, 69 seq. and 104, 30; ad Marc. 20,6. A rich literature in Cato’s favour may certainly reveal a growing intolerance against Caesar, see L. Canfora, Seneca e le guerre civili, in P. Parroni (ed.), Seneca e il suo tempo, Roma, Salerno Ed., 2000, p. 171. 33 See E. Narducci, La provvidenza crudele. Lucano e la distruzione dei miti augustei, Pisa, Giardini, 1979, pp. 130–144; B. L. Hijmans Jr, “Drama in Seneca’s Stoicism”, Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, 97 (1966), pp. 243–247 (a “theatrical” interpretation where Cato is the actor and the gods the spectators of a performance (spectaculum) implied in Seneca’s phrasing); M. Griffin, Seneca. A Philosopher in Politics, Oxford, 1976, p. 183; M. Isnardi Parente, Socrate e Catone in Seneca: il filosofo e il politico, in Seneca e il suo tempo, pp. 217–222. See also some articles by P. Brunt, now (re)printed in Studies in Stoicism, ed. by M. Griffin and A. Samuels, Oxford University Press, 2013, especially Stoicism and the Principate, pp. 277–78 and 284–85, and High-Ranking Roman Stoics under the Principate, p. 321. 34 A. Ferguson, History of the Progress and Termination of the Roman Republic, London, W. Strahan, T. Cadell, 1783, vol. II p. 546, emphasis supplied. See also Addison’s Cato, act II sc. II, vv. 10–11: “Tell your dictator this; and tell him, Cato disdains a life, which he has power to offer.” 35 Ferguson, History, vol. II, p. 548. 36 Ibid., vol. III, p. 3.

34  Gloria Vivenza 37 It seems that suicide was considered, more or less, as a special kind of murder. See, for instance, Anon., Self-Murder and Duelling, The Effects of Cowardice and Atheism, London, Wilkin, 1728, with a criticism of Ferguson’s tragedy, who “makes his Hero speak thus temptingly and unconcernedly of Self-Destruction, and thus presumptuously of its fatal consequences” (p. 7) that “Such fine touches as these coming from so celebrated a Pen, at once ravish the Fancy, steal away the Judgment, and take off all Horror of the ghastly Fact. . .” (ibid., p. 8). According to this author, suicide is due to “cowardice and atheism”, but the fact that just Cato is singled out among so many possible instances of suicide clearly shows that his “exemplarity” was still disturbing. Another example in R. Hay, A Dissertation on Suicide, Cambridge, 1785, who criticized both Montesquieu and Rousseau, because they maintained that suicide cannot be completely faulty, from a moral point of view, because it does not hurt others. Hay indicates Regulus, instead of Cato, as a true example of heroism (p. 70). See also J. Henley, Cato Condemned, or, the Case and History of Self-Murder, London, Marshall and Robert, 1730. 38 G. Vivenza, “Considerazioni filosofiche, storiche e metodologiche nella Theory of Moral Sentiments di Adam Smith”, Studi storici Luigi Simeoni, LXII (2012), p. 77. 39 An interesting recent study on the subject is “‘Those Stubborn Principles’”: From Stoicism to Sociability in Joseph Addison’s Cato”, by C. Dunn Henderson and M. E. Yellin, Review of Politics, 76(2), (2014). 40 See, for instance, Plut., Cat. Min., 64 sq; Liv., Perioch 114; Appian, Bell.Civ. 2,98; Cass. Dio 43,10 sq; Flor., Epit. 2,13, 70–72. 41 TMS I.iii.1.13. 42 It would seem that since then Phaedo has been considered as someway connected with a noble idea of suicide, see M. Griffin, “Philosophy, Cato and Roman Suicide”, Greece & Rome, XXXIII:2 (1986), pp. 195–98. 43 Already in Cicero, Tusc. I, 74; also in Seneca, see Henderson-Yellin, “‘Those Stubborn Principles’”, p. 227, n. 12. 44 Griffin, Philosophy, p. 193. 45 See n. 37 above. 46 Sc. Cato’s suicide. 47 Self-Murther and Duelling, pp. 10–11. Difficult to share the suggestion that Cato was shrinking from danger or quitting his post; but there were actually several different attitudes in the various modern critical views of Cato’s decision. I have hinted at critical perspectives on Cato’s suicide in Considerazioni filosofiche, passim. 48 J. Hanley, Cato Condemned, p. 13. 49 Ibid., p. 17. 50 “Lettre à Voltaire”, in Oeuvres complètes, vol. II, p. 321. 51 Ferguson, too, in his more “political” judgment on Cato, criticizes parties: “Faction is ever ready to seize all occasional advantages; and mankind, when in hazard from any party, seldom find a better protection than that of its rival. Cato united with Pompey in opposition to Caesar, and guarded against nothing so much as that reconciliation of parties, which was in effect to be a combination of different leaders against the freedom of the republic”, Ferguson, An Essay, p. 130. 52 Both Lucan and Seneca speak about Cato as an example of virtue in defeat; in other words, it is virtue, not success, which should be pursued – and valued, see G.O. Hutchinson, Latin Literature from Seneca to Juvenal. A Critical Study, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1993, pp. 48–49, 166–168 and 274–279. 53 The two leaders are mentioned together in TMS VI.iii.30 and in the passage on Stoic philosophy of eds 2–5, which is worth quoting: “Is not the unfortunate magnanimity of Cato, Brutus, and Leonidas, as much the object of admiration, as that of the successful Caesar or Alexander?” (TMS, p. 58). A nice passage about both leaders is in TMS II.iii.2.3, where Smith points out that they had the opportunity of showing their talents, whereas others, maybe equally great, did not have this chance. “The superiority

Smith, Rousseau and Cato the younger  35

54

5 5 56 57 58 59 60 61 6 2 63 64 65 66

67 68 69

70 71 7 2 73 7 4 75

76

of virtues and talents has not, even upon those who acknowledge that superiority, the same effect with the superiority of achievements.” A canon still valid for historians, see K. O’Brien saying that both the ancient Thucydides, Caesar, Tacitus and the modern More, Raleigh and Bacon are “all of them statesmen and historians, and some eyewitnesses to the events they described. . .”, K. O’Brien, “History and Literature 1660–1780”, in The Cambridge History of English Literature, 1660–1780, ed. by J. Richetti, Cambridge University Press, 2005, p. 368. LRBL ii.51–54.. Supposedly de bello Gallico – but Smith does not say it. See Introduction to LRBL, p. 31. Suet., Caes., 70. Rousseau, Oeuvres complètes, vol. III, p. 556. And in the ancient, too; see the already quoted article by M. Griffin (note 42 above). Also Voltaire, in his tragedy La mort de César, makes Brutus speak so: “et toi, divin Caton,/toi, dernier des héros du sang de Scipion” (Voltaire, La mort de César, ed. André-M. Rousseau, Paris, Société d’édition d’enseignement supérieur, 1964, p. 64). J.-J. Rousseau, “Discours sur l’économie politique”, in Oeuvres complètes, vol. II p. 283. M. de Montaigne, Essays, vol. III, Editions Gallimard, 2009, p. 300, my emphasis. Montaigne, Essays, vol. I, p. 279; vol. III, p. 333. Montaigne, Essays, vol. I, p. 486. See Venturi’s fascinating analysis of the geographical and chronological distribution of academic discussions about classical motives: a circle which involved many European towns, but closed around Paris in 1789 (F. Venturi, Utopia e riforma nell’Illuminismo, Torino, Einaudi, 1970, passim). And let us recall that Rousseau’s thought was frequently considered as having helped to advance the French revolution. Modern “republicanism” has been valuably studied and analysed, and certainly was an important issue in political thought. But we cannot ignore that republics were the exception, not the rule in modern Europe. In Sparta the kings were notoriously two, and this has been seen, sometimes, in parallelism with the two Roman consuls. This principle is better expressed by Conyers Middleton’s sentence: “For in assemblies so constituted (sc. the Roman curiae), where every individual had an equal vote, the issue of all deliberations must depend of course on the poorer sort, who are always the most numerous, though not always the most reasonable or incorrupt”, C. Middleton, A Treatise on the Roman Senate, London, Manby and Cox, 1747, p. 27; with the following “remedy” of Servius Tullius, namely the division of the people in classes, according to their census. In both Venice and Holland the power was in the hands of a few families. They were republican governments with an oligarchic character. Smith does not so much emphasize that they had the right to do it, rather that they had the leisure. LJA iv. 69–70, my emphasis. Free labour existed in the ancient world; but today we are better informed, thanks to archaeological and epigraphical studies, which were not yet developed in Smith’s age. Some slaves, in the Roman imperial age, held important administrative offices. Smith’s comparisons between ancient and modern colonial policy have been the object of recent analyses and observations about his ideas on colonialism and republicanism (R. Resende Simiqueli, Apoikia and colonia: “Smith’s comments on the ‘recent disturbances’ in the colonies”; B. Stocker, “Smith on the colonialism and republicanism of the moderns compared with that of the ancients”, The Adam Smith Review, 9 (2017), pp. 19–37 and 38–48). The general concept of (modern) colonialism may have obscured the circumstance that the Roman institution corresponding to an overseas empire is represented by the provinciae (the coloniae were only in Italy). See above, note 33 and relating text.

Rousseau’s influence on Smith’s theory of unintended consequences, the invisible hand and Smith’s understanding of history Spencer J. Pack Introduction Rousseau and Smith both had a modern theory of history as one of evolution, largely driven by the unintended consequences of human action. In particular, Rousseau argued that the pursuit of wealth and much human activity was driven by a deception, a vast overestimation of the benefits wealth brings to the individual; and that this was unfortunate for humanity. Smith agreed with Rousseau’s description that the pursuit of wealth was largely based upon a deception. But Smith of course looked favourably upon this deception and the increase in wealth; and argued that Rousseau’s characterization of the resulting vast increase in wealth as a bad thing was the result of a splenetic, diseased, sick mind. In The Theory of Moral Sentiments Smith used his invisible hand metaphor to further dramatize the position that the deception involved in estimating the utility generated by wealth is a good thing for humankind. So Smith and Rousseau largely agree on human history as one of evolution and caused by unintended consequences of human actions. They disagree on whether the result of this evolution and human activity, i.e. contemporary, relatively wealthy commercial society, is largely a good thing. Rousseau argues no; Smith, yes. Part I briefly reviews Smith’s arguments concerning the cause for the increase in wealth at the very beginning of The Wealth of Nations. For Smith, reason and speech are what probably lead to the human propensity to truck, exchange and make deals with each other, and this in particular is what separates human from non-human animals. The unintended result of this deal making is to lead to and increase the division of labour in society and hence to increase the wealth of nations. Part II discusses Smith’s ‘Letter to the Authors of the Edinburgh Review (1756)’. There Smith praises Rousseau’s Second Discourse, and compares it to Volume II of Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees. Both take an evolutionary view of the very slow development of human society. Part III is a note on Mandeville’s second volume of his Fable of the Bees arguing that the work emphasizes the length of time, the role of chance, and unintended consequences of human behaviour in the development of human society. Parts IV and V discuss language, time, ‘progress’ and unintended consequences in Rousseau’s Second Discourse. Rousseau posits a very long time during which humans developed speech as well as the division of labour. Rousseau’s story is one of evolution, not one of progress in the sense of things getting better for the human species.1 Indeed, to some extent things do get better in Rousseau’s

Rousseau’s influence on Smith’s theories  37 estimation from the pure state of nature to the level of society achieved by ‘savages’. Then, things get worse, and it will probably be even worse for people in the future. Part VI compares Rousseau and Smith on the division of labour, the result of the division of labour, and their agreement on the deception which causes people to work so hard in modern societies to achieve wealth. It shows how Smith argued that Rousseau’s attitude towards the result was splenetic, and that Smith used the invisible hand metaphor in The Theory of Moral Sentiments to further buttress his pro-deception position. A brief conclusion follows.

I. Smith’s theory of unintended consequences at the beginning of The Wealth of Nations The first sentence (which constitutes the entire paragraph) of Chapter I of Book I of The Wealth of Nations asserts that ‘The greatest improvement in the productive powers of labour, and the greater part of the skill, dexterity, and judgment with which it is any where directed, or applied, seem to have been the effects of the division of labour’ (I.i.1). Moving on to the first paragraph of the second chapter of WN, one reads that, This division of labour, from which so many advantages are derived, is not originally the effect of any human wisdom, which foresees and intends that general opulence to which it gives occasion. It is the necessary, though very slow and gradual consequence of a certain propensity in human nature which has in view no such extensive utility; the propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another. (I.ii.2, emphasis added) So here, at the very beginning of the Wealth of Nations, is an assertion of an extre­ mely important unintended consequence. The division of labour leads to increased labour productivity and wealth. Yet, the division of labour is not directly due to human reason or wisdom. It is an unintended consequence of the human propensity to make deals with each other. Moreover, the development of the division of labour leading to increased labour productivity and wealth (or ‘opulence’) is a historical development, which takes a very long time to manifest itself. This is the first of numerous examples of unintended consequences which permeate Smith’s Wealth.2 Smith’s celebrated theory of unintended consequences of human endeavours is similar to Rousseau’s position in his Discourse on the Origins of Inequality (Second Discourse) – as is Smith’s view of the length of human history and development. No doubt, Rousseau’s work helped to stimulate and influence Smith’s thought in this direction. Smith then writes, whether this propensity be one of those original principles in human nature, of which no further account can be given; or whether, as seems more probable, it be the necessary consequences of the faculties of reason and speech, it belongs not to our present subject to enquire. (I.ii.2, emphasis added)

38  Spencer J. Pack So for Smith, the increase in the wealth of nations is the result of the division of labour, which is the unintended result of the human tendency to make deals with each other, which itself is also probably the unintended result of reason and speech. For Smith, it is this tendency to make deals, rather than reason and speech itself, which is crucial in the separation of human from non-human animals: ‘It is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals, which seem to know neither this nor any other species of contracts’ (ibid.). Thus, for Smith, reason and speech probably generate the propensity to make deals which over historical time generates the division of labour which leads to increased labour productivity and wealth. So, in a sense the increase in the wealth of nations is probably the result of reason and speech; but, it is an unintended result. Again, as we shall see, Smith’s position is very similar to that of Rousseau in The Second Discourse. The basic theory, that of human or societal evolution and the long period of time for various aspects of humanity to develop, are the same for both Smith and Rousseau. However, their attitude to whether this human development is on the whole a good or a bad thing for the human species is markedly different. It is this difference in whether human/societal development is a good or bad thing that has tended, until very recent times, to obscure the similarity of their basic positions.3 For Smith, as with Aristotle and the ancients, what separates human from nonhuman animals is reason. But, note what also separates the moderns Smith and (as we will see) Rousseau from ancient Western thought: speech and language.4 Moreover, for both Rousseau and Smith (following Mandeville), speech and language take a truly long time to develop. Unlike the ancients, Smith, Rousseau and Mandeville all imagine a time when the human species could not communicate using speech.5 They also all have an evolutionary approach to human development.

II. Smith’s extolling of Rousseau in his ‘Letter to the Authors of the Edinburgh Review (1756)’ In 1756 Smith wrote a 13-page letter to the Edinburgh Review; about one third of that letter translates or describes Rousseau’s Second Discourse, which had been published the previous year.6 In it Smith writes that ‘the second volume of the Fable of the Bees has given occasion to the system of Mr. Rousseau, in whom however the principles of the English author are softened, improved, and embellished, and stript of all that tendency to corruption and licentiousness which has disgraced them in their original author’ (1980: 250). So by Smith’s ingenious reading and pairing of the two authors, Rousseau largely follows Mandeville, though in some senses Rousseau is also the direct antinomy of Mandeville, since ‘Dr. Mandeville represents the primitive state of mankind as the most wretched and miserable that can be imagined: Mr. Rousseau, on the contrary, paints it as the happiest and most suitable to his nature’ (ibid.). Smith, budding great systematizer that he was, will eventually try to combine these two opposing views of primitive mankind, although I think on this issue he probably leans closer to Mandeville than Rousseau.7 In any event, Smith writes that for Rousseau ‘some unfortunate accidents having give birth to the unnatural passions of ambition and the vain desire of superiority, to which he had before been a stranger,

Rousseau’s influence on Smith’s theories  39 produced the same fatal effect’ (ibid.), that is to seek the society of other humans. Then comes Smith’s keen insight: ‘Both of them suppose the same slow progress and gradual development of all the talents, habits and arts which fit men to live together in society, and they both describe this progress pretty much in the same manner’ (ibid., emphasis added). Their description is what will be fully developed and utilized by Smith, and it may be called Smith’s theory of unintended consequences.8 Note that for Rousseau this ‘progress’ is not meant to assert that things are getting better; progress is merely change, or evolution, or development.9 As I have argued elsewhere, this theory of unintended consequences, or societal evolution, for Smith as for Rousseau, is also not necessarily one of ‘progress’ in the sense of the world or society necessarily improving; though it is for many modern thinkers.10 Smith goes on to explain that The life of a savage, when we take a distant view of it, seems to be a life either of profound indolence, or of great and astonishing adventures . . .  Mr. Rousseau, intending to paint the savage life as the happiest of any, presents only the indolent side of it to view, which he exhibits indeed with the most beautiful and agreeable colours, in a style . . . It is by the help of this style, together with a little philosophical chemistry, that the principles and ideas of the profligate Mandeville seem to him to have all the purity and sublimity of the morals of Plato . . . (251, emphasis added) So here Smith compares Rousseau to Plato – pretty good company.11

III. A note on the second volume of Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees As Smith points out, a key part of the second volume of Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees is a conjectural history of the origins of society. So at one point, Mandeville writes ‘I return to my conjecture, concerning the first motive, that would make savages associate . . . highly probable, that it must have been their common danger from beasts of prey; as well as such sly ones, as lay in wait for their children . . .’ (1924: 231, emphasis added). Unlike the ancient Greeks, Mandeville does not have a circular view of human history. Rather, ‘all nations must have had mean beginnings’ (180). For Mandeville, humans must have had a very long history, particularly when compared to that implied by literal readings of the Bible. This is because ‘our knowledge is advanced by slow degrees, and some arts and sciences require the experience of many ages, before they can be brought to any tolerable perfection’ (187, emphasis added); and ‘knowledge and reasoning are the work of time, and men are not capable of thinking justly, ‘till after many generations’ (236). The necessity of premising a long time horizon is particularly the case when considering the development of speech since ‘speech likewise is a characteristic of our species, but no man is born with it; and a dozen generations proceeding from two savages would not produce any tolerable language . . .’ (190).12

40  Spencer J. Pack Finally, when speculating on the development of society, Mandeville claims that ‘diligent enquirers have often stumbled by chance on useful discoveries of things, they did not look for, and which human sagacity laboring with design a priori never would have detected’ (179, emphasis added).13 Mandeville thus stresses the length of time, the role of chance, and minimizes the direct role of human sagacity or wisdom in the development of human society. Rousseau and then Smith would follow up and develop this important seminal strand of thought.

IV. Language, time, and ‘progress’ in Rousseau’s Second Discourse Rousseau writes, ‘consider how many ideas we owe to the use of speech . . . think of the inconceivable difficulties and the infinite time which the first invention of Languages must have cost’ (1992: 29). Rousseau conjectures that ‘many thousands of centuries’ were needed to develop speech (ibid.). He writes, ‘. . . let us skip over for a moment the immense distance there must have been between the pure state of Nature and the need for Languages’ (30) and queries that ‘if Men needed speech in order to learn to think they have even greater need of knowing how to think in order to discover the art of speech . . .’ (ibid.) Smith would attempt to answer Rousseau’s question in his ‘Considerations Considering the First Formation of Languages’,14 and also discussed the problem in his Lectures on Rhetoric (1983, Lecture 3: 9–13). Rousseau queries, ‘O Man, whatever Country you may come from . . . here is your history as I believe it to read, not in the Books of your Fellow-men, who are liars, but in Nature . . . The times of which I am going to speak are very far off: how you have changed from what you were!’ (1992: 19, emphasis added). This is the key to Rousseau’s story: the length of time humans have lived on earth. ‘It is, so to speak, the life of your species . . .’ (ibid.). For Rousseau, this history of the human species will be largely a conjectural one full of unintended consequences from human actions. Rousseau conjectures of a time of self-sufficiency for humans, a time with no division of labour between people, and indeed even pre-speech when ‘wandering in the forests, without industry, without speech, without domicile, without war and without liaisons, with no need of his fellows’ (40, emphasis added). This was a time when ‘there was neither education nor progress; the generations multiplied uselessly; and everyone always starting from the same point, Centuries passed in all the crudeness of the first ages, the species was already old, and man remained ever a child’ (ibid., emphasis added). This was a very long time when there was basically no social evolution; indeed, no culture at all. Rousseau conjectures that ‘only after many Centuries could man have had the desire and opportunity to leave that state’ (34), i.e. what Rousseau posits as the pure state of nature. When Rousseau comes to describe the progression from the state of Nature to contemporary times, he writes that ‘I cover multitudes of centuries like a flash’ (40) and that ‘These first advances finally put man in a position to make more rapid ones’ (ibid.). That is, in a sense time itself changes; it speeds up. Rousseau claims that ‘in discovering and following thus the forgotten and lost routes that must had led man from the Natural state to the Civil state . . .’ (65),

Rousseau’s influence on Smith’s theories  41 appreciation of the length of time that is involved is key. Thus, ‘. . . the immense space that separates these two states. It is in this slow succession of things that he will see the solution to an infinite number of problems of morality and Politics which the Philosophers cannot resolve’ (ibid.). The length of time involved and the accumulation of changes leads to social evolution; where ‘. . . the human Race of one age not being the human Race of another’ (ibid.). Even our needs change: ‘. . . how the soul and human passions, altering imperceptibly, change their Nature so to speak; why our needs and our pleasures change their objects in the long run; why original man vanishing by degrees . . .’ (65–66). Rousseau cautions the reader that he is indeed constructing a conjectural history, and ‘I admit that as the events I have to describe could have happened in several ways, I can make a choice only by conjectures’ (42). Yet, once again the key to understanding his story is the length of time needed for human evolution to take place, so that ‘. . . the lapse of time compensates for the slight probability of events’ (42). Rousseau’s story of human and society evolution is not one of progress in the sense of getting better. Rather, things in some sense do seem to get better; but then things, or history, takes a turn for the worse. Thus, writes Rousseau, ‘There is, I feel an age at which the individual man would want to stop: you will seek the age at which you would desire your Species had stopped’ (20). Furthermore, he foretells ‘. . . even greater discontents for your unhappy Posterity . . . and the dread of those who will have the unhappiness to live after you’ (ibid.). Thus, in Rousseau’s estimation, his contemporary society is a sick, unhealthy one, based on various extremes. It is a society which is bad and getting worse: The extreme inequality in our way of life: excess of idleness in some, excess of labour in others; the ease of stimulating and satisfying our appetites and our sensuality; the overly refined foods of the rich, which nourish them with binding juices and overwhelm them with indigestion; the bad food of the Poor, which they do not even have most of the time, so that their want inclines them to overburden their stomach greedily when the occasion permits;15 late nights, excesses of all kinds, immoderate ecstasies of all the Passions, fatigues and exhaustion of Mind; numberless sorrows and afflictions which are felt in all conditions and by which souls are perpetually tormented; these are the fatal proofs that most of our ills are our own work, and that we would have avoided almost all of them by preserving the simple, uniform, and solitary way of life prescribed to us by Nature. (23) This then is a story of evolution of humans, but not one of progress in the sense of things necessarily improving. Indeed, it is largely a story of regression. So, for example, ‘Let us therefore take care not to confuse Savage man with the men we have before our eyes’ (24). Unfortunately, when we domesticate animals, ‘it might be said that all our cares to treat and feed these animals will end only in their degeneration. It is the same even for man. In becoming sociable and a Slave he becomes weak, fearful, servile . . .’ (ibid.). So, there is a harsh downside to the domestication of both animals and humans; among other things note that we both become slaves. Animals

42  Spencer J. Pack become slaves to us humans; humans to each other. Moreover, for Rousseau, ‘Men are wicked . . . However, man is naturally good; I believe I have demonstrated it. What then can have depraved him to this extent, if not the changes that have befallen his constitution, the progress he has made, and the knowledge he has acquired’ (74, emphasis added). Again, note Rousseau’s use of the word progress.16 It is not used in the sense of things getting better; indeed, things have gotten worse.

V. Unintended consequences in Rousseau’s Second Discourse Rousseau’s discourse on the origins and development of human inequality in his society is thus essentially a conjectural history of the largely unintended consequences of human actions, hence, of human evolution. So, to cite another example, Rousseau writes that ‘. . . it is clear in any case that the first man who made himself clothing or a Dwelling, in doing so gave himself things that were hardly necessary, since he had done without them until then and since it is hard to see why he could not endure, as a grown man, a kind of life he had endured from his infancy. (25) These innovations would eventually weaken humans, as humans evolve over time. Eventually, even our physical senses become different from early humans: ‘. . . he will have extremely crude touch and taste, and sight, hearing and smell of the greatest subtlety. Such is the animal state in general; and according to reports of Travelers, such also is that of most Savage Peoples’ (25). Just as individuals may self-perfect (this Rousseau shares with ancient thought, e.g. Aristotle), so may the human species, ‘. . . the faculty of self-perfection . . .  resides among us as much in the species as in the individual’ (26). The human species as a species has the ability to ‘perfectibility’; but it is this very ability which ‘draws him out of that original condition in which he would pass tranquil and innocent days’ and that ‘in the long run makes him the tyrant of himself and of Nature’ (ibid.). In Rousseau’s conjectures, ‘Savage Man . . . will therefore begin with purely animal function. To perceive and feel will be his first state, which he will have in common with all animals’ (27). So humans begin as animals. They are afraid of pain and hunger. Rousseau: ‘I say pain and not death because an animal will never know what it is to die; and knowledge of death and its terrors is one of the first acquisitions that man has made in moving away from the animal condition’ (ibid., emphasis added). So the development of human society is one of moving away from the animal condition; humans historically start out as animals. By the way, knowledge of death is basically where Smith will begin his own Theory of Moral Sentiments. At the end of the first chapter of the first section of the first part of TMS Smith claims that ‘We sympathize even with the dead, and overlooking what is of real importance in their situation, that awful futurity which awaits them, we are chiefly affected by those circumstances which strike our senses, but can have no influence upon their happiness’. For Smith this misplaced sympathy with the dead, this ‘illusion of the imagination . . . makes us miserable while we are

Rousseau’s influence on Smith’s theories  43 alive’. But there is an unintended consequence of this working out of the human imagination, because, ‘from thence arises one of the most important principles in human nature, the dread of death, the great poison to the happiness, but the great restraint upon the injustice of mankind, which, while it afflicts and mortifies the individual, guards and protects that society’ (TMS I.i.1.13, emphasis added).17 Note how for Smith what is taken at the beginning of TMS as part of (adult) human nature, the fear and dread of death, for Rousseau explicitly develops over historical time. For Rousseau, love also is to a large extent historically and socially determined since ‘love itself, like all the other passions, has acquired only in society that impetuous ardor which so often makes it fatal for men’. Hence, ‘the Caribs, that of all existing People which until now has departed least from the state of Nature, are precisely the most peaceful in their loves and the least subject to jealousy’ (1992: 39). Smith, by the way, will also later explain to his students in his Lectures on Jurisprudence how the passion love is at least in part socially determined.18 Rousseau conjectures that it was ‘the chance combination of several foreign causes which might never have arisen and without which he would have remained eternally in his primitive constitution . . . accidents that were able to perfect human reason while deteriorating the species, make a being evil while making him sociable . . .’ (42, emphasis added). Hence, as pointed out by the young perceptive Smith in his ‘Letter to the Authors of the Edinburgh Review’, and in agreement with the conjectures presented in the second volume of Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees, for Rousseau, chance, ‘foreign causes’, accidents, in combination with the long amount of time humans have existed on earth, played a key role in societal development and evolution. As Rousseau strikingly asserts at the beginning of the Second Part of the Discourse, it was private property which really led to the downfall (not progress in the sense of amelioration) of our species. The first person who, having fenced off a plot of ground, took it into his head to say this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him, was the true founder of civil society. What crimes, wars, murders, what miseries and horrors would the human Race have been spared by someone who, uprooting the stakes or filling in the ditch had shouted to his fellows: you are lost if you forget that the fruits belong to all and the Earth to no one. (43, emphasis in original) So, to some extent it is private property itself which leads to the downfall, to humankind’s expulsion from Rousseau’s secular Garden of Eden.19 Yet, again, this is an example of what would later be known as Smith’s theory of unintended consequences. Once humans settled down, and formed families with huts, people produced commodities; this led to the development of new needs, and a softening of the body and mind eventually occurred. These new needs eventually ‘degenerated into true needs, being deprived of them [commodities] became much more cruel than possessing them was sweet; and people were unhappy to lose them without being happy to possess them’ (46). Hence, more unintended, indeed unfortunate consequences from human actions.

44  Spencer J. Pack Rousseau comes to describe the ‘point reached by most of the Savage Peoples known to us’. So those people (presumably Native American, as well as others) are already quite far ‘from the first state of Nature’ (48). Hence, up to this point in Rousseau’s story, all his assertions must be speculations, or conjectural history, based on no existing physical data; or rather, Rousseau has been largely reasoning backwards. If this, the society of existing ‘savages’, is the result of human evolution, then what must have caused or generated these societies? In any case, Rousseau views ‘. . . this period of the development of human faculties, maintaining a golden mean between the indolence of the primitive state and the petulant activity of our amour-propre, must have been the happiest and most durable epoch.’ This epoch was ‘the best for man’ and ‘he must have come out of it only by some fatal accident, which for common utility ought never to have happened.’ Thus, ‘the example of Savages, who have almost all been found at this point, seems to confirm that the human Race was made to remain in it always; that this state is the veritable youth of the World . . .’ (48). So, in a sense, for Rousseau, youth is good. After that, evolution is mostly bad for the species. For example, people were originally wild ‘as an untamed Steed bristles his mane, paws the earth with his hoof, and breaks away impetuously at the very approach of the bit, whereas a trained horse patiently endures whip and spur . . .’. Therefore, barbarous man prefers ‘the most turbulent freedom to tranquil subjection’ and civilized man ‘boasts incessantly of the peace and repose they enjoy in their chains’ (57). Civilized humans have basically become slaves and ‘it does not behoove Slaves to reason about freedom’ (ibid.). So humans change; and not for the better. With the rise of laws, ‘All ran to meet their chains believing they ensured their freedom . . .’ (54). According to Rousseau, such was, or must have been, the origin of Society and Laws, which gave new fetters to the weak and new forces to the rich, destroyed natural freedom for all time, established forever the Law of property and inequality, changed a clever usurpation into an irrevocable right, and for the profit of a few ambitious men henceforth subjected the whole human Race to work, servitude, and misery. (ibid.) Hence, in Rousseau’s estimation, we find some pretty horrid unintended consequences from human actions.

VI. Rousseau and Smith on the division of labour, the result of the division of labour, and the invisible hand passage in The Theory of Moral Sentiments Rousseau argues against the division of labour and the mutual dependence upon each other which the division of labour entails. Hence, ‘. . . as long as they applied themselves only to tasks that a single person could do and to arts that did not require the cooperation of several hands, they lived free, healthy, good and happy . . .’ (49). Once humans needed each other, equality disappeared, agriculture arose, and ‘slavery and misery were soon seen to germinate and grow with the crops’ (ibid.).

Rousseau’s influence on Smith’s theories  45 In a long footnote, Rousseau gives a passage that Smith will largely reproduce and respond to with his invisible hand metaphor in The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Rousseau laments that When on the one hand, one considers the vast labours of men, so many Sciences fathomed, so many arts invented, and so many forces employed, chasms filled, mountains razed, rocks broken, rivers made navigable, land cleared, lakes dug out, swamps drained, enormous buildings raised upon the earth, the sea covered with Ships and Sailors; and when, on the other hand, one searches with a little meditation for the true advantages . . . one cannot fail to be struck by the astounding disproportion prevailing between these things, and to deplore man’s blindness, which, to feed his foolish pride and an indefinable vain admiration for himself, makes him run avidly after all the miseries of which he is susceptible . . . (74 fn. 7) In responding to this passage, Smith will write that in a sense Rousseau is indeed correct. Nonetheless, Rousseau’s view is also the product of a splenetic, unhealthy, diseased mind. Smith will be the first of many people who argue that Rousseau was, among other things, mentally ill. Moreover, Smith will be in favour of humans’ deception because, among other reasons, this deception leads to an increase in output and eventually to an increase in population. Smith responds to Rousseau20 by pointing out that people frequently admire systems and machines not so much for the utility they actually produce, but for the way they are able to produce utility or output at all; that is, systems and machines are admired in and of themselves. Hence, that this fitness, this happy contrivance of any production of art, should often be more valued than the very end for which it was intended; and that the exact adjustment of the means for attaining any conveniency or pleasure should frequently be more regarded than that very conveniency or pleasure, in the attainment of which their whole merit would seem to consist, has not, so far as I know, been yet taken notice of by any body. (TMS IV.i.3)21 Smith discusses trinkets of frivolous utility, and admits, in partial agreement with Rousseau, that ‘To one who was to live alone in a desolate island it might be a matter of doubt, perhaps, whether a palace, or a collection of such small conveniencies as are commonly contained in a tweezer-case, would contribute most to his happiness and enjoyment’ (IV.i.8).22 This is in Smith’s parable of ‘The poor man’s son, whom heaven in its anger has visited with ambition . . .’. This person spends his life overworking himself to obtain wealth and riches. Unfortunately, in partial agreement with Rousseau, in the languor of disease, and the weariness of old age, the pleasures of the vain and empty distinction of greatness disappear. To one, in this situation,

46  Spencer J. Pack they are no longer capable of recommending those toilsome pursuits in which they have formerly engaged him. In his heart he curses ambition, and vainly regrets the ease and indolence of youth. (ibid., emphasis added) Hence, again in partial agreement with Rousseau, In this miserable aspect does greatness appear to every man when reduced either by spleen or disease, to observe with attention his own situation, and to consider what it is that is really wanting to his happiness. Power and riches appear then to be, what they are, enormous and operose machines contrived to produce a few trifling conveniencies to the body . . . They keep off the summer shower, not the winter storm . . . (ibid., emphasis added) This Rousseauian observation is both basically correct, and yet it is also what Smith calls a splenetic, and what we would now call depressed, diseased point of view: ‘this splenetic philosophy, which in time of sickness or low spirits is familiar to every man’ (IV.i.9). On the other hand, ‘when in better health and in better humour, we never fail to regard them under a more agreeable aspect’ (ibid.). Then we admire palaces, and the economy of the great even though ‘if we consider the real satisfaction which all these things are capable of affording, by itself and separated from the beauty of that arrangement which is fitted to promote it, it will always appear in the highest degree contemptible and trifling. But we rarely view it in this abstract and philosophical light’ (ibid.). So, in one sense Rousseau is indeed correct. Rousseau has an abstract and philosophical view, but it is also a splenetic, depressed, sick one. That is because it is the whole machine, the whole system itself of wealth production which is really great. Viewing the entire system, ‘the pleasures of wealth and greatness, when considered in this complex view, strike the imagination as something grand and beautiful and noble, of which the attainment is well worth all the toil and anxiety which we are so apt to bestow upon it’ (ibid.). Next comes the paragraph which contains Smith’s invisible hand metaphor. Smith argues in favour of a certain amount of deception and misguided human endeavours. ‘And it is well that nature imposes upon us in this manner. It is this deception which rouses and keeps in continual motion the industry of mankind’ (IV. i. 10). Paraphrasing the Rousseau quote above, Smith writes that It is this which first prompted them to cultivate the ground, to build houses, to found cities and commonwealths, and to invent and improve all the sciences and arts, which ennoble and embellish human life; which have entirely changed the whole face of the globe, have turned the rude forests of nature into agreeable and fertile plains, and made the trackless and barren ocean a new fund of subsistence, and the great high road of communication to the different nations of the earth. The earth by these labours of mankind has been obliged to redouble her natural fertility, and to maintain a greater number of inhabitants. (ibid., emphasis added)

Rousseau’s influence on Smith’s theories  47 Hence, what for Rousseau is a bad deception and unintended consequence of human endeavours, for Smith is a good fortuitous deception, leading to among other things, increased output and an increase human population. Moreover, the rich landlords themselves are also to some extent fortuitously deceived since ‘It is to no purpose, that the proud and unfeeling landlord views his extensive fields, and without a thought for the wants of his brethren, in imagination consumes himself the whole harvest that grows upon them’ (ibid.). In fact, the landlord does not directly consume all his land produces, because of the very division of labour which Rousseau so deplores. Instead, the landlord sells most of his output; and The rich only select from the heap what is most precious and agreeable. They consume little more than the poor, and in spite of their natural selfishness and rapacity, though they mean only their own conveniency, though the sole end which they propose from the labours of all the thousands whom they employ, be the gratification of their own vain and insatiable desires, they divide with the poor the produce of all their improvements. (ibid.) Here is an unintended consequence of human actions which for Smith is good, because, according to Smith, they are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society, and afford means to the multiplication of the species. (ibid., emphasis added)23 So, partially through deception, humans work hard, produce more, and eventually increase their population. The brilliancy of Rousseau is that he sees through this deception; here Smith agrees with Rousseau. But the problem with Rousseau is in positing that this deception is a bad thing. Here Smith disagrees with Rousseau and argues that Rousseau’s point of view is basically that of one who is mentally ill: depressed, splenetic, sick.24 So, Smith employs his invisible hand metaphor as a rhetorical argument against Rousseau’s position in the Second Discourse that unintended consequences are generally bad, especially with regards to the production of wealth. Here, by the way, on the unintended consequences of human activity, Rousseau is generally siding with the ancients; and Smith against the ancients. For example, in the Physics, Aristotle writes thus if a house, e.g. had been a thing made by nature, it would have been made in the same way as it is now by art . . . Now mistakes occur even in the operations of art: the literate man makes a mistake in writing and the doctor pours out the wrong dose. Hence clearly mistakes are possible in the operations of nature also . . . if where mistakes occur there was a purpose in what was attempted, only it was not attained, so must it be also in natural products, and monstrosities will be failures in the purposive effort. (1984: 340)

48  Spencer J. Pack For Aristotle, unintended results tend to be mistakes, which produce monstrosities. For Rousseau, human evolution, the result of unintended consequences, also tends to be bad. Not so for Smith. On the contrary, for Smith unintended consequences tend to be good, as if guided by an ‘invisible hand’. Monotheists, such as most of Smith’s readers, might tend to think that this beneficial invisible hand could be the very hand of God; hence adding to the rhetorical force of this metaphor.25 Note several more issues. In the paragraph discussed above containing the invisible hand metaphor, Smith is assuming a commercial or capitalist society based upon wage, not slave labour. According to Smith, in a slave-based society, increases in the wealth of the rich, will lead to increase misery for the poor free citizens as well as for the slaves themselves. That is, in this case, the beneficial workings of the invisible hand, or positive unintended consequences from human actions, are dependent upon commercial societies which are not based upon the institution of slavery (see Pack: 1996b).26 Also, in the very next paragraph, clever rhetorician that Smith is, Smith feigns to praise the popular mercantile system of political economy. Hence, ‘the same principle, the same love of system, the same regard to the beauty of order, of art and contrivance, frequently serves to recommend those institutions which tend to promote the public welfare’ (IV. ii.11). So, when the legislature establishes premiums and other encouragements to advance the linen or woolen manufactures, its conduct seldom proceeds from pure sympathy with the wearer of cheap or fine cloth, and much less from that with the manufacturer or merchant. The perfection of police, the extension of trade and manufactures, are noble and magnificent objects. The contemplation of them pleases us, and we are interested in whatever can tend to advance them. They make part of the great system of government, and the wheels of the political machine seem to move with more harmony and ease by means of them. We take pleasure in beholding the perfection of so beautiful and grand a system . . . (ibid.) Well, patient readers of the first eight chapters of Book IV of The Wealth of Nations know full well what Smith really thought about the ‘beautiful, grand’ mercantile system. Moreover, Smith’s own system of political economy suggests why Hayek and others are misguided for naming Smith’s theory of unintended consequences, or really evolution, the theory of spontaneous order (see e.g. Hamowy 1987).27 I think this nomenclature looks at the current society or system as a glass half full, and is too conservative a reading of Smith’s (and Rousseau’s) theory and basic approach to history. Certainly, at any given time we may characterize human society as one of order; after all, society exists. However, we could also characterize it as one of disorder; after all, society is constantly changing and evolving. Moreover, to characterize the current system as spontaneous is also misleading and overly deprecates the role of reason and some deliberative planning. The system does evolve, but it is not entirely spontaneous. After all, in Smith’s next book, The Wealth of Nations, he will attempt to replace Great Britain’s mercantile system with his own political system of ‘natural liberty’. It is certainly

Rousseau’s influence on Smith’s theories  49 misleading to say that Smith’s system of ‘natural liberty’ emerged spontaneously in his head and in his book. The system was the result of decades of thought on the subject by Smith and years of working on and writing The Wealth of Nations. Similarly, to the extent that Smith’s system, or indeed any other system of political economy is manifested in a country’s commercial policy, it is definitely not the result solely of spontaneous activity; rather, various degrees of the planned use of power, politics, persuasion, mobilization of social forces, etc. count. On the other hand, any system that is put in place will certainly have unintended consequences; both Rousseau and Smith can agree on that.

VII. Conclusion It is apparent from Smith’s ‘Letter to the Authors of the Edinburgh Review (1756)’ that Smith was deeply impressed with Rousseau’s Second Discourse. Rousseau and Smith had very similar views on human history and what has come to be called Smith’s theory of unintended consequences. They disagreed on their estimation of the result of this history and long series of unintended consequences. Rousseau took a dim view of modern, relatively wealthy society; Smith a much more positive outlook. Also, the theory of unintended consequences, rather than the theory of spontaneous order, should be used as a more accurate description, or precise nomenclature, for Smith’s (and Rousseau’s) basic approach to the development of human history and societal evolution. Finally, it turns out that Smith was more like Rousseau than many have thought. Or conversely, Smith is arguably less like Hayek with Hayek’s own distinctive theory of spontaneous order, than many (perhaps most importantly, Hayek) have thought. Until very recent times, the divergence in Smith and Rousseau’s normative estimation of commercial society has caused too many readers to overlook and downplay the profound similarities in their arguments.28

Notes 1 See Sampson (1956) as an early key text on the need to clearly distinguish theories of supposed progress from mere evolution. 2 For example, just a few paragraphs later Smith writes that ‘The difference of natural talents in different men is, in reality, much less than we are aware of; and the very different genius which appears to distinguish men of different professions, when grown up to maturity, is not upon many occasions so much the cause, as the effect of the division of labor’ (I.ii.4, emphasis added). 3 In recent years Pack (2000) was apparently the first to point out their striking similarities. Following Pack, on the complex relation between Smith and Rousseau, see e.g. Rasmussen (2008); Hanley (2009); Griswold (2010); Kukathas (2013); Hont (2015). Of course, earlier people saw the similarity between Rousseau and Smith; see e.g. Schumpeter (1954: 186). See also Rasmussen (2013) for an excellent summary of how Rousseau’s work influenced and stimulated Smith’s work in general and ‘that Rousseau’s critique of commercial society presented Smith with a challenge that shaped the development of his thought in an important way’ (2013; 54). In my view, as an irritant stimulates an oyster to make a pearl, so Rousseau’s work helped stimulate the development and articulation of Smith’s own beautiful thought. 4 Or logos. Notice logos can refer to either reason or speech. I thank Eric Schliesser for reminding me of this important point.

50  Spencer J. Pack 5 Rousseau even speculates that in some parts of the world there are currently humans, mistaken for beasts or nonhumans, who are really humans who have not yet mastered the faculty of speech (1992: 81–83). 6 As printed in Smith (1980: 242–254). 7 See Pack (1995; 1996a). 8 For a discussion of Mandeville’s important contribution to this theory, see Hayek (1967); also C. Smith (2006: 4–5; fn.5 169–170). Hayek and his followers tend to call this theory one of ‘spontaneous order’, emphasizing positive unintended consequences. I think this nomenclature as a characterization of Smith’s theory is misleading for reasons I will discuss below. 9 Or, indeed, progress could be worsening. So, for example, one may talk of the ‘progress’ of a disease, which tends to get worse for the patient who has the disease; not better. I thank Tek-wah King for this point. 10 As, for example, Hegel. See e.g. Pack (2017). 11 Smith would later have reason to fear the persuasiveness of Rousseau’s writing style; see the correspondence about Rousseau between Smith and Hume (Smith Corr. Letter 93: 112–114; Letter 111: 133–136; Letter 112: 136–137). Smith also greatly admired Plato’s writing style; e.g. when describing Aristotle: ‘that great philosopher [Aristotle] who appears to have been so much superior to his master [Plato] in everything but eloquence’ (‘Ancient Logics’, in Smith, 1980: 122). 12 See Kaye’s perceptive footnote on the pioneering insight generated by Mandeville’s conjectural history of the origin of language (in Mandeville, 1924:288). 13 This is similar to Adam Ferguson’s later famous line that ‘nations stumble upon establishments, which are indeed the result of human action, but not the execution of any human design’ (1819 [1767]; Ferguson’s statement is in Part III, Section II, ‘The History of Political Establishments’). 14 First published in 1761 (Smith, LRBL: 203–226). 15 Intriguingly, Smith will notably disagree with Rousseau’s characterization of the distribution of the quantity and quality of food between the rich and poor, while using his invisible hand metaphor in the Theory of Moral Sentiments. See below, Part VI. 16 In French, ‘progrès’. 17 So Smith is in favor, or approves of this illusion of the imagination. Smith’s approval of the results of human deception will be further discussed below. It is not clear when, for Smith, humans historically first become aware of death. However, perhaps partly in response to, or stimulated by Rousseau’s speculations, Smith does point out in the preceding paragraph that human infants are unaware of death. Hence when ill an infant can feel ‘only the uneasiness of the present instant, which can never be very great. With regard to the future, it is perfectly secure, and in its thoughtlessness and want of foresight, possesses an antidote against fear and anxiety, the great tormentors of the human breast, from which reason and philosophy will, in vain attempt to defend it, when it grows up to a man’ (TMS 1.i.1.12). Hence, on this point, Smith’s baby is similar to Rousseau’s early savage man. Neither are aware of death. 18 Smith (1978:148–150); see also Pack (1991: 122–124). 19 On the revolutionary effects of Rousseau’s version of the Fall, see Barth 1973: 220–227. Rousseau hastens to add that ‘. . . it is very likely that by then things had already come to the point where they could no longer remain as they were. For this idea of property, depending on many prior ideas which could only have arisen successively, was not conceived all at once in the human mind. It was necessary to make much progress, to acquire much industry and enlightenment, and to transmit and augment them from age to age, before arriving at this last stage of the state Nature’ (43). 20 And to Hume. The entire Part IV ‘Of the Effect of Utility Upon the Sentiment of Approbation’ in which Smith’s invisible hand metaphor appears deals with Hume’s system. 21 Note again how Smith is influenced and stimulated by Rousseau’s work even, or perhaps especially, when Smith disagrees with Rousseau. Strikingly, his disagreements with Rousseau’s conclusions helps to stimulate and develop his own profound original thoughts.

Rousseau’s influence on Smith’s theories  51 22 Note how Smith’s example of a person living alone on a desolate island is similar to Rousseau’s isolated human in the original state of nature. 23 I am not currently interested in the truth or accuracy of this statement. Also, contrast Smith’s buoyant description of the distribution of the quantity and quality of food in contemporary society with that of Rousseau’s, cited above in Part IV (1992:23). 24 Of course, Smith neither explicitly says that Rousseau is brilliant, nor even footnotes or refers to him; but I think it is clear enough that Smith is referring to him. (See also Pack 2000). Here Marx’s acerbic comment is germane: ‘The Scottish proverb that if one has gained a little it is often easy to gain much, but the difficulty is to gain a little, has been applied by Adam Smith to intellectual wealth as well, and with meticulous care he accordingly keeps the sources secret to which he is indebted for the little, which he turns indeed into much’ (1970: 167–168). Note also that the mental disease Smith ascribes to Rousseau is that of depression, rather than paranoia, which has been a more common diagnosis of Rousseau’s putative mental illness. Rousseau’s account of how he composed the First Discourse, and the melancholy in his final book Reveries of a Solitary Walker suggest to me that he may have had what we would now call bipolar disorder, or was manic depressive. Karl Barth (1973) suggests that Rousseau was indeed touched with madness: the madness of a prophet such as Amos. 25 Of course, whether Smith believed this to be the hand of God, or simply a metaphor he used for rhetorical purposes is a matter of great debate. I believe the latter interpretation to be the correct one (see Pack 1995; 1998a; also 2017). 26 This highlights the importance for Smith of an appropriate legal and institutional framework to guarantee the beneficent operation of market forces; on this issue see e.g. Blaug (1985: 62–63). 27 Of course, the theory of spontaneous order may accurately describe ‘what Hayek thought Smith thought’ and this influential reading of Smith indeed constitutes a distinct approach to social theory (C. Smith 2006: 8). 28 My thanks for the incisive comments of 2 anonymous reviewers of this paper.

Bibliography Aristotle (1984) Physics, in The Complete Works of Aristotle, ed. by Jonathan Barnes. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press: 314–446. Barth, Karl (1973) Protestant Theology in the Nineteenth Century, Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press. Blaug, Mark (1985) Economic Theory in Retrospect, 4th edn, New York: Cambridge University Press. Ferguson, Adam (1819) [1767] Essay on the History of Civil Society, 8th edn, Philadelphia: A. Finley. Griswold, Charles L. (2010) ‘Smith and Rousseau in Dialogue: Sympathy, Pitie, Spectatorship and Narrative’, The Philosophy of Adam Smith, The Adam Smith Review, 5: 59–84. Hamowy, Ronald (1987) The Scottish Enlightenment and the Theory of Spontaneous Order. Published for the Journal of the History of Philosophy, Carbondale: Southern Illinois Press. Hanley, Ryan Patrick (2009) Adam Smith and the Character of Virtue, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hayek, Friedrich A. (1967) ‘Dr. Bernard Mandeville’, Proceedings of the British Academy, LII, reprinted in The Essence of Hayek (1984), C. Nishiyama and K.R. Leube (eds.), Stanford: Hoover Institution Press: 176–194. Hont, Istvan (2015) Politics in Commercial Society: Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Adam Smith, Bela Kapossy and Michael Sonenscher (eds.), Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. Kukathas, Chandran. (2013) ‘Das Rousseau problem: Adam Smith’s politics and Econo­ mics’, The Adam Smith Review, 7: 174–180.

52  Spencer J. Pack Mandeville, Bernard (1924) [1729] The Fable of the Bees: or Private Vices, Publick Benefits, Volume Two, With a Commentary by F.B. Kaye, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Marx, Karl (1970) [1859] A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, ed., with an Introduction by Maurice Dobb. New York: International Publishers. Pack, Spencer J. (1991) Capitalism as a Moral System: Adam Smith’s Critique of the Free Market Economy, Brookfield VT: Elgar. Pack, Spencer J. (1995) ‘Theological (and hence Economic) Implications of Adam Smith’s ‘The Principles Which Lead and Direct Philosophical Enquiries’’, History of Political Economy, Vol. 27(2): 289–307. Pack, Spencer J. (1996a) ‘Adam Smith’s Invisible/Visible Hand/Chain/Chaos’, Joseph A. Schumpeter, Historian of Economics: Perspectives on the History of Economic Thought: Selected Papers from the History of Economics Society Conference, 1994, ed. Laurence S. Moss: 181–195. Pack, Spencer J. (1996b) ‘Slavery, Adam Smith’s Economic Vision and the Invisible Hand, with an Appendix, Adam Smith and the Late Resolution of the Quakers of Pennsylvania: A Response to a False Report’ by Robert W. Dimand, History of Economics Ideas, IV (1–2): 253–269. Pack, Spencer J. (2000) ‘The Rousseau-Smith Connection: Towards an Understanding of Professor West’s “Splenetic Smith”‘, History of Economic Ideas VIII (2): 35–62. Pack, Spencer J. (2017) ‘Reflections on the Systems of Smith and Hegel Inspired by Lisa Herzog’s Inventing the Market: Smith, Hegel and Political Theory’, Adam Smith Review (10). Rasmussen, Dennis (2008) The Problems and Promise of Commercial Society: Adam Smith’s Response to Rousseau, University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. Rasmussen, Dennis (2013) ‘Adam Smith and Rousseau: Enlightenment and CounterEnlightenment’, in The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith, eds. Berry, Paganelli and Smith, Oxford: Oxford University Press: 54–76. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (1992)[1755] Discourse on the Origins of Inequality (Second Discourse), Vol. 3 of The Collected Writings of Rousseau, eds. Roger D. Masters and Christopher Kelly. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England. Sampson, Ronald (1956) Progress in the Age of Reason: The Seventeenth Century to the Present Day, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Schumpeter, Joseph A. (1954) History of Economic Analysis, New York: Oxford University Press. Smith, Adam (1976a) An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. R.H. Campbell and A.S. Skinner, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Smith, Adam (1976b) The Theory of Moral Sentiments, ed. A.L. Macfie and D.D. Raphael, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Smith, Adam (1977) Correspondence of Adam Smith, eds. E.C. Mossner and I.S. Ross, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Smith, Adam (1978) Lectures on Jurisprudence, eds. R. I. Meek, D. D. Raphael and P. G. Stein, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Smith, Adam (1980) Essays on Philosophical Subjects, ed. W.P.D. Wightman and J.C. Bryce with Dugald Stewart’s ‘Account of Adam Smith’, ed. I.S. Ross, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Smith, Adam (1983) Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, containing ‘Considerations Concerning the First Formation of Languages’, ed. J.C. Bryce, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Smith, Craig (2006) Adam Smith’s Political Philosophy: The Invisible Hand and Spon­ taneous Order, London: Routledge.

Speech, the affective, and the insult in not being believed Rousseau and Adam Smith Byron Davies

Introduction Telling someone something involves a kind of dependence on them. Specifically, it involves a dependence on their capacity for recognition. This dependence is perhaps most apparent when that recognition is not forthcoming: when we are insulted at not being believed. A concern for the connections between speech, recognition, and dependence on others (made apparent in cases of being insulted) in fact has a deep philosophical history. And among the central figures in that history are two philosophers closely associated with the idea that among our distinguishing traits as social creatures is that we are subject to a desire for recognition from others: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who calls this desire amour-propre; and Adam Smith, whose Theory of Moral Sentiments is principally concerned with our desire for the sympathy of others, and more specifically what he calls the ‘approbation’ of others. Consequently, I am here interested in presenting what are, to my mind, under-explored moments in these philosophers’ writings in which they discuss speech, and particularly testimony, as manifestations of this desire for others’ recognition.1 As we will see, reading Rousseau and Smith together on these topics can not only help to illuminate what is distinctive about the insult in not being believed, and how that insult is revelatory of the nature of illocutionary acts such as telling; it can also help to locate what sort of role in our vocabulary of normative and social criticism recent talk of ‘testimonial injustice’ should play.2 I will begin by summarizing Rousseau’s understanding of amour-propre, and especially the way in which, as I read Rousseau, desiring another’s recognition involves acknowledging that other in their aspect as a free being. I will then turn to Rousseau’s fullest exploration of speech, the Essay on the Origin of Languages, and Rousseau’s characterization of vocal speech as an expression of our passional or affective natures. I will argue that in this essay Rousseau is gesturing at the way in which speech, and especially what we would today call the illocutionary dimension of speech, involves desiring the recognition of an audience.3 (In a normal case of testimony, the speaker desires that the audience notice that they are telling them something, and also desires that the audience accept their testimony.) Since the characteristic response to the thwarting of amour-propre is insult, this understanding of Rousseau should put in context the feeling of insult appropriate upon having one’s speech act rejected.

54  Byron Davies But I also want to draw our attention to some ways in which having one’s speech act rejected is different from other instances of having one’s amour-propre thwarted: for example, when one is denied the love that one seeks. In addressing an audience, we expect that the audience owes us a response; and when the expected response is not forthcoming, it is easier to see ourselves as wronged, or as subject to an injustice, than, say, when our love has not been reciprocated. And I think it is observations of this sort that motivate Adam Smith, whose Theory of Moral Sentiments was likely influenced by Rousseau,4 to explore responses, such as gratitude, that we can think of ourselves as owed, especially in the context of our addressing a second person, but whose satisfactoriness consists in its being an expression of the other’s freedom: that is, in its not being forced. And I will argue that this character of second-personal exchanges can account for the peculiar frustration of a speaker whose testimony has been rejected, and that it can account for Smith’s interest in questions about testimony, particularly his assertion, toward the end of the last edition of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, that ‘It is always mortifying not to be believed’ (Smith 1976a: VII.iv.26; henceforth abbreviated ‘TMS’).5 For reasons I will give below, Smith would be resistant to talk of ‘injustice’ in this context. But this way of looking at the insult in not being believed better allows us to comprehend the specific kind of humiliation involved when someone is (persistently, or for systematic reasons) disbelieved on the basis of their social status. I will close by noting some ways in which Rousseau’s egalitarian political prescriptions can be understood as having the effect of limiting the social significance of that humiliation, or at least of limiting the social significance of our being dependent on another’s capricious judgment about our trustworthiness.

Rousseau on amour-propre As early as in the Discourse on the Origins of Inequality (or Second Discourse), Rousseau distinguishes between two kinds of self-love: amour de soi, or the desire for self-preservation, and amour-propre, or the desire for recognition from others. And in that work Rousseau characterizes our being subject to amour-propre as among the traits that mark us out, among the animals, as specifically social creatures. While the solitary sauvage of the Second Discourse had no concern but his own self-preservation,6 it is with the emergence of what Rousseau calls ‘nascent society’, and with it the first appearance of amour-propre, that we first came to care what others think of us, how they take us, and what standing we have in their eyes (Rousseau 1997a: 167, 172). And I think we can better understand the way in which being subject to amourpropre distinguishes us as social, at least among those creatures also concerned with their own self-preservation, once we appreciate how being subject to this passion requires acknowledging others as free beings (and in ways that being subject to amour de soi does not). For the sauvage, all forms of satisfaction were ‘ready to hand’, not just in that he enjoyed abundant resources, but also in that he was subject to no desire that could not be satisfied, at least in principle, through

Speech, the affective, and the insult in not being believed  55 exercises of his will (Rousseau 1997a: 143). The food and shelter he sought as means to his self-preservation could be had, at least in principle, through taking the right, and sufficiently forceful, steps toward it. Even if as a matter of fact there was no food available to the sauvage, there is nothing in the nature of food such that he could not get it, and be satisfied by it, through force. Moreover, since the sauvage related to others of his own kind principally as means to his own self-preservation, his relations to them were less-than-fully social: he saw them as he saw any other objects of amour de soi, as sources of satisfaction available to the will. But with the rise of nascent society, and the appearance of amour-propre, everything changes (Rousseau 1997a: 165–7). And this is because, in being subject to amour-propre, one thereby sees others as sources of a kind of satisfaction (that is, recognition) whose satisfactoriness depends on its being unforced, on its being left up to the other person. Familiarly, love brought about by pill or potion is not satisfying, and neither is any kind of recognition that is forced or extracted. Thus, in desiring recognition from another, one thereby acknowledges that other as more than an instrument for one’s self-preservation, but also as a free being. Of course, recognition as, say, the best singer or dancer may bring about residual benefits, among them the objects of amour de soi, such as greater access to food and shelter. But one of Rousseau’s characteristic insights is that recognition is something we may desire for its own sake, independent of these benefits: something familiar from the insult we feel upon being denied the recognition we seek.7 Indeed, one of Rousseau’s philosophical achievements is his making vivid the categorical difference between the frustrations we feel when amour-propre is thwarted and those we feel upon being denied food, shelter, and other nonpositional goods. Exactly because denied recognition may reflect something about oneself, or another’s judgment about oneself, it may be the appropriate object of insult or resentment, and in a way that the frustrations of hunger (unless brought about by another’s spite or contempt) would not.8 Moreover, insult of this sort is frustrating because it cannot be corrected, either by force or by claiming a right against it. Even supposing one could force another to appreciate one’s talents, the satisfactoriness of that recognition would be spoiled in one’s knowing that it had been brought about by force, including claims to right. Thus, it is in this sense that feeling insulted at the denial of recognition involves acknowledging the freedom of another (specifically, the other whose recognition one seeks).

Amour-propre and the origins of vocal speech I now want to turn to Rousseau’s Essay on the Origin of Languages, and to how in that work Rousseau can be read as exploring the intersubjective dimension of speech, and in particular the ways in which speaking to another is necessarily a manifestation of amour-propre. Like many philosophers, Rousseau thinks that speech distinguishes us from the other animals (Rousseau 1997a: 248). Since he also thinks that what distinguishes us as specifically social creatures is our being subject to amour-propre, that would be reason enough to explore the connections

56  Byron Davies between speech and the desire for recognition from others. And indeed, Rousseau seems to think of the historical development of vocal speech as motivated by more than physical needs (that is, more than our being subject to amour de soi) but also by the desire to communicate our passions to others. As he says in the Essay, ‘[N]eeds dictated the first gestures and the passions wrung the first voices’ (Rousseau 1997a: 250–1). Of course, that bare description of speech, as a vehicle for communicating passions, does not yet distinguish human speech from the passionate cries of nonhuman animals. But Rousseau makes explicit that such animal cries, say of pain or pleasure, do not involve anything like the acknowledgement of their audiences as free beings that we have seen as characteristic of human social relations, and of humans’ being subject to amour-propre. Even in crying out to another of his kind, according to Rousseau, a non-human animal sees that other as little more than an instrument for its own self-preservation: for example, as a source of relief from its pain (something that need not engage the freedom of the hearer, and may even be brought about mechanically). In contrast, in describing the earliest manifestations of human vocal speech, Rousseau characterizes a speaker as seeking not just any response from her audience, and not just any response for which speaking is an incidental means, but specifically recognition of herself as a speaker, and by the audience in his capacity for understanding.9 Among other things, Rousseau says that the ‘primary aim’ of the first manifestations of vocal speech was to communicate passions ‘to the ear as well as to the understanding’; and that in such speech passion seeks ‘to communicate itself’ (Rousseau 1997a: 255). I want to suggest that here Rousseau is describing moments of address familiar in directed speech, and especially speech in what we today call its illocutionary dimension. Speech acts such as telling and promising seek another’s recognition in at least two respects: what I want to call notice and acceptance. First, in telling someone something, or in making a promise, one seeks the audience’s notice of oneself as addressing her, and in particular notice that one’s address has the specific illocutionary character (as testimony, as a promise) that it has.10 Second, such speech acts seek acceptance, and in particular those responses from the speaker (being believed, having one’s promise accepted) that these acts have as their constitutive aims. If one is telling someone something, in a full-blooded sense of ‘telling’, one aims to be believed.11 Twentieth-century philosophers such as Elizabeth Anscombe and J. L. Austin have noted that there is a distinctive insult involved in not being believed.12 And more recently the philosopher Jeremy Wanderer has distinguished between having one’s testimony ignored (or gone unnoticed) and having one’s testimony rejected, and Wanderer has argued that there is a distinctive connection between rejection, in this sense, and insult (Wanderer 2012). Rousseau is less-than-fully attentive to these distinctions, and for reasons that, as I will suggest in a moment, may account for Adam Smith’s somewhat more complicated elaboration on matters of speech. But for now I want to note that, if directed speech (and in particular illocutionary address) should be understood as somehow, in its nature, risking the insult of rejection, then that should help to specify the sense in which

Speech, the affective, and the insult in not being believed  57 Rousseau understands human vocal speech (as opposed to the cries of the other animals) as passionate. That is, such speech is passionate not just in the sense that it involves the communication of passions to others, but also in that it is itself the manifestation of a peculiarly human passion: amour-propre, or the desire for recognition from others. And this emerges when we see that, in telling someone something or in making a promise to another, one seeks a response (and in particular, acceptance of one’s word) that is essentially an expression of the audience’s dimension as a free being. Even if one could force another to believe oneself, or to accept one’s promise, one would nevertheless feel dissatisfied at having to resort to force in order to bring about a response (another’s acceptance of one’s word) that ought to be free. And even if such force brought about the residual benefits of having one’s word accepted, it would hardly make up for the insult appropriate upon seeing that the audience’s unforced acceptance of one’s word is not forthcoming.

Adam Smith and mortification As exciting as we might find Rousseau’s understanding of the role in speech of the desire for recognition from others, there is also something disappointing about it, or at least as presented here. In the way that I have presented things so far, the insult in not being believed (or in having one’s promise rejected) may be little different from those feelings of insult appropriate upon any other thwarting of one’s amour-propre: say, learning that another holds a low opinion of oneself, or (perhaps) coming to understand that another will not reciprocate one’s love. But the nature of testimony and promising as forms of address make their rejection, and the insult appropriate upon their rejection, manifestly unlike these cases. This may become clearer when we consider the contrast between having one’s testimony rejected and coming to learn that another person, whose opinion of oneself one cares about, thinks of oneself as unreliable or insincere: for example, through hearsay or through reading this in their diary. Even if we grant that a feeling of insult may be appropriate in the latter instance, it seems to lack the distinctive character of insult appropriate upon active rejection that we see in former. The insult appropriate in the former instance is that frustration familiar from learning that one is not thought of as well as one would like to be; that in the latter is the frustration familiar from having one’s claim upon another person actively rejected. If Rousseau’s writing on amour-propre does not sufficiently make this distinction between forms of insult, a striking feature of Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments is its attention to a distinction much like this one, and particularly as it arises in directed speech. Toward the end of the last edition of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith presents a discussion of what he calls ‘rules of veracity’, and in the course of which he asserts, ‘It is always mortifying not be be believed, and it is doubly so when we suspect that it is because we are supposed to be unworthy of belief and capable of seriously and willfully deceiving’ (TMS: VII.iv.24).13

58  Byron Davies To be fair, in this discussion of Smith’s, considered very locally, there is little attention to the distinctive insult (or ‘mortification’) involved in having one’s testimony actively rejected. Thus, Smith accounts for this mortification in terms of an insult to one’s standing very much like any other instance of being thought badly along some dimension one cares about: in this instance, one is mortified at being thought unreliable or insincere. Therefore, other than Smith’s specific emphasis on our desire to be believed, and as what he calls ‘the instinct upon which is founded the faculty of speech’,14 there is little, it seems, to distinguish Smith’s discussion from Rousseau’s treatment of vocal speech as a manifestation of the desire for recognition from others. In neither case, it appears, is there much sensitivity to the idea that there is a distinctive insult in having one’s testimony rejected. But things look very different when we bring this discussion together with Smith’s treatment of the nature of gratitude (earlier in The Theory of Moral Sentiments). And here it is important to note that gratitude invites comparison with the responses sought in illocutionary acts, such as telling and promising, in that it is necessarily a response to a kind of directed address: paradigmatically, the giving of a gift. No matter how well one may think of someone, one cannot manifest gratitude toward that person unless they have done something to one.15 Moreover, in overtly giving a gift to someone, one expects an expression of gratitude, and one is insulted when such an expression is not forthcoming. (It is easy to see this as a kind of rejection, even if it need not involve the overt return of the gift.) At the same time, there is something paradoxical about the familiar idea that one is owed another’s gratitude. After all, what we normally take ourselves to be owed, such as a monetary debt, is something that can be forced or extracted from another, including by claiming a right to it, without spoiling its satisfactoriness. But another’s gratitude is unsatisfactory unless it is unforced – indeed, unless it is, in a sense, gratuitous – in just the way that we have seen as characteristic of satisfactory recognition. Smith captures some of these points – and in particular, the equivocal nature of gratitude as something one is owed and as something that, to be satisfactory, must be an expression of freedom – by suggesting that it occupies a kind of middle ground between observations of ‘justice’, which can be forced, including through claims to right, and acts of ‘beneficence’, which cannot. While ‘Even the most ordinary degree of kindness or beneficence [cannot] be extorted by force’ (TMS: II.ii.2.7), according to Smith, justice is that virtue ‘of which the observance is not left to the freedom of our wills’, and whose violation is ‘the proper object of resentment, and of punishment’ (TMS: II.ii.1.4). But Smith adds that among the so-called ‘duties of beneficence’, whose observation cannot be extracted, those of gratitude are in a sense ‘less free’ than those of friendship, generosity, and charity, and exactly because gratitude is the sort of response we can see ourselves as owed. Smith says, ‘We talk of the debt of gratitude, not of charity or generosity, nor even of friendship’, at least when friendship has not been ‘complicated with gratitude for good offices’ (TMS: II.ii.1.3).16 I want to insist that Smith’s attention to responses (in this case, gratitude) that we can be seen as owed, while at the same time expecting them to be

Speech, the affective, and the insult in not being believed  59 manifestations of the other’s freedom, can help illuminate his later discussion of the ‘mortification’ in not being believed, and why there is a distinctive insult in having one’s word rejected. And this requires seeing how in testimony one makes a claim upon another person, and in a way that invites comparison with the claims characteristic of ‘justice’ in Smith’s sense: in particular, when, citing the requirements of justice, one makes a claim upon another person that they behave toward one, or refrain from behaving toward one, in a certain way (at risk of punishment or some sufficiently strong affront). What these interactions (testimony, claiming a right) share are features characteristic of second-personal address.17 When another recognizes that one is making such a claim of right upon them, the possibilities of ignoring that address, or letting it go unnoticed, are no longer available to the audience. Upon recognizing the nature of the address, the audience must either accept the speaker’s claim (and follow through on the requested behavior) or reject it. Indeed, the audience can try to ignore the speaker’s claim, but, in the context of the address, to ignore the claim is to reject it.18 And this point can help to account not only for the sense in which one can be ‘owed’ certain responses in the context of an address, but also for the distinctive insult involved in, say, not being believed. Again, this insult is categorically different from that involved in (merely) meeting another’s disapproval, and exactly because of its appearance in the context of an address: that insult inheres not (only) in one’s being thought of in lesser terms than one would like, but also in the audience’s having rejected one’s claim upon them. At the same time, testimony is unlike a claim to right in that what the speaker seeks is a manifestation of the audience’s freedom. In discussing gratitude, Smith captures this point, about the essentially free nature of certain responses from others, in somewhat different terms than Rousseau does. As I have presented Rousseau’s views, another’s recognition of oneself is satisfactory only to the extent that it is unforced. According to Smith, it would be improper, or bring dishonour upon oneself, to try to extract another’s gratitude by force.19 But on either understanding of the freedom we seek in these responses, the recognition of oneself involved in being believed, is, despite the sense in which one may be ‘owed’ such recognition, nevertheless up to the audience, and outside one’s powers of extraction. And this point may further account for the distinctive insult (and indeed, when it is on the basis of one’s race, class, gender or sexual identity, disability, or other social status, the humiliation) in not being believed. If the recognition involved in being believed is unlike those responses one can claim as a matter of right, in that it cannot be extracted, then that only underscores the humiliation, and sense of powerlessness, of those who are (persistently, and for systematic reasons) disbelieved, especially when the audience is (persistently, and for systematic reasons) unresponsive to their powers of persuasion.

Political consequences There is a way in which this last point can be taken as an expression of scepticism about the idea of epistemic or testimonial injustice (as it has emerged in

60  Byron Davies recent philosophy), and I want to try to avert that way of taking what I am saying. Smith’s understanding of justice, as what can be extracted by force, may be an overly narrow one, and it should not preclude other understandings of the word ‘justice’, including ones more appropriate to the idea of epistemic injustice, as it has been elaborated on, mostly notably, in Miranda Fricker’s recent work (Fricker 2007).20 And even if we do want to maintain an association between justice and what can be extracted by force, that should not preclude our using other terms of normative criticism to characterize a society in which people of a certain status are systemically disbelieved: including vocabulary of humiliation, objectification, dehumanization, and social pathology. In any case, my concern so far, in turning to two philosophers (Rousseau and Adam Smith) well-known for their writing on the desire for recognition from others, has been to use the idea of such a desire, and its conditions for satisfaction, to illuminate what is distinctive about the insult in not being believed. If a consequence of this discussion has been that a narrow sense of ‘justice’ is inapplicable to understandings of that insult, another consequence (I hope) is that nothing short of a concern for the systematic nature of the humiliation of not being believed (on the basis of one’s status) will address that social ill. As it happens, a concern with the systematic nature of such humiliation may take us deeper into Rousseau’s positive political philosophy, and its emphasis on equality, than I have so far been able to do here. And there is an important contrast between the sorts of positive prescriptions that Smith offers, at least as they bear directly on the humiliation in not being believed, and those we can attribute to Rousseau. For Smith is especially vivid in his depictions of the psychological toll that not being believed can incur on the falsely accused in criminal cases. As he says of the innocent man, ‘brought to the scaffold by the false imputation of an infamous or odious crime’: He is struck with horror at the thoughts of the infamy which the punishment may shed upon his memory, and foresees, with the most exquisite anguish, that he is hereafter to be remembered by his dearest friends and relations, not with regret and affection, but with shame, and even with horror for his supposed disgraceful conduct: and the shades of death appear to close round him with a darker and more melancholy gloom than naturally belongs to them. (TMS III.2.11). Like elsewhere in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith is clear about the extent to which our well-being depends upon our not being thought of badly by others, even independently of the consequences of our being so regarded: the falsely accused feels a peculiar shame apparently separate from the prospective fear of punishment. Also, consummate with that book’s tendency to emphasize individual psychological manoeuvres over collective political prescriptions, Smith recurs to the idea that whatever consolation the falsely accused may enjoy consists in the exculpation, or approval, of an internalized ‘other’: the impartial spectator, who knows that the accused has done no wrong, or ‘Those vicegerents of God within

Speech, the affective, and the insult in not being believed  61 us [who] always reward obedience with tranquility of mind, with content, and self-satisfaction’ (TMS III.5.6). (It is therefore not surprising that Smith suggests, in the case of someone permanently pinned to a false accusation, ‘Religion can alone afford them any effectual comfort’ [TMS III.2.12].) And this is where Rousseau’s positive prescriptions constitute an important contrast with Smith’s. As it happens, Rousseau is not unconcerned with individual psychological manoeuvres for addressing one’s own humiliation, or one’s being falsely accused. (These concerns are most prominent in Rousseau’s autobiographical writings, and especially in the expressions of his late-life attempts to achieve solace in the face of accusations and humiliation.)21 But, even when Rousseau’s positive political prescriptions do not bear directly on criminal cases, they are nevertheless, in contrast with what Smith offers, political: they aim at general and collective solutions, including ones with the consequence of limiting the significance of not being believed, and of being falsely accused, in our lives.22 For Rousseau, one of the central aims of the social contract, and a consequence of the kinds of equality it introduces, is to eliminate unneeded forms of dependence on particular individuals: ‘so that every Citizen be perfectly independent of all the others, and excessively dependent on the City’ and its laws (Rousseau 1997b, II.12.iii: 80). Indeed, as Frederick Neuhouser characterizes Rousseau’s view, the law in an egalitarian republic ‘protects individuals from capricious wills’ (Neuhouser 1993: 389). But we should also understand such a law as aiming to protect individuals from capricious minds: that is, it aims to protect individuals from being in circumstances in which their livelihoods are overly dependent on another’s judgment, including whenever it is a question of their being believed. Neuhouser, in his reading of Rousseau, understands the social contract as ‘restructuring dependence’ both in the formal equality that it introduces (that all citizens are equal under the law) and in the material equality that it introduces (that ‘no citizen [be] so poor that he is compelled to sell himself’ [Rousseau 1997b, II.11.ii: 78]) (Neuhouser 1993: 388–90). Of course, Rousseau is not so utopian as to think that political measures could eliminate all pathological forms of dependence on others, and neither should we attribute to him the expectation that the social contract would eliminate every pathological form of dependence (for example, individual instances of blackmail or coercion) in which dependence on another person’s judgment of one’s trustworthiness plays some role. Rather, I want to close by noting how both kinds of equality (formal and material) can be understood as limiting the social significance of the phenomenon of not being believed, and especially the phenomenon of not being believed on the basis of one’s social status. First, in the case of the formal equality that the social contract introduces: since, for Rousseau, the law applies to all citizens and makes no exceptions among them,23 the applicability of the law to a particular citizen should not depend on any other individual’s perception of their trustworthiness. Even in cases when someone is falsely accused of a crime, the formal equality of the law helps to protect them from extralegal proceedings (that is, ideally, proceedings other than what all citizens would consent to, knowing their own susceptibility to false accusation).

62  Byron Davies And it helps to protect them from what an individual may capriciously will based on their judgment of the trustworthiness of the accused (specifically, it helps to protect against cases of vigilante justice). Second, in the case of the material equality that the social contract introduces: because the social contract aims to supply for the subsistence of all so that no one will be forced to sell themselves (and thereby be subject to the capricious will of a master),24 no one’s capacity for subsistence should, likewise, depend on any other individual’s perception of their trustworthiness. Thus, the social contract will protect one’s capacity for subsistence even when perceptions of untrustworthiness, including those occasioned by one’s social status, prevent one from securing employment. I will not here attempt to improve upon those commentators on Rousseau who have linked these political considerations to the issue of recognition: that is, those who have written on how these political measures are necessitated by the peculiar kinds of dependence wrought by amour-propre, and on how these measures might themselves be satisfactory of amour-propre.25 Moreover, these considerations are for the most part independent of the idea, which I have tried to make sense of through examining both Smith and Rousseau, that there is a peculiar insult in not being believed. After all, we do not need to see that there is such a peculiar insult, let alone that it is made possible by features of second-personal address, in order to appreciate that a consequence of Rousseau’s egalitarian prescriptions is the limiting of the social significance of our being dependent on another’s capricious judgment about our trustworthiness. Nevertheless, through examining together Rousseau’s and Smith’s views on speech and recognition, I hope we can appreciate the importance of keeping in view at once two perspectives on the phenomenon of not being believed: (1) its appearance within the context of second-personal address, and the peculiar insult, and sense of helplessness of the part of the disbelieved, that that context affords; and (2) its appearance as a kind of dependence on the capricious judgment of another, whose social significance can be limited through egalitarian measures. If we only read Smith and Rousseau apart from each other, then we might miss how deeply important both of these perspectives are.26

Notes 1 Some other connections between Rousseau and Smith on the desire for recognition from others have already been noted by Frederick Neuhouser (Neuhouser 2008: 230–1, 248, 263). 2 Recent contributions to the topic of ‘testimonial injustice’ have included the work of Miranda Fricker (Fricker 2007: 9–29) and Jeremy Wanderer (Wanderer 2012). 3 My talk of the ‘illocutionary dimension of speech’ is my specific way of respecting the sort of point Jennifer Hornsby makes in saying, ‘When there is an utterance, there is an action of someone’s. But in the case of any one such action, there will be many things the speaker has done—many acts that she has performed’ (Hornsby 1994: 188). Thus, a particular utterance may be evaluated along several dimensions, including not only as an illocutionary act, but also as a locutionary act and (in many cases) as a perlocutionary act.

Speech, the affective, and the insult in not being believed  63 4 Smith wrote the first English review of Rousseau’s Discourse on the Origins of Inequality (Rousseau 1997a: 111–222) in his ‘Letter to the Authors of the Edinburgh Review’ (Smith 1980: 242–54). Recent work on Smith’s engagement with Rousseau include that of István Hont (Hont 2015), Charles Griswold (Griswold 2010, 2018), and Dennis Rasmussen (Rasmussen 2008). 5 Though Smith does not himself make this explicit, any discussion of the ‘insult’ or ‘mortification’ in not being believed should presuppose a context of testimony about ordinary factual matters that the speaker can be expected to know about. Therefore, I am not here considering contexts such as argument or debate in which the speaker might make assertions without aiming for others’ belief in those assertions, and in which other kinds of insult (such as the insult in not being listened to or paid attention to) are nevertheless possible. For discussion of such other contexts of assertion, including those in which the ‘convincingness of what is said [. . .] need not depend at all on the assumption that the speaker himself believes what he is saying’, see Moran 2005b: 343–7. 6 Throughout I will follow Rousseau in referring to the sauvage using masculine pronouns. I also use the French ‘sauvage’ since the English ‘savage’ does not capture the full range of connotations it is reasonable to think Rousseau is drawing on: including not only cruelty and primitiveness but also solitariness and asociality (Littré 1873–74). 7 Neuhouser argues that ‘having amour-propre means that we value the favorable opinion of others as a non-instrumental good’ (Neuhouser 2008: 35). 8 Similarly, Niko Kolodny says of this contrast between amour-propre and amour de soi, ‘The sort of dissatisfaction that one feels when brute nature resists the satisfaction of one’s Preservative Amour de Soi [. . .] lacks this interpersonal or communicative register. It is mere anxiety and pain, which finds no expression in demands or objections [. . .]’ (Kolodny 2010: 175). 9 Here, for clarity, I use feminine pronouns to refer to the speaker and masculine pronouns to refer to the audience. 10 This is a point recently developed by Richard Moran (2005a). 11 As J. L. Austin insisted, our understanding of cases in which a speaker does not aim at being believed is nevertheless ‘parasitic’ on our understanding of the ‘normal’ case (Austin 1975: 22). 12 Anscombe says, ‘It is an insult and may be an injury not to be believed. At least it is an insult if one is oneself made aware of the refusal, and it may be an injury if others are’ (Anscombe 1979: 150). And Austin says, ‘If I have said I know or I promise, you insult me in a special way by refusing to accept it’ (Austin 1979: 100). 13 An important background for any Scottish Enlightenment discussion of testimony, including Smith’s, would have been the debate, initiated by David Hume’s essay ‘Of miracles’ (Hume 2000, 10.1–41: 83–99) over the justification for believing in miracles on the basis of testimony. Both Hume’s 1748 essay and George Campbell’s 1763 response to it (Campbell 1827) preceded the last edition of The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1790). I am here in effect arguing that Smith’s distinctive contribution to Scottish Enlightenment discussions of testimony was to bring out its intersubjective character, which was largely absent from Hume’s and Campbell’s discussions, and which is made apparent in his treatment of the ‘mortification’ in not being believed. I am grateful to an anonymous reviewer for bringing to my attention the importance of this larger context for Smith’s discussion. 14 We should nevertheless be attuned to whenever Smith discusses ‘the faculty of speech’, as in a well-known passage in The Wealth of Nations he entertains the thought that our capacity for economic exchange (and, we might add, the kinds of recognition, or misrecognition, exchange makes possible) is a ‘necessary consequence’ of ‘the faculties of reason and speech’ (WN I.ii.2). For discussion, see Griswold 2018: 157–60. 15 Cf. Haakonssen 1989: 63. Despite this, according to Smith, someone other than the recipient of the gift or assistance might take an ‘indirect sympathy’ in the latter’s

64  Byron Davies gratitude (TMS II.i.5.2). Such an ‘indirect’ or ‘spectator’s’ sympathy is, according to D. D. Raphael, ‘a perception that, if he were in [that person’s] situation and were helped, he would have the same feeling of gratitude’ (Raphael 1985: 30). 16 That gratitude is a gratuitous response we can nevertheless see ourselves as owed is among the issues taken up in Georg Simmel’s essay ‘Faithfulness and Gratitude’ (Simmel 1950). Indeed, it would be fruitful, I expect, to compare Smith and Simmel on gratitude more fully elsewhere. Note that for Smith another respect in which gratitude occupies a ‘middle ground’ between justice and beneficence is that its characteristic ‘rules’ are both less determinate than those of justice and more determinate than those of beneficence and friendship. (See TMS III.6.9 and Griswold 1999: 193). 17 The notion of second-personal address is important to the work of Stephen Darwall (2006). That the notion has some application to testimony has been explored by Benjamin McMyler (2011), Jeremy Wanderer (2012), and Richard Moran (2013). 18 Compare with Korsgaard’s treatment of address: ‘If I call out your name, I make you stop in your tracks. [. . .] Now you cannot proceed as you did before. Oh, you can proceed all right, but not as you did before. For now if you walk on, you will be ignoring me and slighting me’ (Korsgaard 1996: 140). 19 Most importantly for Smith, it would bring upon the disapproval of the impartial spectator. 20 Michelle A. Schwarze and John Scott have recently discussed Smith’s narrow use of the term ‘justice’ in comparison with broader uses (Schwarze and Scott 2015: 469–472). 21 These include Rousseau’s suggesting, at the beginning of The Reveries of the Solitary Walker, that by submitting to the fate of his humiliation, he is free from the disappointments of hoping for a relief from it (Rousseau 1992: 2–3). They also include his entertaining the thought that his insulters ‘were nothing more than automatons’ (Rousseau 1992: 114). 22 Darwall argues that for Smith there is an egalitarian structure immanent in ordinary moral accountability (Darwall 1999). But this is very different from the sort of egalitarianism we find in Rousseau’s positive political prescriptions, and especially different from the material egalitarianism that Rousseau advocates: including both the limiting of inequalities in wealth and the alienation of private property to the community so that it can be distributed according to human need (Rousseau 1997b, I.9, II.11.ii: 54–6, 78). Indeed, we might think that it is exactly because Rousseau cannot find that sort of egalitarian structure in ordinary moral accountability (that Smith does) that he advocates egalitarianism as a specifically political programme. (Rousseau thinks that ordinary moral accountability favours the wealthy: Rousseau 1997b: 31–2.) For differences, and occasional commonalities, between Smith’s and Rousseau’s attitudes toward material inequality, see Colletti (1972: 155–63). 23 For example, Rousseau says that the general will must ‘issue from all in order to apply to all’ (Rousseau 1997b, II.4.v: 62); also, ‘Every condition imposed on each by all cannot be onerous to anyone, and the worst of Laws is worth even more than the best master; for every master has preferences, and the Law never has any’ (Rousseau 2001: 261). 24 This is part of what Rousseau means when he says that ‘to provide for the public needs is a clear consequence of the general will, and [one of] the essential [duties] of government’ (Rousseau 1997b: 23). Cf. Neuhouser (1993: 389). 25 I especially have in mind the work of Joshua Cohen (2010: 97–130), N. J. H. Dent (1988 and 1992: 33–6), Frederick Neuhouser (1993: 390–1 and 2008), and John Rawls (2008: 191–213). 26 I am grateful for comments on earlier versions of this paper by Miranda Fricker, Micha Glaeser, Allan Hazlett, Getty Lustila, Richard Moran, Frederick Neuhouser, Jeremy Wanderer, and two anonymous reviewers for The Adam Smith Review. I am also grateful for questions on earlier versions from audiences at the 2015 Boston University Graduate Philosophy Conference, at a conference on the work of Miranda Fricker at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and at a conference on Themes from Smith

Speech, the affective, and the insult in not being believed  65 and Rousseau at the University of Glasgow. I acknowledge the support of UNAM’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program at the Institute for Philosophical Research, in which I am under the supervision of Carlos Pereda.

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66  Byron Davies Moran, R. (2005a) ‘Getting Told and Being Believed’, Philosopher’s Imprint, 5: 1–29. —— (2005b) ‘Problems of Sincerity’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 105: 325–45. —— (2013) ‘Testimony, Illocution and the Second Person’, Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, 87: 115–135. Neuhouser, F. (1993) ‘Freedom, Dependence, and the General Will’, The Philosophical Review, 102: 363–95. —— (2008) Rousseau’s Theodicy of Self-Love: Evil, Rationality, and the Drive for Recognition, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Raphael, D. D. (1985) Adam Smith, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Rasmussen, D. (2008) The Problems and Promise of Commercial Society: Adam Smith’s Response to Rousseau, University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University Press. Rawls, J. (2008) Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy, S. Freeman (ed.), Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Rousseau, J.-J. (1992) The Reveries of the Solitary Walker, trans. C. Butterworth, Indianapolis: Hackett. —— (1997a) Rousseau: The Discourses and Other Early Political Writings, ed. and trans. V. Gourevitch, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. —— (1997b) Rousseau: The Social Contract and Other Later Political Writings, ed. and trans. V. Gourevitch, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. —— (2001) The Collected Writings of Rousseau, vol. 9, C. Kelly and J. Bush (eds), Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England. Schwarze, M. and Scott, J. (2015) ‘Spontaneous Disorder in Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments: Resentment, Injustice, and the Appeal of Providence’, The Journal of Politics 77: 463–476. Simmel, G. (1950) ‘Faithfulness and Gratitude’, in The Sociology of Georg Simmel, ed. and trans. K. Wolff, New York: The Free Press. Smith, A. (1976a) The Theory of Moral Sentiments, (eds) D. D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie, Oxford: Oxford University Press; Glasgow edition. —— (1976b) An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, (eds) R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner, Oxford: Oxford University Press; Glasgow edition. —— (1980) Essays on Philosophical Subjects, (ed.) W. P. D. Wightman, Oxford: Oxford University Press; Glasgow edition. Wanderer, J. (2012) ‘Addressing Testimonial Injustice: Being Ignored and Being Rejected’, The Philosophical Quarterly 62: 148–169.

Smith and Rousseau on imitation and impassioned musical expression The challenge of instrumental music in the second half of the eighteenth century Kris Worsley “The melody and harmony of instrumental Music . . . do not distinctly and clearly suggest any thing that is different from melody and harmony.” Adam Smith, 1777. (IA II.31; Smith 1980) “The majority of [C. P. E. Bach’s sonatas for harpsichord] are so eloquent that one almost believes to be hearing not a series of musical tones, but a comprehensible speech that moves and engages our imagination and emotions.” J. A. P. Schultz, 1774. (Baker and Christensen 1995: 104)

The capacity of music to have a meaning was a source of great discussion and conflict across Europe in the eighteenth century. Amongst the shifts in national styles and musical aesthetics of the period, many composers and critics agreed that it was music’s capacity to imitate that made it expressive. For some, this imitation was limited only to the direct mimicking of real-world sounds (such as bird song) whose pitches and rhythms music could recreate in performance. For others such as Rousseau, music became expressive by imitating the pitches and rhythms of impassioned speech. More radically, some held that music by itself was capable of imitating human emotions, expressing a sentiment through abstract means, although an accompaniment of words, spoken or sung, was often needed in order to provide a concrete meaning to a musical work. The philosopher J. C. Gottsched took the extreme view on musical meaning, holding that: Music by itself is soulless and unintelligible when it does not cling to words, which must speak for it, so that one knows what it means . . . [a sonata is] a labyrinth of tones, which sound neither happy nor sad, neither touching nor moving. (Gottsched 1754: 207 and 189; Irving 1997: 3) In seeking to clarify the relationship between music and emotional states, Gottsched’s implication here is that instrumental music was incapable even of provoking an emotional response from the listener, lacking not only intrinsic meaning (making it ‘soulless’) but also extrinsic meaning (making it ‘unintelligible’). Such blanket denials of musical meaning met with various adversaries, of which

68  Kris Worsley Smith and Rousseau both provide subtle and carefully shaded critiques. It is the purpose of this paper to examine Rousseau’s and Smith’s ideas on musical imitation and expression within the context of musical works from the second half of the eighteenth century. In particular, I will argue that the repertoire of domestic keyboard music in the period developed and fostered a new aesthetic of musical meaning derived from changing ideals of vocal performance, a process upon which Smith’s and Rousseau’s writings offer an important commentary.

Imitation and the voice Smith’s most significant contribution to this debate is found in his essay ‘Of the Imitative Arts’, dealing as it does with ‘imitation’ in music, rather than with ‘expression’, although there are shared features between the two. In order for music to be imitative, Smith claimed, it must be accompanied by words. Instrumental music, therefore, did not hold all the necessary properties either to suggest a mood in general (IA II.31) or to imitate ‘the gay, calm or melancholic’ moods more specifically (IA II.23); emotional expression in music operates, he wrote, by exciting moods which are already present within a listener. Smith views a person’s exposure to instrumental music in the same vein as their exposure to any event that may move the emotions. One only need consider the distance he places between the emotions of one person and those of a compassionate observer in the opening pages of The Theory of Moral Sentiments: Though our brother is upon the rack, as long as we ourselves are at our ease, our senses will never inform us of what he suffers. They never did, and never can, carry us beyond our own person, and it is by the imagination only that we can form any conception of what are his sensations . . . It is the impressions of our own senses only, not those of his, which our imaginations copy. (TMS I.i.i.2; Smith 1976) The subtle lines in between imitation and expression (where both the imitation of bird song and the imitation of human emotions fall within the terms of Smith’s discussion) provides a fundamental challenge to the work of many composers who, after Aristotle,1 understood instrumental music as a fully imitative art.2 For Smith, however, the expressive capacities of music lie outside of its imitative qualities, relying instead upon additional factors through which it may be expressive. Instrumental Music . . . though it may, no doubt, be considered in some respects as an imitative art, is certainly less so than any other which merits that appellation; it can imitate but a few objects, and even these so imperfectly, that without the accompaniment of some other art, its imitation is scarce even intelligible: imitation is by no means essential to it, and the principal effects which it is capable of producing arises from powers altogether different from those of imitation. [my italics] (IA 2.32)

Smith and Rousseau on musical expression  69 For instrumental works without a vocal text, a descriptive title could clarify the intended object or event of imitation. Examples abound amongst the keyboard works of Rameau and Couperin (Chua 1999: 90), although Rousseau couldn’t help but make a back-handed slight on such pieces in his Dictionnaire de musique, writing in his entry on ‘Sonata’ [Sonate] that, To know what all this fracas of sonatas would mean, with which we are loaded, we must do as the ignorant painter was obliged to write under his figures, ‘This is a tree.’ ‘This is a man.’ ‘And this is a horse.’ (Rousseau 1775: 369) The primacy of Rousseau’s derision epitomises the extent to which such imitation had rapidly developed as a popular tool for composers, who could impress upon their audience an intended meaning of a work without resorting to either the singing voice, or even the spoken voice so popular in melodrama. Nevertheless, as technological developments in musical instrument manufacture throughout the eighteenth century aided a more even and sustained tone through different registers of wind, string and keyboard instruments, whilst also giving musicians greater control to provide inflections of tone, instrumentalists, teachers and composers all began to recognise the greater potential for instruments to imitate the inflections of the human voice, both as it was heard in speech and in song. Such thinking can be seen to dominate the writings of German musicians from the period, caught up in the fashionable Empfindsamkeit style (a close relative of the English and French sensibility and sensibilité movements), whilst spectating as outsiders to the warring French and Italian styles in the Querelle des Bouffons, in addition to taking inspiration for the developing styles that would dominate European music in the second half of the century. The flautist Johann Joachim Quantz, Master of Music to Frederick the Great, wrote in 1752 that the study of singing would allow the flautist to ‘acquire good execution in his playing so much the more easily . . . [H]e will not remain just a simple player of the flute, but will be on the way to becoming, in time, a musician in the true sense.’ (Quantz 1966: 115). This was echoed down the later years of the century, with Johann Georg Tromlitz recommending the singing voice as ‘the only model’ for good flute playing in 1786, adding later in 1791 (in agreement with Aristotle) that instrumental music is ‘but an imitation’ of singing (Tromlitz 1991: 152). Nor was this limited to wind instruments where the instrumental output is governed by the performer’s breath. In relation to violin playing, Leopold Mozart (father of Wolfgang Amadeus) asked rhetorically in 1756, ‘who is not aware that singing is at all times the aim of every instrumentalist?’ (Mozart 1948: 101–2). Moreover, C. P. E. Bach, champion of the Empfindsamkeit style, advised keyboard players that it was ‘good practice to sing instrumental melodies in order to reach an understanding of their correct performance’ (Bach 1949: 151–2). As composers from the 1750s onwards began to embrace the new vocal aesthetic, a clear challenge was mounted against the reigning aesthetic of instrumental music towards a more lyrical vocal style, pushing the boundaries of the music’s

70  Kris Worsley expressive and imitative qualities. Appeals for a vocal cantabile style became more common on composers’ instrumental scores, while vocal forms, such as the recitative (discussed at some length by both Rousseau and Smith), whose rhythm and tempo are characterised by the most natural delivery of the text, began to appear in instrumental works for keyboard. The instrumental recitative as a subgenre is mentioned by neither Rousseau nor Smith in any of their writings, although consideration here of the developing aesthetic which gave rise to this genre illuminates a number of finer points within their work. Much as the genre of the recitative was borrowed from the large scale works of the opera theatre, there had never before been a more suitable age for it to enter the more intimate sphere of domestic music making, suitable as it was for expressing the most passionate, personal feelings of an individual.

Smith and Rousseau on imitation Any comparison of the views of Smith and Rousseau and music is immediately aided by the fact that both writers use broadly comparable terms of discussion, even when their views differ so greatly. Smith writes with greatest focus about the imitative capacities of music, an aspect which Rousseau discusses both in his Dictionnaire de musique in a designated article on ‘Imitation’ and elsewhere, such as in his ‘Essai sur l’origine des langues’. For Rousseau, however, the imitative aspect of music is not as all-encompassing in outlining the expressive qualities of music as it is for Smith. In their discussions of musical imitation, both writers address the origin of language as a means of communication, on which their views form an effective foundation to their discussion of musical expression. Nevertheless, their opinions on the subject are directly opposed. For Smith, the organisation of society as a system takes precedence in understanding the structure of both language and music. For Rousseau, music, like language, is more the concern of the individual expressing their more primitive emotions, without the binds of grammatical or rhetorical organisation. In this regard, Rousseau’s aesthetic ideals of individual expression provided a precise fit with those of domestic keyboard music in the second half of the eighteenth century. In his essay on ‘The Imitative Arts’ Smith makes bold claims about the meagre capabilities of instrumental music to imitate anything other than music itself: There are no two things in nature more perfectly disparate than sound and sentiment; and it is impossible by any human power to fashion the one into any thing [sic] that bears any real resemblance to the other. (IA II.22) Nevertheless, the disparity Smith discusses between an object and its imitation in art is of great importance to both him and Rousseau. Both authors claim in different measure a need for disparity of sorts between the imitated object and the means of imitation, although their individual reasoning for such ideas are in opposition with each other. For Smith, the distance between the imitative art work

Smith and Rousseau on musical expression  71 and the object of imitation is necessary in order to render the imitated object attractive, and while the work of imitative art should ‘readily suggest’ the object, ‘the pleasure arising from the imitation seems to be greater in proportion as this disparity is greater’ (IA I.6). Similarly for Rousseau, imitation in music is uninteresting if it simply seeks to recreate a particular set of sounds from nature. The metaphor with language is key to this imitation, since Rousseau states that ‘objects have to speak in order to make themselves heard, in every imitation a type of discourse always has to supplement the voice of nature’ (Rousseau 1998: 323). The chief difference between the views of Smith and Rousseau here stands over the question of whether or not the disparity of imitation between sounds and human emotions is too great to be bridged by music, so that the music can be said to represent the emotion. For Smith, the difference is too great. At its most striking, his conjecture moves beyond the imitation of external phenomena (animals, landscapes, painted scenes) to moods themselves, which he claims cannot be imitated by music: Instrumental Music . . . though it can excite all those different dispositions [the gay, the calm, or the melancholy mood of the mind], it cannot imitate any of them. (IA II.23) The distinction here between the music’s ability to imitate the mood, and its ‘power of exciting and varying the different moods and dispositions of the mind, which instrumental Music really possesses to a very considerably degree’ (IA II.22) is crucial if we are to understand the true nature of the difference between Smith’s and Rousseau’s respective views. Nevertheless, in making the claim at the beginning of TMS (see above) that the feelings we experience from instrumental music are our own, stirred up by the music, Smith does not deny the strength and primacy of our emotional reaction to instrumental music, as it is ‘an original, not a sympathetic feeling: it is our own gaiety, sedateness, or melancholy’ not the reflected disposition of another person’ (IA II.22). Rousseau, like Smith, values the disparity between object and imitation in Music. For him, this disparity causes the music to appeal to the imagination, although, unlike Smith, he doesn’t see the need to differentiate between the imitation of emotion on the one hand, and the impression of that emotion in the listener on the other. Nevertheless, he too, like Smith, holds to the opinion that instrumental music ‘will not represent . . . things directly, but will arouse the same movements in the soul that are experienced in seeing them’ (Rousseau 1998: 414). What distinguishes Rousseau so greatly from Smith is the respect he holds for the role of the imagination as an objective phenomenon of experience. In describing the process by which music is able to imitate more disparate areas of experience, Rousseau is not afraid to engage with more abstract terms of description as part of the definitive process of imitation:

72  Kris Worsley [Music] portrays everything, even objects which are only visible: by an almost inconceivable magic trick [par un presige presque inconcevable] it seems to put the eye in the ear, and the greatest marvel of an Art that acts only by motion is to be able to form even the image of rest. (Rousseau 1768: 250–1; Rousseau 1998: 413–4) These are terms which were always bound to leave Smith’s thirst for system unquenched, and his frustration here is clearly illustrated in the reaction he pens against Rousseau’s article on ‘Imitation’. Referring to Rousseau as an author ‘more capable of feeling strongly than of analysing accurately’ (IA II.24), Smith quotes the above passage in criticising the association between the exciting of the mind’s moods and musical imitation. Strong as his criticism his, the effectiveness relies largely upon a rather devious mistranslation of Rousseau’s, which deceptively colours the passage with somewhat pejorative vocabulary. Rousseau’s ‘par un presige presque inconcevable’ is rendered in Smith’s translated as ‘a delusion that seems almost inconceivable’ [my italics] (IA II.24), implying that some degree of error on the part of the listener, or of dishonesty on the part of the musician, is responsible for clarifying the imitation with music alone. Rousseau’s original passage refers to no such delusion on the part of the audience, describing instead an awe-inspiring process as experienced by the listener.3 For Rousseau, the appeal of this transformation or ‘magic trick’ and its appeal to the imagination is a sufficient explanation of music’s power to imitate, though Smith remains unconvinced, as his reading of Rousseau here makes this clear to his reader.

Musical execution and performance Within a year of Smith first drafting his essay ‘On the Imitative Arts’, James Beattie echoed Smith’s views on instrumental music in his Essays on Poetry and Music as they Affect the Mind. On the subject of imitation, Beattie wrote that, Sounds in themselves can imitate nothing directly but sounds, nor in their motions any thing [sic] but motions. [. . .] If I were entitled to suggest any rules in this art, I would humbly propose (and a great musician and ingenious writer seems to be of the same mind), that no imitation should ever be introduced into music purely instrumental. (Beattie 1778: 131 and 135) The ‘ingenious writer’ in question was Charles Avison whose views on the subject, published in his Essay on Musical Expression of 1752 were also cited by Smith in his essay ‘On the Imitative Arts’. The rather narrow view of musical imitation expressed here by Beattie is also matched by Smith, who sets about reducing Avison’s argument in order to argue for the limited imitative powers of instrumental music.

Smith and Rousseau on musical expression  73 To say, as Mr. Avison does, that the complete art of a musician, the complete merit of a piece of Music, is composed or made up of three distinct arts or merits, that of melody, that of harmony, and that of expression, is to say, that it is made up of melody and harmony, and of the immediate and necessary effect of melody and harmony. (IA II.31)4 Beattie, unlike Smith, does indeed take account of performance and execution as forming part of the music’s expression, and his view softens when he acknowledges the relationship, or ‘analogy’ between ‘certain musical sounds and mental affectations’. Soft music may be considered as analogous to gentle emotions; and loud music, if the tones are sweet and not too rapid, to sublime ones; and a quick succession of noisy notes, like those we hear from a drum, seems to have some relation to hurry and impetuosity of passions. (Beattie 1778: 143–4) The departure from Smith’s view here is significant, since, like Rousseau, Beattie acknowledges the role not just of the composition of the music, but also of the delivery or performance of the work. The difference of perspective between Beattie and Smith is also reinforced by the advice provided in instructional manuals on musical performance of the period. In his Klavierschule of 1789, for example, Daniel Gottlob Türk wrote of the relationship between mood and execution, going further than Beattie to hand the responsibility of communicating the emotion, through the execution of the music, to the instrumental performer: Compositions of an exalted, serious, solemn, pathetic, and similar character must be given heavy execution with fullness and force, strongly accented and the like . . . A somewhat lighter and markedly softer execution is required by compositions of a pleasant, gentle, agreeable character . . . Compositions in which lively, humorous, and joyous feelings are predominant . . . must be played quite lightly whereas melancholy and similar affects particular call for the slurring of notes and portato . . . It is understood that in all of the aforementioned cases, various degrees of heavy or light execution must be applied. (Türk 1982: 347–8) The differences of opinion between Smith and these contemporaries become more curious, however, from the understanding that Smith has somewhat misrepresented Avison’s view of the ‘complete art of a musician’ (Avison neither uses the phrase nor implies this level of comprehensiveness) since he acknowledges only one part of Avison’s three-part book: part 2, which carries the subtitle ‘On Musical Composition’. Had Smith also considered the contents of part 3, ‘On Musical Expression as it relates to the performer’ [my italics], he would

74  Kris Worsley have been forced to consider additional elements that a musician may use to augment in the expression in music in the delivery of a work. Unfortunately, this part of Avison’s essay is neglected entirely by Smith. Whether or not Smith was intending to mould his account of Avison in his own favour, it is clear that he has provided an account of expression which relies somewhat overbearingly on compositional rhetoric, an emphasis which Nicholas Phillipson has suggested he had inherited from reading Hume’s essay ‘Of Tragedy’ (Phillipson 2010: 249). As Phillipson notes, Smith arrived at the conclusion that ‘the appeal of non-vocal, instrumental music lay in its systemic character, whose appeal was not unlike that of a system of philosophy’ (Phillipson 2010: 252).

Music as system The system theory of music is not one which fits well with Rousseau’s viewpoint on musical expression, or indeed his theories of musical composition, and Smith’s claims towards music as a system certainly place him on-side with a number of Rousseau’s opponents. Diderot had written in his ‘Principes généraux de la science du son’ (1748) of the machine-like properties of an instrumental concerto, in a strikingly similar manner to Smith’s essay. A beautiful machine, a beautiful painting, a beautiful portico please us only through the relationships we discern in them; could this not even be said of a beautiful concerto? (Christensen 1993: 240; Bonds 2014: 98) Smith’s ideas on a system theory within an autonomous piece of music are strikingly similar to those of Diderot, and make clear parallels with his own thoughts on the organisation in astronomy and society expressed elsewhere:5 In the contemplation of that immense variety of agreeable and melodious sounds [in a well-composed concerto], arranged and digested, both in their coincidence and in their succession, into so complete and regular a system, the mind in reality enjoys not only a very great sensual, but a very high intellectual, pleasure, not unlike that which it derives from the contemplation of a great system in any other science. [. . .] Its meaning, therefore, may be said to be complete in itself, and to require no interpreters to explain it. (IA, II.31) It was not only Diderot whose thoughts Smith echoed; his principle of the musical system also matched that of Rousseau’s great adversary, the composer JeanPhilippe Rameau, who had cited particular similarities between the laws of harmony and the laws of planetary motion (Wokler 2012: 300 n. 43). Rameau had stated that musical intervals provide the model for mathematical relationships of systems throughout nature, rendering music both a science and an art. This was not simply Newtonian rationalism raising its ruling head to govern the expressive

Smith and Rousseau on musical expression  75 arts, but a deep scholastic belief based upon the apocryphal Book of Wisdom, ix, 20 (‘But you have arranged all things by measure and number and weight’ [NRSV]), although crucially for Smith, the passage also resonates with Plato’s ideals of the legislation of an equal society.6 The scholastic principle had been summarised by John Hawkins in 1776 (the same year as Smith’s Essay) in the introduction to five-volume General History of the Science and Practice of Music: If we investigate the principles of harmony, we learn that they are general and universal; and of harmony itself, that the proportions in which it consists are to be found in those material forms, which are beheld with the greatest pleasure, the sphere, the cube, and the cone, for instance, and constitute what we call symmetry, beauty and regularity; but the imagination receives no additional delight; our reason is exercised in the operation, and that faculty alone is thereby gratified. In short, there are few things in nature which music is capable of imitating, and those are of a kind so uninteresting, that we may venture to pronounce, that as its principles are founded in geometrical truth, and seem to result from some general and universal law of nature, so its excellence is intrinsic, absolute, and inherent, and, in short, resolvable only into his will, who has ordered all things in number, weight, and measure∗. [my italics] ∗[Hawkins’ footnote] Wisdom, xi, 20. (Hawkins 1776: iv) As St. Augustine (who cited the passage over 30 times in the course of his writings) wrote in his De Genesi adversus Manicheos (I, 16.26), ‘In all of the [creatures], though, when you observe their measure, number, and order, look for the Artist.’ [my italics] (Gerber 2012: 157)

The challenge to the system principle The challenge that faced critics of the Enlightenment was now to argue that music was not by itself a body without a soul (as Gottsched would have it), or was simply able to excite the emotions in the listener (as Smith would have it). The challenge was to demonstrate that music itself could be a carrier of emotion, that it contained within it – on some level at least – a Geist or a soul. Daniel Chua has discussed the problem of instrumental music in the eighteenth century in parallel with the problem of the body in Cartesian thought. The body was ‘not a living organism but a mechanical structure’ (Chua, 1999: 82); quoting Nöel-Antoine Pluche’s Le Spectacle de la nature (vol. 7, 1746), Chua draws the parallel with instrumental music in which life existed which was ‘merely that of a “marionette or a mechanical doll”’ (Chua, 1999: 82). The manner of overcoming the machine problem of instrumental music was to provide a voice, which would signify ‘a rational presence . . . that was the very identity of the self’ (Chua, 1999: 82). For Rousseau, a voice signified a presence of a soul railing against the ‘systemitizing spirit’ of the age, embodied by instrumental music. In chapter 14 of his Essai sur l’origine des langues, Rousseau wrote that ‘the voice proclaims a sensitive being; only animated bodies sing. It is not the automated flautist that

76  Kris Worsley plays the flute, it is the mechanic who measured the air flow and made the fingers move’ (Rousseau, 1998: 326). In the same chapter, he takes a distinctly Smithian tone in stating that the listener responds sympathetically to the voice, since ‘vocal signs proclaim a being similar to yourself; they are, so to speak, the organs of the soul, and if they also depict solitude for you, they tell you that you are not alone there’ (Rousseau, 1998: 326). The point of dispute between Smith and Rousseau, therefore, is not the presence of the voice itself, but the contents that it conveys in order to move the listener. For Smith, the voice carries with it a carefully organised language which encodes objects into nouns. Smith, like Rousseau, provides an imagined anthropological scenario by way of demonstration: Two Savages who met together and took up their dwelling in the same place would very soon endeavour to get signs to denote those objects which most frequently occurred and with which they were more concerned. (LRBL i.17) Having agreed upon these nouns from the objects of everyday life, the relationships between them are clarified in a system of grammar by adjectives and prepositions. Rousseau had already criticised the view of original language as a methodical and reasoned system, which he saw as being ‘put before us as though it were the languages of Geometers [recalling John Hawkins, above], while we see they were the languages of Poets’ (Rousseau 1998: 293). This poetic language was ‘tuneful and passionate’ before it became ‘simple and methodical’, having been derived from passion (Rousseau 1998: 294). ‘Let us therefore not think that the empire Music has over our passions is ever explained by proportions and numbers’, he wrote in his response to Rameau’s Errors on Music in the Encyclopaedia (Rousseau 1998: 269–270). Even figurative language and nouns were formed from passion as images engage the imagination and ‘passion fascinates our eyes and the first idea it offers us is not the true one’ (Rousseau 1998: 295). The course through which language has progressed through the ages is met with admiration by Smith and derision by Rousseau. For Smith, language has become smoother and more melodious, as demonstrated in the differences between the French language and the more musical English language. The Melody of sound has likewise been attended to in many respects. The harsh and uncouth gutturals which so much prevailed have been allmost [sic] entirely laid aside: thought, wrought, taught, are now pronounced as if there was not gutturall [sic] in them . . . For there is as generall [sic] a good taste for musick [sic] in England as in any other nation [. . .] Besides these alterations on the pronunciation of consonants, there are severall [sic] attempts to remedy the harshness of the language in the pronunciation of vowels and diphthongs, which are indeed but very few. (LRBL, i.v.39–40)

Smith and Rousseau on musical expression  77 Conversely for Rousseau, these developments had ‘deprived language of that lively and passionate tone which had at first made it so tuneful’ (Rousseau 1998: 329). As grammar becomes a more dominant tool of expression, it becomes ‘more monotone’ as ‘accent is extinguished, articulation extends, language becomes more exact and clearer, but more drawn out, more muted, and colder’ (Rousseau 1998: 296). Rousseau’s interest in the heavily accented language of lively passions received support from both philosophers and composers across Europe to become the widely accepted model of melodic expression. Herder, keen as he was to avoid ‘making up a Rousseauian condition of nature’ (Herder 2002: 59) followed many of Rousseau’s sentiments, remarking of the ancient languages that their melody in song and in the recitation of common life ascended and descended a higher scale of pitches than ours does. But we speak with fewer accents more monotonously’ (Herder 2002: 39). Like Rousseau, he also saw this as the result of an over-refinement of language, away from the passionate purity as ‘shackles of grammatical construction have been put on our language’ (Herder 2002: 41). Moreover, Rousseau’s interest in a spoken language (parole or langue), rather than a systematic written language (langage), as the purer form of expression engages closely with the instructional literature of the eighteenth century on the delivery of the recitative in music, where the singer interprets the rhythmic notation freely, allowing the natural rhythms of speech to play a part in guiding the delivery. As early as 1723, Tosi differentiated between the rhythmic delivery expected from singers and instrumentalists, remarking that in a church recitative, singers were allowed greater freedom than in other forms of recitative, which they should ‘make use of as singers, not as violinists’ (Tosi and Agricola 1995: 172). Agricola (a student of J. S. Bach), in his German translation of Tosi’s treatise, added in 1757 that the church recitative was not special in this regard, but that all recitatives should be sung without strict attention to time; ‘One must be guided more by the length and shortness of syllables in common speech than by the written value of the notes in the recitative’ (Tosi and Agricola 1995: 173). Johann Adam Hiller, who was familiar with Rousseau’s ideas of accentuated language from the Dictionnaire wrote in 1780 of the need to ‘disguise the enslaving regularity of the meter [die Sclaverey des Tacts soviel zu verstecken suchen]’ within the recitative (Hiller 2001: 116). It was not simply the freedom of rhythm that was affected by the accented style, but the digression from the smoother bel canto style which dominated so much vocal writing of the period. In 1774, Giambattista Mancini wrote not only of the looseness of style that resembles ‘simple spoken declamation’, but also of the ‘failing’ that would occur if ‘instead of declaiming the recitative loosely, an actor wanted to sing it with a constant legato style’ (Treitler 1998: 872).

Imitation of the voice in instrumental music More striking, however, is the manner in which this parole style of delivery was developed as part of the instrumental repertoire. It was precisely these virtues of unevenness that were valued in the recitative, and with the development of the

78  Kris Worsley clavichord as an instrument able to imitate the accents of speech, the imitation of the vocal style in instrumental music became a worthy expressive pursuit. The possibility of this was outlined by Avison, who wrote that: as the finest instrumental Music may be considered as an imitation of the vocal; so do these instruments, with their expressive tone and the minutest changes they are capable of in the progression of melody, shew their nearest approaches to the perfection of the human voice. (Avison 1752: 101) Avison was writing about the expressive capabilities of all instruments, not simply those of the keyboard family, although the interest in vocal imitation is clear, and was certainly ready to be utilised by composers and performers alike. The growing realisation that instrumental music was capable of imitating expressive vocal music became a standard refrain for musical commentators. Schulz, writing the article on Song [‘Gesang’] in Sulzer’s Allgemeine Theorie der schönen Kunste (1771–1774) was clear that the term no longer necessarily denoted vocal music, and that instrumental music now had at its disposal the full expressive capabilities of vocal music. It is not necessary that a song be produced by the human voice, since even a basic instrumental melody can be considered a song. (Baker and Christensen 1995: 93–5) Schulz joins forces against the outgoing dominance of Rameau’s thinking, and cites Rousseau as having correctly noted that ‘the essential energy of music truly is found in song, since the accompanying harmonies . . . have little power of expression’ (Baker and Christensen 1995: 93–5). His reasoning is clear in his language, as it is the sound of song and of the voice (instrumental or vocal) which carries the expression, not the words: Song is no less natural to man than is speech. Most [sounds of speech] are arbitrary signs, while the passionate tones are natural signs of sentiment. A succession of arbitrary sounds designates speech, a succession of passionate tones, song. (Baker and Christensen 1995: 93–5) Much as Smith would insist that it was ‘by no means necessary that the imitating should so exactly resemble the imitated object, that the one should sometimes be mistaken for the other’ (IA II.19), Schulz clearly felt the urge to take poetic licence in claiming that the majority of C. P. E. Bach’s harpsichord sonatas were ‘so eloquent that one almost believes to be hearing not a series of musical tones, but a comprehensible speech that moves and engages our imagination and emotions’ (Sulzer, 1774: 425). The sentiment may be fanciful, but the message is clear: at a time when audiences expected distinct effects from instrumental

Smith and Rousseau on musical expression  79 music and vocal music, instrumental music was beginning to enlarge its palette by adopting aspects of the vocal aesthetic. Schulz was by no means putting his head above the parapet in making such a comment, however, and his enthusiasm for the faithfulness of C. P. E. Bach’s vocal aesthetic within instrumental works was perhaps symptomatic of the large swell of critical opinion in which he was caught up. Rousseau had himself described the sonata as a form which represents ‘for instruments, what the cantata is for the voice’ (Rousseau 1775: 369) whilst remarking that it was ‘by the touching sounds of the human voice’ (not the linguistic or poetic meaning) that the soul is opened. Türk joined the conversation in 1789 by remarking that ‘What is understood as an ode in the art of poetry is approximately that which in music is the proper and true sonata . . . For the more expressive a sonata is, the more the composer can be heard, as it were, to speak’ [my italics] (Türk 1982: 382). Only a year later in 1790, Kant was able to describe music as the ‘language of affects’ which ‘speaks through nothing but sensations’ (Kant 1987: 198) In writing of the vocal aesthetic of C. P. E. Bach’s sonatas, Schulz could easily have been referring directly to the first of Bach’s six ‘Prussian’ sonatas, Wq. 48 H.24, published in 1742. The second movement of the sonata features strains of lyrical, melodic writing alternating with passages of recitative. In the lyrical sections, the melody balances chromatic sighing figures within a twisting, disjunct melody (albeit one largely built from notes of the harmonic progression). The disjunct, melodic language of the melodic sections provides a fitting partner to the more declamatory, but equally disjunct melodic style of the recitatives. Here Bach demonstrates with great clarity the two complementary styles of imitation recognised both by Plato and Aristotle: a narrative style, in the form of a carefully organised melody over a strong harmonic accompaniment, and a more declaimed, tragic style imitating direct speech. The alternation of these two styles forms a parallel with the third kind of story-telling advocated in book III of Plato’s Republic: One kind of story-telling employs only imitation—tragedy and comedy, as you say [C. P. E. Bach’s recitative]. Another kind employs only narration by the poet himself [C. P. E. Bach’s cantabile melody]. A third kind uses both— as in epic poetry and many other places. (Plato 394c, Plato 1997: 1032) The expression, which is heightened here by Bach’s use of the imitative recitative, delivers the effect that Hume referred to in ‘Of Tragedy’ as ‘the noble eloquence and vehemence’ (Hume 1987: 140). Hume found this in Cicero, although the emotion itself was delivered by ‘all the force of elocution’, just as Schultz claimed with C. P. E. Bach. With the tones of spontaneous, passionate speech, providing the main focus for the development of imitative music in performance rather than in composition, in imitation of a primitive language, the language that emerges is that which Herder referred to as one of raw passion without the shackles of grammatical organisation

80  Kris Worsley (Herder 2002: 41). In stating that ‘Good performance can, in fact, improve and gain praise for even an average composition’ (Bach 1949: 152–3) C. P. E. Bach acknowledged the performer as a prime means of musical communication, who in certain circumstances was able to usurp the importance of the composer by communicating their own, original thoughts and emotions through a score composed by another. Türk compared this form of passionate accentuation admired with speech, demonstrating the extent to which differing emphasis can transform the meaning of a spoken phrase, or individual word: The words ‘Will he come soon?’ can merely through the tone of the speaker receive a quite different meaning. Through them a yearning desire, a vehement impatience, a tender plea, a defiant command, irony, etc. can be expressed. The single word ‘God!’ can denote an exclamation of joy, of pain, of despair, of greatest anxiety, pity, astonishment, etc., in various degrees. In the same way tones by changes in the execution can produce a very different effect. (Türk 1982: 338) For Rousseau, this accentuation is the beginning of melody: Melody, by imitating the inflections of the voice, expresses complaints, cries of sadness or of joy, threats, and moans; all the vocal signs of the passions are within its scope. It imitates the accents of languages, and the turns of phrase appropriate in each idiom to certain movements of the soul. (Rousseau 1998: 322) The discussion of rhetorical devices used in speech and performance, rather than in the composition of a speech or piece of music, are of great value when considering Rousseau’s musical ideas, since he makes a clear distinction between the aesthetic qualities of written languages versus those of spoken languages. His argument centres on the idea that more primitive languages’ expression arises in the tone of their delivery, and cannot be appreciated in the written form of the language. This is in contrast to more developed, European languages, as venerated by Smith, in which the expression arises in the grammatical organisation of the language’s parts, and thus the delivery of the language encourages nothing other than a flat delivery in order to keep its grammar (and thus its expression) intact. This same distinction also becomes clear in instructional treatises on musical performance from the period, where musicians and teachers began to discuss various quirks and techniques of musical performance which were not notated in composers’ scores. In attempting to describe these using recognised notational symbols, musical language becomes divided into two distinct types, one written language, concerned only with the compositional and architectural components of the music, and a performer’s language, concerned only with stylistic traits that performers may use in order to improve a composition in performance. The composer’s score becomes a scenario for performance, rather than an unmalleable script.

Smith and Rousseau on musical expression  81 The importance of Rousseau’s distinction between the written language and the spoken, or delivered, language is exemplified in Leopold Mozart’s explanation of the proper accentuation of melodies in his Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule of 1756. Here, Mozart gives a dynamic marking of f or p to every note without exception, in order to indicate the accented and non-accented notes on the strong and weak beats of a melodic line (see Figure 1.6.1, Mozart 1948: 223). This manner of notation appears only in Leopold Mozart’s instructional writing on performance, however; it is not a form of notation he used in composition. These principles of accentuation, therefore, are elements of a performed musical language and are not elements of a written language, aligning with the aesthetics of spoken, rather than written language. The case of a Rousseauian form of accentuation is made more strongly by Türk, who uses similar note-by-note dynamic markings to demonstrate counterintuitive accentuation techniques of performance. Amongst these is a ‘special kind of execution in which the accent that should fall on the strong notes is placed on the weak ones, or in other words, when the notes which fall on the weak beats are played on the strong beats’ (Türk 1982: 359–65). This form of accentuation matched the terms used by Rousseau, who wrote of the ‘piano-forte [accentuation] which is the soul of melody as well as of the discourse it imitates’ (Rousseau 1998: 269). The greater level of accentuation in melodic performance does more than simply clarifying the rhetorical structures within the writing: it expresses feelings in the manner of an inflected language. Feelings are conveyed when one speaks and ideas when one writes. In writing, one is forced to take all the words according to common acceptation; but he who speaks varies the meanings by the tone of his voice, he determines these as he pleases . . . [I]n an accented language it is the sounds, the accents,

Figure 1.6.1  Leopold Mozart, A Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing (1948: 223)

Figure 1.6.2  Daniel Gottlob Türk, School of Clavier Playing (1982: 359–65)

82  Kris Worsley the inflections of every sort that constitute the greatest energy of the language; and that make a turn of phrase, even a common one, belong only in the place it is found. (Rousseau 1998: 300) Performance elements of the language do begin to appear in musical notation from this point particularly in the case of these note-by-note dynamic changes which are sometimes used in passages of short note values to emphasise the series of off-beat iambs. Examples of this feature were notated in both the keyboard and string writing7 of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (who was generally fond of providing improvisatory embellishments for his own works) with additional single occurrences in the keyboard works of Beethoven (in a teenage work) and also of Beethoven’s teacher Christian Gottlob Neefe (himself a student of Johann Adam Hiller who advocated Rousseau’s musical aesthetics) (see Figure 1.6.3). In each of the keyboard examples cited in Figures 1.6.3 to 1.6.6, the passionate melodic accents appear during improvisatory passages, being used as an embellishment to roughen the surface of a melodic line either in a cadenza, or upon the second or third appearance of a theme (a place at which it was common for the performer to provide their own embellishments8). As improvisatory features, these roughsurfaced embellishments were conceived and notated as spontaneous moments of impassioned expression within the performance (akin to spoken language) rather than as a founding larger compositional idea (akin to written language). By including such embellishments within the published versions of their works, composers were able to leave important clues regarding the dual nature of their musical language in both composition and performance, echoing Rousseau’s distinction between speech as the language of feeling and writing as the language of ideas.

Figure 1.6.3  Christian Gottlob Neefe, Piano Sonata no. 7 in B flat (1773), 2nd movement, bars 36–7 (melody only)

Figure 1.6.4  Mozart, Piano Sonata in D major, K. 284 (1775), 3rd movement, b. 194 (melody only)

Smith and Rousseau on musical expression  83

Figure 1.6.5  Mozart, Piano Sonata in C minor, K. 457 (1784), 2nd movement, b. 21 (melody only)

Figure 1.6.6  Beethoven, Piano Quartet in E-flat major, WoO. 36 no. 1 (1785), 1st movement, b. 37 (piano part, melody only)

For Rousseau, the difference between these two styles is not only symptomatic of his imagined nostalgia for the language of man in the state of nature, although it also feeds into the eighteenth century’s fondness of the exoticism, as he links these accented forms of speech with the languages of oriental cultures: Our [European] languages are better written than spoken, and there is more pleasure in reading us than there is in listening to us. In contrast, when written, oriental languages lose their life and warmth. Only half of the meaning is in the words, all its force is in the accents. (Rousseau 1998: 317) In addition to his inclination towards oriental languages, Rousseau highlighted a similar affinity with the accented quality of the ancient, classical languages, and he was certainly not alone in making this connection. The English critic, Daniel Webb, provided perhaps one of the most focussed discussions of the accent’s expressivity in both music and poetry in his Observations on the Correspondence between Poetry and Music, published in London in 1769 (a German translation was also published in Leipzig in 1771). Central to Webb’s thesis is the creation of sentiment through accents in both music and speech; as he states, ‘music hath no expression but in virtue of her accents, nor have her accents any imitative force but what they derive from sentiment’ (Webb 1769: 131). This description moves close to the improvisatory examples above (Figures 1.6.3 to 1.6.6) in which the dynamic accent works to create a sentiment independently of (and perhaps against the grain of) the grammatical regularity of the bar. For Webb, the accent in music and the expressive rhythm of syllables in poetry are intrinsically linked, and the alternation of grave and acute accents, either as

84  Kris Worsley iambic or trochaic patterns, is most expressive since he believes they are derived from patterns of primitive speech. In explanation, Webb cites a passage from Aristophanes’ play Wealth, in which an informer reacts to the stench of a sacrifice ‘by the mere play of accents’ imitating a gagging reflex in six wordless iambs. Within, in all their filth/ Are heaps of boiled fish, and of greasy meats, Hu hǔ, Hu hǔ, Hu hǔ, Hu hǔ, Hu hǔ, Hu hǔ. (Webb 1769: 91) These wordless patterns of accent were used to provide an auditory meter, which for Webb, like Rousseau, was more imposing than a rational word. As with the placing of dynamic accents in the improvisatory embellishments in keyboard works, it is the emotion of the iambic accent alone, independent of the words’ meaning, which here holds the expressive power. In utilising this accent within instrumental music, this passionate speech could so fittingly be imitated within instrumental music, since its original spoken form required no words in order to clarify the meaning: indeed, the absence of words and the substitution of wordless, guttural accents in their place provided for Webb (and we might expect for Rousseau and others as well) a purer form of emotional expression.

Conclusion In Emil, Rousseau wrote that, ‘Man has three kinds of voice—the speaking or articulate voice, the singing or melodic voice, and the passionate or accentuated voice, which serves as language to the passions and which animates song and word’ (Rousseau 1998: 568 n. 21). These three types of voice loosely define a spectrum along which both his and Smith’s views sit. For Rousseau, these uneven accents provide ‘life and warmth’ to the language, just as he idealises the oriental languages in which ‘Only half of the meaning is in the words, all its force is in the accents’ (Rousseau 1998: 317). Here he departs from Smith by considering the language’s music (and in particular, its accents) as an essential, intrinsic element to the communication. Therefore, the elements which he prizes most in spoken language can be transferred into instrumental music, whilst maintaining its imitative essence. Smith does contend that it is possible for the ‘tone and movements of music’ to be ‘so managed as to seem to resemble’ those of conversation (IA II.12), although the words which the music carries in a vocal line are essential to maintaining the imitation. Of the three kinds of voices offered by Rousseau, one might conjecture that Smith would always favour the speaking or articulate voice, since the rhythms in music which best imitate natural discourse are those of time and measure, ‘which break it into proper parts and divisions, by which we are enabled both to remember better what is gone before, and frequently to foresee somewhat of what is to come after’ (IA II.29); in this sense, he claims, they hold the same function as ‘order and method in discourse’ (IA II.29). By prioritising order and method in discourse in this way, Smith therefore eliminates the need to

Smith and Rousseau on musical expression  85 differentiate between written and spoken discourse to the same extent as Rousseau and, in fact, he suggests that spoken language at its most effective should not depart too far from the essential elements of written discourse. Accents should maintain order and regularity within the phrase and this is the point upon which the comprehensibility of speech and music both depend: in speech, throwing the accent as near the beginning as possible is ‘what seems most likely to make a melodious sound as it is a known rule in Musick that the first note of a bar, or the first pitch of any note that is to be repeated with a uniform accent should be sharpest’ (LRBL i.v.38). For him, the evolution of the English language had facilitated this, having rid the language to such a large extent of ‘harsh and uncouth guttarals’ (LRBL i.v.39), the very features which Rousseau believed were necessary to animate a language. Smith goes so far as to make the case for language being made less effective when passionate inflections embellish a speech, arguing that in state trials, ‘those speeches were most commended which proceeded in the most naturall [sic] and plain order; and if ever one brings in any thing [sic] that may appear designed to move the passions it must be only by the by, a hint and no more’ (LRBL ii.249). A hint is sufficient to make the emotion plain, without distracting from the words with a tone of voice which is not shared by the audience. The accented language of passionate emotion, emulated in the musical works quoted in Figures 1.6.3 to 1.6.6, would be ineffective for Smith, distracting as they do from the order and method of the original phrase. The point is delivered more clearly in TMS as a direct instruction: [a speaker] can only hope to obtain [a more complete sympathy in a spectator] by lowering this passion to that pitch, in which the spectators are capable of going along with him. He must flatten . . . the sharpness of its natural tone, in order to reduce it to harmony and concord with the motions of those who are about him. (TMS I.i.4.7) Nevertheless, for Rousseau, the sympathy of the listener was found not in the understanding, but the feeling. Writing in his essay ‘On the principle of melody’, he states that, ‘fervor, accent, gesture, everything animates discourses one must make felt rather than understood’ (Rousseau 1998: 261–2). More telling is the common ground occupied by both Rousseau and Smith, which occurs at two principle points of their respective arguments. The first point is their focus on the recitative as a genre particularly susceptible to imitation, on grounds of imitating natural discourse in Smith’s case, and of imitating the accents of passion in Rousseau’s case. It is Rousseau’s focus on the subjective aspect of speech which tells chiefly of the interior concerns of the vocalists’ emotions and passions, rather than the objective elements of the language as it tells of events external to the vocalist. For Rousseau, this passion was therefore something that could easily be imitated in instrumental music by the use of accents, in the absence of the objective language itself, a point which was of particular

86  Kris Worsley influence to the German Empfindsamkeit style. In Smith’s more nuanced writing on the balance of the objective and subjective elements in the recitative, he gives what is perhaps his greatest nod towards the more passionate element of the spoken language as a fruitful element of communication; the recitative, he states, was sometimes able to provide ‘all the sedateness and composure of serious but calm discourse, and sometimes all the exquisite sensibility of the most interesting passion’ (IA II.12). Nevertheless, without the inclusion of the words, the circumstances of a story (which, for Smith appear to be chiefly objective circumstances) cannot be related. In difference to Rousseau, however, Smith claims that without the words, the music cannot express ‘the various sentiments and passions which the parties concerned felt from these situations’ (IA II.17). Daniel Webb perhaps found the line of best fit between Smith and Rousseau, describing the recitative as ‘a happy accommodation of the powers of accent and movement to the tones and proportions of our feelings’ (Webb 1769: 89). In bringing up the imitative qualities of the recitative, Webb, C. P. E. Bach, Rousseau and Smith were all drawn to the same areas of music, and yet found within it different qualities to idealise. The second point of common ground between Smith and Rousseau here is found in the remarkably similar processes through which they arrive at their divergent views. Both Smith’s disdain and Rousseau’s favour for the accents of passionate speech is consistent with their view of language formation, and it is this work which shapes their view on the imitative potential of instrumental music. While Smith posits that the first language would have been formed beginning with nouns, later adding prepositions and adjectives in order to describe their ‘peculiar relations or qualities’ (LRBL i.v.19),9 for Rousseau, it is not the object itself that was the root of the first linguistic utterance, but the figurative word, formed as ‘imitative sounds, either of the accent of the passions or of the effect of perceptible objects’ (Rousseau 1998: 296). Smith would criticise Rousseau for this, claiming: This is what chiefly difficults [sic] Mr Rousseay [sic] to wit, to explain how generall [sic] names were 1st formed, as they require abstract thought and what is called generallization [sic], before they can be formd [sic] according to his way of thinking. (LRBL i.v.19) And yet this drive for abstraction as a starting point was not Rousseau’s concern. Rather the emotions were more telling of the savages’ subjective experiences; in Smith’s view, however, there was a more balanced attempt to find an objective translation of the subjective experience. These differences make opposite requirements of a would-be narrator’s role in the delivery of a speech (in the manner of Plato 394c, quoted above; Plato 1997: 1032), and its relation to the musical accent. For Smith, a story was a set of events that could be told of, ordered and clarified by the arrangement of text, subsequently embellished by moderate changes of vocal tone in speech. The events

Smith and Rousseau on musical expression  87 of the plot gave rise to the passions. Conversely, for Rousseau, the story was a progression of changing passions and experiences which gave rise to a plot. In keeping with the sensibility and Empfindsamkeit movements, the emotions directed the narrative, and the description of the events in the plot was secondary to the accents of the passions; in Rousseau’s view of musical narration, therefore, the most essential element of the music, the passionate accentuation, could be retained by instrumental music. A language born from utterance requires further utterance to keep it alive, and the passionate accents kept lively in instrumental music drew attention to this understanding of the language in performance. Rousseau’s concerns are upheld by the type of instrumental music in which these accents occur, which is primarily solo keyboard music, as the keyboard was able to represent the subjective passions of the individual (akin to Plato’s view), rather than the objective passions of the narrator. As the influence of dance rhythms (which ordered and characterised so much instrumental music in the second half of the eighteenth century) began to subside, the importance of the singing voice began to dominate the expressive content of instrumental music. By 1813, Anton Reicha (Paris Conservatoire’s professor of composition) would declare melody to be ‘the language of feeling’ (Reicha 2000: p. 13). Reicha had been educated as a child in Bonn alongside Beethoven, and would later include amongst his students Hector Berlioz, creator of the melodic idée fixe, the principle by which instrumental music alone could imitate the passions. For the Romantic generation, Smith’s idea that ‘There are no two things in nature more perfectly disparate than sound and sentiment’ (IA II.22) had been entirely replaced by Rousseau’s account, which ‘so clear and so simple, obviously shows that the principle of imitation and of feeling is wholly within the melody’ (Rousseau 1998: 269).

Notes 1 ‘Epic poetry and tragedy, as also comedy, dithyrambic poetry, and most flute-playing and lyre-playing, are all, viewed as a whole, modes of imitation’ (Aristotle 1984: 2316). 2 In his Essays on Poetry and Music as they Affect the Mind (1779), James Beattie presents a view which is allied to that of Smith, defending his difference of opinion with Aristotle on the basis of music’s transformation through the ages: ‘But while I thus insinuate, that Music is not an imitative art, I mean no disrespect to Aristotle, who seems in the beginning of his Poetics to declare the contrary . . . But he speaks of the ancient music, and I of the modern; and no one who considers how very little we know of the former, it will not appear a contradiction to say, that the one might have been imitative, though the other is not’ (Beattie 1779: 119). 3 William Waring’s English translation of 1775 renders the phrase as ‘a transformation almost inconceivable’ (Rousseau 1775: 198). 4 The material cited by Smith appears on pages 32 and 56 of Avison’s essay. 5 See, for example, Astronomy IV.19 and 65; Ancient Physics 9; on Society, see TMS, VII. iii.1.2, VII.iii.3.16. 6 ‘The first sort of equality (of measures, weights and numbers) is within the competence of any state and any legislator: that is, one can simply distribute equal awards by lot.’ (Plato, Laws, IV: 757B; Plato 1997: 1433).

88  Kris Worsley 7 For a rare occurrence of this feature in Mozart’s string writing, see the Menuetto of his String Quartet K. 387. 8 Within the domestic repertoire published largely for the amateur market, composers began to provide definitive versions of improvised embellishments within their scores, either as a form of advice to inexperienced performers, or as a means of protecting their work against the improvisations of performers with poor taste. See Levin (1992). 9 The approach here to classification is consistent with that discussed in Astronomy II.1.

References Aristotle (1984), ‘Poetics’, in Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle, vol. 2, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Avison, C. (1752), An Essay on Musical Expression, London: C. Davis. Bach, C. P. E. (1949), Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments [1753 and 1762], trans. William J. Mitchell, New York and London: W. W. Norton and Company. Baker, N. K. and Christensen, T. (1995), Aesthetics and the Art of Musical Composition in the German Enlightenment: Selected Writings of Johann Georg Sulzer and Heinrich Christoph Koch, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Beattie, J. (1778), Essays on Poetry and Music as they Affect the Mind, London: Edward and Charles Dilly, and Edinburgh: William Creech. Bonds, M. E. (2014), Absolute Music: The History of an Idea, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. Christensen, T. (1993), Rameau and Musical Thought in the Enlightenment, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chua, D. (1999), Absolute Music and the Construction of Meaning, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Gerber, C. T. (2012), The Spirit of Augustine’s Early Theology: Contextualizing Augustine’s Pneumatology, London and New York: Routledge. Gottsched, J. C. (1754), Auszug aus des Herrn Batteux schönen Künsten aus dem einzigen Grundsätze der Nachahmung hergeleitet, Leipzig. Hawkins, J. (1776), A General History of the Science and Practice of Music, 5 vols., London: T. Payne and Son. Herder, J. G. (2002), ‘Fragments on Recent German Literature’, ed. and trans. Forster, M. N., Philosophical Writings, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hiller, J. A. (2001), Treatise on Vocal Performance and Ornamentation [1780], trans. and ed. Suzanne J. Beicken, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hume, David (1987), Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary, ed. Eugene F. Miller, Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, Inc. Irving, J. (1997), Mozart’s Piano Sonatas, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kant, I. (1987), Critique of Judgment, trans. Werner S. Pluhar, Indianapolis & Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company. Levin, R. (1992), ‘Improvised embellishments in Mozart’s keyboard music’, Early Music XX (2), 221–236. Mancini, G. (1774), Riflessioni pratiche soprail canto figurato Vienna: Ghelen. Mozart, L. (1948), A Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing [1756], trans. Editha Knocker, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Phillipson, N. (2010), Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life, London: Penguin Books Ltd. Plato (1997), The Complete Works, ed. John M. Cooper, Indianapolis and Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company.

Smith and Rousseau on musical expression  89 Quantz, Johann Joachim (1966), On Playing the Flute [1752], trans. Edward R. Reilly, New York: Schirmer Books. Reicha, A. (2000), Treatise on Melody [1813], trans Peter M Landey Hillsdale, New York: Pendragon Press. Rousseau, J. J. (1768), Dictionnaire de musique, Paris: Veuve Duschesne. —— (1775), A dictionary of music, trans. William Waring, London: J. French. —— (1998), ‘Essay on the origin of language and writings related to music’, trans. and ed. John T. Schott, The Collected Writings of Rousseau, vol. 7. Hanover and London: University Press of New England. Smith, A. (1976) The Theory of Moral Sentiments, eds D.D. Raphael and A.L. Macfie, Oxford: Oxford University Press; Glasgow edition. Reprinted, Liberty Press (1982). —— (1980) Essays on Philosophical Subjects, ed. W.P.D. Wightman, Oxford: Oxford University Press; Glasgow edition. —— (1983) Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, ed. J.C. Bryce, Oxford: Oxford University Press; Glasgow edition. Sulzer, J. G. (ed.) (1774), Allgemeine Theorie der schönen Kunste, vol. 4, Leipzig: Weidmannschen. Tosi, P. F. and Agricola, J. F. (1995), Introduction to the Art of Singing [1723 and 1757], trans. and ed. Julianne C. Baird, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Treitler, Leo (ed.) (1998), Strunk’s Source Readings in Music History, revised edition, New York and London: W. W. Norton and Company. Tromlitz, J. G. (1991), The Virtuoso Flute-Player [1791], trans. Ardal Powell, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Türk, Daniel Gottlob (1982), School of Clavier Playing [1789], trans. Raymond Haggh, London and Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Webb, D. (1769), Observations on the Correspondence between Poetry and Music, London: J. Dodsley. Wokler, R. (2012), Rousseau, the Age of Enlightenment, and their Legacies, Princeton and Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rousseau and Smith in the Age of Imagination Iago Ramos

Introduction In the Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality amongst Men, Jean-Jacques Rousseau proclaims that the only natural law that benefits society is amour de soi, the desire for self-preservation. And in Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith discusses the impossibility of a perfect system of natural jurisprudence on the basis that moral concepts arise from feelings through an inductive generalization. Neither of them seems to defend the existence of universal laws demarcating right from wrong, the way through which morals are tied to knowledge and social progress to rationality. Yet both are chief figures of an epoch usually referred to as the ‘Age of Reason’, and as a result rationalist postulates will be attached to them. This is how systematic approaches to history and hermeneutical labels work. It does not matter if neither Rousseau nor Smith offers any reason to be considered rationalist philosophers; they will be considered as such, and many of their own arguments will be misunderstood because of this. In this paper, I will briefly consider if the characterization ‘Age of Reason’ might be biased, and I debate other forms of Enlightenment intellectual engagement by putting forward some of Rousseau’s and Smith’s insights. To do so, in the first section I respond to the approach systematically taken to the eighteenth century of trying to correlate everything to the primacy of reason; in the second section I discuss the importance of the changes in public awareness of les Hommes des Lumières; in the third section I examine how Rousseau’s anthropological theory fits the renewed organization of the public sphere; and in the fourth section I consider whether Rousseau’s views might be compatible with those of Smith.

The Age of Reason The characterization of the eighteenth century as the ‘Age of Reason’ is well known. Historians, philosophers and writers use the label regularly to avoid repeating labels such as ‘eighteenth century’ and, one might say, as though it were a factual description. Although it is a fact that reason was celebrated during the French Revolution, it is quite daring to characterize a century of achievements

Rousseau and Smith in the Age of Imagination  91 through what happened during its last decade in a nation involved in a movement that unsettled the whole Western world. It would be reasonable to ask if reason was the distinctive feature of the Enlightenment, and even to wonder if the depiction of the era as the ‘Age of Reason’ is biased. Ernst Cassirer is one of the notable scholars who endorse the primacy of reason during the Enlightenment. He has argued that: variety and diversity of shapes are simply the full unfolding of an essentially homogeneous formative power. When the eighteenth century wants to characterise this power in a single word, it calls it ‘reason’. ‘Reason’ becomes the unifying and central point of this century, expressing all that it longs and strives for, and all that it achieves. (Cassirer 1951:5) His proposal is to systematize the activities of countless individuals over a hundredyear period along a single axis. The project is upheld by the premise that events and individuals behave through their being guided by the powers of their historical circumstance, and the objective is to show the historian how to explain the diverse collections of events and personalities that they find laid out before them on their desk. Under this interpretation, since we know that reason articulates everything in the eighteenth century, we can easily correlate events and personalities within a unique account of the Enlightenment. I am more inclined to support Charles Griswold’s definition of the Enlightenment as ‘a vast canvas of extraordinary complexity’ (Griswold 1999:25) and to suggest that the historian then draws up an organic chart of people, ideas and events. Of course, it may be that Cassirer possesses some source of understanding that I cannot match, but I think that we, in fact, have rather different aims. Cassirer does not aspire to discuss historical momentum. Instead, he seeks to defend a systematic approach to the Enlightenment in which reason must correlate everything to Kant’s philosophy. Indeed, reason was a common subject in salons and academies in the eighteenth century, as were science, freedom, scepticism, atheism, materialism, the New World and so forth. The disputes entered into were diverse, and even if our goal is simply to summarize them in the course of advocating some kind of primacy of reason, we would need to keep in mind that, for example, most of the more prominent works of the century were signed by empiricist authors. Peter Gay follows Cassirer’s proposal and also exemplifies the key academics who firmly defend the primacy of reason in the eighteenth century. In the second volume of The Enlightenment: An Interpretation, The Science of Freedom (1969), Gay devotes a section of the book to the ‘Career of Imagination’. His conclusion is that imagination was linked to arts, morals and passions, but not to understanding. To support this claim, he repeats a statement by Joseph Addison in The Spectator to the effect that poets’ works are the product of imagination and those of philosophers are the result of understanding, and he dismisses La Mettrie’s arguments that imagination must be exercised to make thought possible by saying these were no more than popular clichés. However, Gay recognizes that

92  Iago Ramos imagination had a special consideration ‘outside Germany, [since it] was spontaneous and creative’ (Gay 1969:212), whereas for the German, reason shaped perceptions and imagination was passive. He even acknowledges that there was an ‘empiricist Enlightenment’ that assumed imagination to be the foundation of human experiences, and, following Hume’s philosophy, these empiricists challenged the ‘frivolous proprieties of our thought’ (Gay 1969:212), appealing to the attributes of those experiences. But even then, the importance of imagination is pruned down to a bridge between the Enlightenment and Romanticism, where it will be adequately discussed. In a manner similar to Cassirer, Gay assumes the hypothesis of reason’s primacy and then reinforces this idea by deprecating every other feature of the Enlightenment. To be clear, my argument is not that there are no valuable arguments to support the importance and influence of ‘reason’ during the ups and downs of the eighteenth century. Rather, I am simply drawing attention to the way in which hermeneutical approaches to the Enlightenment that build upon ready-made assumptions can produce anomalies and cause human activities to be hidden from sight. Reason was important and became prominent – even threatening during the Reign of Terror, albeit only in France and during the last decade of the century. Discussing the Enlightenment requires us to understand how the notion of a Nouvelle Régime came to be conceived and how society and public awareness changed in Western cultures. When discussing the Enlightenment, it is worth recalling the words of Adam Smith in his ‘Letter to The Edinburgh Review’: ‘[Although les Lumières are] cultivated in some degree in almost every part of Europe, it is in France and England only that it is cultivated with such success or reputation as to excite the attention of foreign nations’(Smith 1982b:243). Why was this the case? Because it was only in France and Britain that ‘les Lumières’ left the academies and became a public phenomenon that brought about social changes. It is important to always remember that the main features of the Enlightenment are scientific, philosophical and political revolutions; these occurred throughout the eighteenth century and across the Western world with different expressions. The most persuasive argument in support of the primacy of reason in the eighteenth century that I have encountered fits nicely with this background: reason had a crucial role in propaganda. In Science and the Enlightenment, Thomas Hankins, who approves Cassirer’s and Gay’s views, brings our attention to the fact that the ‘philosophers of the eighteenth century believed that the Scientific Revolution was changing all of human activity, not just the natural sciences’, and he remarks that ‘Reason was the key to a correct method’ (Hankins 1985:2). To support reason was therefore to promote social progress, and not philosophical debate. This claim is fair, since individuals are convinced that they defend positive change and they firmly believe their arguments to speak the truth. An example of this is found in a series of pamphlets by Thomas Paine known as The Age of Reason. Paine’s defence of natural religion is built upon the rightness of reason and the denial of faith as an alternative mode of knowledge. The premise that ‘the most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason’ (Paine 2011:41) does not make room for any non-rational answer, unlike Hume’s discussion of miracles

Rousseau and Smith in the Age of Imagination  93 or the considerations in the Encyclopaedia about the connections between faith and reason and the role of the natural world in freeing reason from faith (Enc 13:773). Paine’s metaphor of a ‘weapon against errors of every kind’ for reason recalls the debate about God among both Christians and deist believers, but above all it is an acknowledgement of the use of scientific activities to conquer practical problems. This is how we know that ‘reason’ is propaganda: the complexity of the idea is less relevant than the briefing; we merely recall a flawed meaning of the concept to appeal to the public. French revolutionaries would make clear this when they introduced the Cult of Reason or renamed the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris the Temple of Reason: the ‘weapon against errors’ is more likely a faith than a method – or a faculty – that we must adhere to. When trying to explain what reason was for les Hommes des Lumières, Hankins therefore concludes: It could mean order imposed on recalcitrant nature, or it could mean common sense (as in the term reasonableness), or it could mean logically valid argument, as in mathematics. Because reason in any of these meanings was a valuable guide to knowledge and to life, the philosophers of the Enlightenment used it as a rallying cry without worrying too much about its precise definition. (Hankins 1985:2) The historical importance of reason as propaganda is beyond dispute. The French Revolution, the Reign of Terror and the subsequent endless debates surrounding the last decade of the century are crucial for Western civilization. Even so, I consider that it is possible and worthwhile to discuss whether reason is the spirit or the essence of the Enlightenment. There are many relevant alternative views to take into account, such as David Stove’s claims for egalitarianism as the main feature of the century because of its novelty: ‘Most of the elements of the Enlightenment can be traced back to classical antiquity, but its egalitarianism cannot’ (Stove 2002:12). Likewise, Jessica Riskin argues that science had to become technique in order to be able to change the world and that rationality was conditioned by our own acquaintance with its values: ‘If one could name a unifying feature of the Enlightenment as a whole, it would not be rationalism, but instead a pervasive ambivalence about rationalism, created by the very project of self-conscious inquiry into reason’s nature and limits’ (Riskin 2002:285). Incidentally, both views can be linked through defence of the individual will against the imposition or guidance of external authorities such as a god, king or state – or even reason.

The Age of Imagination As Riskin remarks, there are many appealing anecdotes that illustrate the difficulties experienced by the sciences in becoming socially acknowledged. The story quoted by Neil Safier in Measuring the New World is one of them; it recounts Native Americans’ rejection of the intuitive – at least for Europeans – work of cartographers and the view that following the new sciences was not an easily acceptable solution:

94  Iago Ramos Having worked on the geographical map of Cuenca, [La Condamine] still needed to measure a few blocks of the city. Not daring to carry out these measurements by day for fear of the anger of the local populace, he went out one moonlit night accompanied by various high-ranking people of the city who could protect him. As he began to carry out [his measurements], an old woman recognized him and proclaimed that he was plotting to use his measurements to carry out some treachery against the city. She incited the neighbourhood to such a degree that other women came out with sticks and stones and made them all flee. (Velasco 1981, T3:240 quoted in Safier 2008:273). The picture can be linked to another commonplace about the primacy of reason, namely the claim that reason represents the light in ‘Enlightenment’, meaning that natives were acting without lights or engaged in irrational behaviour. That said, if the Encyclopaedia reflects to some degree commonly held views from the Enlightenment, we should be mindful that throughout the text the references to ‘lights’ mean knowledge and not reason. Moreover, the Encyclopaedia defines ‘reasoning’ (Enc 13:776) as correlating judgements, and therefore reason is not presented as a faculty but a tool. I consider the Encyclopaedia to express the main concerns and worries of its time, and as a result I understand the incident of La Condamine as an example of the difficulties of spreading scientific and philosophical breakthroughs among society and thereby making the new scientific rationality meaningful for the populace. It is worth recalling that common tasks in the daily routines of les philosophes included avoiding censor, joining friends in private salons where free thinkers were not prosecuted, writing anonymous pieces to spread inconvenient ideas, and concealing criticisms in unsuspicious novels, plays and the like. The Enlightenment happened through many underground activities. Without public acceptance, scientific and philosophical innovations were not only worthless, but also meaningless. Provocation and propaganda were much more needed than truth. The Enlightenment’s chief objective was to transform society by freeing knowledge, educating people and changing the world through changing public awareness. The difficulties encountered in pursuing this objective were not the product of a failure of reason, as many over-simplified critiques have claimed. The failure of the Cult of Reason may have been a problem for the French Revolution, but it was not for the much broader Enlightenment. The obstacles for les Hommes des Lumières were that the public preferred dogmatic knowledge and governments to, among other things, evidence and reasons or the safeguard of individual freedoms; Rousseau’s negative education and Montesquieu’s division of powers are examples of gambits to overcome these. The challenge, hence, was to raise public awareness of scientific method and philosophical debates and to free public imagination from prejudice and, of course, the darkness that represented ignorance. The Encyclopaedia entry for ‘history’ (Enc 8:220) was written by Voltaire, a well-known deist, who supported the belief described by Hankins concerning

Rousseau and Smith in the Age of Imagination  95 the identification between scientific and social progress. The text differentiates three types of history: 1) the history of opinions, which covers humans’ constant wrongness; 2) the history of arts, which contains the progress and inventions of practical knowledge, in a broad sense of the term; and 3) natural history, which Voltaire says should not be considered history at all because it is actually the scientific knowledge of nature and holds the only real certainties. Voltaire’s view is that the divergence between the state of opinions and the state of the arts is a failure in social progress that the Enlightenment and its spreading of knowledge might resolve by uniting mores with knowledge. Voltaire’s positivism about progress was discussed by Rousseau among others. Rousseau defends a more complex position about the success of the Enlightenment by explaining the divergence between knowledge and society based on the workings of the public sphere. Acceptance of progress in the arts and sciences by the public is a question of will as long as knowledge does not obligate either individuals or society: On aura beau me parler de l’éternité des temps, je ne l’ai point parcourue; de l’infinité des jets, je ne les ai point comptés ; et mon incrédulité, tout aussi peu philosophique qu’on voudra, triomphera là-dessus de la démonstration même.1 (Rousseau 1861:376) Changing people to be open minded and inquisitive is not an easy task. In the present, we are still working on and discussing how to teach critical thinking, creativity, curiosity and so on. In the eighteenth century, the difficulty of such enterprises was much bigger, as the authorities exercised control over speech and thought, and there were no universal public education systems. But there were some channels to spread knowledge, such as private salons where people enjoyed shared readings and intellectual debates, public scientific and technological exhibitions and, chiefly, press and books that fed salon discussions and public demonstrations with news. With this kind of reader in mind when depicting ‘sound’ in his Music Dictionary, Rousseau uses tactile and visual figures to explain what the sound is by feeding the imagination of the reader with the aim of producing either a theoretical or practical understanding of the phenomenon: Si l’on touche le corps d’un Violoncelle dans le temps qu’on en tire du Son, on le sent frémir sous la main et l’on voit bien sensiblement durer les vibrations de la Corde jusqu’à ce que le son s’éteigne. Il en est de même d’une cloche qu’on fait sonner en la frappant du batail; on la sent, on la voit même frémir, et l’on voit sautiller les grains de sable qu’on jette sur la surface. Si la Corde se détend, ou que la Cloche se fende, plus de frémissement, plus de Son.2 (Rousseau 1995:1048). The visual dimensions of the phenomena involved in sound facilitate comprehension of the scientific depiction of sound and simultaneously offer an experimental model of physics in the surrounding world. With guidance of this kind, readers are

96  Iago Ramos able to make inquiries about other vibrating objects once they have developed a manageable understanding of the physical laws that govern their world. Nowadays, it is impossible to make economic arguments without citing large volumes of data and macroeconomic indicators that are totally unintelligible to the uninitiated; yet Adam Smith explained economic facts such as the benefits of water-based transport over carriage by land by depicting real business activities: A broad-wheeled waggon, attended by two men, and drawn by eight horses, in about six weeks’ time carries and brings back between London and Edinburgh near four ton weight of goods. In about the same time a ship navigated by six or eight men, and sailing between the ports of London and Leith, frequently carries and brings back two hundred ton weight of goods. Six or eight men, therefore, by the help of water-carriage, can carry and bring back in the same time the same quantity of goods between London and Edinburgh, as fifty broad-wheeled wagons, attended by a hundred men, and drawn by four hundred horses’ (WN:33). One could argue that economics has evolved into a much more complex science since Smith’s time, but even if this statement is true, when teaching economics in schools or writing books for non-specialists such as Tim Harford’s The Undercover Economist (2007:194), the visual discourse employed by Smith remains both valuable and true. Economics might have evolved in its scientific knowledge and discourse, but to learn this discipline we still feed our understanding with images that are replaced by figures later on. We still think that to educate people about a discrete knowledge of the world it is necessary to talk to the imagination. What if imagination was the drawing board on which les Hommes des Lumières sketched out their designs to educate society? If this was the case, would imagination not have been more structurally important in the eighteenth century than reason? When discussing ‘substance’ in the Encyclopaedia, there is a warning about trusting reason to study substance because reason can only see bodies and recognize clear ideas. The only way to inquire into the complexity of the reality is by using imagination, because only imagination can dive into the complexity of the substance and distinguish modes and accidents. But the entry warns readers to be cautious about the ideas derived from perceptions, as they are not real images of the substance but ‘défectueuses & très-diverses chez la plûpart des hommes, comme étant l’ouvrage de leur esprit’3 (Enc 15:584), because imagination is not a universal faculty but the common ground where each individual’s different experiences of the world emerge. In dialogue with this idea, Voltaire’s definition of imagination in the Encyclopedia claims that imagination, memory and senses are faculties that we cannot discuss because ‘ces ressorts invisibles de notre être sont dans la main de l’Être suprême qui nous a faits, & non dans la nôtre’4 (Enc 8:560) – because they are out of range of the natural sciences (though perhaps not out of the range of the neurosciences nowadays). In the Encyclopaedia, then,

Rousseau and Smith in the Age of Imagination  97 imagination is presented as the active faculty that makes possible the unique and individual human experience of the world by composing sensations within the individual understanding that composes public awareness. Could imagination furthermore correlate with the existence of the epistemic free will that can choose dogmatic knowledge over reasonable arguments? In Rousseau’s systems we find a positive answer to this question that also seems to fit with Adam Smith’s thought.

The importance of the imagination in Rousseau’s anthropology The foundations of Rousseau’s philosophical system are established in the Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality among Men. Rousseau states this several times throughout his biographical writings. And despite the comments of some scholars, I agree with him, mainly because he introduces the idea of ‘second nature’ and also discusses its main philosophical implications, among which is a worthwhile anthropological theory. Furthermore, it is pertinent to remember how the antecedents of the text bring him to his settling of his main concerns: 1) Rousseau had attacked arguments linking social progress to the progress of technologies and sciences in the Discourse on the Arts and Sciences, his first successful philosophical publication; 2) he then challenged the controversial reception of this first philosophical work in the Preface to Narcisse, denouncing its critics for not discussing its author’s arguments and for instead making a twisted interpretation of his claims following a biased reading of the text; and 3) in the play Narcisse, he describes how an individual’s own image can be completely transformed by the public to the point of its producing a completely different person, an observation that he makes to remark upon how different public and private identities can be. All these issues would be challenged by the system proposed in the Second Discourse by denaturalizing humanity, his main argument being that we are cultural beings and not natural ones. This is the main feature of Rousseau’s argument on second nature and the premise to all of his subsequent philosophical works: human acts are first of all moral acts. Accordingly, human affairs and problems are always moral – a matter of decisions such as enclosing a plot of land, an action that is not related to natural necessity or to any teleological condition and that therefore cannot be either true or false. Furthermore, to err is not a problem for understanding but a condition for developing human knowledge. To support this statement, Rousseau introduces an anthropological theory in which body and soul, the classic elements of dualism, are replaced by a natural entity and a moral identity. We can find a clear-cut depiction of his re-interpretation of dualism in a draft of Emile known as the Manuscrit Favre: chaque homme est un être double; la nature agit en dedans, l’esprit social se montre en dehors [. . .] ceux qui concluent de là que rien n’est changé dans nous que l’apparence, et qu’au fond l’homme de la société n’est que l’homme naturel sous le masque se trompent. Car quoiqu’on ne puisse renverser l’ordre de la nature ou l’altérer, on donne à la tige de l’arbrisseau une

98  Iago Ramos direction oblique, et à l’homme des inclinations modifiées selon l’état des choses dans lequel il s’est trouvé, selon l’institution civile dans laquelle il vit. Nous ne sommes pas précisément doubles mais composés.5 (Rousseau 1969:57) The Second Discourse does not contain a plain definition of man as ‘compound being’ as the Manuscrit Favre does, but the consequences of this model would be thoroughly discussed by inquiring into the anthropological boundaries of nature and culture. There is humans’ first nature, which belongs to natural history and is a subject of the natural sciences: Je ne pourrois former sur ce sujet que des conjectures vagues, et presque imaginaires: L’anatomie comparée a fait encore trop peu de progrès, les observations des Naturalistes sont encore trop incertaines, pour qu’on puisse établir sur de pareils fondements la base d’un raisonnement solide.6 (Rousseau 1964:134). And then there is humans’ second nature, or culture, which is studied by moral and metaphysical philosophers. Rousseau does not discuss the limits of the natural entity, as they are clearly linked to the nature of the body and its features, but he does argue against metaphysical interpretations of second nature. He proposes two important arguments against the existence of any metaphysical necessity in culture: le bon sauvage and random external causes. The former asserts that the natural entity of the human is not different from the entity of animals and that such a sauvage could survive in nature only guided by his instinct, without morality or knowledge, and that as a result the argument that there are moral laws that cross from nature into society is misleading: the only inheritance we keep from nature in the second nature is the existence of the universe. The latter argument suggests that the birth of culture is not correlated to any teleological necessity but to an independent and contingent event that could, perfectly, never have happened. An important consequence of the elimination of metaphysical necessity from culture is that human knowledge is also contingent, despite the presence of the term ‘perfectibility’ in the Second Discourse. ‘Perfectibility’ is an oft-quoted and biased concept when talking about Rousseau’s anthropology. Scholars such as Jean-Marie Beyssade (1988) and Henri Gouhier (1984:22) have claimed that perfectibility means that Rousseau considers human faculties – for example, reason, free will and speech – to be granted by human nature. But it is hard to defend this statement using Rousseau’s writings without applying some rationalist prejudice to them. It is worth remarking that Rousseau only makes use of this term in the Second Discourse, and furthermore that he later avoided it because of the misunderstandings produced by its choice, as Bernard Binoche’s (2004) analysis points out. Binoche also shows that Rousseau’s aim when using the term ‘perfectibility’ is to introduce ‘une projection empirique de la liberté’7 (Binoche 2004:69) and not to bring metaphysical contents back into human nature after displacing metaphysics from humans’ second and current nature. For Rousseau,

Rousseau and Smith in the Age of Imagination  99 all the human faculties that are not in our natural entity – the ones that the savauge needs to survive such as senses, instinct or imagination – belong to our second nature, and therefore they are metaphysically contingent: ‘[ces facultés] ne pouvaient jamais se developper d’elles mêmes, [elles] avaient besoin pour [se développer] du concours fortuit de plusieurs causes étrangères qui pouvaient ne jamais naître, et sans lesquelles [l’homme] fût demeuré éternellement dans sa condition [naturelle]’8 (Rousseau 1964:162). If there was any metaphysical or natural necessity in the human entity that pushed humans to become cultural beings, why should their development require the actions of several different random causes? How can the presence of sleeping faculties in the human natural entity be justified without stating that other beings might also possess the same faculties in the same state? Rather, as he discusses in Emile, Rousseau supports an empiricist model for the development of human faculties via the appropriation of our perceptions through judgements. When discussing Emile’s education, Rousseau says that children should only be recognized as moral beings once they master their body and environment. The claim might sound ruthless, but he does not deny the moral entity of child, which is a cultural attribute; he merely remarks that until the appropriation of their circumstance, children are passive beings. Thus, the main goal of education is to push the child to acquire their own moral identity and to step up to a ‘second dégré [où] commence proprement la vie de l’individu’9 (Rousseau 1969:284). Once the child prend la conscience de lui-même [. . .] la mémoire étend le sentiment de l’identité sur tous les moments de son existence, il devient véritablement un, le même, et par conséquent déjà capable de bonheur ou de misère. Il importe donc de commencer à le considérer ici comme un être moral,10 (ibid.) moral identity is built by the acquisition of an awareness of one’s own existence and the prolongation of this awareness through memory into a fate built by one’s decisions and moral activity. In Emile’s education we can see how understanding and morality correlate inasmuch as the child cannot even recognize his existence without appropriating perceptions through conforming to a very moral identity of his own. We can analyse the implications of this statement in the example of the temperature of the water in the child’s bath: Rousseau suggests that the child is aware of the temperature of the water, but we can condition their body to prefer the cold water by gradually making their baths colder (Rousseau 1969:277). The child will tamely adapt their passive existence to the environment because they are only aware of how their body reacts – ‘Dans le commencement de la vie où la mémoire et l’imagination sont encore inactives, l’enfant n’est attentif qu’à ce qui affecte actuellement ses sens’11 (Rousseau 1969:284) – and they will not exhibit any preference so long as the alteration is smooth enough to not alarm their instincts. At this point, the child’s imagination only correlates perceptions and produces awareness in a fashion similar to animals’ imaginations; his reactions

100  Iago Ramos are thus not wilful because there is not yet any moral awareness. For Rousseau, the difference between animals and humans lies in humans’ ability to disagree with their perceptions and develop judgements and expectations independently of the ways in which the world affects them thanks to a moral understanding of their perceptions that gives them a choice. Rousseau claims that once humans obtain a moral identity, perceptions will not always command their activities, since the world becomes part of their free agency. This statement might sound awkward, but it is quite obvious. One might consider what happens if a parent asks a sick toddler if they want to vomit; the child will answer ‘no’, and then throw up. They will act in the same manner several times until they realize that the parent’s question is not about their desires but about the awareness they possess of their own body. To answer the parent’s question correctly, the child not only needs to be conscious of their sick bodily existence. Their sickness must become part of their own existence, and this is what their moral identity is supposed to do. They will then be able to act freely to prevent sickness or try to heal their upset stomach with medicines. This process and its possible deviations are what Rousseau discusses in his critique of education. The standard educational method that people use if they forget that the child is not yet an adult is positive education: ‘J’appelle éducation positive celle qui tend à former l’esprit avant l’âge et à donner à l’enfant la connaissance des devoirs de l’homme’12 (Rousseau 1969:945). Following this methodology, adults impose unacquired judgements onto children’s understanding; these involve moral commitments that dogmatically shape their awareness of the world – for example, that things fall to the ground because of gravity – —and that might impose unrealistic judgements – for example, that things fly because of the lack of gravity. This dogmatic side of the positive education is what Rousseau denounces in the example of the hot and cold water; the parents impose on the child their judgements about hot baths instead of letting the child grow up enjoying healthier cold baths. A less controversial example could be what happens the first time a toddler bumps into a chair and their parents react in a state of alarm, asking where they feel pain; the child mostly starts crying because of the overreaction of the crowd surrounding them and when asked if the ‘pain’ is in their head, they might point with a finger somewhere on their head just to fulfil the subtle command of their parents. The whole situation teaches the child many judgements about bumping into chairs, though mostly prejudices not related to their own awareness of a new feature of the world. The alternative to this kind of training is what Rousseau names negative education: ‘J’appele éducation négative celle qui tend à perfectionner les organes, instruments de nos connoissances, avant de nous donner des connoissances et qui prépare à la raison par l’exercise des sens’13 (Rousseau 1969:945). Following this method, adults will first let the child exercise their awareness of the features of the world and not teach them how we do understand these. Thus, throughout the book, Emile has to find his own way, and the educator is just the guardian of a certain world where knowledge does not disrupt the development of the child’s moral identity. In this scenario, the child will evaluate the pain resulting

Rousseau and Smith in the Age of Imagination  101 from bumping into a chair alone; they feel something uncomfortable in their body, they link the sensation to the unwanted contact with the chair, they want the pain to stop but this desire is not fulfilled, and so on. The negative educational method aims to teach the child to be in charge of their own judgements and not to populate their imagination with prejudices, because this is the only way to develop the child into a responsible epistemic agent; negative education ‘dispose l’enfant à tout ce qui peut le mener au vrai quand il est en état de l’entendre, et au bien quand il est en état de l’aimer’14 (Rousseau 1969:945). It is worth recalling that Emile is not a manual on educating a child but rather an essay on anthropology. The objective of Rousseau’s educational project is to express his main worries about how authorities, opinions and knowledge twist our awareness and his thesis on how to foster responsible and active awareness. Rousseau does not completely reject positive education; he recognizes the importance of the acquisition of mores or of training in sciences but wants to prevent this valuable knowledge from becoming dogmatic teaching. Likewise, Rousseau’s criticism of the ‘public simulacrum’ (Rousseau 1964:972) in Narcisse reflects his concerns about how the public sphere imposes twisted priorities and figures in our imagination that cannot be easily corrected; his proposal is to reinforce our moral identity so that it is inquisitive and autonomous in order to prevent this kind of epistemic decadence. Rousseau therefore establishes in the imagination the battle for both the emancipation of man from natural necessity and a responsible epistemic agency of individuals with the aim of counteracting the dullness of the public awareness.

Imagination and moral identity in Smith Adam Smith could be wrongly catalogued as an example of the primacy of reason among les Hommes des Lumières because his name is often linked to the idea of the homo economicus or ‘economic man’, an expression introduced by John Stuart Mill that depicts humans as rational beings in their pursuit of self-interest. It is worth recalling the conclusion reached by Ronald H. Coase in his paper ‘Adam Smith’s View of Man’: Adam Smith would not have thought it sensible to treat man as a rational utility-maximiser. He thinks of man as he actually is dominated, it is true, by self-love but not without some concern for others, able to reason but not necessarily in such a way as to reach the right conclusion, seeing the outcomes of his actions but through a veil of self-delusion. (Coase 1976:545) Following Coase’s view, it is possible to find shared concerns between Smith and Rousseau about the unavoidable social nature of men and their commitment to err. Furthermore, many authors have remarked upon the importance of discussions of the role and activity of the individual in Smith’s work – for example, Ryan P. Hanley suggests that

102  Iago Ramos his interest—and his interest to us today—lies in his effort to chart a course whereby we might best navigate the challenges of a world in which freedom and subjectivity have displaced the order and security afforded by certain traditional institutions and beliefs. (Hanley 2009:7) Others such as Charles Griswold have focused on the importance that Smith attaches to imagination: The imagination turns out to be fundamental, not only to understanding the world but to practical reasoning as well. [. . .] Since imagination turns out to be essential to the constitution of morality as well as to that of reason, we are creatures of the imagination no less than of the passions. (Griswold 1999:15) The question that I will attempt to address is whether for Smith imagination might ground epistemic free will, as is the case for Rousseau, and whether it might be a pivotal question with regard to the study of the epistemology of public opinion. In Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith proposes the example of an earthquake in China to show how the distant misfortunes of unknown people do not really affect us: Let us suppose that the great empire of China, with all its myriads of inhabitants, was suddenly swallowed up by an earthquake, and let us consider how a man of humanity in Europe [. . .] express[es] very strongly his sorrow for the misfortune of that unhappy people, [. . .] when all these humane sentiments had been once fairly expressed, he would pursue his business or his pleasure, take his repose or his diversion, with the same ease and tranquillity, as if no such accident had happened. (TMS III.III.4) This depiction points to the faintness of the sentiments that we all demonstrate when sympathizing with unacquired misfortunes, although Smith’s aim is not to denounce our meanness but to analyse why we act in this way. He realizes that this behaviour is reasonable, unlike the implicit mimicking of ‘extreme sympathy with misfortunes which we know nothing about [that] seems altogether absurd and unreasonable [. . .] To what purpose should we trouble ourselves about the world in the moon?’ (TMS III.III.9). Yet it is not the distance from the ill-fated that make us feel feigned sympathy, but rather the lack of identification with the passions ‘which take their origin from a peculiar turn or habit’ (TMS I.II.II.1) – for example, lamenting the unfortunate fate of unknown people. Smith discusses the same problem explored by Rousseau in speaking about taking in consideration the experience of the world from someone else’s judgements or customs; they ‘may be acknowledged to be perfectly natural [. . .] but little sympathised with [since, the imagination], not having acquired that particular turn, cannot enter into them’ (TMS I.II.II.1).

Rousseau and Smith in the Age of Imagination  103 Smith agrees with Rousseau about the requirement of first-person scrutiny of experiences to acquire a responsible awareness of them. This will also apply to scientific knowledge. In History of Astronomy,15 Smith considers acceptance of a new astronomical system not to depend on its truth but rather on people’s considerations about its accuracy and possibility: ‘Nothing [. . .] embarrassed the system of Copernicus, but the difficulty which the imagination felt in conceiving bodies so immensely ponderous as the Earth, and the other Planets, revolving round the Sun with such incredible rapidity’ (Astronomy, in Smith 1982b, IV.60). In a science such as astronomy, the accuracy of the mathematical calculation that predicts the position of the celestial bodies might be an objective criterion, but Smith remarks that people disregard those calculations once the proposed system includes an image of the sky that disregards the audience habits; this is the case in the context of Copernicus, where: ‘The imagination had been accustomed to conceive such objects as tending rather to rest than motion’ (Astronomy IV.60). In a similar vein, in his discussion of Emile’s education Rousseau argues that before teaching astronomy to the child, they must display some interest in knowledge of it. Accordingly, Rousseau proposes a long walk into the forest until the night and, once the child realizes that they are lost, the adult teaches them how to navigate back home using knowledge of astronomy upon hearing the boy claim of his own volition that ‘l’astronomie est bonne à quelque chose’16 (Rousseau 1969:450). Rousseau’s example emphasizes the appropriation of the lesson learnt because, without the admission of that knowledge into the child’s moral identity, the teaching might be useless and easily forgotten. The appropriation of the lesson allows the boy to maintain a responsible and active relationship with the acquired knowledge, something which can be correlated to Smith’s claim about maintaining ‘wonder’ or keeping imagination open to scrutiny with regard to the new and the different (Astronomy II.11). Smith’s wonder has the same practical implications as the aims of Rousseau’s negative education: preventing knowledge from becoming dogmatic. Smith’s review of the history of astronomy starts by discussing the importance of habit in our perception of reality: ‘It is well known that custom deadens the vivacity of perceptions [to the point that even for] pain and pleasure, abates the grief we should feel for the one, and weakens the joy we should derive from the other [custom]’ (Astronomy I.10). Habits and custom are moral acts that can interfere with our awareness of the world, transforming our free will to the point where, as Smith suggests, it accepts vexations submissively. Knowledge therefore also has moral components. ‘Who wonders at the machinery of the opera-house who has once been admitted behind the scenes?’ (Astronomy II.9); a simple depiction of the essence of an object – a positive discourse about how the planets move, for example – puts the subject in a dogmatic position with regard to the machinery described if they do not approach that item from a moral angle. When inquiring about the world, habit will make us disregard differences and variations, as a result of which we also lose the unique human ability to freely scrutinize our environment within the limits of our natural entity.

104  Iago Ramos In the Wealth of Nations, Smith argues more precisely about the moral, and therefore social, dimensions of understanding when discussing the expenses of the Institutions for the education of Youth (WN V.i.f). The overall argument of the article is that without correct education of the citizen, society is doomed to decay. Therefore, the State ought to pay close attention to the education of the people – especially, the common people. In Smith’s view, because of the division of labour, the common people’s whole [lives are] spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects too are, perhaps, always the same, or very nearly the same, [having] no occasion to exert his understanding, or to exercise his invention in finding out expedients for removing difficulties which never occur. [They] naturally lose, therefore, the habit of such exertion, and [. . .] the torpor of [their] mind[s] render [them], not only incapable of relishing or bearing a part in any rational conversation, but of conceiving any generous, noble, or tender sentiment, and consequently of forming any just judgment concerning many even of the ordinary duties of private life. (WN V.i.f.50). Education is important to prevent this loss when following some of the objectives of Rousseau’s ‘negative education’ by encouraging the contemplation of a great variety of objects to rend the understanding ‘both acute and comprehensive’ (WN V.i.f.51). It might be said that the erosion of the habit of ‘wonder’ is related to the drain of the imagination. Smith starts the article by criticising the fact that speculative systems are widespread in academic institutions, even though this knowledge is ‘frivolous’ (WN V.i.f.26), to plead for the importance of the study of the ‘great phenomena of nature [. . .] as those [. . .] are the first objects of human curiosity’ (WN V.i.f.24). The knowledge of nature allows ‘the proper use of man’s intellectual faculties [that prevent] the delusions of enthusiasm and superstition, which, among ignorant nations, frequently occasion the most dreadful disorders’ (WN V.i.f.61). So the education and correct appropriation of the objects that impact the imagination, as opposed to the speculative systems produced by reason, is important for ‘the safety of government, [that] depends very much upon the favourable judgment which the people may form of its conduct’ (WN V.i.f.61). This argument can be linked to the claims made about the foundation of society in Rousseau’s Second Discourse, if we take into consideration how imagination allows compassion, through sympathy, in Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments.17 To really understand someone else’s suffering, we need to occupy that person’s existence. It is not enough to judge their fortune; we need to experience their same awareness and passions. Sympathy towards another’s fate is to conceive ‘what we ourselves should feel in the like situation [, but] our senses will never inform us of what he suffers [as they cannot] carry us beyond our own person’ (TMS, I.I.I.2). As is the case in Rousseau, there is a natural entity that attaches our understanding to a concrete awareness of the world, but it does not

Rousseau and Smith in the Age of Imagination  105 fulfil our existence. When Smith claims that we should occupy the place of the one with whom we sympathize, he also remarks that to occupy their fate is not enough to share their physical awareness; we also need to share their present reasons and judgment. Natural circumstances are not enough to differentiate two humans; there is a private collection of memories that also preserves a concrete identity that brings significance to the past, present and future facts of life. Our own imagination is linked to the perceptions of our own natural entity, which produces our own awareness of the world, but this awareness is contingent and our moral identity can modify it. I do not claim that Rousseau and Smith share the same anthropological model – doing so would be beyond the scope of this text – but where they inquire into the same historical reality, they share insights and concerns about sciences, society and philosophy, and so coincidences are to be expected. Likewise, Rousseau’s compound vision of human beings is also suitable for illustrating Smith’s statements about how the body cannot be altered by moral sentiments (‘the frame of my body can be but little affected by the alterations which are brought about upon that of my companion’ [TMS I.II.I.6]), but our imagination can visualize what it is like to be a different person: ‘My imagination is more ductile, and more readily assumes, if I may say so, the shape and configuration of the imaginations of those with whom I am familiar’ (TMS I.II.I.6). The depiction of humans as compound beings with a natural entity and a moral identity, or the idea that our awareness of the world is vivid when judging our own experiences and duller when we envision those of someone else, might only express their engagement with their present. The development of empirical sciences such as natural history, the ethnographic stories of the New World’s natives, a broader conscience of the world’s cultural pluralism and so on certainly reinforce the idea of a chasm between nature and morality that produces the observed pluralism while allowing the uniqueness of individual existence.

Conclusions In this text, I have produced a critique of the idealization of the significance and importance of reason during the eighteenth century by suggesting that there were other subjects – for instance, imagination – that took up pivotal elements of debates about key subjects such as the relationship between scientific progress and social progress. I even gently advocated the primacy of imagination over reason on the basis that it may express the commitment exhibited by les Hommes des Lumières to debate the public sphere and individual freedoms, an aspect that I consider to be the Enlightenment’s main legacy to the Western world. To these ends, I reviewed Rousseau’s anthropological theory, through which I highlighted the importance of imagination within it when it articulates the possibility of second nature and introduces a gap between perceptions and judgment in which morality arises. I also correlate Rousseau’s considerations with Adam Smith’s insights about sympathy and sought out coincidences between these authors with regard to the role of imagination.

106  Iago Ramos It is not my intention to propose an alternative systematic approach to the eighteenth century through this paper, even if I truly believe that imagination could be considered as a subject that introduces a broader view of the concerns that les Hommes des Lumières shared. Instead, my aim is to recover 1) the commitment of Enlightenment philosophy in order to articulate individuals’ freedoms and the realization of its importance through raising public awareness; 2) the constitution of public opinion as a new epistemic authority and its acknowledgment by philosophers; and 3) the relevance of the insights produced by les Hommes des Lumières in discussing issues related to the public sphere. Even though, I believe that these arguments compel us to revise some of our lectures on the Enlightenment. In my view, the chief problem for les Hommes des Lumières is a completely contemporary one: all human affairs are moral acts, and we are bound to err, either individually or socially. From a rationalist point of view, the aim of the Enlightenment was to defend the autonomy of the individual against political control, resulting in the political revolutions of the century being linked to the works of authors like Rousseau or Smith and their failures being judged as the defeat of a political Utopia. This approach misses a much more realistic insight into society and politics while promoting the identification of Enlightenment politics alongside the folk theory of democracy. It is worth noting that the paradox of voting was introduced by Condorcet in 1785 and recall, as I suggest through this paper, the importance given by Rousseau and Smith to ‘negative education’ for humans in order to obtain freedom of thought. Les Hommes des Lumières were ideologues of political revolutions, not by depicting utopias but by discussing the importance of education and manipulation, and this precisely because they were well aware that rational behavior is not to be taken for granted. The underlying question of how epistemic free will can be confronted in order to construct a healthier society still stands as a challenge to us. When calling for a second or even a third Enlightenment, therefore, we should consider that we have perhaps not yet finished the first.18

Notes 1 ‘Although they speak to me of the eternity of time, I still have not gone all the way through it; although they speak to me of the infinity of springs, I still have not counted them; and my incredulity, even if it is not philosophical at all, will triumph over any proper demonstration’. 2 ‘If we touch the body of a cello while we elicit the sound, we feel it quiver under our hand and we see very clearly the vibrations of the chords up until the sound is extinguished. It is the same thing with a bell, which we make ring by striking it with a clapper; we feel it, we even see it shake, and we see skip the grains of sand that we throw on the surface. If the chord loosens, or the bell bursts, no more vibration, no more sound’. 3 ‘defective and very diverse in most men, as being produced by their own spirit’ 4 ‘these invisible springs of our being are at the hands of the Supreme Being who made us, and out of our grasp’ 5 ‘Each man is a double being: nature acts inside, the social spirit shows itself outside [. . .] those who conclude from this, that nothing has changed in us but appearance, and that at bottom the man of society is only the natural man underneath a mask, are wrong. Since, although we might not be able to overturn the order of nature or alter it, we can

Rousseau and Smith in the Age of Imagination  107 give an oblique direction to the shrub’s stem, and, to the man, we can give inclinations modified in accordance with the state of things in which he finds himself and in accordance with the civil institution he lives in. We are not precisely two different beings but a compound.’ 6 ‘I could form only vague, and almost imaginary, conjectures on this subject: comparative Anatomy has as yet made too little progress and the observations of naturalists are still too uncertain to establish the basis of a solid argument on such foundations.’ 7 ‘An empirical presentation of freedom’ 8 ‘[these faculties] could never develop by themselves, as in order to do so, [they] needed the fortuitous concatenation of several foreign causes which might never have been born, and without them [the man] would eternally have remained in his primitive [natural] condition.’ 9 ‘A second stage [where] properly starts the life of the individual’ 10 ‘becomes aware of himself [. . .] the memory extends the sentiment of the identity through every moment of his existence, he becomes a real one, a self, and so, capable of joy and misery. It is then when he deserves the consideration of moral being.’ 11 ‘At the beginning of life when memory and imagination are still inactive, the child is attentive only to what currently affects his senses.’ 12 ‘I call positive education the one that tends to form too soon the spirit and teaches the child the duties of the man.’ 13 ‘I call negative education the one that tends to improve the organs, the instruments of our knowledge, before teaching us any knowledge, and promotes reason through the exercise of the senses.’ 14 ‘disposes the child to everything that can lead them to the truth when the will be capable of understanding it, and to the good when he will be capable of loving it.’ 15 I thank Alexander Broadie for pointing me to this text. 16 ‘Astronomy is good for something!’ 17 I thank Reviewer 1 for suggesting that I discuss this question. 18 Financial support for this work was provided by the University of Salamanca by the research project USAL-IB3.

References Beyssade J.-M. (1988) ‘Rousseau et la pensée du développement. Facultés virtuelles et développement chez J.-J. Rousseau’, in Bloch O., Balan B. & Carrive, P. (eds) Entre forme et histoire. Paris: Méridiens Klincksieck. Pages 95–214. Binoche, B. (2004) ‘Les équivoques de la perfectibilité’, in Binoche, B. (ed.) L’homme perfectible. Seyssel: Champ Vallon. Cassirer, E. (1951) The Philosophy of Enlightenment. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Coase, R. H. (1976) ‘Adam Smith’s View of Man’, The Journal of Law and Economics, 19(3), doi: 10.1086/466886 Diderot, D. and D’Alambert, J. (1751–1772) Encyclopaedia, or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts. Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, etc., ed. by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert. University of Chicago: ARTFL Encyclopédie Project (Autumn 2017 edition), Robert Morrissey and Glenn Roe (eds), http://encyclopedie.uchicago.edu/. Gay, P. (1969) The Enlightenment: An Interpretation. Volume II: The Science of Freedom. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Griswold, C. L. (1999) Adam Smith and the Virtues of Enlightenment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

108  Iago Ramos Gouhier, H. (1984) Les méditations métaphysiques de Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Paris: Vrin. Hankins, T. L. (1985) Science and the Enlightenment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hanley, R. P. (2009) Adam Smith and the Character of Virtue. New York: Cambridge University Press. Harford, T. (2007) The Undercover Economist. New York: Random House Trade Paperback. Paine, T. (2011) The Age of Reason. Claremont: Broadview Editions. Riskin, J. (2002) Science in the Age of Sensibility: The Sentimental Empiricists of the French Enlightenment. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Rousseau, J.-J. (1861) Œuvres et Correspondance inédites de J. J. Rousseau. Edited by M. G. Streckeisen-Moultou. Paris: Michel Lèvy Frères. ——— (1959) Œuvres complètes, tome 1. Paris: Gallimard. ——— (1964) Œuvres complètes, tome 3. Paris: Gallimard. ——— (1969) Œuvres complètes, tome 4. Paris: Gallimard. ——— (1995) Œuvres complètes, tome 5. Paris: Gallimard. Safier, N, (2008) Measuring the New World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press Smith, A. (1982a) An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Edited by R.H. Campbell and Andrew S. Skinner. Indianapolis: Oxford University Press. ——— (1982b) Essays on Philosophical Subjects. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund. ——— (2002) The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Stove, D. (2002) On Enlightenment. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. de Velasco, J. (1981) Historia del reino de Quito en la América meridional. Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho.

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith K. I. Macdonald

The core historical portion of this paper is a detailed consideration of the views of Adam Smith on the condition of the poor and their place within society (so extended quotation). I arrive at readings sharply at odds with much modern scholarship. Such scholarship variously reports a Smith concerned, innovatively, with the condition of the poor, and/or concerned to argue for equity as an intervention criterion. These concerns are held to animate Smith’s concrete economic and policy proposals. I do not see this, and argue that the text-on-the-page gives no support for a ‘concerned Smith’ interpretation. Such an eccentric conclusion might be attributable to research method and approach, whence this opening preamble to articulate my presuppositions. At its most general, the present paper is concerned with the structure of argument. It is this concern which links its disparate but intertwined topics. So the reading of Adam Smith attends to the detail of the text, to his long argumentative arcs, recognising that Smith’s strategies may not echo our favoured strategies. And the modern linkage of ‘shame’ and ‘poverty’ is unpicked by noting that the logical ways in which ‘shame’ operates are incompatible with any deployment as a definer of poverty. The historical portion is perforce an exercise in the so-called history of ideas. My back-to-basics approach sits determinedly within, though with modifications, the tradition articulated by Collingwood, and subsequently (adding an infusion of Austinian ‘how to do things with words’ insights) by Quentin Skinner. As Skinner, tidying the ‘polemical organisation’ of his seminal 1969 article, summarises: I argued that the key to excluding unhistorical meanings must lie in limiting our range of descriptions of any given text to those which the author himself might in principle have avowed, and that the key to understanding the actual historical meaning of a text must lie in recovering the complex intentions of the author in writing it. (Skinner 1974: 283) Applied to Smith, this yields an author intent on analysing the wealth of nations, not an author deploying any variety of egalitarian agenda, despite passing remarks which (written in a different time and place) might be read differently.

112  K. I. Macdonald Skinner’s 1969 paper is acute, and at times wickedly funny,1 on the ‘mythology of doctrines’ – “the danger of converting some scattered or quite incidental remarks by a classic theorist into his ‘doctrine’ on one of the mandatory themes [the topics currently regarded as constitutive of the subject]” (Skinner 1969: 7); there is also the (perhaps more insidious) danger of too readily ‘reading in’ a doctrine which a given writer might in principle have meant to state, but in fact had no intention to convey . . . In all such cases . . . we are left confronting the same essential and essentially begged question: if all the writers are claimed to have meant to articulate the doctrine with which they are being credited, why is it that they so signally failed to do so, so that the historian is left reconstructing their implied intentions from guesses and vague hints? (Skinner 1969: 9–10) This, in part, articulates my scepticism over extrapolations,2 of which Smith scholarship seems to produce many; for example: [Smith] even suggests, in a couple of places, that the government arrange its taxes so that ‘the indolence and vanity of the rich’ can contribute to the wellbeing of the poor . . . [his] normative egalitarianism thus has an impact on his political proposals. (Fleischacker 2013: 494) Such analyses will be examined, at length, in what follows. Though Skinner, in the passage cited, articulates his objection in formal structure-of-argument terms, much of the work in his actual demolition of forced readings is quasi-contextual. That matches with Skinner’s recurring emphasis on the importance of context for interpretation. In contrast, the present paper will remain (for the most part) centred on the logic of the arguments themselves, not context: the way to understand what an observation means is to consider the use that is made of it. One specific Smith-related pressure towards focus on ‘use’, is that many of his over-interpreted asides are factual asides. The Skinner contextual deflationary analysis works well for ‘theoretical’ asides; it works less well for asides which appear objectively to be about the world, and literally to have the meanings that some exploit. Whence the thought that the best check on such asides is to consider their articulated use. This extends to Smith’s logical points. Sen, as we shall see, appropriates Smith as a precursor of his own capability approach to human functioning. It is admittedly the case that the logic of Sen’s initial analysis (of the space of capabilities and the space of resources) is echoed in Smith’s remarks on shame and linen shirts and leather shoes. But Smith does not pick up and run with this idea; it remains an isolated idea; it does not reverberate; the implications that Sen so ably develops are not developed by Smith. So I suggest that Smith cannot be held to have the same idea (or even the precursor of that idea). Consider a sharper instance from a different context. There is an extensive literature on risk compensation, with interesting application, from the impact of

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  113 ‘safer’ cars upon driver behaviour to the impact of rubber matting on playground injuries (Adams 1995) – children, and drivers, are more daring in perceived safer settings, and more cautious in risky. Adams, a key developer of the implications of this approach, is judicious in his discussion of predecessors, but there is one very early potential precursor not mentioned. In Aristotle’s Problems we find: Why are riders on horseback less likely [presumably than those mounted on smaller asses or staider mules] to fall? Is it because owing to their fear they are more careful? Aristotle’s Problems Book V, problem 42 (1984: 1368) The interrogatory answer is, in the Problems, the proffered answer; that interrogatory form is there standard. Ascription to Aristotle is uncertain (it is thought the assemblage dates anywhere between the third century BC to the sixth century AD), and “The Problems lack a coherent plan, do not respect disciplinary boundaries and are made up of particulars, rather than universal truths” (Van der Lugt 2006: 72); even so, it is hard not to experience a sense of admiration at this early insight. But, precisely because of those ‘particulars’, the insight remains an isolated insight; it is not developed. The writer does not use the insight. So this ‘precursor’ of Adams cannot rank as truly a precursor.3 On the one hand there is the pleasure at finding, in an early writer, instances of concerns which map to our current preoccupations. Our predecessors were insightful and ingenious, and puzzled hard about the world; it is rewarding to demonstrate this. On the other, passing, but undeveloped, insights and speculations are but that; passing and undeveloped. So are not properly invoked as precursors of fully fledged arguments sharing some similarities of form. On this perspective, some of Smith’s insights into the psychology of preferences would have claim to being precursor ideas, because the text deploys them. For example, in the Theory of Moral Sentiments (TMS), Smith’s observation on the perceptual asymmetry of profit and loss, which he deploys: We suffer more when we fall from a better to a worse situation, than we ever enjoy when we rise from a worse to a better. (TMS VI.i.6) 4 To the modern ear the parallels with Kahneman and Tversky’s prospect theory are striking. It would seem that, at the least, their assertion: Markowitz (1952) was the first to propose that utility be defined on gains and losses rather than on final asset positions, (Kahneman & Tversky 1979: 276) merits a modificatory footnote. Consider a contrasting insight, on the asymmetrical perception of probabilities, which is used by Smith in explanation of observed regularities: for example, this from the Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (WN):

114  K. I. Macdonald The chance of gain is by every man more or less overvalued [i.e. overestimated], and the chance of loss is by most men undervalued [i.e. underestimated] . . . That the chance of gain is naturally [overestimated], we may learn from the universal success of lotteries . . . That the chance of loss is frequently [underestimated] . . . we may learn from a very moderate profit of insurers . . . many people despise the risk too much to care to pay . . . Taking the whole kingdom at an average, nineteen houses in twenty, or rather perhaps ninety-nine in a hundred, are not insured from fire. (WN I.x.b.26–27) This is not quite Kahneman and Tversky’s analysis of perceived probability, but Smith does develop his account analytically. Of course, it takes but a glance at Kahneman and Tversky’s seminal 1979 paper (or indeed at Markowitz 1952) to persuade that they push the logic of their insights further and more rigorously; Smith for example does not even address his inverse asymmetries between perceived value and perceived probability. But consider their concluding conspectus: The present analysis of preference between risky options has developed two themes. The first theme concerns editing operations that determine how prospects are perceived. The second theme involves the judgmental principles that govern the evaluation of gains and losses and the weighting of uncertain outcomes. (Kahneman & Tversky 1979: 289) That could serve as a Smith summary. He is demonstrably engaged in opening moves in the same enterprise, albeit with a much restricted set of tools (and less analytic determination). But he pushes far enough to gain some precursor credit; the ideas are developed, and developed in ways consonant with their modern usages.5 In contrast, Smith’s discussion around shame and linen shirts is, as we shall see, applied only to taxation (not poverty), is not developed elsewhere in Smith, so does not have claim to be seen as a precursor of insights into the importance of capabilities. It is said, with some force, that an analytic, scientific argument is characterised by independence from its particular expression. Suppose I craft a paper (Macdonald 2011) demonstrating that two senior academics have jointly misdeployed regression interaction effects; I can, at the end of that argument, take breath and say “In other words . . .”. But if (per impossibile) I construct a poem worth calling a poem, I cannot at the end of a reading say: “or, in other words . . .”. At its more extreme, the Skinnerian interpretative tradition places historical text somewhere towards the ‘poetry’ end of this continuum; consider, from what Skinner (2011: 7) endorses as a “beautiful essay on intellectual history”: The old intellectual history as a history of ideas carried the implication that the idea stood independently of the words that expressed it, such that it could have been expressed in different words, another book . . . Intellectual history

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  115 as a history of language in use sees language usage as constitutive of thought: to use words in a particular way within a particular language horizon just is to ‘think’. (Brett 2002: 117) This again is prefigured in Collingwood,6 and at one level there is logic in tying thinking (or at least some kinds of thinking) to words – as T.S. Eliot’s Sweeney inimitably reflects: “I gotta use words when I talk to you” (Eliot 1963: 135); but tying thought to expression generates am awkward tension. At what time-point do I lose the right to restate my 2011 argument about interaction effects? There is no sharp distinction between the rendition of present ideas and the rendition of historical ideas; time is, to belabour the obvious, a continuum not a dichotomy. The present paper, accordingly, takes the simpler view that Smith’s argument can be separated from his particular formulations: though we must attend to the formulations to discern his argument. Collingwood, whom Skinner (1974: 284) credits as a ‘major intellectual influence’, is of course notable for his astringent insistence on directly confronting texts,7 but perhaps his major contribution to intellectual history is on the analytic primacy of identifying the question addressed. This insight (also determining for Collingwood’s archaeological work) is most vividly realised in the epiphany recounted in his Autobiography: A year or two after the outbreak of war [WWI], I was living in London and working with a section of the Admiralty intelligence division . . . Every day I walked across Kensington Gardens and past the Albert Memorial. The Albert Memorial began by degrees to obsess me . . . Everything about it was visibly misshapen, corrupt, crawling, verminous . . . a thing so obviously, so incontrovertibly, so indefensively bad, why had Scott [the architect] done it? . . . Had he tried to produce a beautiful thing; a thing, I meant, which we would have thought beautiful? If so he had of course failed. But had he perhaps been trying to produce something different? . . . Was I looking in it for qualities it did not possess, and either ignoring or despising those it did? (Collingwood [1939] 2013: 30) The citation, as in Skinner’s (1969: 38) identification of this ‘important point’, is from the retrospective Autobiography rather than a contemporaneous text, because, as Beaney (2013) notes: In fact, the first talk of a ‘logic of question and answer’ appears in the Autobiography itself, which is certainly surprising if the Autobiography is meant to be read as a record of [Collingwood’s] thought. (Beaney 2013: 259) But whatever the chronology of its genesis, and notwithstanding that a focus on intention is not without its own difficulties,8 this remains a clarificatory and influential insight. So, I espouse the claim that, in order to understand what Smith means,

116  K. I. Macdonald we should attend to why Smith makes the moves that he makes, what he was aiming to achieve – and this as revealed by the structure of his arguments. Though I have presented the ‘Albert Memorial’ version of Collingwood’s insight (and this is the reference Skinner invokes) elsewhere we find a divergent formulation: The question the [scientific historian] asks himself is: ‘What does this statement mean?’ And this is not equivalent to the question ‘What did the person who made it mean by it?’ . . . It is equivalent, rather, to the question ‘What light is thrown on the subject in which I am interested by the fact that this person made this statement, meaning by it what he did mean?’. (Collingwood [1939] 1999: 30) This shift of emphasis matches Collingwood’s insistence, in scientific history, on the historian’s autonomy in choice of problem. However, in what follows I incline to the first form of question; though of course it could (apparently trivially) be restated in the second, as seeking to throw light on Smith’s alleged egalitarianism. If this produces an unfamiliar Smith that, of course, matters for purely ‘truth’ reasons. It matters, perhaps with more import, because it keeps open, enforces, our awareness of the diversity of human understanding – our predecessors thought in differing ways, not just groping after solutions to our problems. And it can matter in other, consequentialist, ways. Sen’s initial discussion of the Smith collocation of shame and absent linen shirts is impeccable. However, I shall argue, as he later widens his interpretation, invoking a non-existent Smith insight on the ‘ability to appear in public without shame’, that Smith reading is used to legitimate, motivate, Sen’s adoption of what is perhaps his least defensible capability. Sen over-claims on the ‘far-reaching analytical history’ of capability deprivation; a misconstrued past can mislead the present. In this paper, the extended discussion on shame and poverty also proceeds by articulating the arguments as written. But then, deliberately (though mindful of the non-dichotomous nature of time), assays to be more evaluative than in the discussion of Smith. I argue that the moral and logical structure of the concept of ‘shame’ precludes its valid deployment as a definer of poverty. The logic of argument impacts on what we can say about the world. In short, if we consider isolated facts, it is surely unarguable that their theoretical meaning for the writer depends on the use that is made of them. The same should be posited of isolated ideas.

1. Introduction: on shame and poverty My substantive argument queries the analytic utility of ‘shame’ in the definition of poverty, in part by direct argument, in part by unpicking a series of misunderstandings, common in the current literature, of the twentieth-century arguments of Amartya Sen and the eighteenth-century arguments of Adam Smith. The argument thus constructed is seen as a contribution both to the assessment of whether Smith was egalitarian, and to the contemporary understanding of poverty.

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  117 A precipitor of the discussion was Robert Walker’s The Shame of Poverty (2014). “The volume”, states the back cover “explores Nobel laureate Amartya Sen’s contention that shame lies at the absolutist core of poverty”. As we shall see, this interpretation of Sen is far from unique to Walker, but let us for the moment stick with his exposition. The claim is embedded throughout the text: “Sen (1983: 159) . . . asserting that shame lies at the ‘irreducible absolutist core’ of the idea of poverty” (pp. 1–2); “The [poverty] literature reviewed . . . leads inexorably to Amartya Sen’s assertion (1983: 159) that shame lies at the ‘irreducible absolutist core’. It is an idea that also occurred to Adam Smith, writing in the eighteenth century” (p. 65, repeated p. 183); “Shame is posited by Sen to be inherent in poverty” (p. 65) and we are reminded of “Sen’s recognition of an immutable connection between poverty and shame” (p. 181). The claim is repeated when Walker works with co-authors: “Sen (1983: 159) . . . has gone so far as to suggest that shame is at the ‘irreducible absolutist core’ of the idea of poverty” (Walker et al. 2013: 216); “Sen defines shame as a universal attribute of poverty” (Chase and Walker 2013: 740). Even before we fret about the cross-cultural stability of a social concept such as shame, the strong substantive claim – “shame as a universal attribute of poverty” – is perplexing. The wider Walker project, empirically charting international perceptions of shame, could be motivated without the strong claim, and the charitable view would be that Walker systematically misspoke, and intended merely that shame is often associated with poverty. But his treatment of empirical data suggests that the definitional claim, as written in the text, is in fact meant. Some Chinese respondents in the Walker study did not report shame; the text suggests these “did not admit to feeling ashamed” [emphasis added], with the gloss that “shamelessness might be a way of dealing with shame” (Walker 2014: 119). That suggests data interpretation driven by a particular assumption. That assumption is worrying. I discuss below (§7, p. 213f. ) why the moral ontology of ‘shame’ renders it unsuitable as a definer of ‘poverty’, but for the moment take one simple argument. Consider someone, disparaged, at the bottom end of the distribution of resources. Posit that they experience shame because of their condition. That shame is manifestly of interest; it affects how the absence of resources is perceived, by the person and by others, and may constrain or inform strategies for remediation. Posit now that, instead of shame, that person has begun to feel anger because of their condition; there is no internal contradiction in this posit. That anger is now manifestly of interest; it affects how the absence of resources is perceived, by the person and by others, and may constrain or inform strategies for remediation. But the individual is still poor. We have poverty with no whiff of shame. The force of this argument renders it implausible that Sen (who is a not unsubtle thinker) was ever so naïve as to claim “shame as a universal attribute of poverty”.

2. Sen on the logic of poverty The Sen (1983) citation is to “Poor, relatively speaking”, an article which, despite its lucidity, appears to have been prone to misunderstandings (as witness Sen’s (1985b)

118  K. I. Macdonald demolition of Townsend’s reading). Sen is concerned to clarify “an adequate theoretical basis for conceptualising poverty. There is . . . an irreducible absolutist core in the idea of poverty” (Sen 1983: 159, emphasis added). This then is an exercise in articulating the logic of a concept, not (pace Walker) in specifying the content of the core. “The dispute on absolute vs. relative conceptualisation of poverty can be better resolved by being more explicit on the particular space (e.g. commodities, incomes, or capabilities) in which the concept is to be based” (Sen 1983: 167). Deploying his concept of capabilities, Sen’s central point, as Atkinson clearly sees, is that “Relative deprivation in the space of incomes can lead to absolute deprivation in the space of capabilities” (Atkinson 1999: 186). It is in this context that Sen cites Adam Smith’s report of eighteenth-century national differences in the perceived need for leather shoes, and observes: The point was very well caught by Adam Smith when he was discussing the concept of necessaries in The Wealth of Nations . . . the person in question needs leather shoes not so much to be less ashamed than others – that relative question is not even posed by Adam Smith – but simply not to be ashamed, which as an achievement is an absolute one . . . The capability to which [Smith] was referring was the one of avoiding shame from the inability to meet the demands of convention . . . As we consider richer and richer communities, the commodity requirement of the same capability – avoiding this type of shame – increases . . . But on the space of the capabilities themselves . . . escape from poverty has an absolute requirement, to wit, avoidance of this type of shame. Not so much having equal shame as others, but just not being ashamed, absolutely. (Sen 1983: 159,161) The logical point is clear, and the Smith quotation (we shall consider it in detail shortly) bears the logical interpretation given in terms of relative and absolute markers. There are two other points to note. Firstly, Sen does not claim (here, or subsequently) that ‘shame is . . . inherent in poverty’; there is no evidence for the Walker reading. Sen takes the ‘avoidance of . . . shame’ as one pertinent9 capability to consider in assessing poverty, but that is a very different claim, and one not manifestly absurd (though argued against below, p. 221f.). Secondly, Sen does not claim that Smith is here talking about poverty, but the context might lead the rapid reader to think Smith was. As we shall see, the academic orthodoxy customarily treats Smith’s ‘necessaries’ passage as being about poverty; that would be a misreading of Smith, and one with ramifications. Sen himself has consistently been a sophisticated commentator on Smith’s thought, as in his engaging 1986 essay where he correctly takes Stigler (1971) to task for conflating prudence and self-interest. In that essay, noting Hume’s observation (Corr 150) that WN was full of “curious facts”, Sen makes a general interpretative point: Smith did have a fascination for curious facts not well known or obvious to others, and his enthusiastic discussions of possible implications, based on quick reasoning, often did have the appearance of grand generalisations . . . 

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  119 But it is not fair to Smith to identify particular arguments, with a fairly limited focus, with Smith’s general position regarding motives achievements and virtues. (Sen 1986: 34–35) Part of my argument is that the ‘necessaries’ discussion is an instance of a ‘particular argument, with fairly limited focus’ that has been over-appropriated.

3. Smith on the logic of taxation Smith’s oft-cited discussion of ‘necessaries’ is embedded within a long section focussing, unremittingly, upon the logic of taxation. Placing the quotation, atypically, in context, and selecting the ‘linen shirt’ strand, we have: Taxes upon Consumable Commodities . . . Consumable commodities are either necessaries or luxuries. By necessaries I understand not only the commodities which are indispensably necessary for the support of life, but whatever the custom of the country renders it indecent for creditable people, even of the lowest order, to be without. . . [I]n the present times, through the greater part of Europe, a creditable day-labourer would be ashamed to appear in public without a linen shirt, the want of which would be supposed to denote that disgraceful degree of poverty which, it is presumed, nobody can well fall into without extreme bad conduct . . . As the wages of labour are everywhere regulated partly by the demand for it, and partly by the average price of the necessary articles of subsistence . . . a tax upon the necessaries of life operates exactly in the same manner as a direct tax upon the wages of labour . . . The middling and superior ranks of people, if they understand their own interest, ought always to oppose all taxes upon the necessaries of life, as well as all direct taxes upon the wages of labour. The final payment of both the one and the other falls altogether upon themselves (WN V.ii.k.1–5,9) Thus contextualised, Smith’s discussion is a discussion of taxation and its consequences, not of poverty. Fitting this, the actor whose behaviour we are asked to consider is explicitly the waged labourer. Further, Smith here narrows his attention to the creditable labourer. ‘Creditable’ is a very eighteenth-century usage, capturing something like ‘respectable, decent’, as in the London Daily Post for 24 September 1735 which reported that Queen Caroline had “given leave for all creditable looking people to be permitted to see Merlin’s Cave in Richmond Gardens”. The ‘creditable labourer’ makes one further appearance in WN, when Smith asserts that the navy, for the individual, is a better financial bet (these bounties from ship capture) than the army, and, in support, reports: The son of a creditable labourer or artificer may frequently go to sea with his father’s consent; but if he enlists as a soldier, it is always without it. (WN I.x.b.31)

120  K. I. Macdonald This creditable labourer10 is clearly a person of some standing in his society. The thought experiment of imagining his reaction if shirtless may not capture the reaction of the shirtless poor. Connect this focus with Smith’s associational (and very Humean) analysis of sartorial propriety: When two objects have frequently been seen together, the imagination acquires a habit of passing easily from the one to the other . . . Though, independent of custom, there should be no real beauty in their union . . . we feel an impropriety in their separation . . . A suit of clothes, for example, seems to want something if they are without the most insignificant ornament which usually accompanies them, and we find a meanness or awkwardness in the absence even of a haunch button. (TMS V.1.2) The corollary, which Smith unhesitatingly draws, is that for those whose habit is different, expectations likewise differ: custom either diminishes, or takes away altogether, our sense of the impropriety. Those who have been accustomed to slovenly disorder lose all sense of neatness or elegance. The modes of . . . dress which seem ridiculous to strangers, give no offence to the people who are used to them. (TMS V.1.2) It should follow that non-linen garments ‘give no offence to the people who are used to them’. Perhaps more importantly, this analysis coheres with central aspects of Smith’s analytic moral psychology. Smith is very clear that the emotion felt by the observer (the ‘illusive’ sympathy of TMS II.i.2.5 and II.i.5.11) may not be the emotion felt by the observed: We sometimes feel for another, a passion of which he himself seems to be altogether incapable; because, when we put ourselves in his case, that passion arises in our breast from the imagination, though it does not in his from the reality. We blush for the impudence and rudeness of another, though he himself appears to have no sense of the impropriety of his own behaviour; because we cannot help feeling with what confusion we ourselves should be covered, had we behaved in so absurd a manner. (TMS I.i.1.10) There is no claim that the target11 need feel this shame: The compassion of the spectator must arise altogether from the consideration of what he himself would feel if he was reduced to the same unhappy situation, and, what perhaps is impossible, was at the same time able to regard it with his present reason and judgment. (TMS I.i.1.11)

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  121 Smith does have a view, discussed below (§5, p. 127f.), of what is involved in the shame of poverty. But his WN discussion of the putative shame of the ‘creditable day labourer’ entails no claims about the feelings of the shirtless poor. Further, the ‘necessaries’ Smith discusses are readily available to the labourer. The ‘leather shoes’ text (which Sen invoked) appears comingled with the ‘linen shirt’ exposition: Custom . . . has rendered leather shoes a necessary of life in England. The poorest creditable person of either sex would be ashamed to appear in public without them. In Scotland, custom has rendered them a necessary of life to the lowest order of men; but not to the same order of women, who may, without any discredit, walk about barefooted. In France they are necessaries neither to men nor to women, the lowest rank of both sexes appearing there publicly, without any discredit, sometimes in wooden shoes, and sometimes barefooted. (WN V.ii.k.3) Sen is justified in seeing the parallels between this and his analytic claim that relative deprivation in the space of incomes can lead to absolute deprivation in the space of capabilities (and Smith is equally contextual on linen shirts: “The Greeks and Romans lived, I suppose, very comfortably, though they12 had no linen” WN V.ii.k.3). But in terms of the poverty discussion, notice again the emphasis on ‘creditable’. The goods discussed are within reach of the creditable labourer. Comment elsewhere in WN confirms that Smith saw a ‘coarse linen shirt’ and (though leather is not there mentioned) ‘shoes which cover his feet’ as available for ‘the most common artificer or day-labourer’ (WN I.i.11). As Smith reports: “The great improvements in the coarser manufactures of both linen and woollen cloth furnish the labourers with cheaper and better clothing” (WN I.viii.35). On footwear, Walker feels emboldened to claim that Smith was writing “at a time when many people could not afford leather shoes” (Walker 2014: 1–2), but historical data on prevalence of such shoes are not readily available, and one expert on footwear in the period is clear that “labourers’ and low-class shoes especially were made of leather during the 18th century” (Riello 2008: 88). Smith’s contemporary Massie, admitting increases in the price of leather, saw this as affecting not consumption but purchased quality: “labourers . . . who cannot pay high prices . . . must . . . give as much money for an indifferent pair of [leather] shoes as would formerly have bought a very good pair” (Massie, 1757: 3–4). It seems reasonable to suppose that, as perceived by Smith, the linen and the leather do not map to active status anxieties of the creditable labourer. Some commentators are imaginative about the nature of the shame envisaged (“In Smith’s day, poor people who did not own a linen shirt might suffer stares or experience discomfort. They would be socially isolated, excluded” Reyles 2007: 40), but Smith himself is very explicit as to the mechanism. For the creditable labourer, the want of a linen shirt “would be supposed to denote that disgraceful degree of poverty which, it is presumed, nobody can well fall into without extreme bad conduct”. Smith presents the linen shirt not as a marker of poverty, but as a signifier

122  K. I. Macdonald of behaviour. He does not read poverty per se as indicative of bad conduct, but consistently sees the fall13 from riches to poverty in this light; as in the infamous ‘mere poverty’ passage: The mere want of fortune, mere poverty, excites little compassion . . . The fall from riches to poverty . . . seldom fails to excite the most sincere commiseration in the spectator . . . [t]hough, in the present state of society, this misfortune can seldom happen without some misconduct, and some very considerable misconduct too, in the sufferer . . . (TMS III.3.18) To the creditable labourer, to appear shirtless would, as Smith writes it, be a signifier of a fall into poverty and hence denote for him ‘extreme bad conduct’. For those starting in shirtless poverty the lack of a linen shirt is not the signifier of a fall into poverty, so not a mark of misconduct, so not, on these grounds, a source of shame. Though Smith consistently stresses the fall from riches to poverty, there is a further, also consistent, emphasis in his moral psychology on the biases introduced by our tendency to overestimate future benefits and costs. He underlines: The never-failing certainty with which all men, sooner or later, accommodate themselves to whatever becomes their permanent situation . . . The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life, seems to arise from over-rating the difference between one permanent situation and another . . . a wise man endeavours, from the beginning, to anticipate . . . that tranquillity which . . . a few years, will certainly restore to him in the end . . . In the fall from . . . riches to poverty . . . the man who . . . most easily and readily acquiesces in the fortune which has fallen to him, very soon recovers his usual and natural tranquillity. (TMS III.3.30–33) Smith’s presentation references the Stoics14 (who “were, at least, thus far very nearly in the right”), but the tone is empirical, noting a psychological regularity – one which modern research15 endorses (see e.g. the discussion in Ashraf et al. 2005: 138) – and deriving pragmatic recommendations. The implication is that the shirtless poor man would, in time, recover his usual tranquillity. So again no grounds for reading Smith as discussing the shame of the poor. He, considering taxation, is ascertaining what the creditable labourer seeks to avoid. In sum, the WN ‘necessaries’ passage is about taxation of the waged labourer, and the labourer’s response to that taxation;16 it is not about poverty-connected shame or about the inhibiting effect of shame. Smith does present an account (in TMS) of the shame of the poor, but that, as we shall see (§5, p. 129f.), has little to do with standards of dress. But first, by way of demonstrating that my concern is not restricted to the writings of Walker, it may be worth documenting the prevalence of misreading.

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  123

4. On prevalent interpretations This section will be short on argument. It is included to demonstrate that the Walker assumptions (Sen asserted shame to be a necessary adjunct of poverty; Smith on linen shirts and leather shoes was writing about the shame of the unclothed poor) have a wide prevalence in the literature – indeed are the standard interpretations, appearing as part of the general placing discourse in writings on poverty, as well as in exegetical works on Smith. In her book-length assessment of Sen and poverty, Alkire writes: He repeatedly refers to Adam Smith’s point that linen shirts and leather shoes were necessary, in nineteenth [sic] century Britain, in order to go about without shame. Sen uses this example regularly to make one of two points. One point is that ‘the ability to go about without shame’ . . . should figure in the ‘absolutist core’ of notions of absolute poverty . . . The other point is that . . . [it] is ‘complex’, that is to say, the commodity requirements to support this capability vary widely”. (Alkire 2002: 185–6) The first ‘point’, as we have seen, is not Sen’s. On the second, Sen does, admittedly, mention complexity, but not as a pivotal analytic concept (certainly insignificant compared to his logical analysis, which Alkire here ignores, of the separation between the space of resources and the space of capabilities). Sometimes other Sen texts are cited: “Nobel prize winning economist, Amartya Sen (1993), has argued that the absolute core of poverty, experienced in all societies, is the shame that results from the failure to be able to fully partake in society due to lack of resources” (Mathew 2010: 388). But the only pertinent passage in the cited text reads: The functionings relevant for well-being vary from such elementary ones as escaping morbidity . . . to complex ones such as being happy, achieving self-respect, taking part in the life of the community, appearing in public without shame (the last a functioning that was illuminatingly discussed by Adam Smith). (Sen 1993: 36–7) This – the thought that appearing without shame might be a component of wellbeing – is very different from Mathew’s summary (‘absolute core of poverty, experienced in all societies’); as Sugden (1993: 1952) notes: “Sen’s list of intrinsically valuable functionings is long and open ended”. Hawthorne, in his editor’s preface to the Tanner Lectures, misperceives, like Alkire, the force of ‘absolute’: “That is to say, there are certain capabilities – the capability remarked upon by Adam Smith, for instance, to appear in public without shame – which are absolute. If they are desirable at all, they are desirable for all” (Hawthorne 1987: x). Hawthorne’s gloss has no traction in Sen.

124  K. I. Macdonald However, the commonest reference remains the earlier paper. “Sen (1983) contends that shame is basic to the experience of poverty in all societies” (Gubrium 2013: 6); “Sen’s (1983) notion of universal shame attached to poverty” (Yan 2013: 18); whilst Jo (2013: 517) invokes a Sen “citing the epitome of absolute poverty as ‘being ashamed to appear in public’”. Even careful analysts of poverty such as Nolan and Whelan perpetuate this interpretation. “As Sen (1983) emphasises, it is in the notion of shame that the core of the concept of poverty is to be found” (Nolan & Whelan 1996: 11); or again their reference to “Sen’s (1983) argument that it is the notion of shame that is the core of poverty” (Nolan & Whelan 2011: 208). Not all misreadings are autonomous. Reyles (2007: 406) repeats, without acknowledgement, the Alkire presentation, whilst Chase & Bantebya-Kyomuhendo’s 2014 volume – “Sen has argued that shame lies at the absolutist core of poverty, by implication it is an attribute of poverty that is experienced by individuals . . . everywhere” (2014: x) – is part of the Walker project. Misreadings of Smith, appearing above intermingled with Sen comments, are on their own even more pervasive, and characteristically claim some portion of the ‘necessaries’ passage: “It is . . . apparent, from this quotation, that Smith saw shame and stigma as being inherent components of poverty” (Tomlinson et al. 2008: 598); “Smith shed new light on the concept of poverty by adding the notion of the ‘necessary’ to the traditional defining notion of material deprivation” (Eiffe 2010: 14); “Smith argued, poverty is a lack of those necessities” (Brady 2003: 722). As we have seen, these readings do not match the text. Further, Smith is consistently seen as an exemplar of a very particular tradition: “most Western countries use a concept of relative poverty . . . Any individual should be able to participate fully in the social life of a community. This is nicely illustrated by a quotation from Adam Smith” (Glauben et al. 2012: 785). “The rationale for a relative approach can be seen in Adam Smith’s discussion in WN” (Blank & Greenberg, 2008: 11). “As far back as Adam Smith’s early observations, poverty has been associated with an inability to observe customary norms relating to dress, tastes and styles of living and has been explicitly framed in terms of avoiding social disgrace and opprobrium” (Sutton et al. 2014:143). Corak (2006: 7) sees a “longstanding tendency in theory suggesting poverty lines cannot be defined without reference to prevailing norms of consumption among members of the relevant community. This was clearly the view of Adam Smith”. Or again: “Smith describes the consumption of the poor, in a famous passage, as the means to a specifically social end: that of a decent existence in society or of having a creditable position in public life” (Rothschild 1995: 715, emphasis added). “Consumption is in general, for Smith, a means to the end of social integration, and social renown” (Rothschild 1995:335). Whence: “The large modern literature on the sociology of ‘relative deprivation’ essentially develops a point that Smith identified in WN” (Sen 2010: 52). Other writers deploy their imagination: “an Englishman who wishes to avoid the contempt and ridicule of his fellow Englishmen should wear a linen shirt. The warmth of fellow-feeling from his peers . . . will more than compensate him, should he have an individual dislike for linen shirts” (Reisman (2009: 103).

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  125 Some display themselves as not Smith students: “as early as eighteenth century America, Adam Smith . . .” (Morazes & Pintak 2007: 108); remember also Alkire’s ‘nineteenth century’ Smith. The recurrent theme, however, in many otherwise scholarly pieces, is that Smith, in the ‘necessaries’ passage, is writing about the poor, and about customary consumption norms as preconditions of interaction; we can add, to those already cited: Adamson (2012: 20), Dellemotte & Walraevens (2015: 721), Gubrium (2014: 106), Mills et al. (2014: 4), Obućina (2014:19), Saunders & Naido (2009: 418), and Starrin et al. (2009: 296). One further point of scholarship is worth noting. Writers are sometimes imprecise in their deployed quotations. Smith in WN discusses those taxable commodities which creditable people would be “ashamed to appear in public without”; that is the phrase he uses; he does not generalise this discussion to an overall ability to go about without shame. Though Sen is careful and precise in the logic of his 1983 paper, as he iterates the example in his later writings his rendition moves further from Smith’s usage: Smith . . . was concerned with such capability to function as ‘the ability to appear in public without shame’ (rather than only with real income or the commodity bundle possessed). (Sen 1999: 73) Adam Smith’s focus on the deprivation involved in not ‘being able to appear in public without shame’ is a good example of a capability deprivation that takes the form of social exclusion. (Sen, 2000:4) Smith sees poverty in the form of certain basic ‘unfreedoms’ – well illustrated17 by his interest in the ability (or lack of it) of someone to appear in public without shame. (Rothschild & Sen 2005: 359) Being able to appear in public without sartorial shame, though it maps to Sen’s interest in capabilities, is, as we shall see, not Smith’s analysis of the problem of the poor. This new phrase – the ability to ‘appear in public without shame’ – is attributed to Smith, falsely, by several writers: for example Bohman (2007: 270), Holcombe (2014: 753), Jäntti & Danziger (2000: 315), McCaffery (1994: 291, 346), Nevile (2007: 251), Wagle (2008: 23), and Watts & Ridley (2012: 355). Sometimes the textual departure is more flamboyant: “Protestants . . . have a long history in promoting the idea that all members of a society must be able to ‘walk in public without shame’ (Adam Smith 1776)” (Meyer 2010:16). Concern over detail may be pedantry; but detail matters. Each textual twist away from the original strengthens the mistaken notion that Smith was concerned that the poor must be able to go about in public without shame, and that material goods enable this – that he was writing about “the material preconditions for self-respect” (Ibrahim & Alkire 2007: 385). There is no evidence that this is what Smith was

126  K. I. Macdonald doing. Indeed, as we shall shortly see, Smith, when he does write about the shame of poverty, identifies a shame which no quantity of linen shirts or leather shoes could attenuate. A final historical point, before leaving this descriptive section. Walsh (2003: 363) claims: “Sen is right that Smith looks beyond the commodities, such as a linen shirt, to the substantive freedoms – the capabilities – which the shirt conveys to the day laborer who would be ashamed to appear in public without it”. Walsh is wrong about Smith, but right about the later Sen. As we have noted, Sen’s later writings widen the remit of the ‘shame’ passage. And that leads to unfounded claims for the historical ancestry of the capability approach. Smith defines ‘necessaries’ (WN V.ii.k.3, quoted p. 119) in terms of the goods necessary for sustenance and those which custom requires (any tax on which would then translate into wage pressure); there is nothing in the text about seeking the freedom to live nonimpoverished lives. Adam Smith . . . felt impelled to define “necessaries” in terms of their effects on the freedom to live nonimpoverished lives (such as “the ability to appear in public without shame”). Thus, the view of poverty as capability deprivation (that is, poverty seen as the lack of the capability to live a minimally decent life) has a far-reaching analytical history. (Sen 2000: 4) A capability-based approach of poverty and deprivation can draw substantially on Smith’s pioneering analysis. (Rothschild & Sen 2005: 360) Though the Scottish Enlightenment was (in its very diverse manifestations) undeniably impressive, it does not have claim to embed this particular analytical history of poverty. Ringen’s (1988: 353) assertion that the “relative understanding of the problem [of poverty] is firmly rooted in the writings of Adam Smith” is simply mistaken. An assembled pile of misreadings does not of itself constitute evidence of the dominance of a particular interpretation (Smith literature is extensive, and the alternate pile could conceivably be larger). There are those who read Sen correctly (Atkinson has already been noted), but they are rarer within the ‘poverty’ literature. Smith is nearly uniformly misread; no discussion was located which gave due weight to the taxation context. So, no confounding pile. Admittedly, much (not all) of the above comes from what might be called tangential Smith references (reasonably, as the aim was to chart the general perception). But even Smith scholarship does not dissent from the general reading of the passage. Moreover there is an emerging image in Smith scholarship of a radical egalitarian Smith in WN, alert to, and concerned to alleviate, the constraints that material shortages place upon the poor. If that image of Smith were sustainable it would be congruent with the conventional reading of the necessaries passage. So, for the defence and development of my argument, it will be pertinent to address some of the pivotal arguments

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  127 within the ‘egalitarian’ Smith project, and I do this in §6, p. 150f., below. As a holding marker, consider an under-cited passage, again from Smith’s discussion of taxation. Opposing taxes on ‘necessaries’, he proposes taxes upon ‘luxuries’ (for him, any goods not classed as ‘necessaries’, so including, for example, beer, ale, tea, sugar, tobacco), accepting that this also has implications for the poor: Upon the sober and industrious poor, taxes upon [luxuries] act as sumptuary laws . . . Their ability to bring up families, in consequence of this forced frugality . . . is frequently, perhaps, increased18 by the tax . . . All the poor, indeed, are not sober and industrious, and the dissolute and disorderly might continue to indulge themselves . . . without regarding the distress which this indulgence might bring upon their families. Such disorderly persons, however, seldom rear up numerous families, their children generally perishing from neglect . . . If . . . they survive the hardships to which the bad conduct of their parents exposes them, yet the example of that bad conduct commonly corrupts their morals, so that . . . they become public nuisances . . . Though the advanced price of the luxuries of the poor, therefore, might increase somewhat the distress of such disorderly families . . . it would not probably diminish much the useful population of the country. (WN V.ii.k.7) To the modern ear, the tone may be a whisker away19 from that of Dean Swift’s (1729) satirical Modest Proposal: For preventing the children of poor people in Ireland from being a burden on their parents or country, but Smith is not plausibly cast as a satirist. The tone here is entirely consonant with his presentation of population constraints20 elsewhere in WN. He is penning an Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, and his interest is in the role of the poor in defining, and generating, the wealth of a nation; he follows that argument even if the conclusions are harsh. This suggests that to perceive him as an egalitarian is to misperceive. We return to these issues below.

5. Smith on the shame of poverty Smith’s discussion of shame and poverty in TMS forms part of the section ‘of the origin of ambition, and of the distinction of ranks’. His underlying empirical assumption21 (both here and in WN) is that, in the Britain of his day, the wages of the ‘meanest labourer’ are materially adequate (“We see that they afford him food and clothing, the comfort of a house, and of a family” TMS I.iii.2.1). That assumption then precipitates a motivational puzzle: For to what purpose is all the toil and bustle of this world? . . . Is it to supply the necessities of nature? The wages of the meanest labourer can supply them . . . why should those who have been educated in the higher ranks of life, regard it as worse than death, to be reduced to live . . . upon the same simple fare . . . and to be clothed in the same humble attire? . . . To

128  K. I. Macdonald be observed, to be attended to, to be taken notice of with sympathy, complacency, and approbation, are all the advantages which we can propose to derive from [bettering our condition]. It is the vanity, not the ease, or the pleasure, which interests us. (TMS I.iii.2.1) Obviously ‘sympathy, complacency’ are not deployed in their modern usages: ‘complacency’ is ‘the state of being pleased with a person’ (as in the OED’s 1745 exemplar: “God can take no real complacency in any but those that are like him”); and ‘sympathy’ stands for ‘fellow feeling’ (not commiseration22). Thus defined, ‘being taken notice of’ is Smith’s dominant candidate for an economic motivator. We shall come back to the question of how satisfactorily the account operates in contexts where opportunity for ‘betterment’ is limited; but it is undoubtedly Smith’s TMS account. For example, it is the centrepiece of his later critique of Epicurus, who is held to believe that we “submitted to labour, in order to avoid the greater shame and pain of poverty”; Smith sees it as ‘extraordinary’ that Epicurus failed to notice: “to be the proper object of esteem, is by every well-disposed mind more valued than all the ease and security which . . . esteem can procure” (TMS VII.ii.2.10,12). Though these are the motivators Smith invokes, he holds, as has often been noted, an ambivalent view of their moral status, and a sharp eye for the “delusive colours” (TMS I.iii.2.1) in which we paint the great. This is particularly apparent, in this section of TMS, in the distancing devices in his account of the rich man: The rich man glories in his riches, because he feels that they naturally draw upon him the attention of the world, and that mankind are disposed to go along with him in all those agreeable emotions with which the advantages of his situation so readily inspire him . . . Everybody is eager to look at him, and to conceive, at least by sympathy, that joy and exultation with which circumstances naturally inspire him. His actions are the objects of the public care. Scarce a word, scarce a gesture, can fall from him that is altogether neglected. (TMS I.iii.2.1) That passage moves from what seems a fantasy about approbation, to reported approbation by all. The rich are self-satisfied, so we envy their self-satisfaction (and so attend to them). To modern eyes this may read strangely, working better as an account of celebrity than an account of riches and power. But for Smith it connects to maxims of his moral psychology – “mankind are disposed to sympathise more entirely with our joy than with our sorrow” (TMS I.iii.2.1) – and he takes this mechanism to be both real and important: “Upon this disposition of mankind, to go along with all the passions of the rich and the powerful, is founded the distinction of ranks, and the order of societies” (TMS I.iii.2.3). If “to be the proper object of esteem” is the aspiration, it follows that the poor must fare badly on this metric, and, as he spells out the contrast with the rich, Smith drops the earlier rhetorical distancing devices. This passage reads as an accepted account of justified feelings:

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  129 The poor man . . . is ashamed of his poverty. He feels that it either places him out of the sight of mankind, or, that if they take any notice of him, they have, however, scarce any fellow-feeling with the misery and distress which he suffers . . . To feel that we are taken no notice of, necessarily damps the most agreeable hope, and disappoints the most ardent desire, of human nature. The poor man goes out and comes in unheeded, and when in the midst of a crowd is in the same obscurity as if shut up in his own hovel. (TMS I.iii.2.1) This is offered as a description of all23 the poor. Gilbert accurately summarises: “poverty, as addressed by Smith in 1759 [TMS], did not subject the individual to hunger, malnutrition, disease, lack of clothing or shelter; rather, it shamed him through a pained awareness of his inferior position in the social scale” (Gilbert 1997: 275). There are four immediate interconnected points to notice. Firstly, the direction of causality here is significant. Smith is explicit that the shame is a consequence of being unheeded. The sequence is very different from the common presentation of the WN ‘necessaries’ passage – which takes shame as an exclusory device, a generator of disadvantage. This matters for the discussion of shame as a definer of poverty. The direction of causality in the ‘necessaries’ discussion (when misread as being about poverty) might tempt to its invocation within a ‘shame defines poverty’ theme. The TMS discussion of shame is, in contrast, admirably clear that shame is a consequence of the deprivation, not a characteristic generating deprivation. Secondly, Smith presents himself as describing, not endorsing, human behaviour. This is clear from the surrounding text (and the image of the rich man ‘glorying’ in his riches; on the rhetoric see Henderson 2006: 50), but it is in any case fully explicit later, when Smith dissects “the corruption of our moral sentiments, which is occasioned by this disposition”: This disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and powerful, and . . . to neglect persons of poor and mean condition, though necessary24 . . . is, at the same time, the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments. (TMS I.iii.3.1) In the same section he wryly, and approvingly, notes “that the contempt, of which vice and folly are the only proper objects, is often most unjustly bestowed upon poverty and weakness, has been the complaint of moralists in all ages”. That moral judgement may be worth underlining, since later I argue for the distinct (and not incompatible) view that Smith is not egalitarian; but not all commentators recognise Smith’s moral stance. “TMS justifies social . . . contempt for the poor . . . Most patronizingly, Smith warned those suffering to ‘sit still and be contented’” (Ward 2015: 13,12). But the phrase ‘be contented’ is lifted from Smith’s analysis of avarice, considering the ‘greatly unfortunate’ whose misfortunes have ‘arisen from their not knowing when they were well, when it was proper for them

130  K. I. Macdonald to sit still and be contented’ (TMS III.3.31) – not at all the summary Ward presents. Ward further argues: “Smith believed that in prosperous times, ‘poverty may easily be avoided, and the contempt of it therefore almost ceases to be a virtue.’ . . . this indicates that he saw most poverty as deserved – why else would contempt of it be a virtue?” (Ward 2015: 8). But add context, and some alertness to eighteenth-century usage, and the reading shifts. Smith, in the passage cited, is discussing the relevance ‘among civilized nations’ of the virtues connected to selfdenial. His preceding sentence noted that security affords ‘little exercise to the contempt of danger’ (TMS V.2.8); the ‘contempt’ (disregard) of poverty should be similarly read. Smith does not justify contempt for the poor. Thirdly, Smith’s analysis of the shame of poverty is bleak in its implications. The shame of the poor is ineluctably tied to their structural position within society. Though that ‘hovel’ reference might suggest otherwise, the context makes clear that the referent is all labourers – as elsewhere: “the labouring poor, that is, the great body of the people” (WN V.i.f.50). This focus is not unique to Smith. As Himmelfarb (1984: 28) observes, in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries: “If there was no firm distinction between pauper and poor . . . it was because most of the labouring population (with the exception of artisans) were regarded as ‘poor’”. Or, narrowing our focus: “in most contexts Smith means by ‘poor’ something like ‘not rich’ – that is, the condition of the vast majority of the population who must exchange labor for wages” (Gilbert 1997: 281). So the largest grouping in the population, archetypically day-labourers (and their dependents), is seen, by Smith, as rightly prey to this shame, which cannot be ameliorated by linen or leather. It is not clear how it might be ameliorated. Herzog precisely misconstrues Smith’s position: Smith speaks about the shame which the poor feel when they are despised and overlooked, and holds that everyone should have the minimum of material goods that is needed in order “to appear in public” without shame. (Herzog 2013: 107–8, emphases added) Smith does not say ‘everyone should have’ the minimum of material goods, but even had he so said it would be irrelevant. It is not lack of ‘the minimum of material goods’ that ensures that the poor come and go unheeded. Fourthly, and with the advantage of historical distance, we might think that Smith overstates the importance of being so attended-to; Smith’s pessimism is grounded in an elite interpretation of what should constitute shame. We have seen how this is subtended by his analytical psychology. As revealed in his letters, Smith relishes his own role as an influential man of affairs (e.g. his letter to Henry Dundas, from London 13 Dec 1775: “My Dear Lord, I had yesterday a very long conversation with the Solicitor General . . .” Corr. 148). His articulation of how “the man of inferior rank must hope to distinguish himself” reads like a personal recipe: “he must acquire superior knowledge in his profession, and superior industry in the exercise of it. . . . These talents be must bring into public view, by

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  131 the difficulty, importance, and, at the same time, good judgment of his undertakings, and by the severe and unrelenting application with which he pursues them” (TMS I.iii.2.5). It is thus tempting to read the fear of being one who ‘goes out and comes in unheeded’ as a peculiar Smith motivation, over and above its analytical power. Whether or not speculation on Smith’s psychological ‘motives’ has merit, it is clear this strategy is contingent upon attaining a profession; as he is reported – Lectures on Jurisprudence (LJ) – to have remarked:25 Everyone knows how difficult it is, even in a refined society, to raise one’s self to moderate circumstances. It is still more difficult to raise one’s self by these trades which require no art nor ingenuity. A porter or day labourer must continue poor for ever. (LJ(B) 286) An analysis which ensures that those amongst “the labouring poor, that is, the great body of the people” cannot aspire to being a “proper object of esteem” might reasonably be accused of being pejoratively elitist. At times, Smith himself reverts to a simpler motivation; in WN, defending the ‘liberal reward of labour’,26 he observes: A plentiful subsistence increases the bodily strength of the labourer, and the comfortable hope of bettering his condition, and of ending his days perhaps in ease and plenty, animates him to exert that strength to the utmost (WN I.viii.44) This is the Smith who saw it as ‘extraordinary’ that Epicurus failed to notice: “to be the proper object of esteem, is by every well-disposed mind more valued than all the ease and security which . . . esteem can procure” (TMS VII.ii.2.10,12). Though this apparent contradiction might be ascribed to a tension between TMS and WN that is not a strategy I find in general27 appealing. In the one instance Smith is thinking concretely of the motivations of a labourer; in the other he, elitist, is addressing the concerns of ‘every well-disposed mind’. These last three points interconnect. It is hard to run a narrative which sees the advantage of bettering our condition as ‘to be observed, to be attended to, to be taken notice of with sympathy, complacency, and approbation’ and to evade the entailment that the poor are not ‘taken notice of’. If we aspire to be observed, it is unsurprising that we neglect persons of poor and mean condition. The motivator, which Smith mocks Epicurus for failing to notice, of being ‘the proper object of esteem’ might work for the upper ranks of society. It is less plausible as a motivator for the day labourer: In the inferior employments, the sweets of labour consist altogether in the recompense of labour. (WN I.x.c.14)

132  K. I. Macdonald Smith does make some moves which might rescue the contradiction: A person appears mean-spirited, who does not pursue [the important objects of self-interest] with some degree of earnestness for their own sake. . . . Even a tradesman is thought a poor-spirited fellow among his neighbours, who does not bestir himself to get what they call an extraordinary job, or some uncommon advantage. This spirit and keenness constitutes the difference between the man of enterprise and the man of dull regularity. (TMS III.6.7) But even this is not particularly plausible in ‘these trades which require no art nor ingenuity’. And though I have been presenting this as a specifically ‘Smith’ issue, it is obviously more general. Any narrative which would tie the absence of shame (even the absence of the shame of poverty) to some variety of being attended-to, must confront the fact that most of us are, on any larger social narrative, not so attended-to. 5.1 This shame modifiable by association? I have described Smith’s view on the shame of poverty as bleak. That description is at odds with much standard interpretation. Anderson, in a chapter on Smith and equality, interprets Smith’s economic analysis as entailing: economic growth should . . . end poverty . . . no one will suffer its humiliation and obscurity. Being ‘tolerably well fed [and] clothed’ all can appear in public without shame. (Anderson 2016: 167, emphasis added) To say this requires: i) not noticing that, for Smith, this material standard of being ‘tolerably well fed [and] clothed’ is, in the Britain of his time, already met;28 ii) not noticing that Smith’s sartorial remarks in WN are, as shown (§3), not about poverty; and iii) completely ignoring the TMS ‘shame’ passage above, where it is clear that obscurity is not driven by clothing or nutrition. If the cost of poverty is to “feel that we are taken no notice of”, because a “poor man goes out and comes in unheeded” (TMS I.iii.2.1), then the purely material circumstances of the poor, and consequently the improvement of these material circumstances through economic growth, are not pertinent to the discussion.29 Add to this Smith’s view, already noted (p. 130 above; see also the ‘industrialisation’ discussion p. 199 below), that this ‘unheeded’ grouping is large and likely to remain so, and we do indeed have a bleak view of the consequences of economic inferiority. Are there, within, or at least compatible with, Smith’s analyses any routes to attenuation? As a sideways approach to the problem, consider a parallel with a concern of John Rawls, though not the parallel – to the difference principle30 – prevalent in Smith commentary. The more illuminating resemblance lies between Smith’s concern with being attended-to and Rawls’s focus on self-respect; each writer is, in these discussions, articulating their moral psychology.

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  133 Presenting his initial list of social values, Rawls specifies ‘the social bases of self-respect’ (1999: 54); that formulation would enable talk of the objective bases, avoiding the invocation of individual psychology. Despite this, much of Rawls’s subsequent usage speaks simply of the feeling of self-respect: “It includes a person’s sense of his own value, his secure conviction that . . . his plan of life is worth carrying out” (Rawls 1999: 386). Though Rawls does not motivate his argument around ‘shame’, in his discussion of Kant he identifies actions that “strike at our self-respect . . . and the experience of this loss is shame” (Rawls 1999: 225). It therefore seems not unreasonable to assume that for Rawls the obverse of socially relevant shame is self-respect, as analysed. On this interpretation, Rawls then faces a problem not dissimilar to the one we saw in Smith’s account. Rawls entertains the concern that the secure conviction one’s plan of life is worth carrying out might seem restricted to ‘a limited association of highly gifted individuals’. He then offers an associational solution: It normally suffices that for each person there is some association . . . to which he belongs and within which the activities that are rational for him are publicly affirmed by others. In this way we acquire a sense that what we do in everyday life is worthwhile . . . [I]n a well ordered society . . . there are a variety of communities and associations, and the members of each have their own ideals appropriately matched to their aspirations and talents. (Rawls 1999: 387) Rawls is objectively neutral, but it may be not unfair to perceive a certain patrician tone (“appropriately matched to their . . . talents”). Unarguably, it is difficult to talk in the same breath of the ‘limited association of highly gifted individuals’ and invoke for the less gifted associations which affirm ‘activities that are rational for [them]’, without inviting comparison. The quality of such being attended-to varies. Must vary. When the history of philosophy – or even of Smith scholarship – in the twenty-first century comes to be written, most of us will not rate mention. It is significant, for the present argument, that, as his discussion develops, Rawls moves away from the psychologism of organisational membership. He returns to a ‘bases of self-respect’ formulation, where such bases are identifiable not by examination of the psychology of individuals but by looking at social structure. Self-respect is seen as inhering in justice: The basis for self-respect in a just society is not . . . one’s income share but the publicly affirmed distribution of fundamental rights and liberties. (Rawls 1999: 477) That is a very different analysis from the appeal to a ‘variety of communities and associations . . . appropriately matched’. It has the major advantage that it dissolves the distributional problem at a stroke. Self-respect can no longer be under suspicion of restriction to a limited association of highly gifted individuals. In this just society, all participating members can have access to the publicly

134  K. I. Macdonald affirmed distribution of fundamental rights and liberties. There is the further analytic advantage that individual response (‘shame’ and such) becomes irrelevant. We could rephrase this (though this rephrasing is not a formulation Rawls adopts) as claiming that the presence of self-respect is detectable by the informed analytic external observer (capable of evaluating that ‘distribution of fundamental rights and liberties’), and not by the self-report of individuals on whether they feel self-respect (or the absence of shame). I return to this thought in the section (§7, p. 213f.) on the logic of shame and poverty. For the present there are two hints to be taken from this sideways look at Rawls. Might an ‘associational’ solution work for Smith? Failing that, is there an analytic move available to Smith that would dissolve the distributional problem? Gilbert notes that WN’s depiction of the ex-villager come to the city for employment. but lost in urban anonymity, “is close kin to the impoverished citydweller of TMS, ashamed of his poverty, mortified, unobserved as he ‘goes out and comes in’” (Gilbert 1997: 289). Though the TMS passage did not narrow31 its focus to ‘city-dweller’, Gilbert correctly identifies similarity: A man of rank and fortune is by his station the distinguished member of a great society . . . A man of low condition, on the contrary, is far from being a distinguished member of any great society. While he remains in a country village his conduct may be attended to . . . he may have what is called a character to lose. But as soon as he comes into a great city he is sunk in obscurity and darkness. His conduct is observed and attended to by nobody, and he is therefore very likely to neglect it himself, and to abandon himself to every sort of low profligacy and vice. He never emerges so effectually from this obscurity . . . as by his becoming the member of a small religious sect. He from that moment acquires a degree of consideration which he never had before. All his brother sectaries are, for the credit of the sect, interested to observe his conduct (WN V.i.g.12) It might seem that Smith here indicates the start of an associational solution, not dissimilar to Rawls’ opening moves. The labourer, who is otherwise ‘taken no notice of’, can find, we might suppose, some grouping interested to observe his conduct. Registering the culture of clubs and societies in Smith’s time, Herzog goes so far as to remark: “One might say that the religious sect is for the poor worker what a club is for the ‘better circles’ of society.” (Herzog 2011: 390–1). But this device for the equitable distribution of esteem does not, for Smith, work. The patrician tone which (perhaps without ground) I attributed to Rawls is unequivocally and explicitly articulated by Smith. The common people lend their veneration to excessive rigour; the norms of these supportive sects are, to Smith, “disagreeably rigorous and unsocial”. The conflation of sects with the philosophical societies of Edinburgh is not a move Smith is about to make. So association, for Smith cannot be developed into a remedy for the “unheeded” labourer; the indictment stands: “A man of low condition . . . is far from being a distinguished

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  135 member of any great society”. And, as argued in the next section, the education he proposes for the poor will do little to integrate them into the decision-making structure of that ‘great society’. On Rawls’s second strategy (deem self-respect to be consequent upon publicly affirmed fundamental rights) it is difficult to formulate an analogous move that might be plausible whilst consistent with Smith’s framework. Admittedly, as noted, Smith is settled in his view that ‘contempt’ of the poor lacks any moral foundation; so for him a fully moral society might (on the analogue of Rawls’s fully just society) be imagined to accord proper respect to the poor. But there would be two problems with such a move. One is that Smith is explicit that a negative view of poverty is endemic, and useful in maintaining order and rank (see the passage quoted on p. 209 below). His model for the efficient operation of society assumes these (unsavoury) facts of human nature. Smith is quite ready to admit morally reprehensible responses as useful (as in our indifference to distant suffering32). The posit of a ‘just society’ would, for Rawls, be coherent; for Smith the posit of a moral society (in the restricted sense of removing the misplaced regard for status) would be incoherent, as destroying order and motivation. After mocking a concern for ‘place’ (“that great object which divides the wives of aldermen”) Smith continues: But rank, distinction pre-eminence, no man despises . . . unless he is either . . . confirmed in wisdom and real philosophy . . . or so habituated to the idea of his own meanness, so sunk in slothful and sottish indifference, as entirely to have forgot the desire . . . for superiority. (TMS I.iii.2.8) For Smith the social structure functions as it does (well) because rank ‘no man despises’. The second point is that, though Smith does, as noted, provide a moral critique of ‘contempt’ of the poor, part ground for his thought that the poor man is ‘attended to by nobody’ is empirical. Although he does not make the obvious argument that the rich receive attention because their acts reverberate more, affect more people,33 Smith is explicit on why the poor may not be attended to: though the interest of the labourer is strictly connected with that of the society, he is incapable either of comprehending that interest or of understanding its connection with his own. His condition leaves him no time to receive the necessary information, and his education and habits are commonly such as to render him unfit to judge even though he was fully informed. In the public deliberations, therefore, his voice is little heard and less regarded. (WN I.xi.p.9) This epistemological component in Smith renders, as noted, inequality inevitable. Were Smith a radical egalitarian, arguing for attention to voices irrespective of content, matters would be different; but there is no evidence for that in his treatment of association (nor, as we shall see, §6, p. 150f, more generally). So on

136  K. I. Macdonald Smith’s analysis of shame, the stratification by status cannot (unlike Rawls’s) be removed by a posited transition to a just or moral society. The empirical association route (by joining an appropriate association “we acquire a sense that what we do in everyday life is worthwhile”) is for Smith even less tenable than it proves to be for Rawls. Might then education, as several commentators have suggested, enable Smith (‘or someone fairly like him’ – the phrase is Winch’s; see p. 151 below) to remove the shame of poverty? 5.2 This shame modifiable by education? Smith’s ‘sect’ discussion, introduced above, is consistently decontextualized and over-interpreted. There, we are told: “Smith defends the religious choices of poor people against the contempt and fear of his Enlightenment colleagues” (Fleischacker 2004: 207, repeated 2016: 485; emphasis added). Admittedly Smith, in sociological vein, does observe that a myriad of sects reduces the threat to the polity (“each of them consequently too small to disturb the public tranquillity” WN V.i.g.9), and, as we have seen above, is clear on the power of such sects to monitor the behaviour of the urban poor; these empirical observations might reduce Enlightenment fear. But Smith is uniformly scathing when he discusses the ‘religious choices of poor people’, and there is nothing that can be construed as a defence against enlightened disparagement. He sees these sects as characterised34 by “the excessive zeal of each for its particular tenets” (WN V.i.g.9). He grants they have adopted an austere system of morality, but “perhaps the greater part of them, have . . . endeavoured to gain credit by . . . carrying it to some degree of folly and extravagance; and this excessive rigour has frequently recommended them more than anything else to the respect and veneration of the common people” (WN V.i.g.12) So concerned is Smith that the “morals of those little sects . . . have frequently been rather disagreeably rigorous and unsocial” that he advocates “two very easy and effectual remedies” (WN V.i.g.12–13); to propose remedies for choices is scarcely a defence of these choices. These remedies (instruction and diversions) have in their turn been invoked as evidence for an egalitarian Smith. Smith’s account of public instruction is a further eulogy to the social integration of the poor. It is not enough that the poor should be able to appear in public without shame; they should also be able to take part without shame in public and political discussion. Smith thus proposes to enliven the existence of people in great cities . . . as a matter of public policy: by support for ‘the study of science and philosophy’, and by ‘the frequency and gaiety of public diversions’. (Rothschild 1995: 717; also 1996: 336) These are public goods in so far as they correct the disagreeable rigour of religious austerity; therefore, Smith believes, the state has a legitimate role in paying for them. (McLean 2006: 37)

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  137 One would be forgiven, reading Rothschild, for seeing Smith as somehow providing “the study of science and philosophy” to the poor, and, reading McLean, to see him as wishing this paid for by the state. Smith’s prescription (in WN V.i.g.14), is very different. For him, “the study of science and philosophy” is restricted to “people of middling or more than middling rank and fortune”, so not the poor, and the state can implement this by requiring “some sort of probation”, that is, examination, for entry to any “liberal profession” or “honourable office of trust or profit” (again, not the occupations of the poor). Further, he is here explicit that this be “not by giving salaries to teachers in order to make them negligent and idle”; the state does not, on Smith’s scheme, pay for this education35 of the middling ranks. The aim is to affect the poor, but not by their direct education: Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition; and where all the superior ranks of people were secured from it, the inferior ranks could not be much exposed to it. (WN V.i.g.14) It requires some disattention to the text to report this “account of public instruction is a further eulogy to the social integration of the poor” (Rothschild 1996: 28). Schliesser’s (2017: 214) summary – “Smith argues that a wise legislator must create and enforce various incentives to stimulate mandatory education of the young in philosophy” – is equally misleading. Further, Rothschild’s assertion that the poor “should also be able to take part without shame in public and political discussion” has no textual foundation in Smith. Nowhere does he assert anything even approximating that reading. Elsewhere in WN, Smith admittedly advocates a subsidised system of basic education: [T]hough the common people cannot . . . be so well instructed as people of some rank and fortune, the most essential parts of education, however, to read, write, and account, can be acquired . . . The public [i.e. the state] can facilitate this acquisition by establishing in every parish or district a little school, where children may be taught for a reward so moderate that even a common labourer may afford it; the master being partly . . . paid by the public . . . In Scotland the establishment of such parish schools has taught almost the whole common people to read, and a very great proportion of them to write and account . . . If in those little schools the books, by which the children are taught to read, were a little more instructive than they commonly are, and if, instead of a little smattering of Latin . . . which can scarce ever be of any use to them, they were instructed in the elementary parts of geometry and mechanics, the literary education of this rank of people would perhaps be as complete as it can be. (WN V.i.f.54–55) This is initially advocated on intrinsic36 grounds, not for its utility to the polity; but Smith’s depiction of its utility (expressed, with the Scots’ affection for litotes, as:

138  K. I. Macdonald “the state, however, derives no inconsiderable advantage from their instruction”) is illuminating on the expected scope and consequence of that education: The more [the inferior ranks of people] are instructed the less liable they are to the delusions of enthusiasm and superstition, which . . . frequently occasion the most dreadful disorders. An instructed and intelligent people, besides, are always more decent and orderly . . . more disposed to respect [their lawful] superiors. They are more . . . capable of seeing through the interested complaints of faction and sedition, and . . . less apt to be misled into any wanton or unnecessary opposition to the measures of government. In free countries, where the safety of government depends very much upon the favourable judgment which the people may form of its conduct, it must surely be of the highest importance that they should not be disposed to judge rashly or capriciously concerning it. (WN V.i.f.61) Himmelfarb cites (parts of) this passage, and summarizes: “Just as the laborer, by dint of his labor, was to be a free and full participant in the economy, so by dint of his education, he was to be a free and full participant in society”. Rothschild likewise, concluding: “This is the Enlightenment idyll, of universal public discussion among thoughtful, reflecting, self-respecting individuals” (Rothschild 1996: 337). Even allowing that ‘inferior ranks’ is a purely descriptive, not evaluative, ordinal term, it is hard to see how such summaries are compatible with the text (which pictures these orderly common people, respecting their lawful superiors, not disposed to judge capriciously, or heed the interested complaints of faction and sedition, and avoiding unnecessary opposition to the measures of government). To say this is not to under-rate what Smith was proposing – a reform of English education, with substantial implications. But admiration for that should not blind us to the limitations. Smith is not penning a further eulogy to the social integration of the poor. He is advocating, for the poor, a bounded education, with bounded consequence, as is clear from his presentation of its implications for political discussion. Education, as he glosses it, prevents disorder, avoids ‘unnecessary opposition’ to the measures of government, and enables a ‘favourable’, non-capricious, view of the government’s conduct, thus ensuring the ‘safety of government’. There is no thought that education might entail and enable necessary opposition to the caprices of government. Such asymmetric participation is scarcely ‘free and full’. The claim that “Smith thought that the children of the poor should be educated to take part in political discussions” (Rothschild 1992: 87) is tenable if, and only if, ‘political discussion’ is read in the non-oppositional sense which Smith specifies. The claim that he “says that the state should take steps to ensure that the laboring poor have an education fostering in them the capacity for moral and political judgment” (Fleischacker 2004: 205) is tenable if, and only if, ‘political judgement’ is read in the non-oppositional sense which Smith specifies. Smith’s advocacy of subsidised parish schools, throughout Britain, is, beyond contention, socially significant. There may be an empirical issue as to its capacity

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  139 for the goals it does target (“The basic education that Smith suggests is hardly sufficient; one might even wonder if it could have been sufficient in Smith’s own day for counteracting the detrimental effects of highly divided labour on the workers’ mind” Herzog 2014: 870). There is also the issue, as Smith recognises, that political participation would require information and competence as well as education (“[The labourer’s] condition leaves him no time to receive the necessary information, and his . . . habits are commonly such as to render him unfit to judge even though he was fully informed” WN I.xi.p.937). But the more salient issue, for present purposes, is that there is no evidence that Smith was aiming at wider social goals, or seeking to ensure that the poor be able to take part without shame in public and political discussion. Smith’s poor man, with the education offered, would still go out and come in unheeded. There is one move remaining to the opposing argument: my citation (p. 137) of the ‘parish schools’ discussion was incomplete; Smith concludes his paragraph thus: There is scarce a common trade which does not afford some opportunities of applying to it the principles of geometry and mechanics, and which would not therefore gradually exercise and improve the common people in those principles, the necessary introduction to the most sublime as well as to the most useful sciences. (WN V.i.f.55) I, unsurprisingly, have emphasised ‘useful’. But, as Winch drily observes: Those who wish to stress the vocational bias of this modest proposal concentrate upon the word ‘useful’ to the neglect of ‘sublime’. (Winch 1978: 118) At first sight that is fair, and unsettling, comment. But here Winch is, uncharacteristically, less than sensitive to Smith’s verbal usages. It is far from clear that Smith even partially envisions the poor expanding, on parish education, to the higher sciences. As commonly deployed, the word ‘sublime’, before 1800, can have pejorative overtones (see some of the OED illustrations). For Smith himself, the only other use, within WN, of ‘sublime’ anchors it clearly, and negatively, in contradistinction to the valuable. Earlier in the same chapter, as Smith presents his intellectual history of the late medieval development of Aristotelian thought, he sketches how: in the universities of Europe . . . Metaphysics . . . [was] set in opposition to Physics, and cultivated not only as the more sublime, but, for the purposes of a particular profession, as the more useful science of the two. The proper subject of experiment and observation [physics], a subject in which a careful attention is capable of making so many useful discoveries, was almost entirely neglected. The subject [metaphysics] in which, after a few

140  K. I. Macdonald very simple and almost obvious truths, the most careful attention can . . .  produce nothing but subtleties and sophisms, was greatly cultivated. (WN V.i.f.28) Read in that context, Smith’s observation is closer to a recognition that mathematics forms an introduction either to metaphysical speculation or to useful science; it is not an aspiration that the common people pass beyond consideration of the useful. TMS, which does contain some deployments of ‘sublime’ close to modern honorific usage, also uses the word to mark a division between the irrelevant and the useful (remembering in the reading that the ‘business of God’ carries, for Smith, no strong emotional valence): the care of the universal happiness of all . . . is the business of God, and not of man. To man is allotted a much humbler department . . . the care of his own happiness, of that of his family, his friends, his country: that he is occupied in contemplating the more sublime, can never be an excuse for his neglecting the more humble department . . . The most sublime speculation of the contemplative philosopher can scarce compensate the neglect of the smallest active duty. (TMS VI.ii.6) Also pertinent is Smith’s very pragmatic narrative on the genesis of geometry: Writing and arithmetic have been invented to record and set in a clear light the several transactions of the merchant and tradesman, and geometry has been originally invented (either to measure out the earth and divide it amongst the inhabitants or) to assist the workman in the fashioning of those pieces of art [i.e. machinery] which require more accurate mensuration (LJ(A)38 vi.18) Given this focus, it is not plausible to read (WN V.i.f.55) as expressing the hope that a ‘parish school’ education is somehow a stepping-stone to more abstract thought. Another Smith remark sometimes invoked in support of a more extensive vision appears in the report of LJ(B) (this section of the Lectures is not covered in LJ(A)): The education which low people’s children receive is not . . . considerable; however, it does them an immense deal of service . . . By it they learn to read, and this gives them the benefit of religion, which is a great advantage, not only considered in a pious sense, but as it affords them subject for thought and speculation. (LJ(B) 330) Not quite ‘religion is the opium of the people’ (as some read that phrase); not far removed from it either. This is a passing remark in a lecture; so that ‘great advantage’

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  141 should not be over-emphasised, or its tone too readily assumed. It would be somewhat disingenuous, at the very least inegalitarian (‘it affords them’), for Smith, to propose for the poor religion as the proper ‘subject for thought and speculation’. Nowhere in his own writing does he, as a fully educated man, attempt to show, or even gesture towards, any useful conclusions as following from religious thought and speculation. Why propose for ‘low people’ a distinctive subject for thought? I chose to begin this section by charting the limits Smith envisages on the effects of ‘the most essential parts of education’; the emotional force with which he makes the case for such education is striking; faced with his fervour it is too easy to over interpret his intention. In the progress of the division of labour, the employment of the far greater part of those who live by labour . . . comes to be confined to a few very simple operations . . . The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations . . . has no occasion to exert his understanding or to exercise his invention in finding out expedients for removing difficulties which never occur . . . The torpor of his mind renders him, not only incapable of relishing or bearing a part in any rational conversation, but of conceiving any generous, noble, or tender sentiment . . . Of the great and extensive interests of his country he is altogether incapable of judging . . . [I]n every improved and civilised society39 this is the state into which the labouring poor, that is, the great body of the people, must necessarily fall, unless government takes some pains to prevent it. (WN V.i.f.50) It would be easy to imagine the Smith who wrote that last sentence as someone who would agree with Rothschild’s aspiration: “It is not enough that the poor should be able to appear in public without shame; they should also be able to take part without shame in public and political discussion”. But though, for us, easy to imagine, that is not a move Smith makes. As the chapter develops, and the detail is spelled out, the pay-off for the poor lies in not-opposing, rather than deciding, the ‘extensive interests’, and the aim is restricted to reducing deformity. This is part of a continuing Smith exhortation against the military spinelessness40 of his countrymen, and on the mental deformity of cowardice. For him, even were there no defence benefit: yet to prevent that sort of mental . . . deformity . . . which cowardice necessarily involves . . . from spreading . . . would still deserve the most serious attention of government, in the same manner as . . . to prevent a leprosy or any other loathsome and offensive disease, though neither mortal nor dangerous, from spreading . . . though perhaps no other public good might result . . . besides the prevention of so great a public evil. (WN V.i.f.60–61) This image, of the cowardly as deformed and misshapen beings, then carries forward to his presentation of the lack of education:

142  K. I. Macdonald The same thing may be said of the gross ignorance and stupidity which, in a civilised society, seem so frequently to benumb the understandings of all the inferior ranks of people. A man without the proper use of the intellectual faculties of a man, is, if possible, more contemptible than even a coward, and seems to be mutilated and deformed in a still more essential part of the character of human nature. (WN V.i.f.60–61) Paganelli (2018: 100) puts it well: “for Smith the education of the lower classes is a form of public sanitation project. It prevents the diffusion of ‘leprosy’ of the mind”. The image is powerful – gross ignorance and stupidity imaged as mutilation and deformity – but attention must be paid to the use Smith makes of it. Weinstein’s synopsis (2006: 107) is far from the tone of this passage: “For Smith, education is necessary for happiness”. Smith does not say that. Insofar as it may be held to be an entailment, the entailment from viewing education as alleviating ‘mutilation and deformity’ is equally ‘education is necessary for grief and sorrow’. The removal of mutilation and deformity targets basic human precondition functioning; not happiness per se. Earlier in WN, Smith, driven by an enthusiasm for the advantages of the division of labour,41 presents a picture of common workmen (“who, being each of them employed in some very simple operation, naturally turned their thoughts towards finding out easier and readier methods of performing it” WN I.i.5,8) sharply at odds with the torpor-ridden account of those more contemptible than cowards (“the man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations . . . has no occasion to exert his understanding” WN V.i.f.50). This particular disparity is often remarked, if rarely explored. Smith we know is not always a systematiser of his presuppositions. Which is why, in understanding his thought, it is important to attend to the use he makes of these assertions, to see the consequences he believes they should subtend. They are expressing veridical enthusiasms, but do not always lead where we might expect them to lead. On education of the common people Smith sees a basic education, delivering ‘the most essential parts of education, . . . to read, write, and account’, ameliorating the mutilation and deformity of ‘gross ignorance and stupidity’. As noted, this should not be underrated, undervalued. But equally it cannot be read as invocation of ‘the Enlightenment idyll, of universal public discussion among thoughtful, reflecting, self-respecting individuals’. Before finishing with education, a postscript. Smith’s support for subsidised parish schools, providing basic education, is a well-known and often invoked component of his thought. Given its purported salience, it is curious that Smith’s articulations of the mechanism for its delivery are sketchy – and puzzling. He observes: For a very small expense the public [i.e. state] can facilitate, can encourage, and can even impose upon almost the whole body of the people, the necessity of acquiring those most essential parts of education. The [state] can facilitate

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  143 this acquisition by establishing in every parish or district a little school . . . The [state] can encourage the acquisition of those most essential parts of education by giving small premiums, and little badges of distinction, to the children of the common people who excel in them. The [state] can impose upon almost the whole body of the people the necessity of acquiring those most essential parts of education, by obliging every man to undergo an examination or probation in them before he can obtain the freedom in any corporation, or be allowed to set up any trade either in a village or town corporate. (WN V.i.f.54–57) The detail of the facilitation has already been reported (p. 137); the encouragement and the imposition are not elsewhere in WN more elaborated. Though the facilitation discussion does not spell out the details of funding, or how it would be policed, the model (these Scottish parish schools) is clear enough. Premiums, required for encouragement, are briefly discussed elsewhere in WN, as a side remark42 during Smith’s attack on ‘bounties’; and again the image is clear enough (think school prize-giving). The puzzle comes over the imposition mechanism. Let us ignore the sudden disenfranchisement of half the human race – at this point ‘every man’ appears literally meant (though the preceding discussion has been ‘gender neutral’). The difficulty is articulating the target of the proposed ‘examination’. Perhaps the most natural reading of the target group – those seeking the freedom of a corporation or desiring to set up in a trade in a village or town corporate – points to a narrow, conventional, reading of ‘trade’ as skilled or entrepreneurial labour. This is a frequent usage in WN, as for example in the explanation43 of why lodgings are cheaper in London than Edinburgh. Smith’s explicit policy discussion elsewhere recognises the different regulatory status customarily44 expected of ‘skilled’ trades: The policy of Europe considers the labour of all mechanics, artificers, and manufacturers, as skilled labour; and that of all country labourers as common labour . . . The laws and customs of Europe, therefore, in order to qualify any person for exercising the one species of labour, impose the necessity of an apprenticeship, though with different degrees of rigour in different places. They leave the other free and open to everybody. (WN I.x.b.8) We might, from a more formulaic writer, have expected more explicit ‘compare and contrast’ of ‘examination’ as against ‘apprenticeship’ (though one could construct such from Smith’s statements). But the specification of the target audience, and the application of examination, would be intelligible; we could see how this might work. The obvious problem is that, so specified, it does not cover ‘every man’; the day labourer is excluded. An alternative reading of the target group is to treat ‘trade’ in a weak sense, as being simply what someone does for remuneration. This reading may be felt

144  K. I. Macdonald much less plausible, though there are, elsewhere in WN, instances of such a weak usage. For example: In some parts of Scotland a few poor people make a trade of gathering, along the sea-shore, those little variegated stones commonly known by the name of Scotch Pebbles.45 The price which is paid to them by the stone-cutter is altogether the wages of their labour; neither rent nor profit make any part of it. (WN I.vi.15) That ‘neither rent nor profit’ gloss clarifies that Smith is not envisioning people who have in any way purchased access to the shore or gathering rights. An even more explicit instance is his exploration of the wages of the ‘coal heavers’ in London, “a trade which has no exclusive privilege” (WN I.x.b.15). It is clear from the detailed argument (in which ‘exclusive privilege’ plays a key role) that Smith is describing a ‘trade’ in which there are, as he sees it, no barriers to entry. On such an interpretation, becoming a day labourer might count as entering a trade. The obvious problem with this reading is that a mechanism requiring ‘every man to undergo an examination or probation’ before being allowed to become a day labourer, or heave coal, or gather little variegated stones from the sea shore, is socially implausible. The required imposition (“upon almost the whole body of the people”) could of course be achieved simply by making basic education compulsory. The mechanism that Smith actually proposes – “obliging every man to undergo an examination . . . before he can . . . be allowed to set up any trade” – does not work. On a conventional reading of ‘trade’ it excludes labourers. On a relaxed reading of ‘trade’ it entails an extreme proliferation of gate-keeping mechanisms. Quite what to make of this puzzle is not, to me, clear, which is why it is a postscript to the argument of this section, not a serious move within it. Smith appears not to have ‘thought through’ his proposal. Given his stated belief in “reason and understanding, 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 IV.2.6), and his evident delight throughout WN in foreseeing such advantage or detriment, this is, at the very least, odd. Its oddity would be reduced if we thought that, for Smith, proposals for basic education of the common people were not a central policy proposal; but given the emotion with which he discusses the ‘most essential parts of education’ that would raise further interpretive puzzles. Perhaps it is simply that Smith hesitates before the novelty of freshly mandating universal education (though he is unbothered by extant universal taxation), and so falls back on extending extant mechanisms of incorporation? 5.3 Smith the circumspect? Before examining the explicit arguments for reading Smith as an egalitarian, one recurrent interpretative issue merits attention. Some commentators seek to argue that the real Adam Smith is different from – more radical than – the written Adam

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  145 Smith, who, it is said, in the interests of propriety engaged in self-censorship. Smith is a documented admirer (TMS VI.ii.2.16) of the pragmatic Solon, but there is scant correspondence evidence for his supposed radical position, and what there is does not stand scrutiny. Rothschild, in her seminal 1992 paper, gives some succour to the notion of a circumspect Smith. She discusses Dupont’s interpretation of Smith – “Smith’s caution, on this ‘French’ view,46 is that of someone who must obscure his real and severe opinions in public” (Rothschild 1992: 90) – and concedes that “Dupont’s interpretation is supported by much of Smith’s correspondence”. She does not provide specific chapter and verse for this. An alternative, and perhaps equally tenable, summary of the dominant impression left by the extant correspondence is, unsurprisingly, of a writer circumspect, and at times tentative, in his interpersonal dealings but forthright when behind the lectern. Addressing a somewhat different area of circumspection, Clark (2011) attempts more specificity. He claims that Smith, in contrast to the public stance in WN, is, in his private correspondence, “willing to admit that WN is a harsh criticism of the entire system of British policy” (Clark 2011: 27). In support, Clark cites a letter in which Smith, discussing various subsections of WN, remarks upon the lack of response around the “very violent attack I had made upon the whole commercial system of Great Britain” (Corr. 208), contrasting reaction to his rendition of Hume’s deathbed composure. But for Smith ‘commercial system’ is a specific term of art (not equating, as Clark would have it, to ‘the entire system of British policy’) and his published discussions of the “prejudices established by the commercial system” (WN IV.v.a.25) are explicit and forthright.47 We have here no evidence of separable Smith voices. It should be clear to any reader – including Smith’s contemporary readers – that WN embodies an attack on the commercial system of Great Britain. Indeed, as Winch notes of the antagonism towards mercantile fallacies: It was this feature of WN that Smith’s early Scottish readers consistently noted in their letters of congratulation, with Hugh Blair (Corr. 151) speaking for them all when he said: ‘You have done a great service to the world by overturning all that interested sophistry of merchants, with which they had confounded the whole subject of commerce’. (Winch 1996: 92) And the vigour of the attack was clear; this is Stewart in 1793: On this system . . . Mr Smith bestows the title of the Commercial or Mercantile System . . . its two principal expedients . . . he observes, have been dictated [part] by the spirit of monopoly, and part by a spirit of jealousy against those countries with which the balance of trade is supposed to be disadvantageous . . . His remarks with respect to the jealousy of commerce are expressed in a tone of indignation, which he seldom assumes in his political writings. (Stewart 1793 IV.16)

146  K. I. Macdonald The ‘attack’ was publicly manifest, its ‘tone of indignation’ apparent to the eighteenthcentury reader. What we have, in Corr. 208, is a Smith lamenting – and many an academic will sympathise – that those criticised failed to attend to criticism, leaving their sophistry unruffled. We do not have evidence for a circumspect Smith. On religion, a case can perhaps be made that the details of Smith’s arguments display a more thoroughgoing agnosticism than he ever explicitly summarises or admits, though the text of TMS is in places quite clear (again Winch’s remarks, 1996: 38, on this are judicious). And interpretative care is required: There is an acute problem of anachronism . . . in the assumption that eighteenth century thought had moved beyond religion, that secularisation was accomplished in one fatal blow. (Forman-Barzilai 2010: 94) But religious discretion, however expressed, is not evidence for discretion on the matters that WN explicitly addresses. Nor can the relative lack of comment (in both WN and TMS) on ‘issues of the day’ be held as evidence of a circumspect Smith. That silence reflects Smith’s sense of the enterprise in which he is engaged. His response, when his general argument confronts him with an apparent need to assess particular trade retaliations, is striking: To judge whether such retaliations are likely to produce such an effect . . .  [belongs] . . . to the skill of that insidious and crafty animal, vulgarly called a statesman or politician, whose councils are directed by the momentary fluctuations of affairs. (WN IV.ii.39) Such distaste for analysis of the momentary fluctuations of affairs accounts for their absence.48 Arguably the revolution in France, a country with which Smith was not unacquainted, might be accounted as more than a momentary fluctuation; here Smith’s choice on what to write in the last edition of TMS becomes pertinent. As Eltis, who is generally in agreement with Rothschild, but here argues for a more conservative Smith, neatly puts it: These unambiguously conservative sentiments [criticising government determined by the ‘spirit of system’] are what Smith actually published in the final months of his life, shortly after the storming of the Bastille. If he truly had radical political beliefs which he was too prudent to publish, why did he include these conservative passages in the final pages which came from his pen? (Eltis 2004: 157) Smith the closet radical may be a comforting thought, but it is no more than that. Certainly Smith was a private man, who worked to ensure that his letters and drafts did not outlive him. These actions should not be over interpreted:

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  147 Offering to return or destroy letters to a close friend at the end of a period of intimacy was not uncommon in the eighteenth century. (Winch 1996: 37) It will come as no surprise, given the argument so far, that I choose to interpret the texts as written. It may be appropriate, in ending this section, to look at another move which would detach Smith from the apparent meaning of his words – a move to see Smith as a satirist, or strongly influenced by satirists. We have no direct evidence for a satirical Smith. But of course satire was not uncommon in the eighteenth century; Dean Swift in particular comes readily to mind (as we have noticed, p. 127). Unsurprisingly, those who read Smith as engaging in distancing irony seek to emphasise the Swift connection: Smith was a great admirer of Jonathan Swift, who was supremely gifted at stating the most outrageous of propositions in the most moderate of tones. (Fleischacker 2004: 4) Fleischacker accurately captures what our sensibilities value in Swift. It is less clear that this formed the lens through which Smith admired Swift. Smith’s discussion of Swift is found mainly49 in his Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres (LRBL); all our earlier hesitations about over-reliance on the detail of transcriptions apply with particular force here – and, in contrast to LJ, we lack much corroboration within published works. However the remarks spread throughout LRBL are reasonably consistent in tone. We find concern over the “general disregard for [Swift’s] serious works” (LRBL i.103) – “Swift’s graver works are never almost read . . . and his other works are read merely for their humour” (LRBL i.100). Smith attributes this in part to Swift’s rebarbative moral stance (“he never has such warm exclamations for civil or religious liberty as are now generally in fashion”50 LRBL i.101) and in part to the deceptive simplicity of his style: Swift . . . who is the plainest as well as the most proper and precise of all the English writers, is despised as nothing out of the common road; each of us thinks he could have wrote as well . . . it does not appear that this opinion is well grounded. (LRBL i.104) We find praise for: writings . . . so plain that one half asleep may carry the sense along with him . . . Nay if we happen to lose a word or two, the rest of the sentence is so naturally connected . . . that it comes into our mind of its own accord. (LRBL i.10)

148  K. I. Macdonald Further, Smith, who as a stylist, expresses dislike for ‘compounded words . . .  borrowed from other languages’, observes: “No author has been more attentive to this point than Swift; we may say his language is more English than any other writer that we have” (LRBL i.4). There is here clear approbation for the craftsmanship of Swift’s prose – “his style is very close, no word can be passed over without notice” (LRBL i.92), “every word of his writings is of importance” (LRBL i.130). Admittedly the thought that “no word can be passed over” sits oddly alongside the earlier indifference to the lost “word or two” – a salutary reminder that we are reading lecture notes, not a finished work by Smith – though both observations are admiring of craftsmanship. But to admire craftsmanship, and Englishness of style, does not entail uncritical admiration for the uses of that skill: Swift never gives any reason for his opinions . . . and when one expects a reason he meets with nothing but such expressions as, I have always been of the opinion that, etc. (LRBL i.91) This critical distancing extends to Swift’s satire; Smith notes Swift’s ‘severe ironical manner’, and continues: Swift again is harsh and unpleasant in many of his compositions. This style suits well enough with the morose humour of that author but would be very unpleasant in most sorts of compositions. (LRBL i.52a) LRBL is not flattering on Swift’s morose humour (“he studiously avoided what are called the common forms of civility and good breeding” LRBL i.118); TMS is even harsher – Swift appears in a list of “splendid talents” who “have too often distinguished themselves by the most improper and even insolent contempt of all the ordinary decorums of life and conversation, and who have thereby set the most pernicious example” (TMS VI.i.4). The LRBL evidence, praising literary style but not use, is also consistent with the report by ‘Amicus’ in 1791 (proffering “anecdotes tending to throw light on the character and opinions of the late Adam Smith LLD”): Of Swift, Dr. Smith made frequent and honourable mention . . . He affirmed, that [Swift] wanted nothing but inclination to have become one of the greatest of all poets. “But in place of this, he is only a gossiper, writing merely for the entertainment of a private circle.” (Amicus 1791) Similarly, LRBL sees Swift’s writing as anchored in Swift’s “present time” (and we “cannot now enter altogether into the true spirit” of these times, LRBL i.102); moreover, the LRBL judgement is that, when engaging in ridicule, Swift:

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  149 exposes none but empty coxcombs, fine gentlemen, beaus, belles, and any that encouraged themselves in employments of no moment or importance of life. (LRBL i.122) Whereas we are attuned to think ‘Swift: great satirist’, Smith’s admiration focuses on his ‘serious works’ and his potential as a poet. TMS contains one comment on Swift and his style, in the section on the influence of ‘custom and fashion upon our notion of beauty’: An eminent artist will . . . introduce a new fashion of writing, music, or architecture. . . . Mr. Pope and Dr. Swift have each of them introduced a manner different from what was practised before, into all works that are written in rhyme, the one [Pope] in long verses, the other [Swift] in short. The quaintness of [Samuel] Butler has given place to the plainness of Swift. (TMS V.1.7) Again, the Swift that Smith notices is Swift the poet. Smith is indeed an admirer of Swift, but a very specifically targeted admirer. Smith, having explained why Swift’s serious works are undervalued (mainly that deceptively simple style), notes “his works show a complete knowledge of his subject . . . [this] is apparent in all his political works”, and remarks: Notwithstanding of all this, perhaps for the reasons already shown his graver works are not much regarded. It is his talent for ridicule that is most commonly and I believe most justly admired. (LRBL i.107) That ‘justly’ is something of an outlier in the LRBL commentary. But as Smith articulates his understanding of how Swift’s talent for ridicule works, it becomes very clear that the deployed devices he sees are not satire and irony: Swift’s natural moroseness, joined to [his] constant disappointments . . .  would make contempt natural to his character; and those follies would most provoke him that partake most of gaiety and levity . . . all his less serious works . . . are chiefly levelled against coxcombs, beaus, belles and other characters . . . gay follies rather than the graver ones . . . when he has a mind to throw a great degree of ridicule on any subject he puts it into the mouth of some other person . . . [making] them express their admiration and esteem for those things he would expose . . . he could not take a more effectual method to ridicule any foible. (LRBL i.118–121) Smith admired Swift. But we have no evidence that he admired him for his irony and satire, and, on the showing of this LRBL explication of Swift’s rhetorical

150  K. I. Macdonald structure, no evidence that Smith perceived the stylistic devices that we see Swift as using. No evidence that Smith sought to follow Swift in “stating the most outrageous of propositions in the most moderate of tones”. And a postscript, admittedly from a footnote, though an impassioned one, in an unpublished early essay; Smith there51 attacks: that strange fancy that, in [Plato’s] writings, there was a double doctrine; and that they were intended to seem to mean one thing, while at bottom they meant a very different, which the writings of no man in his senses ever were, or ever could be intended to do. (EPS, p. 112) This, which fits well with Smith’s admiration of Swift as the “plainest . . . of all the English writers”, is not an author advocating a disjunct between expression and intent.

6. Smith not an egalitarian The central concern of the present discussion is with shame and poverty. The excursion into the past is driven by this concern. It might be argued it is immaterial (other than to Sen, and to Sen and Smith scholars) whether Sen or Smith said or did not say, believed or did not believe, the things they are claimed to have said and believed; no entailments spring into action from correct readings. But if we take the intellectual enterprise even half-seriously, identifying the succession of ideas, being clear as to the intellectual landscape, both in the present and in its historical evolution, matters. Besides, current writers on shame and poverty cite Sen and Smith; claimed readings are deployed as props for, buttresses of, present arguments. As Blaug (2001: 153), in a cogent defence of the utility of the history of economic thought (centred on another Smith over-exposure, the ‘invisible hand’52) remarks “if we are going to invoke the past to endorse current beliefs, it is philistine to ignore the textual record”. Those claiming the shoulders of giants have some obligation to ascertain that they are where they believe them to be. There is a recent clutch of scholarship arguing for some version of an egalitarian Smith, with a concern for the poor. This has become established orthodoxy. So, for example, a recent scholarly and influential writer on the role of Smith as a public thinker can observe: I elaborate53 on the line of argument that has been developed during the last three decades that has explained and emphasised Smith’s attempts to further the interests of the working poor. (Schliesser 2017: 194) The egalitarian claims see Smith both as a distributional egalitarian (arguing the case for resources to the poor) and a relational egalitarian (seeing all as equal, and worthy of respect). Their evidence is drawn mainly from WN. In this, the old

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  151 ‘Adam Smith Problem’ is turned neatly on its head, with the Smith of WN, interpreted as alert to and caring for the needs of the poor, now seen as somewhat at odds with the doctrinaire moralist of TMS. Though he is partisan in this debate, Fleischacker (2013: 495–497) provides an impartial conspectus of recent contributions. I obviously cannot, in a piece of this length, engage with all of these contributions – and the prime focus is on Smith’s perception of the poor. So my argument will proceed by selecting certain key passages in which disagreement on Smith might inhere, and attempting attentive reading of the text. A linchpin citation for the relational ‘egalitarian’ camp is Smith’s discussion of how similar the street-porter and philosopher were as children. This is scrutinised below (p. 192f.), but first consider how some citations specifically on the poor are to be read. This might seem to be moving too carelessly between Smith’s egalitarian concerns and Smith’s concern for the poor. A commentator on Fleischacker (2004) observes: Fleischacker’s error . . . lies in conflating Smith’s abhorrence of poverty with Fleischacker’s own abhorrence of inequality, which is something quite different. As many authors have noted, a major thrust of WN, arguably its most important single point, is the alleviation of poverty, through the mechanisms of the market . . . [but] for Smith, inequality and the alleviation of poverty are eminently compatible. (Muller 2006: 229) But my reading of Smith is that both those who see alleviation of poverty as a major thrust of WN and those, like Fleischacker, who see Smith as concerned with egalitarian ends are equally mistaken. So the conflation, for my argument, is not pernicious, and I consider either or both of the issues as appropriate. In reading I adopt particular strategies. One guiding interpretative principle is the Sen remark, already invoked (p. 119 above), which emphasises the importance of treating particular arguments as particular; or, as Sen re-expresses it: WN is . . . a complex work. Tearing out particular sentences as slogans . . .  does little justice to Smith’s views. (Sen 1986: 28) Another, as noted in the preamble, following Skinner (1974: 283), is a concentration on descriptions ‘which the author himself might in principle have avowed’; as Winch applies it to Smith: For the present I will simply record my belief that one of the primary responsibilities of the historian – as opposed to those who are in the business of constructing decorative or more immediately usable pasts – is to be concerned with what it would have been conceivable for Smith, or someone fairly like him, to maintain, rather than with what later generations would like him to have maintained. (Winch 1978: 5)

152  K. I. Macdonald That responsibility extends beyond the ‘historian’ to any theorist, or anyone investigating intellectual heritage. A third principle (which relates to, but is perhaps distinct from, Sen’s observations) is to recognise that Smith deploys very long argumentative arcs, and to be alert to their existence and direction, and not be misled by Smith’s discursive asides. This point is, of course, also not novel (Fleischacker, 2004: 6–10, provides a clear and insightful analysis of this aspect of Smith’s style), but evidence suggests that it is frequently missed. A modern reader in haste can too easily grab at sentences in passing and thereby misperceive the role they play in Smith’s own argument. We have already seen this at work in misreadings of the ‘necessaries’ passage which ignore its setting (within the taxation elaboration); we shall encounter further examples below.54 My analysis throughout, when discussing Smith (and Sen) anchors itself in the text (which is why quotation is extensive); an old-fashioned respect for the word. There exists an alternate strategy which, whilst attending to Smith’s words, seeks to extend their interpretation. For example, Fleischacker, invoking: the “indirect ethics” I have attributed to Smith . . . Smith accomplishes ethical ends without actually mentioning ethical terms, writes so that ethical concerns come, as if naturally, to the surface without having to be dragged there by preachy pronouncements. (Fleischacker 2004: 208) Fleischacker puts this strategy with admirable forthrightness; other writers present interpretations following, but not acknowledging, this model. It has at least two serious, ineluctable, flaws. Firstly, what is seen as rising naturally to the surface is observer dependent. Our self-evident ethical entailment cannot – without independent evidence – be assumed to be shared by Smith. Consider, for example, the assurance that Smith: makes a number of proposals which he believes will make it easier for the poor to rise socially: the abolition of apprenticeship requirements and the laws of settlement, and the reform of a number of tax policies (WN I.x.c V.ii.c.10–19; V.ii.e.6). (Fleischacker 2013: 494) Whatever we might deem the consequences of Smith’s proposals to be, the text provides no evidence for the claimed Smith belief; the first citation (on apprenticeship and settlement) and the third (on taxation of house-rent) are investigated below (p. 154f. and p. 183f. respectively); the second passage I do not examine in detail. It is however an extended discussion of land-tax, in which, for example, Smith demonstrates how “a practice which is hurtful to the whole community might perhaps be sufficiently discouraged” (V.ii.c.14), and proposes: “a system of administration . . . as might contribute a good deal to the general improvement and good cultivation of the country” (V.ii.c.16). That is what Smith writes about; there is nothing in the cited text supporting the assertion that he believes this

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  153 will make it easier for the poor to rise socially. A further classic example of unfounded attribution – already mentioned, and to be discussed in §6.4, p. 192f. below – are the beliefs deemed to drive Smith’s observation that, when children, philosophers and street-porters were indistinguishable. The second – perhaps decisive – flaw is that the attribution, once invoked, is not defeasible; how would we ever know, of a particular empirical or analytical passage, using this attribution-algorithm that Smith was not aiming to accomplish ethical ends? We are, by this invocation, not allowed to point to absence of ethical terms. Potential for falsification would seem a good, if rudimentary, test for sense. Whence, if Smith presents an argument empirically or analytically, ‘without actually mentioning ethical terms’ then, whatever might be deemed to be floating ‘as if naturally’ on the surface, this should be read (as the words have it) as an empirical or analytic argument. This matters, because what is in contention is precisely whether Smith’s ends are ethically driven. So explicit evidence matters. At various points I will be observing that, despite conventional report, central Smith arguments are, as written, purely empirical or analytic. Of course this is (always) redescribable as a ploy by Smith to accomplish ethical ends without actually mentioning ethical terms. But that cannot be sustainable as an argument, unless there is independent evidence that Smith seeks that particular ethical end. Smith discussing limited education for the poor, or addressing the ‘disagreeably rigorous and unsocial’ beliefs of the sects they join (p. 136f.), does not appear very egalitarian. Yet, throughout WN, Smith shows himself alert to the social structure, to the constraints and disadvantages of the poor (to take two diverse examples: his analysis of class-based infant mortality (WN I.viii.38), or his discussion of the negative impact of early employment (WN V.I.f.53)). These tendencies may appear to be in tension. Salter puts it well: For modern readers, for whom justice means social justice, and is almost synonymous with fairness, the claim that Smith excluded the needs of the poor, including the starving poor, from his discussion of justice may seem paradoxical . . . There seems to be a presumption among some readers that someone who was as sympathetic to the suffering of the poor in commercial societies as Smith was must have regarded poverty as a matter of justice, and, whatever he tells us about this in his formal definitions of justice and rights, it must be possible to find evidence to the contrary.  (Salter 2012: 573) I consider some of these attempts to locate evidence below. Salter is explicit that the focus is on Smith’s account of justice “in the sense that he understood the term” (Salter 2012: 560). Other writers, who also appear to focus on the text, report a different account of what Smith said. Consider the claim: Smith is . . . generous with the label ‘unjust’ for various sorts of restrictions on the poor (Fleischacker 2004: 171)

154  K. I. Macdonald Not so. The closest conjunction of ‘unjust’ and ‘poor’ occurs in Smith’s discussion of a tax loophole by which ‘fermented liquors brewed, and spirituous liquors distilled’ for private use are untaxed (the poor buy taxed commercial beverages), to the resulting benefit of ‘many middling and almost all rich and great [rural] families’: the exemption which this superior rank of people at present enjoy from very heavy taxes which are paid by the poor labourer and artificer is surely most unjust and unequal, and ought to be taken away. (WN V.ii.k.55) This is not removing a restriction on the poor. Elsewhere Smith finds the adulteration of coinage ‘unjust’, and frets about the unjust constraints55 Great Britain imposes on America. Some laws he does label ‘unjust’: The law which prohibited the manufacturer from exercising the trade of a shopkeeper . . . The law which obliged the farmer to exercise the trade of a corn merchant . . . Both laws were evident violations of natural liberty, and therefore unjust. (WN IV.v.b.16) These are restrictions, but not upon the poor. On taxation to support local administration, he remarks: It is unjust that the whole society should contribute towards an expense of which the benefit is confined to a part of the society. (WN V.i.i.3) Such a maxim could be invoked in an argument against taxation for relief of the poor, though Smith does not so invoke it (a sufficient reason being that ‘relief of the poor’, in this sense, is not on his agenda – see the discussion p. 180f. below). But it cannot be claimed that Smith is “generous with the label ‘unjust’ for various sorts of restrictions on the poor”; the assertion, taken literally, is false. What happens if we attend to the spirit of Fleischacker’s remark, and, instead of locating the label ‘unjust’, look at any restrictions which Smith analyses in terms of justice? Widening the scope brings in only three further discussions (scarcely, given the length and coverage of WN, a ‘generous’ crop). One is Smith’s wellknown objection to the settlement requirements of the Poor Law: To remove a man who has committed no misdemeanour from the parish where he chooses to reside is an evident violation of natural liberty and justice. (WN I.x.c.59) The emphasis on ‘natural liberty and justice’ is subtly different from Fleischacker’s gloss of ‘restrictions on the poor’; further, Smith’s following sentence suggests that he may be less concerned to invoke an external standard than to point an

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  155 inconsistency: “The common people of England . . . so jealous of their liberty, but . . . never rightly understanding wherein it consists, have . . . suffered themselves to be exposed to this oppression”. And, as often for ‘normative’ asides in WN, the weight of the surrounding argument (which forms the bulk of the text) is carried by concern for the economic functions or dysfunctions of the practice (“Whatever obstructs the free circulation of labour from one employment to another, obstructs that of stock likewise” WN I.x.c.59). Consider the second ‘justice’ related restriction: To hinder . . . the farmer from sending his goods at all times to the best market is evidently to sacrifice the ordinary laws of justice to an idea of public utility . . . (WN IV.v.b.39) Again, this is categorising a constraint as unjust, but not self-evidently a constraint upon the poor. Thirdly, lastly, and perhaps most persuasively, we have Smith’s apparent defence of free labour: The patrimony of a poor man lies in the strength and dexterity of his hands; . . . and to hinder him from employing this strength and dexterity in what manner he thinks proper . . . is a manifest encroachment upon the just liberty both of the workman and of those who might be disposed to employ him. (WN I.x.c.12) This is powerful stuff. Though notice that Smith’s insistence on the particular resources of the poor (‘the patrimony of a poor man lies in the strength and dexterity of his hands’) does not match strong egalitarian readings, such as the view that: “[Smith] presents the poor as people with the same native abilities as everyone else . . . [and] urges his readers to see the average poor person as much like themselves: equal in intelligence, virtue, ambition, and interests” (Fleischacker 2004: 207–8, emphases added). Moreover Smith’s passage is – as by now we might expect – embedded within a longer argumentative sequence, the main thrust of which is analytic (on the convergence of the price of labour) and empirical (on observed divergence from that theory). Discussing the costs and benefits of particular occupations (risks, wages, training, so forth) Smith posits: The whole of the advantages and disadvantages of the different employments of labour [i.e. of different occupations] . . . must . . . be either perfectly equal or continually tending to equality . . . [any observed] difference arises partly from certain circumstances in the employments themselves . . . and partly from . . . policy: . . . by restraining the competition in some employments . . . secondly, by increasing it in others . . . and, thirdly, by obstructing the free circulation of labour. (WN I.x.a.1–2, I.x.c.2)

156  K. I. Macdonald Read in context, the central argumentative arc is analytic and empirical, and the observation on the injustice of apprenticeship constraints appears as an aside rather than as the pivot of the argument. Smith continues: The sterling mark upon plate, and the stamps upon linen and woollen cloth, give the purchaser much greater security than any statute of apprenticeship. [The purchaser] generally looks at these, but never thinks it worthwhile to inquire whether the workman had served a seven years’ apprenticeship. (WN I.x.c.12) Empirical, pragmatic – Smith’s judgements on the minimal training required to use and maintain extant machinery (see also the discussion on p. 196) forms a further part of this argument. The predominant tone is consequentialist. Consider another example of the ways modern readers parachute into the text arguments not present in the text. Smith’s evaluation of the logic of entails (WN III.ii.6) is read by Schliesser (2017: 215) as evidence that Smith is in favour of equality. Before considering whether Smith’s argument is aptly so categorised, we need to clarify entails. Schliesser views an entail as “the restriction of property by limiting its inheritance to the owner’s lineal descendants or a particular class thereof, usually the first-born male” (Schliesser 2017: 215, emphasis added). Smith, in contrast – correctly – sees entails pivotally as determining what the present inheritor can enact (and not just at will-writing time): The law of primogeniture hindered [uncultivated lands] from being divided by succession: the introduction of entails prevented their being broke into small parcels by alienation . . . [entails] were introduced . . . to hinder any part of the original estate from being carried out of the proposed line either by gift, or devise [legal disposition], or alienation; either by the folly, or by the misfortune of any of its successive owners. (WN III.ii.2,5) Inheritance was effectively constrained by primogeniture; entails were centrally about what could be done with currently owned land. This reading matches, as we shall see shortly, Smith’s critique of their logic. Though concerned with the logic, his central motivator for the discussion is economic. Entails, for Smith, hinder improvement of land. For example, a law giving long-lease tenants security of tenure encouraged activity; that law’s: beneficial influence, however, has been much obstructed by entails; the heirs of entail being generally restrained from letting leases for any long term of years. (WN III.ii.15) Large estates are, for Smith, structurally, economically inefficient – as he spells out in the encompassing chapter. Through entails:

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  157 the possibility of [great tracts of uncultivated land] being divided again was as much as possible precluded for ever. It seldom happens, however, that a great proprietor is a great improver. (WN III.ii.7) Allowing present owners to sell their land might alleviate this inefficiency. There is no natural reason why a 1000 acres should not be as easily purchased as a 1000 yards of cloth. The keeping land out of the market always hinders its improvement (LJ(B) 295) That, in robust lecturing tones, is Smith’s economic prescription to enable improvers: treat land as cloth. It is within this context – where ‘entails’ are economically disadvantageous present constraints on ownership – that Smith, though recognising justification for their original inception, presents his case against their contemporary logic: When great landed estates were a sort of principalities, entails . . . might frequently hinder the security of thousands from being endangered by the caprice or extravagance of one man. But in the present state of Europe, when . . . estates derive their security from the laws of their country, nothing can be more completely absurd. [Entails] are founded upon the most absurd of all suppositions, the supposition that every successive generation of men have not an equal right to the earth . . . but that the property of the present generation should be restrained and regulated according to the fancy of those who died perhaps five hundred years ago. (WN III.ii.6) Schliesser’s gloss on this runs as follows: this statement can suggest that not only was Smith in favour of equality . . . but he also thought that market interference . . . is preventing equality from coming about, while providing an instance of the absurdity of absolute property rights. (Schliesser 2017: 215, emphases added) Despite Schliesser’s gloss, there is no evidence here of Smith acting ‘in favour of equality’, or disparaging entails as ‘preventing equality’. The economic thought that entails hinder development is in and of itself a sufficient Smith motivator. Further, Smith’s focus is not on the ‘absurdity of absolute property rights’ but on their extension through entails (listen to the lectures again: “A power to dispose of estates for ever is manifestly absurd . . . such extension of property is quite unnatural.” LJ(B) 168). Schliesser, a reflective writer, recognises that some might hold:

158  K. I. Macdonald a more natural reading of this [WN III.ii.6] passage is that ‘equal right’ only modifies ‘every generation’ . . . But if one accepts this reading, then the argument against entails loses much of its force (Schliesser 2017: 215, emphasis added) Were Smith concerned to mount a full attack on ‘absolute property rights’, reversion to the ‘more natural’ reading might indeed, as Schliesser posits, weaken the argument. If we read, as Smith does, entails as being about the constraints the earlier generations impose, the natural reading of his argument leaves that argument’s force intact. To reach after a strained reading, on the grounds that it would support an argument that Smith is not making, seems not a wise interpretative strategy. Of course the logical thought – that to permit outwith-generation binding is ‘manifestly absurd’ – might be elaborated to argue that property rights not reach beyond the life of the holder. And Smith, in jurisprudential mode, does consider the conceptual oddity of testamentary (though not statutory) succession: A man during his own life may very well be conceived to have the power of disposing of his goods; the very notion of property implies that he may abuse, give away, or do what he pleases with them . . . But how is it that a man comes to have a power of disposing as he pleases of his goods after his death . . . The difficulty56 is here so great that Pufendorf called in to his assistance the immortality of the soul. (LJ(A) i.149–50) Note that the query is posed within an acceptance of ‘the very notion of property’. Smith’s own solution to the Pufendorf problem is characteristically pragmatic: testamentary transfer to the next generation is “agreeable to our piety to the deceased, and not contrary to reason” (LJ(A) i.164). Further: we should permit the dying person to dispose of his goods . . . amongst those who are alive at the same time with him. For these, it may be conjectured, he may have contracted some affection . . . But that he should have the power of determining how they shall dispose of it, and so on in infinitum . . .is the most absurd thing in the world. There is no maxim more generally acknowledged than that the earth is the property of each generation . . . it is theirs altogether as well [i.e. just as well] as it was their predecessors in their day. (LJ(A) i.165,164) This resolution (reported in both sets of LJ notes) maps to, so lends support to, the ‘more natural reading’ of (WN III.ii.6); a concern for rights between generations, not concern for intra-generational equality. And when, even within his jurisprudence lectures, Smith seeks to establish that entails are ‘extremely prejudicial to the community’, the argument invoked is not normatively egalitarian

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  159 but straightforwardly economic – “it excludes lands entirely from commerce” (LJ(A) i.166). The argument against primogeniture and entails is developed within WN – because they hinder land improvement because they leave large estates intact. Again, this is economic; not an argument about, certainly not an argument from, equality. Consider Smith’s discussion of the North American advantage: In Europe, the law of primogeniture, and perpetuities [i.e. entails] of different kinds, prevent the division of great estates . . . The small quantity of land, therefore, which is brought to market, and the high price of what is brought thither prevents a great number of capitals from being employed in its cultivation and improvement . . . In North America, on the contrary, fifty or sixty pounds is often found a sufficient stock to begin a plantation with. (WN III.iv.19) Smith is discussing the wealth of nations. It might, counterfactually, be speculated that had primogeniture and entails been abolished in pre-eighteenth-century Europe, equality would have been greater. But that possible consequence is not invoked by Smith. Even whilst noting the practice is “supported by nothing but the vanity of families” (LJ(A) ii.1), Smith does not adduce that ‘vanity’ as ground for opposition; indeed ‘vanity’ is merely explanatory: Laws frequently continue in force long after the circumstances, which first gave occasion to them . . . are no more. . . . The right of primogeniture, however, still continues to be respected, and as of all institutions it is the fittest to support the pride of family distinctions, it is still likely to endure for many centuries. (WN III.ii.4) I am not suggesting Smith supports “the pride of family distinctions”. Just that a desire to abolish such distinction – an egalitarian desire – is manifestly not what drives his distrust. But egalitarian readers continue to import egalitarian intent into this debate; consider: Winch [1978: 66–7] has I think rightly suggested that Smith’s call for the abolition of primogeniture and entail is meant in part to meet civic republican goals . . . Smith urges movement towards greater equality in society . . . he makes proposals to reduce socioeconomic equality [sic]. He urges the abolition of primogeniture and entail, which maintained unearned gluts of wealth over centuries . . . The attack Smith launches on primogeniture and entail is directed at the infringement of the ‘work for your living’ principle, and is but a small step away from an attack on inheritance itself (Fleischacker 2004: 25,79,198, emphases added)

160  K. I. Macdonald This (ignoring misprint in the middle paragraph) is a clear vision of a Smith motivated, on this issue, by egalitarian concerns. The vision does not match the texts. The cited pages of Winch’s innovative volume, which do discuss entail, do not link to ‘civic republican goals’; nor does Smith’s text. Smith does object to large estates (because they keep land out of improvement); that is not equivalent to a general objection around ‘gluts of wealth’ (wealth can be held other than as estates). And ‘unearned’ is Fleischacker’s framing, not Smith’s. The closest Smith comes to egalitarian thinking on primogeniture is this reflection on intrafamilial allocation: nothing can be more contrary to the real interest of a numerous family, than a right which, in order to enrich one, beggars all the rest of the children. (WN III.ii.4) A concern for the ‘real interest’ of wealthy families is scarcely an egalitarian motivation. Further, there is no evidence on the eighteenth-century page that Smith’s attack is “directed at the infringement of the ‘work for your living’ principle”. Fleischacker’s posited grounds for a critique of primogeniture may well be “but a small step away from an attack on inheritance”; Smith’s grounds are not. It is easy for the twenty-first century to over-enthuse about Smith’s project here, to perceive it as more radical than it is: What he recommended was a shocking, frontal attack on the legal under­ pinnings of the personal wealth of the most powerful social class of his time. (Boucoyannis 2018: 161) Yet, following such proposed abolition of primogeniture and entail, the landowner could still decline to bring any of his estate to market, and, on his demise, still pass it by testament intact to the eldest son. His personal wealth would be untouched. Admittedly, he would lose the ability to determine the subsequent actions of that son; but he would gain the easement of being able to encash some of his entailed land. That easement might be not unwelcome: entailed estates sharply restricted freedom of action for owners, who became (particularly those without sons) effectively no more than life-tenants. Scarcely a shocking frontal attack on a class. Further, it is unclear how extensive Smith saw the problem to be. The WN discussion of entails is confined to this one chapter, whose heading declares it to be on “the discouragement of agriculture in the ancient state of Europe”, so predominantly an historical exercise. Smith downplays the contemporary English extent: The common law of England, indeed, is said to abhor perpetuities [entails], and they are accordingly more restricted there than in any other European monarchy; though even England is not altogether without them. In Scotland more than one-fifth, perhaps more than one-third part of the whole lands of the country, are at present supposed to be under strict entail. (WN III.ii.6)

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  161 If this is Smith’s perspective, prevalent entails are seen, even allowing for the litotes, as a peculiarly Scottish problem. In summary, on primogeniture and entails, we find Smith words-on-the-page about, as his chapter title hath it, the ‘discouragement’ of agriculture, words entirely consonant with an interest in the nature and causes of the wealth of nations. The words-on-the-page do not carry reference to equality and such, however natural and unforced it might seem to us to import these concerns. There admittedly exists, in Smith’s manuscript writings, one extended presentation of, in his words, “oppressive inequality”. This is in the so-called Early draft of part of The Wealth of Nations (ED), an image of a hierarchical ‘oppressive’ society: with regard to the produce of the labour of a great society there is never any such thing as a fair and equal division . . . those who labour most get least. The opulent merchant . . . enjoys a much greater proportion of the profits of his traffic than all the clerks and accountants who do the business. These . . . enjoy a much greater share of the produce than three times an equal number of artisans, who, under their direction, labour much more severely and assiduously. The artisan, again, tho he works generally under cover . . . at his ease and assisted by the conveniency of innumerable machines, enjoys a much greater share than the poor labourer who has the soil and the seasons to struggle with, and who, while he . . . bears, as it were, upon his shoulders the whole fabric of human society, seems himself to be pressed down below ground by the weight, and to be buried out of sight57 in the lowest foundations of the building. (ED 5) The striking fact about this striking rhetoric is that it, unlike the text which surrounds it in the ‘early draft’, does not survive the transition to the considered exposition of WN. In a footnote to their definitive elucidation of the sequence of Smith’s manuscript fragments, Meek and Andrew Skinner (1973: 108n) speculate: one wonders if the reaction of contemporary (and modern) readers might have differed, had they been introduced to an enquiry into the nature and causes of the Wealth of Nations by way of a by no means trivial polemic on the subject of inequality. (Meek and Skinner 1973: 1109n) The answer is: probably yes. But also: improperly yes. For this polemic as deployed by Smith is not directed against inequality. It is not used to make any claim that inequality should be abolished. It is simply (within ED) a preamble before inviting the reader to be surprised that, despite such inequality, the poor in civilized society enjoy ‘superior affluence’ – the polemical build-up is by way of stressing the multiplicative power of the division of labour (delivering superabundant produce), not a ‘polemic on . . . inequality’ as we might read it.

162  K. I. Macdonald It cannot be very difficult to explain how it comes about that the rich and the powerful should, in a civilized society, be better provided with the conveniencies and necessaries of life than it is possible for any person to provide himself in a savage and solitary state . . . But how it comes about that the labourer and the peasant should likewise be better provided is not perhaps so easily understood . . . In a civilized society the poor provide both for themselves and for the enormous luxury of their superiors . . . In the midst of so much oppressive inequality, in what manner shall we account for the superior affluence and abundance commonly possessed even by this lowest and most despised member of civilized society . . . The division of labour . . . can alone account for that superior opulence which takes place in civilized societies, and which, notwithstanding the inequality of property, extends itself to the lowest member of the community. (ED 4–6) The disadvantaged state of the poor, that ‘oppressive inequality’, is not introduced as part of an argument for its remediation; it is used, in conjunction with the claim that the poor enjoy more affluence than in a ‘savage and solitary state’, to emphasise the peculiar force of the division of labour. Smith’s observation that “those who labour most get least” reads more as an account of how complex civilized society operates than as a focus for change. Again, Smith’s use of these, apparently, moral observations is not the use we would anticipate. This ED passage is invoked by Fleischacker to present Smith as a precursor discoverer of Rawls’s difference principle:58 Smith thus gives us essentially the same justification for inequalities that John Rawls would propose two centuries later: they are acceptable if and only if the worst off people are better off than they would be under a more equal distribution of goods. (Fleischacker 2004: 225) This does not work for two reasons. The first is that to read it thus is to misrepresent the direction of Smith’s argument; contextualised, as above, it is clear that the passage is not part of an argument about our view of inequality. Secondly, Smith does not read back from his observation about the wealth of the poor to his opening ‘oppressive inequality’; there is no hint that Smith thought his moral judgement should be modified by these facts about the poor. To read the discussion as one of ‘justification for inequalities’ is to import words, concerns, and concepts that are not present in the text. If also Smith is not, pace Fleischacker, generous with the label ‘unjust’ for various sorts of restrictions on the poor, there is some merit in the thought that: we should take more seriously Smith’s silence on modern distributive justice . . . not that Smith was unconcerned with the situation of the poor; it

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  163 is rather that he makes a quite clear philosophical distinction between this concern and the concept of justice. (Smith 2013: 797, 785) Even that careful formulation may over-moralise Adam Smith’s concern for the poor. To that I return, but first a further look at justice. That look is subtended by the general hypothesis of this section: that modern readers, perceiving Smith’s awareness of the socioeconomic conditions of life, assume that somehow he draws from these observed facts the conclusions they would. And, time and again, led by this assumption, they disattend to the argumentative context within which these facts are presented. We do understanding of our intellectual tradition no favours by such disattention. 6.1 Minimum wages and ‘common humanity’ Smith’s views on the interconnections between poverty and justice become clearer if we consider whether Smith was minded for state intervention in the wages of the poor. On one particular debate Paganelli, in her recent review, is unnecessarily (as was Brown’s 1997: 214 earlier report on the same protagonists) agnostic: The attention paid to the poor is an unresolved debate in the literature: does Smith support redistribution to the poor or not? And, if he does, does he base it on rights of necessity and subsistence or on other grounds? No decisive answer is yet offered (Witztum and Young 2006; Salter 2012; Witztum 2013 . . . (Paganelli 2015: 273) Salter (already cited, p. 153, with approval) reads Smith’s text accurately, seeing concern for the poor as not a matter of justice, as Smith understood the term; in contrast, Witztum’s approach to sources is captured by his assertion that “the war of quotes clearly leads nowhere” (Witztum 2013: 261). Since text (these ‘quotes’) is what we have to work with, scholarship favours Salter. But it may be worth looking more closely at the debate. Witztum and Young discuss a WN passage (we shall see it in context shortly) where Smith examines the lowest wage rate ‘which is consistent with common humanity’; and they speculate: Could it be that “common humanity” refers to a certain moral responsibility that reflects a principle of natural justice . . .? (Witztum & Young 2006: 441) They also report that: When Smith writes that wages must never fall below a level that is consistent with common humanity, he does not tell us whether this issue should be left

164  K. I. Macdonald to market forces or whether there should be either government intervention or legal restrictions. (Witztum & Young 2006: 469; emphases added) Smith did not so write; he does not specify a policy mechanism because he never makes the policy claim. But Witztum and Young are not unique in so reading Smith: His principles of commerce are always circumscribed by other laws, of justice and equity. High wages are good for prosperity, and for ‘equity, besides’. Wages are determined by supply and demand, and are also ‘regulated’ by ‘common humanity’. (Rothschild 1992: 85; emphases added) Despite Rothschild’s adoption, I argue that such a moral reading of ‘common humanity’ is a misreading.59 TMS is where Smith explicitly addresses ‘moral’ matters. The phrase ‘common humanity’ appears nowhere in its ethical discussions; the concept of plain ‘humanity’ does, but not with approbation – as in the scathing depiction of a “man of humanity in Europe” reacting60 to news of a devastating Chinese earthquake. As Smith puts the issue: what is it which prompts the generous upon all occasions, and the mean upon many, to sacrifice their own interests to the greater interests of others? It is not the soft power of humanity . . . (TMS III.3.4 ). Smith writes that in contrast to the requirements of justice, the rules “which ascertain the actions required by . . . humanity . . . are . . .vague and indeterminate” (TMS III.6.9). For example, he holds the “humanity of a civilized people” responsible for the irregularity whereby “the attempt to ravish is not punished as a rape” though the “real demerit . . . is undoubtedly the same in both cases” (TMS II.iii.2.4). For Smith, ‘humanity’ does not refer to a principle of justice, natural or otherwise. The dominant ‘common humanity’ usage in WN does occur during Smith’s discussion of the lowest sustainable wage. The passage comes after an extended sociological discussion of the nature of wage disputes,61 in which Smith notes reporting bias: We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters . . . But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject . . . We seldom, indeed, hear of this combination, because it is the usual, and one may say, the natural state of things which nobody ever hears of. (WN I.viii.13)

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  165 But whilst alert to these resource inequalities between the groups (“In all such disputes the masters can hold out much longer” WN I.viii.12), Smith’s tenor is consistently that of a descriptive analyst, not that of an advocate for the rights of the workmen: who sometimes too, without any provocation of this kind, combine of their own accord to raise the price of their labour. Their usual pretences are, sometimes the high price of provisions; sometimes the great profit which their masters make by their work. (WN I.viii.13) It is in the context of such even-handed, empirical, discussion that the pertinent passage appears: But though in disputes with their workmen, masters must generally have the advantage; there is however a certain rate below which it seems impossible to reduce, for any considerable time, the ordinary wages even of the lowest species of labour. A man must always live by his work, and his wages must at least be sufficient to maintain him. They must even upon most occasions be somewhat more; otherwise it would be impossible for him to bring up a family, and the race of such workmen could not last beyond the first generation . . . There are certain circumstances, however, which . . . enable [labourers] to raise their wages considerably above this rate; evidently the lowest which is consistent with common humanity. (WN I.viii.14–16) This is continuing the empirical/analytic discussion, as that opening sentence makes explicit; the phrase ‘common humanity’ is doing little ethical work – functioning more like ‘the minimal human condition’. Quite how minimal becomes apparent in Smith’s discussion of a wealthy but ‘long stationary’ country (China): The hands . . . would . . . naturally multiply beyond their employment. There would be a constant scarcity of employment, and the labourers would be obliged to bid against one another . . . the competition of the labourers and the interest of the masters would soon reduce them to this lowest rate which is consistent with common humanity . . . The poverty of the lower ranks of people in China far surpasses that of the most beggarly nations in Europe . . . China, however, . . . does not seem to go backwards . . . The lowest class of labourers, therefore, notwithstanding their scanty subsistence, must some way or another make shift to continue their race so far as to keep up their usual numbers. (WN I.viii.24–25) The detailed description of the Chinese labourer at this level of ‘common humanity’ (“If by digging the ground a whole day he can get what will purchase a small

166  K. I. Macdonald quantity of rice in the evening, he is contented”) reinforces the sense that the bar is low, as does Smith’s view of its local irrelevance: In Great Britain the wages of labour seem, in the present times, to be evidently more than what is precisely necessary to enable the labourer to bring up a family . . . There are many plain symptoms that the wages of labour are nowhere in this country regulated [i.e. determined62] by this lowest rate which is consistent with common humanity. (WN I.viii.28) This operationalisation of the ‘common humanity’ level does not point to “a certain moral responsibility that reflects a principle of natural justice”. When explaining why wages do not fall below this (no moral ‘must’ here, pace Witztum and Young), Smith’s argument is, empirical, consequential and stark: “such workmen could not last beyond the first generation”. Whatever Smith might be posited to advocate in more extreme circumstances (say, a national famine, see Sen 1987: 27), it is clear that, in the inegalitarian Britain of his day, he does not advocate state intervention on wages, or see any moral obligation so to do. The wages paid to journeymen and servants of every kind must be such as may enable them, one with another, to continue the race of journeymen and servants . . . (WN I.viii.41) That ‘must’ is purely empirical. This ‘common humanity’ level of group reproduction is necessary in the sense that without it the group would disappear. The tenor of the argument here is consistent with Smith’s exposition of the homeostatic mechanisms63 connecting economic pressures and population growth. The argument bears no relation to Witztum and Young’s speculative invocation of ‘a certain moral responsibility that reflects a principle of natural justice’. Rephrasing, I see no grounds for regarding this aspect of the debate on whether Smith supports redistribution to the poor as ‘unresolved’, if Smith’s text is held relevant to the adjudication. It is clear that the Witztum and Young gloss misidentifies the nature and direction of Smith’s argument. When writing of minimal wages Smith gives no hint of considering anything resembling ‘redistribution to the poor’. Some of the above has disagreed with Fleischacker’s reading of Smith, but he makes a valid point on distributive justice: To elaborate the historical differences between Smith’s time and ours: I argued . . . that the French Revolution ushered in the modern notion of distributive justice . . . But if this concern was not on the horizon in Smith’s lifetime, then there is no reason to think we should be able to determine his views on it. (Fleischacker 2004: 265)

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  167 That should then preclude us from reading Smith as expressing a concern for it. Which is why Salter’s opening moves (locating modern usages of justice) in his 2012 paper, citing the ‘equity, besides’ passage on the wages of the poor,64 cedes far too much: It is not . . . a distortion of Smith’s views to say that they display a concern with social or distributive justice, as these terms have come to be understood in the contemporary, post-Rawlsian, period. (Salter 2012: 560) We have seen so far, in the text, no evidence of this concern. Klein’s (2017a) elegant disentangling of the internal connections and categories of Smith’s account of justice can be read as further evidence of the disjunct between Smith’s concerns and our contemporary preoccupations. There are admittedly two other main areas of contention for the thought that Smith explicitly supports redistribution to the poor. One is the claim that his defence of well-paid workers is driven by moral concerns. The other is the claim that he favours redistributive taxation. On the first I argue his discussion is predominantly empirical, and well-paid may mislead (§6.2, p. 169f.), on the second, that he does not so favour (§6.3, p. 180f.). I then address the thought that Smith might nevertheless be a normative egalitarian, given his emphasis on the salience of nurture (§6.4, p. 192f.), and conclude the specifically Smith-focussed discussion by reflecting on the import of my analyses so far upon currently accepted interpretations of Smith (§6.5, p. 199f.). But first a comment on the invocation of another modern concept, the ‘minimum wage’. Distinguishable from the issues around a subsistence wage, there is some discussion in the literature on whether Smith might have argued, in a different economic context, for a ‘minimum wage’; or, at least, might there be some aspect of his analyses pertinent to these issues, as now we understand them? To the first form of the question there are some strange answers (“Adam Smith said the minimum wage had to be set higher in England than in Scotland because in England not wearing shoes was a clear sign of poverty” Kenny 2006: 291); Clary (2005) at least presents65 a case: There is ample evidence in the body of Smith’s work to support the thesis that Smith would support public policies that might ensure the achievement of a living wage. (Clary 2005: 1063) Plowman and Perryer (2010: 13) echo that, with approbation, but it will come as no surprise that my reading of the text does not see this ‘ample evidence’ for public policies. Smith’s views on a minimum wage, in any modern sense, must remain pure speculation. Noell (2006) rests his analysis on Witztum and Young’s work:

168  K. I. Macdonald Smith’s grounding for the living wage in an appeal to “equity” and “common humanity” finds its counterpart in arguments made by twentieth century advocates of living wages. (Noell 2006: 169) Smith did not so ground his argument; we have already examined the place of ‘common humanity, and in the next section, p. 171f., assess the role of ‘equity’. In any case, that ‘counterpart’ exists only if we naively assume Smith to have used ‘common humanity’ as the twentieth century might; I have shown that assumption to be false. Kaufman (2016) provides more articulated discussion of the interconnections between Smith66 and modern minimum wage debates. His observation: Of course, early 21st century American labor markets are in many particulars quite different from the late 18th century British labor markets Smith wrote about. (Kaufman 2016:47) is more telling than his overt conclusions. In his eighteenth-century setting, Smith is on record as wishing the market to regulate the price67 of bread, his prime staple, and as doubting the possibility of wage regulation: experience seems to show that law can never regulate [wages] properly, though it has often pretended to do so. (WN I.viii.34) There is one other passage of interest. In his Conclusion Of The Digression Concerning The Variations In The Value Of Silver, Smith clarifies his price analysis: From the . . . money price either of goods in general, or of corn in particular, we can infer only that the mines . . . were fertile [productive] or barren, not that the country was rich or poor. But from the . . . price of some sorts of goods in proportion to [as a ratio of 68] that of others, we can infer with a degree of probability that approaches almost to certainty, that it was rich or poor, that the greater part of its lands were improved or unimproved (WN xi.n.3) Smith then wonders whether establishing the source of some eighteenth-century foodstuff price rises, is establishing merely a “vain and useless distinction”; but: It may . . . be of some use to the public in regulating the pecuniary reward of some of its inferior servants. If this rise in the price . . . be owing to a fall in the value of silver, their pecuniary reward . . . ought certainly to be augmented . . . But if this rise of price is owing to the increased value, in

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  169 consequence of the improved fertility of the land [as Smith has just argued] it becomes a much nicer [i.e. more finely balanced] matter to judge either in what proportion any pecuniary reward ought to be augmented, or whether it ought to be augmented at all . . . If in the progress of improvement . . . the real price of one species of food necessarily rises, that of another as necessarily falls . . . The circumstances of the poor . . . cannot surely be so much distressed by any rise in the price of poultry, fish, wild-fowl, or venison, as they must be relieved by the fall in that of potatoes. In the present season of scarcity the high price of corn [sufficiently accounted for from the badness of the seasons] no doubt distresses the poor. But . . . when corn is at its ordinary or average price, the natural rise in the price of any other sort of rude produce cannot much affect them. (WN xi.n.6,10–11) There is some ambiguity in that opening sentence (Smith elsewhere uses ‘public’ variously for ‘people’ and ‘the state’, and ‘regulate’ for legal regulation or simple determination). But, given the outcome of his thinking, that ambiguity does not matter. Smith’s argument is an economic argument for inaction. Prices will balance, so the public need take no action on the pecuniary reward of inferior servants. A very detached stance. The question of whether Smith would have argued, in a different economic context, for a ‘minimum wage’ perhaps still stands. We might reasonably infer a Smith discussion would be in terms of the impact on the wealth of the nation, not in terms of distributional morality. I write ‘reasonably infer’ because that would be congruent with the handling of those economic issues affecting the poor which Smith does discuss. Of course ‘the handling’ is ‘the handling as I interpret it’. Should you believe Smith to be an egalitarian you would infer differently. I hope, before leaving discussion of Smith, to have made the case that the image of Smith as an egalitarian (whether ‘normative’ or ‘radical’) is, however attractive, not well anchored in the text. On the weaker form of the question (has Smith anything relevant?), perhaps if we deemed shame to be pertinent to minimum wage levels, Smith’s thoughts on ‘necessaries’ could here legitimately, as they were not in relation to poverty, be invoked, since he treats of the ‘creditable labourer’. My objections to the logical status of shame as a marker for poverty would extend to this usage; these objections are presented below (§7.2, p. 234f.). But all such speculation on what Smith might say did he, counterfactually, inhabit a different world collapses into indeterminacy (is Smith allowed knowledge of interim history, and interim intellectual argument?). There remains sufficient misapprehension of what Smith did say to occupy our attention. 6.2 Improvement: advantage or inconveniency? Smith’s concern for the poor is not articulated in a predominantly moral framework. Nor is it Rawlsian, despite Herzog’s (2014: 869) claim: “As several commentators have pointed out, Smith’s endorsement of commercial society for

170  K. I. Macdonald the sake of its poorest members resembles the Rawlsian difference principle”. That resemblance (even setting aside the issue, see p. 145, of endorsement of commercial society) is mis-claimed;69 Rawls’s difference principle is a step in an ethical argument; Smith’s analysis is consistently empirical. The adduced passage for a Rawlsian narrative which Herzog cites, as being Smith’s view, is the claim that: establishment of perfect justice, of perfect liberty, and of perfect equality is the very simple secret which most effectually secures the highest degree of prosperity to all the three classes [of society]. (WN IV.ix.17) But we must consider context. This sentence falls in the middle of a long exposition of a system ascribed to French intellectuals: I shall endeavour to explain . . . as distinctly as I can, the great outlines of this very ingenious system . . . which represents the produce of land as the sole source of the revenue and wealth of every country. (WN IV.ix.2) For Smith, this system is flawed by its myopic focus on the produce of the land (“representing the class of artificers, manufacturers, and merchants as altogether barren and unproductive”). The three classes referenced (proprietors of land; cultivators of land; artificers, manufacturers and merchants) are not Smith’s; and Smith’s judgement on that entailed requirement for ‘perfect justice’ can be found, for readers prepared to wait, at the end of his exposition: If a nation could not prosper without the enjoyment of perfect liberty and perfect justice, there is not in the world a nation which could ever have prospered. (WN IV.ix.28) So, pace Herzog, the cited text was not Smith’s view, merely part of the exposition of a mistaken ‘ingenious system’ (that ‘simple secret’ functions as something of a reduction ad absurdum of the system). Yet again, lifting a sentence out of context leads to a misreading of that sentence. As we shall see, Smith’s stress on the salience of a tolerably rewarded poor is part simple arithmetic (they constitute the bulk of the state), part contribution-based equity, and, in major part, consequential (productivity in diverse forms). There is no echo of a ‘difference principle’, no appeal to the advantage of the least advantaged. Consider the central passage in WN on evaluation of the improvement in the circumstances of the lower ranks: Is this improvement in the circumstances of the lower ranks of the people to be regarded as an advantage or as an inconveniency to the society? The answer seems at first sight abundantly plain. Servants, labourers, and workmen

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  171 of different kinds, make up the far greater part of every great political society. But what improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconveniency to the whole. No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable. It is but equity, besides, that they who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labour as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged. (WN I.viii.36) This has long been recognised as a passage ‘of interest’. Its position is merited. It is the one place in WN where Smith introduces explicitly ethical considerations for assessing the rewards of the poor. But even articles analysing Smith on justice70 tend simply to cite the passage, without detailed comment, as if its meaning and import were self-evident (see for example Verburg 2010: 33–34; Rothschild & Sen 2005: 326; Noell 2006: 164; Salter 2012: 560; Eltis 2004: 151 or Aspromourgos 2010: 1178, who explores the arithmetic but not the equity71). Himmelfarb (1984: 51) claims the ‘answer was unequivocal’. It is often reduced to a simple take-home message: “Smith argued for high wages . . . on grounds of equity” (Rothschild 1992: 84). The one notable exception is Martin (2015), who provides a rich and scholarly contextual analysis, but again does not address the internal logic of Smith’s presentation. The two initial answers proffered by Smith as obvious (arithmetic and equity) are preceded by a modifier – “The answer seems at first sight abundantly plain”. That ‘at first sight’ suggests a degree of reservation. To read it thus is not to import modern usage into Smith’s prose. Smith uses the phrase another nine times in WN; in every one of these72 it is followed by explicit rejection of the first-adopted view. An example: “The invention of fire-arms . . . which at first sight appears to be so pernicious, is certainly favourable . . . to the extension of civilization” (WN V.i.a.44). That is Smith’s habitual usage. There is also an echo of the standard scholastic73 structure of dispute: ‘Proposition not-X; arguments for not-X; demolition of arguments for not-X; arguments for X’. The extended uncritical exposition of an opposing view (arguments for not-X, before its subsequent demolition) is not a modern style; we accord our opponents less neutral expository space. But it would be a style not unfamiliar to Smith and his readers. So, if anything, the warning implicit in presenting particular answers as ‘at first sight abundantly plain’ would be more vivid for contemporaries. In this particular instance, Smith, atypically, does not proceed to explicitly discomfit that ‘at first sight’ intuition. But he does then develop the discussion in ways which suggest that, for him, the two ‘abundantly plain’ arguments are regarded as insufficient to carry the weight of the conclusion. The extended discussion, as we shall see, is empirical and consequential, not normative. The first ‘abundantly plain’ argument is simply arithmetical. If the poor appear as a positive additive term in the equation for the wealth of a country, then, given that they are numerous, their coefficient has import. The advantage of the least advantaged matters, not because they are the least advantaged, but because they

172  K. I. Macdonald are (Smith never considers whether this might change) “the far greater part of every great political society”. Not all agree on this arithmetical reading: Adam Smith favoured a regime of high wages for three reasons. It improves social welfare . . . Justice requires it . . . And it raises labour productivity. (Waterman 2012: 409–410) There is much to disagree with there,74 but focus for the moment on the ‘welfare’ claim, in support of which Waterman cites the ‘flourishing’ sentence above. That ‘flourishing’ sentence is merely an elaboration of the arithmetic. Analytically, there is no evidence for a functional claim by Smith that tolerable wages for the poor improve the social functioning of a society; “improves social welfare” conveys inappropriate associations. Smith is making an enumeration point; to call a society flourishing if the ‘far greater part’ is not, would be illogical. Though Schliesser (2017: 212) claims the ‘flourishing’ sentence as “the most important egalitarian-consequentialist sentence of the whole book”, and Hill (2012: 14) appears to see ‘utilitarian’ considerations in the paragraph, that also is a stretch too far; the arithmetic requires only arithmetic. Martin (2015: 561) notes that some contemporary writers “conceived of the material welfare of common people as not entering into assessments of overall national wealth”; in that context the arithmetic has substantive force, though its form remains arithmetical. Evaluating the force of the equity argument is less clear-cut. I have leant on the introductory comment, attenuating an answer which seems at first sight abundantly plain. Smith presents some forty words on equity, not further elaborated, and then three and a half thousand or thereby exploring the economic implications of ‘improvement in the circumstances of the lower ranks’. That disparity might be further grounds for thinking Smith did not regard equity as decisive. But, parking these hesitations, consider the argument as Smith writes it: It is but equity, besides, that they who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labour as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged. (WN I.viii.36) Smith does not (across WN, TMS, LJ) provide a formal definition of ‘equity’. The closest he comes, which might count as an ostensive definition, is his tale75 of how: Mr. Cameron of Lochiel . . . without any legal warrant whatever . . . being  . . . but a vassal of the duke of Argyle . . . used, notwithstanding, to exercise the highest criminal jurisdiction over his own people. He is said to have done so with great equity, though without any of the formalities of justice. (WN III.iv.9) Add to this the usages in LJ; for example, discussing (in quite sociological vein) the implementation of statutes76 when at odds with perceived equity. It is clear

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  173 that, for Smith, unsurprisingly, ‘equity’ is to be read as natural justice or fairness (as when he describes tolls proportional to wear and tear as ‘equitable’, see p. 181), distinct from enacted positive statute. This is also how the term is used at the very end of TMS, which laments gaps in Plato’s, Aristotle’s, and Cicero’s accounts of law: where we might naturally have expected some attempts towards am enumeration of those rules of natural equity, which ought to be enforced by the positive laws of every country. (TMS VII.iv.37) So the equity account is that, in natural justice, the labouring poor ought to be “tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged” because their labour generates wealth (to “feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people”). At one level this is a non-trivial defence of the interests of the poor; yet it does not, as we shall see, support some of the strong readings that have been proposed. But begin by considering the proposition on its own terms. Though at first sight it seems powerful, closer inspection attenuates some of that power. Its logical form is infelicitous. It presents as a fairness-in-distribution argument; so the desired outcome should appear in relative (proportional slice-of-cake) terms, not the absolute (“well fed”) terms Smith uses. Were Smith to apply the ‘equity’ rule, at the extreme, to an economy ‘going fast backwards’, or a country in famine, though he might appropriately ‘lament’ the state of affairs, he could scarcely argue that equity requires that the poor be well fed. As the context also indicates, Smith is here thinking predominantly of Britain – and concretely of the state of the British poor – which may be why he is unbothered by the logical oddity of specification. Perhaps more worrying than issues of logic, the implications for action are unclear. That ‘tolerably’ (“tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged”) can be read in various tones of voice; more substantially, Smith’s exposition leaves unspecified what ‘equity, besides’ might entail in terms of distribution. On equity, is the streetporter entitled only to such food, clothing, and lodging as reflect the contribution he77 makes to national wealth? And what does ‘input equity’ report on the unemployed? Without explication of the detail, and that nowhere exists, the proposition remains vacuous. From Smith’s discussion of contributions to national wealth we might cobble together an estimate, in his framework, of the contribution of various groups. But even such figures, once assembled, would not entail distributional outcomes without specification78 (to what percentage ‘share’ are workers entitled, under equity?). And of course there is the further complication – surmountable, but still a complication – that since, for Smith, wages would figure in the calculation of contribution-to-wealth, once these are moderated by equity, the calculation would iterate. But again, Smith takes the poor in the Britain of his day to be tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged, so the unspecified nature of the outcome is not, for him, an active problem. By isolating above, as customarily happens when it is deployed, the core quotation, the referent of “Is this improvement . . . to be regarded . . .?” was left

174  K. I. Macdonald hanging, and undefined. In the preceding paragraphs Smith argued, though cautiously,79 that wages had increased since the last century; also that basic goods had become cheaper. The illustrations he gives are homely: Not only grain has become somewhat cheaper, but many other things from which the industrious poor derive an agreeable and wholesome variety of food, have become a great deal cheaper. Potatoes, for example, do not at present . . . cost half the price which they used to do thirty or forty years ago. The same thing may be said of turnips, carrots, cabbages; things which were formerly never raised but by the spade, but which are now commonly raised by the plough. (WN I.viii.35) It is this, modest, improvement which he is defending; not a continuing escalation of wages. Martin (2011: 118), though from my perspective giving undue emotive weight to WN I.viii.36 (“These powerful words clearly convey a deep regard for the welfare of the poor”), is admirably clear on this: “His real target here was the jaundiced view that begrudged the poor these improvements”. Rothschild’s gloss – “Smith argued for high wages . . . on grounds of equity” – misrepresents the argument. In context, it is manifest that, for Smith, “this improvement in the circumstances of the lower ranks” refers not to “any improvement”, but to “the improvement just documented”; that is, the improvement, since the last century, to actual contemporary real-wage levels. The argument is not for prospective improvement. The two key characteristics, then, of the ‘equity besides’ passage (apart from its attenuating preamble and unresolved specification) are that it addresses reward in terms of contribution (not in terms of intrinsic worth), and that, for Smith (since the condition is already met), it is a defence of the world-as-it-is, not a prescription for change or redistribution to the poor. Given this reading of the passage (the key passage in which Smith addresses the normative entitlements of the poor), some recent commentary reads strangely. Smith’s argument is not from intrinsic equality of persons80 to equality of treatment. Fleischacker would disagree: More than anyone else before him, Smith urged an attitude of respect for the poor, a view of them as having equal dignity with every other human being. (Fleischacker 2004: 205) Fleischacker’s reading echoes emphases in Himmelfarb and Rothschild. But if Smith is indeed urging an attitude of respect for the poor, then it is passing strange that, when seeking to defend their recompense, he retreats to a mere contribution argument. If it were true that he wished to urge (or even that he merely held) a view of the poor as having equal dignity, this is where that view could have leverage. “Servants, labourers, and workmen deserve to be tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged because they have a legitimate claim to equal dignity

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  175 with every human being.” But that is not Smith’s prose. Instead Smith produces the weaker ‘equity in relation to contribution’ argument. The most plausible ground for the absence of the stronger argument is that Smith did not hold the stronger view. Smith’s next paragraph moves to an apparently separate discussion of poverty and reproduction; but (as was flagged by ‘at first sight’) this is a further move in the continued discursive answer to the opening rhetorical question. Smith disposes of the worry that affluence leads to unbridled population increase. Part of his response is explication of the feedback mechanisms between population and resources. These are expressed in brutal terms – puzzlingly so, if seen as supporting a proposition whose motivator were that the poor deserve ‘equal dignity with every other human being’: [I]n civilized society it is only among the inferior ranks of people that the scantiness of subsistence can set limits to the further multiplication of the human species; and it can do so in no other way than by destroying a great part of the children which their fruitful marriages produce. (WN I.viii.39) In this context, though liberal wages raise achieved fertility, this, for Smith, can rise no higher than is sustainable.81 But another part of his response to rising population is an ‘in principle’ assertion: The liberal reward of labour, therefore, as it is the effect82 of increasing wealth, so it is the cause of increasing population. To complain of it is to lament over the necessary effect and cause of the greatest public prosperity. (WN I.viii.42) The ‘in principle’ point at first sight seems tangled, that second cause appearing different from the first; the tangle can be resolved by noting that earlier Smith equated population increase and prosperity (quoted, p. 207 below). The overall intention however is clear: it would be incoherent to seek public prosperity and cavil at the liberal reward of labour, or at population growth. Note (as befits the author of a treatise on the nature and causes of the wealth of nations) the goal is taken to be public prosperity; it is this which, for Smith, justifies wage levels. Rasmussen cites this passage (and the sentence reported in n. 82) in support of a very differently flavoured reading: That Smith placed the welfare of the poor at the centre of his political economy may have once come as a surprise in certain circles, but even a cursory reading of WN should make this point abundantly clear. Smith states explicitly that the true measure of a nation’s wealth is not the size of the king’s treasury or the holdings of the affluent few but rather the wages of ‘the labouring poor’. (Rasmussen 2016: 342–343)

176  K. I. Macdonald Certainly both the arithmetic and the in-principle argument tie assessment of the wealth of the nation to the wages of the labouring poor (though Smith makes no contrasting reference to ‘the king’s treasury’). But to recognise that, is not to believe that Smith placed the welfare of the poor at the heart of his political economy. He (as it says on the tin) placed the wealth of nations at the heart of his political economy. It is on these terms that he carries the discussion forwards, throughout this chapter. Next in the chapter come Smith’s classic claims about the effect of wages on industrious labour. Having just asserted that the liberal reward of labour is generated by increasing wealth, Smith seems intent on demonstrating that it is a generator of wealth (this might be held to better match his equity argument): The liberal reward of labour, as it encourages the propagation, so it increases the industry of the common people . . . (WN I.viii.44) There follows extensive empirical (and rhetorical) discussion, for example: That a little more plenty than ordinary may render some workmen idle, cannot well be doubted; but that it should have this effect upon the greater part, or that men in general should work better when they are ill fed than when they are well fed . . . seems not very probable. (WN I.viii.45) The significance of all this must in part be dependent upon our sense of its novelty. There is the unsurprising, and well documented, fact that the eighteenth century did not always share liberal views on poverty. The iconic quotation83 is Arthur Young’s: everyone but an idiot knows, that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious. (Young 1771 IV: 361) As Rosenberg (1975: 379) observed “In such a context, Smith’s views were both enlightened and advanced.” (though ‘enlightened and advanced’ could be held to be signing Smith up to a project in which he is not engaged84). But (continuing my concern for context) consider in more detail that iconic quotation. Young has a long history of misrepresentation, partly because of readily extractable erratic assertions. As, on his economic data, Allen and Ó Gráda drily note: Young was a man of decided opinion on agrarian issues . . . Many historians have done him the honour of erecting their interpretations on the foundation of his opinions,85 but few have done him the honour of analysing anew the information he worked so hard to collect. (Allen & Ó Gráda 1988: 94–95)

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  177 Young may now be taken seriously within economic history,86 but Martin is rare within the ‘poverty’ literature in giving evidence of having read the extract in context: In context it is clear that Young is reporting the opinions of master-manufacturers, not necessarily his own. (Martin 2015: 568) Considering the quotation in full leads to an even more qualified reading; that opening ‘everyone’ had a preceding, defining, clause: If you talk of the interests of trade and manufactures, everyone but an idiot knows, that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious . . . Let not those . . . whose interest make such policy requisite, abuse the landed interests for the miseries of the poor, which are wholly owing to manufacturers and trade . . . none but a fool can imagine, that the landlords of this great empire, of above four score millions of acres, are to yield to the transitory sons of trade and manufacture (Young 1771 IV: 361–362, emphases added) From that, it is clear that Young’s observation is also about those engaged in manufacture and trade, and is not endorsed (a view, merely, belonging to those ‘transitory sons of trade and manufacture’). Further, there exist competing, and striking, Young passages, even within that same letter, of very different import: If the real distresses of the poor are in question – if their pay will not properly maintain them – if they are not clothed in a warm and decent manner – well lodged – and nourished plentifully with wholesome food – . . . in the name of God force the purses of the rich, if humanity does not open them, to relieve the wants of their fellow creatures – raise the price of labour – increase your [poor] rates – do whatever the necessity of the case requires; it is then humanity that speaks. (Young 1771 IV: 352, emphasis his) It could be argued that this passage (seeing the poor, as ‘fellow creatures’, in humanity entitled to be ‘nourished plentifully with wholesome food’) shows a more egalitarian concern for the poor than Smith’s equity passage (merely seeing the poor, in terms of their economic contribution, entitled to be ‘tolerably well fed’). Were this passage the common coin of (decontextualized) Young quotation, his invocation would have a different force. And this is not, for Young, a chance emphasis. Though Coates perpetuates the truncated form of the ‘idiot’ quotation, he rightly notes as significant: that in his Political Arithmetic, 1774, the volume which purported to demonstrate the ‘first principles’ distilled from the information collected on his tours, [Young] categorically stated that dear labour, plentiful

178  K. I. Macdonald employment, rising living standards, and increasing population were the inevitable concomitants of prosperity (Coats 1958: 46) That sounds first cousin to Smith’s ‘necessary effect and cause’. Despite this, Young was probably more willing to be interventionist than Smith, and in Martin’s (2015: 560) phrase sympathetic to the “necessity theory of motivation”: I would not have the price of labour lowered . . . but I would have industry enforced among the poor; and the use of tea87 restrained. (Young 1771 IV: 365, emphasis added) But, even here, notice that Young is against lowering wages; and, as explained, Smith’s ‘equity’ argument is a defence of extant wages (not an argument for raising wages). In outcome there seems no disagreement between them. An excursion, sharply attenuating the interpretation of one quotation, however iconic, does not disprove the existence of harsh eighteenth-century views; nor was it so intended. But that such a move is possible at all, coupled with the attenuation I have attempted in Smith’s moral fervour for the poor, may suggest that his peculiar status as a defender of the poor is overblown. On the broader political context, consider this, from Dugald Stewart, who, though he may be not a neutral reporter, sees no need to defend to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, his estimation, a scant three years after Smith’s death, of ‘the doctrine of modern politicians’: Far from considering poverty as an advantage to a state, their great aim is to open new sources of national opulence, and to animate the activity of all classes of the people, by a taste for the comforts and accommodations of life. (Stewart 1793 IV.8) Stewart does not present this as a change instigated by Smith. Of course, context matters, but it is easy to over-interpret: To those who wanted to restrain the poor from buying luxury goods, Smith says that it is ‘but equity’ for the lower ranks of society to have a fair share of the food, clothes, and housing they themselves provide. (Fleischacker 2016: 485) Perhaps. Such restrainers did exist. They might have regarded Smith’s ‘equity’ argument as undermining their case (though it is not obvious in logic that it should). But Fleischacker’s positioning move – “To those . . . Smith says . . .” – is not sustainable. Smith’s explicit entailment from equity is that the poor be “tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged”. If, as claimed, he is addressing ‘those who wanted to restrain the poor from buying luxury goods’, why no mention of any entailment to the purchase of luxuries? This, remember, is the Smith who proposes (as quoted p. 127) a system of taxation, focusing on luxuries, which, he

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  179 explicitly understands, acts as sumptuary law upon the poor; a sumptuary law being, in the phrasing of the OED: “a law regulating expenditure, especially with a view to restraining excess in food, dress, equipage, etc.” Smith’s view – “The liberal reward of labour . . . increases the industry of the common people” – is a specific empirical economic statement. To read this as a defence of the poor is parasitic upon claims that in general Smith is an advocate for the poor. I seek to demonstrate that these other claims fall on close inspection. So that, if read simply on its own, without importation of evaluative assumptions, the ‘increases the industry of the common people’ is the discussion of an observational, empirical, economist; it itself carries no evidence of advocacy for the poor. In Smith’s chapter, the discussion of wages and productivity next morphs into an argument sequence explaining “why the wages of labour are everywhere so much more steady and permanent than the price of provisions” (WN I.viii.56). Quite what motivates this section is a mite unclear; perhaps part of the generic discussion, as the chapter heading hath it, ‘of the wages of labour’. But it would also bear reading as analogous to the population discussion (which has spelt out the mechanisms which prevent unreasonable population growth). Here Smith is further articulating the constraint mechanisms88 on wages, seen earlier in the chapter: The demand for those who live by wages, it is evident, cannot increase but in proportion to the increase of the funds which are destined for the payment of wages. (WN I.viii.18) By demonstrating the stability of wages, even when commodity price fluctuation is introduced, Smith could be read as further reassuring that current wage levels are not an out of control ‘inconveniency’. This later interpretation, treating this passage as a continuation of the argument around the rewards of labour, gains credence since Smith’s next paragraph (the last in his chapter) marshals further arguments explicitly pertinent to the ‘advantage or inconveniency’ debate. He notes that increasing population increases the division, and hence the inventiveness, of labour; and addresses cost head-on: The increase in the wages of labour necessarily increases the price of many commodities, by increasing that part of it which resolves itself into wages . . . The same cause, however, which raises the wages of labour, the increase of stock, tends to increase its productive powers . . . The owner of the stock . . . necessarily endeavours, for his own advantage, to make such a proper division and distribution of employment, that they may be enabled to produce the greatest quantity of work possible, . . . [and] to supply them with the best machinery which either he or they can think of . . . There are many commodities, therefore, which, in consequence of these improvements, come to be produced by so much less labour than before, that the increase of [labour’s] price is more than compensated by the diminution of its quantity. (WN I.viii.57)

180  K. I. Macdonald That opening sentence may, as earlier, be a view to be modified; or Smith may be addressing two different sets of commodities. Whichever reading is followed, and whether persuasively or not, this is Smith thinking through the economic mechanisms, pointing to compensating processes. On balance defending the ‘liberal reward of labour’. This defence, precisely because so much of it is framed in terms of the mechanisms which constrain that reward, is very far from a plea for the overall enrichment of the poor. This articulation contains no evidence of a Smith seeking to “establish the claim of the poor to higher wages . . . a higher rank in life” (Himmelfarb 1984: 62); there is nothing here to support a claim for higher wages; no reference to higher89 rank. The discussion on the ‘liberal reward of labour’, taken in its entirety, is, as we have seen, an interweaving complex discussion, not always explicitly targeted, but overall analytic and empirical. The equity remark is made; but with an opening disclaimer and a lack of explication; it is inarguably not the dominant component in Smith’s argument. However read, and with whatever weight, this is not an argument treating the well-being of the poor as a goal: Smith thought that the well-being of the poor was both an end in itself and a means to the end of public prosperity; it was ‘but equity, besides’. (Rothschild 1996: 348) Rothschild’s claims as to Smith’s thoughts lack evidence; we have no grounds for believing Smith saw the well-being of the poor as an end in itself; and the equity point is contingent upon public prosperity. Smith is astringent and unsentimental, given to following argument where it leads. He is clear that the wealth of a nation requires a rewarded workforce; in that sense his project advances the interests of the poor. But he is not an advocate for the poor. He is not an egalitarian. He thinks analytically about his society; but he does not transcend it; the industrial revolution is immanent, but not prefigured90 in Smith’s analyses. We should aim for a contextualised reading of Smith, which does not import concepts he does not use, and which attends to the detail of his written argument, taking seriously his deployment of the empirical observations, not invoking them as grounds for arguments Smith does not make. On this approach, even Hont and Ignatief’s considered and evidenced judgement – “Our argument is that WN was centrally concerned with the issue of justice” Hont and Ignatieff (1983: 2) – reads more like an imposition (the background and quotations can indeed be so assembled) than a rendition of Smith’s intention as it emerges from the sequence of his argument within the texts. 6.3 Smith on the ‘relief of the poor’ Another often cited Smith remark (though in origin almost an aside), invoked in Rothschild’s influential 1992 paper, and earlier by Viner (1927: 230), and used as an illustration of Smith’s concern for the poor, and of his willingness to mediate redistributively on their behalf, occurs in the discussion of the maintenance of roads:

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  181 He is tolerant in his view of government interference, especially when the object is to reduce poverty. One example . . . is his support for progressive taxes on carriages, such that “the indolence and vanity of the rich is made to contribute in a very easy manner to the relief of the poor”. (Rothschild 1992: 92) He even suggests, in a couple of places, that the government arrange its taxes so that ‘the indolence and vanity of the rich’ can contribute to the well-being of the poor (V.i.d.5; V.ii.e.6). Smith’s normative egalitarianism thus has an impact on his political proposals. (Fleischacker 2013: 494) I discuss the second of Fleischacker’s references, to (WN V.ii.e.6), below, p. 184, but for the present focus on tolls, which are Fleischacker’s first reference and the context for that ‘relief of the poor’ phrase. The ‘relief of the poor’ is, as we shall see, in context more qualified than Rothschild’s truncated extract suggests, and the turnpike discussion displays less a concern for the poor than an unreconciled tension between Smith’s various interpretations of taxation. Smith notes that it would not be unjust for the full road cost to be simply covered by the state: The expense of maintaining good roads and communications is, no doubt, beneficial to the whole society, and may, therefore, without any injustice be defrayed by the general contribution of the whole society (WN V.i.i.4) But he believes a more administratively effective system would be addressed to the specific costs of transportation. Whence the proposal: When the carriages . . . pay toll in proportion to their weight . . . they pay for the maintenance of those public works exactly in proportion to the wear and tear which they occasion of them. It seems scarce possible to invent a more equitable way of maintaining such works. (WN V.i.d.4) Smith spends time demonstrating the inefficiencies and unintended consequences of other funding arrangements, articulating the benefits of local tolls (when well administered), and, for example, arguing that the centralised ‘executive power’ in China has not produced the excellent infrastructure claimed (“The accounts of those works . . . have generally been drawn up by weak and wondering travellers; frequently by stupid and lying missionaries” WN V.i.d.17). The principle that the toll be directed at, and by, the ‘wear and tear’ is, for him, important. Smith is aware that if tolls (by weight) were expanded for any purpose beyond road maintenance, “that exigency would be chiefly supplied at the expense of the poor, not the rich; at the expense of those who are least able to supply it, not of those

182  K. I. Macdonald who are most able” (WN V.i.d.13). This would then violate his first maxim of taxation,91 namely: The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state. (WN V.ii.b.3) He thus fears that if the state comes to see tolls as a general revenue stream it will be under pressure to tax by value of goods, also be tempted to increase the tax, and the tax would then reduce to an undesirable (to him) tax upon internal movement of goods: If the turnpike tolls of Great Britain should ever become one of the resources of government, we may learn, by the example of many other nations, what would probably be the consequence . . . When such duties are imposed . . . according to the supposed value of the goods, they become . . . a sort of inland customs or excises which obstruct very much . . . the interior commerce of the country. (WN ii.k.56) The ‘wear and tear’ algorithm usefully avoids that contingency. At the same time, Smith recognises that the algorithm disproportionally affects the price of basic goods (“as the turnpike toll raises the price of goods in proportion to their weight, and not to their value, it is chiefly paid by the consumers of coarse and bulky, not by those of precious and light, commodities” WN V.i.d.13), and Smith, as we have seen, was worried about the impact of the cost of necessaries upon wages. It is in this context that he brings in the amelioration: When the toll upon carriages of luxury upon coaches, post-chaises, etc., is made somewhat higher in proportion to their weight than upon carriages of necessary use, such as carts, waggons, etc., the indolence and vanity of the rich is made to contribute in a very easy manner to the relief of the poor, by rendering cheaper the transportation of heavy goods to all the different parts of the country. (WN V.i.d.5) This amelioration is admittedly somewhat of a fudge, retaining the emphasis that tolls simply pay for ‘wear and tear’, whilst recognising that they operate as if taxes (and so come under pressure from that first maxim). But it is a fudge driven by Smith’s concerns around the efficient provision of “works . . . for facilitating the commerce of the society”, as his section heading indicates. Smith, despite the impression conveyed by Rothschild’s truncation of the quotation, is not talking about the ‘relief of the poor’ in any modern sense, but about the effects of taxation on commerce (that ‘transportation of heavy goods’). Craig Smith (2013: 798)

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  183 is here percipient: “Given the context of this statement it seems more likely that it refers to Smith’s canons of taxation than an endorsement of the use of the taxation system deliberately to pursue a policy of income transfers”. Boucoyannis also, in an extended and pertinent discussion of taxation, sees the central issue correctly – “Smith is pragmatic about the level of taxes . . . his real concern is with how a tax distorts incentives on the productive use of capital” (Boucoyannis 2013: 1059) – though she drastically over simplifies92 the toll discussion (claiming Smith believes “carriages should not be taxed by weight”). The logical, interpretative, point, as we shall see again (in the discussion on the ingenuity of common workmen, pp. 196–7), is that the pressure from Smith’s manifest concerns (here as articulated in his first maxim on taxation) are sufficient to explain a passage (here the toll adjustment) without invoking any hypothetical motivation (such as Rothschild’s ‘the object is to reduce poverty’). Equally, pace Fleischacker, there is no need to posit that Smith’s hypothetical normative egalitarianism ‘has an impact’ on his proposals (which are, in the instance of taxation, in any case not well described as ‘political proposals’); the proposals can be derived without such impact. Craig Smith (2013: 794–5) reads accurately when he reports: “There is nothing here that speaks to a desire to use taxation as a means to pursue a more ‘just’ distribution of wealth in society”. Now consider the second passage invoked (p. 181, above) by Fleischacker. Smith’s section on taxation first lays out the four ‘maxims’ of taxation; these he sees as generally desired: The evident justice and utility of the . . . maxims have recommended them more or less to the attention of all nations . . . The following short review of some of the principal taxes which have taken place in different ages and countries will show that the endeavours of all nations have not in this respect been equally successful. (WN V.ii.b.7) The heralded ‘short review’ expands into a detailed discussion of particular taxes, their economic implications, and their fit with the four maxims. So, for example, we read: In England, the valuation according to which the different countries and parishes were assessed to the land-tax by the 4th of William and Mary was very unequal even at its first establishment. This tax, therefore, so far offends against the first of the four maxims above mentioned. It is perfectly agreeable to the other three93 . . . The advantage, however, which the landlord has derived . . . has been principally owing to some circumstances altogether extraneous to the nature of the tax . . . (WN V.ii.c.2–3) And so on, and on. It is within this general discussion (of the match between implementation and maxim) that the second of Fleischacker’s references falls, in

184  K. I. Macdonald an evaluation of housing tax. The first maxim of taxation (quoted in full p. 182), as presented, is that taxation should be proportional to the revenue enjoyed. Smith distinguishes between ground rent and building rent, and discusses how these variously affect the behaviour of landlords and tenants. The division [between ground and building rent] would probably be very different in different circumstances, and a [housing] tax of this kind might . . . affect very unequally . . . the inhabitant of the house and the owner of the ground . . . But the inequality with which it might fall upon the inhabitants of different houses would arise . . . [also] from another cause. The proportion of the expense of house-rent to the whole expense of living is different in the different degrees of fortune . . . The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion. (WN V.ii.e.5–6) Smith’s point, within an extended assessment of how far extant taxes match the agreed maxims, is that, taking this particular tax, as it is implemented, this particular violation of the first maxim is ‘not very unreasonable’. That is a very different formulation from Fleischacker’s summary claim: that Smith suggests “the government arrange its taxes so that ‘the indolence and vanity of the rich’ can contribute to the well-being of the poor”. To read the passage in context (as an examination of extant taxes) makes clear that to gloss Smith as “proposing . . . to institute a tax on house rents that would fall more heavily on the rich” (Rasmussen 2016: 345), is, also, actively misleading. The same observation can be made of Smith’s discussion, later in the same section, on variations of window tax (which he takes to be less intrusive than a hearth tax; windows can be counted without entry): The principal objection to all such taxes is their inequality, an inequality of the worst kind, as they must frequently fall much heavier upon the poor than upon the rich. A house of ten pounds rent in a country town may sometimes have more windows than a house of five hundred pounds rent in London; and though the inhabitant of the former is likely to be a much poorer man than that of the latter, yet . . . he must contribute more to the support of the state. Such taxes are, therefore, directly contrary to the first of the four maxims above mentioned. They do not seem to offend much against any of the other three. (WN V.ii.e.19)

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  185 Reading this examined instance of an extant tax, echoed against the passage Fleischacker cited, it is clear that Smith is more tolerant of violations of the first principle of taxation that overcharge the rich. But this, I have argued, is mainly attributable to the assumptive94 nature of their expenditures; they could choose to act otherwise. There is no suggestion that the taxation should be arranged so that ‘the indolence and vanity of the rich’ can contribute to the well-being of the poor. Further, the ‘poor’, whose inegalitarian treatment under the window-tax is concerning, living in well-windowed houses in country towns, are scarcely indigent. How little Smith’s focus is on relief of the poor can be seen in his next paragraph: “Such has been almost everywhere the increase of the demand for houses, that it has raised the rents more than the window-tax could sink them; one of the many proofs of the great prosperity of the country” (WN V.ii.e.19). It is intelligible that a writer concerned with the wealth of the nation might celebrate rising rents; the same celebration from a writer supposedly concerned with the relief and wellbeing of the poor would be more puzzling. It is true – but this is a different point from the one made by Fleischacker – that Smith, considering the detail of extant taxation, lands in inconsistency. It is not the mark of a logician first to identify as a maxim that people should be taxed ‘in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy’ and shortly thereafter, even with a very particular referent, believe it ‘not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute . . . not only in proportion to their revenue’. Two extenuating points. Firstly, Smith’s is, as noted, a discussion of an existent tax, not a proposal that taxes be modified, and this attenuation of the maxim contributes little to his subsequent discussion of taxation; most times he relies on, and interprets, the first maxim as written. (This defence would be of little interest to the logician, but is pertinent to one interested in the nature and causes of the wealth of nations, or possibly in social policy.) Secondly, insofar as this appears to be driven by anything, it appears to be driven by a thought that those who choose to spend more on the ‘vanities of life’ might not unreasonably attract more tax; this might also be seen to underlie the toll discussion, and would also be consistent with Smith’s later discussion of a tax on luxuries (their defining condition being that they are optional). A more formalising theorist might have incorporated the thought about choice and the ‘vanities of life’ into the maxims, but, as Fleischacker rightly observes: Smith gives strong priority to particular facts over general theories, stressing repeatedly that human knowledge is most reliable when it is highly contextual. Smith is, for this reason, perhaps the most empirical of all the empiricists, pursuing his version of “the science of man” in a particularly messy, fact-laden rather than theory-laden way.95 (Fleischacker 2004: 271) Smith’s developing discussion of taxation is characteristically about exploring the economic implications of arrangements; a discussion in which the maxims matter, but do not dominate.

186  K. I. Macdonald We have already noted Smith’s willingness to accept taxation of the poor – that is, of the ‘luxuries’ (anything other than ‘necessaries’) of the poor. The emphasis on the taxation of ‘luxuries’ arising, as we have seen p. 119, from a pragmatic concern about wages, hence prices, not from any particular moral concern (“without meaning by this appellation [luxuries], to throw the smallest degree of reproach upon the temperate use of them” WN V.ii.k.3). The motivator, as Smith works through the detail of appropriate taxation schemes, does not appear to be the ‘relief of the poor’ (Rothschild) or even the ‘well-being of the poor’ (Fleischacker); consider: Though the expence [i.e. expenditure] of those inferior ranks of people . . .  taking them individually, is very small, yet the whole mass of it, taking them collectively, amounts always to by much the largest portion of the whole [expenditure] of the society . . . The taxes upon [expenditure], therefore, which fall chiefly upon that of the superior ranks of people . . . are likely to be much less productive than either those which fall indifferently upon the [expenditure] of all ranks, or even those which fall chiefly upon that of the inferior ranks . . . The excise upon the materials and manufacture of homemade [i.e. non-foreign96] fermented and spirituous liquors is accordingly, of all the different taxes upon [expenditure], by far the most productive; and this branch of the excise falls very much, perhaps principally, upon the [expenditure] of the common people . . . It must always be remembered, however, that it is the luxurious and not the necessary [expenditure] of the inferior ranks of people that ought ever to be taxed. (WN V.ii.k.43–44) This is the voice of an empirical writer considering what constitutes a productive tax, thinking of its impact on the economy (through wage pressure), though with an eye on the formulated maxims of taxation. Smith’s conclusion sees a tax on materials and manufacture of ‘liquors’ as productive, undeterred by the fact that it will fall ‘perhaps principally, upon the [expenditure] of the common people’. There is little evidence here for Fleischacker’s view that “Smith’s normative egalitarianism . . . has an impact on his political proposals”. The absence of such evidence, I suggest, being because the existence of such ‘normative egalitarianism’ is at best unproven. The concluding pages of WN are given over to elaboration of “a new Utopia, less amusing certainly, but not more useless and chimerical than the old one”, in which Smith explores a counterfactual fantasy: Without . . . pretending to determine whether such a union be practicable or impracticable, it may not . . . be improper, in a speculative work of this kind, to consider how far the British system of taxation might be applicable to all the different provinces of the empire . . . and in what manner a general union of this kind might be likely to affect the happiness and prosperity of the different provinces comprehended within it. (WN V.ii.68)

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  187 This produces an extended discussion, and, if Smith were exercised about relief of the poor we might expect to see, in this ‘new Utopia’ some evidence; this section could after all indeed count as ‘political proposals’. But these pages do not yield the quotations invoked by those wishing to read Smith as a normative egalitarian; Smith’s focus is on revenue streams,97 and the tranquillity of provinces. Before leaving Smith’s presumed deployment of taxation for social, rather than economic, ends, one further supposed instance merits examination: Smith’s attack on sumptuary laws may also be aimed at unnecessary distinctions in social status – I am grateful once again to Chris Berry for this nice observation. (Fleischacker 2013: 494) Both Fleischacker and Berry are experienced Smith scholars, but this makes no sense. I shall consider Fleischacker’s ‘aim’ imputation more explicitly shortly, but first focus on this claimed attack on sumptuary laws (the reference is to WN II.iii.36). Berry visits the issue within his scholarly discussion of luxury: Generally speaking . . . the attitude towards the efficacy and propriety of sumptuary laws is one reasonably reliable indicator of a writer’s conception of luxury . . . [I]n the 18th century we find . . . Adam Smith, who thinks opulence a ‘blessing’ . . . remarking in WN that sumptuary laws represent the “highest impertinence and presumption on the part of kings and ministers in their effort to watch over the economy of private people”. (Berry 1994: 115) Note that the text within quotation marks is Berry’s gloss, not a literal quotation. But it is indeed common to find Smith’s remark on kings and ministers cited, and cited without context. Smith’s invoked remark is an aside, so its context matters. Context matters in two ways. Firstly, the context is a discussion of ‘wealth and improvement’, and the accumulation of capital by employers: “It is by means of an additional capital only that the undertaker of any work can either provide his workmen with better machinery or make a more proper distribution of employment among them” (WN II.iii.32). Given that context, the ‘individuals’ and ‘private people’ referenced in the invoked passage are clearly employers: In the midst of all the exactions of government, this capital has been silently and gradually accumulated by the private frugality and good conduct of individuals . . . It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their [expenditure], either by sumptuary laws, or by prohibiting the importation of foreign luxuries. (WN II.iii.36) This, the sole ‘attack’ on sumptuary laws in all of WN, is discussing employers, and so opposing sumptuary laws for the affluent (and, explicitly, allowing them

188  K. I. Macdonald ‘foreign luxuries’). Government is being rebuked for restraining the expenditure, including the frivolous expenditure, of those who own capital. That is not well construed as aiming to reduce ‘unnecessary distinctions in status’; those “luxuries and vanities of life” (WN V.ii.e.6) are status markers. Secondly, the statement appears as part of a very specific argument, so is qualified by its position in that argument; it is not a simple general pronouncement. Smith, as noted, is discussing the accumulation of capital: this capital has been silently and gradually accumulated by . . . private frugality . . . It is this . . . which has maintained the progress of England . . . England, however, as it has never been blessed with a very parsimonious government, so parsimony has at no time been the characteristical virtue of its inhabitants. It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people . . . They [kings and ministers] are themselves always . . . the greatest spendthrifts in the society (WN II.iii.36) Note that ‘therefore’. What, when removed from context, seems a general statement of principle is, in context, more anger at the impertinence of the intervention of this specific government – the spendthrift English government. Smith here sees ‘impertinence and presumption’ because that ‘not very parsimonious government’ has caused the English characteristic lack of parsimony. Throughout the rest of WN, Smith expresses himself either neutral on historic sumptuary laws, or uniformly in favour of contemporary sumptuary constraints upon the poor. In his calculations ‘upon the real price of manufactures’ he uses 4 Henry VII c8, a sumptuary law affecting the rich, to obtain a fifteenth-century fix on the price of finest cloth, and 3 Edward IV c5 – “This is a sumptuary law too, restraining the luxury and extravagance of the poor” (WN I.xi.o.9) – for coarse manufacture. These historic laws are mentioned without adverse comment. We have already (p. 127, above) seen Smith’s interpretation of a contemporary tax on luxuries, with its perceived benign effect, acting as a sumptuary law, upon the ‘sober and industrious poor’ (WN V.ii.k.7). This is congruent with his comment in an (undated) letter to Sir John Sinclair (of Statistical Account of Scotland fame): Taxes upon the luxuries of the poor, upon their beer and other spirituous liquors, for example, so long as they are so moderate as not to give much temptation to smuggling, I am so far from disapproving, that I look upon them as the best of sumptuary laws. (Corr. 299) We have only a fragment of this letter, but the sentence immediately follows a standard Smith passage on the folly of taxing the ‘necessary expenses’ of the poor, so we have no reason not to take it at face value. Further, though conversation

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  189 with Sinclair precipitated one of the more memorable98 of Smith’s bon mots, the consistent tone of the other extant letters to Sinclair is straightforward argumentation. Perhaps most tellingly, when, in WN, criticising Decker’s 1740 proposal that all commodities should be taxed by “the consumer paying a certain annual sum for the licence to consume certain goods”, one of Smith’s four principal objections is that “such taxes would operate less as sumptuary laws . . . [since] whether the purchaser drunk much [porter] or drunk little, his tax would be the same” (WN V.ii.k.18). Smith is here thinking of the common man (that drinker of porter) and arguing in favour of retaining taxes constructed so as to act as sumptuary laws upon the common people.99 It is hard to envisage how this might be thought to reduce status distinctions. For those adopting an uncontextualised universalist reading of the ‘impertinence’ remark, these Smith tax judgements of course present a problem. On taxation of the luxuries of the ‘sober and industrious poor’ (WN V.ii.k.7), Berry remarks: We should, perhaps, point out that Smith is not here contradicting his opposition to sumptuary law . . . The merit in the form of an encouragement to sobriety that Smith sees in these taxes is crucially an indirect effect. The taxes act only as a sumptuary law unlike a sumptuary law proper which directly forbids particular behaviour and, as we observed . . ., Smith is forthright in his denunciation of such prohibitions. (Berry 1994: 210) The ‘forthright denunciation’ alluded to is WN II.iii.36, quoted above, which, I have argued, is neither forthright nor a denunciation of such prohibitions. Berry is of course correct to note that Smith reports these taxes acting as sumptuary laws, and correct that, for Smith, when discussing the necessaries/luxuries divide, the assumptive nature of expenditure on the latter is, as we have discussed, important. But there is no evidence that Smith wishes to make anything here of the tax/law distinction; he is discussing, approvingly, certain taxes, whilst noting that their behaviour is equivalent to (acts as) sumptuary law. He explicitly emphasises the ‘forced frugality’ (WN V.ii.k.7) consequent on the taxation, so, on the textual evidence, choice, for him, is not a component distinguishing, for the ‘sober and industrious poor’, these taxes from laws; these taxes are, for them, equivalent to sumptuary laws (their frugality is ‘forced’). He does make some acknowledgement of choice: the ‘dissolute and disorderly might continue to indulge themselves’, so the tax, unlike the law, would increase the ‘distress of such disorderly families’, though the resulting mortality ‘would not probably diminish much the useful population of the country’. This narrative – for the sober the tax forces frugality, for the disorderly it precipitates extirpation – does not read like any libertarian defence of taxes as against laws. For the group for whom the tax on luxuries, equivalently to a sumptuary law, results in ‘forced frugality’ the effect is seen as benign; their ability to bring up families is increased. The thought that the putative attack on sumptuary laws may be “aimed at unnecessary distinctions in social status” may be more attributable to Fleischacker

190  K. I. Macdonald than to Berry;100 it remains unpersuasive. There is no textual evidence for such intentionality. Even were we to read “impertinence and presumption . . . in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people” as an unqualified assertion, none of the arguments Smith assembles around that assertion even gesture towards attenuation of distinctions in social status. He is interested in the effects upon the cumulation of capital. Some of the flavour of the disapprobation (at watching over the economy of private people) is repeated later in WN, when Smith discusses agricultural systems. He notes there the advantages of ‘the obvious and simple system of natural liberty’ (his expressed concern is with economic liberty): The sovereign is completely discharged from a duty . . . for the proper performance of which no human wisdom or knowledge could ever be sufficient . . . of superintending the industry of private people, and of directing it towards the employments most suitable to the interest of the society. (WN IV.ix.51) Smith is here discussing sectoral allocation, but even if we stretch101 his point to include other directives (such as sumptuary constraints), notice the shape of the argument Smith adduces: Those systems . . . which preferring agriculture to all other employments, in order to promote it, impose restraints upon manufactures and foreign trade, act contrary to the very end which they propose, and indirectly discourage that very species of industry which they mean to promote. They are so far, perhaps, more inconsistent than even the mercantile system . . . every [such] system . . . retards, instead of accelerating, the progress of the society towards real wealth and greatness (WN IV.ix.49,50) The interventions are derided because consequentially inefficacious. Smith writes, as he informed us in his title, of the wealth of nations. There is nothing here on aiming to reduce unnecessary distinctions in social status. So, again, no evidence for a redistributive Smith; and no evidence that he wished to deploy taxation for the relief of the poor. My concern in this paper is with arguments-on-the-page, not Smith’s backstage life. But, before leaving this section, it may be worth emphasising that in the life-as-we-have-it (Ross, 2010, being the fullest rendition) there is no evidence for any active Smith concern with the welfare of disadvantaged groups. We do have evidence of concern for individual friends and protégés, acts of interpersonal curation – though the uncharitable would also note the report, some days after Smith’s death, by a neighbour: his will, I am afraid, will be censured by many – he has left everything (£400 excepted) to a young lad . . . who has been very serviceable to him . . . The

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  191 £400 is to a poor relation . . . his faithful servant gets by far too little, and he’s too old for his brother Commissioners of the Customs to provide handsomely for him. (cited Ross 2010: 436) Ross confirms that there is no mention, in any of the versions of the will, of a bequest to that poor servant, but hastens to offer unevidenced reassurance: We may believe that Smith left instructions to his heir that his servant was to be looked after properly. (Ross 2010: 437) Perhaps so. Away from the interpersonal, the preponderant flavour is of a life focused on the interconnections of economic processes, with an interest in the structure of governance, but no disposition to propose, or encourage, systematic or systemic intervention on behalf of the disadvantaged. For example, Smith’s awareness of high infant mortality in the, relatively new, foundling hospitals (WN I.viii.38, see p. 207 below) is not followed by any known engagement in their management; so forth. We do however have information on his reaction to one interventionist project – a 1786 scheme to develop fishing villages around the coastline of the Scottish highlands. This, spearheaded by, among others, the MPs William Wilberforce and Henry Beaufoy, sought to stop Highland starvation and emigration, and sought to distinguish itself from the 1750s scheme (which Smith had criticised in WN IV.v.a.35) which had different aims: Their primary object was private emolument pursued at public expense: our object is public advantage pursued at an expense which is altogether private. (Beaufoy, emphases in original, cited in Raynor 1996: 584) The new scheme was successful in raising funds, including from Scots in India, and from the cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Perth (Youngson 1973: 122). Wilberforce tried to get some practical help from Smith (Ross 2010: 403), but was rebuffed: Dr. Smith with a certain characteristic coolness observed to me that he looked for no other consequence from the scheme than the entire loss of every shilling that should be expended on it. (Wilberforce and Wilberforce, 1840: l. 40) Smith’s letter to Beaufoy (reproduced in Raynor 1996: 587–588) sets out why he reckons ‘they will lose every shilling’. Firstly, the proposed rent on the new dwellings is too high. Secondly, the proposed repayment of capital, by the fishermen, cannot be met out of post-expense profits. And, thirdly:

192  K. I. Macdonald you must lay your account with [i.e. take into account] the cruellest oppression of the poor people, and the grossest frauds and impositions upon yourselves, from the far greater portion of your agents, overseers and superintendents (Smith, in Raynor, 1996: 588) This is very characteristic Smith. Some moral sympathy for the poor (‘cruellest oppression’), a recognition that they will be exploited by the structure, but no proposal that the world might be organised otherwise. The thrust of the letter is entirely negative; there is no redrafting of Beaufoy’s proposal so as to achieve its worthy objective, improvement in the life of one group of the poor.102 This is the closest that Smith, in what is known of his life, comes to supporting intervention targeted at relief of the poor: not close. Absence of knowledge is, of course, not knowledge of absence. As any reading of Ross’s (2010) carefully contextualised ‘life’ reveals, the paucity of sources leaves much room for an unknown Smith. But there is nothing in the known accounts of Smith’s life at odds with the interpretation I here derive from his writings. 6.4 Of street-porters and philosophers This section, my final excursion on specific ‘egalitarian’ citations, targets a passage presented as pivotal by interpreters advocating an egalitarian reading. Unlike the passages discussed in the previous section, this does not explicitly reference the poor. It nevertheless connects straightforwardly. If an ‘egalitarian’ interpretation stands, the analyses above of the poor and sumptuary laws, or wage levels, should be revisited. If the egalitarian interpretation falls, my present argument embodies a consistent analysis of Smith. The invoked passage is an observation about the childhood of street-porters and philosophers. That people are in fact equal . . . is a theme that runs through both TMS and WN. The most explicit passage in this regard is (WN I.ii.4) . . . [Smith’s] claim about the similarities between philosophers and street porters should be seen as part of a larger, energetic attempt to minimize differences in human ability (Fleischacker 2004: 75–6, see also 2013: 490). In the cited passage, Smith does say, of the porter and philosopher: When they came into the world, and for the first six or eight years of their existence, they were, perhaps, very much alike, and neither their parents nor play-fellows could perceive any remarkable difference. (WN I.ii.4) The same claim is reported in LJ, and was also present in the ED,103 though with differing detail (referencing the first five or six years of life in LJ(A) vi.47 and ED 26, four or five in LJ(B) 220).

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  193 Vivenza (2001: 133) notes: “Foley’s brilliant discovery that the tale of the philosopher Protagoras beginning his working life as a porter prompted Smith’s conclusion that philosopher and porter differ not in nature but in cultural and educational matters”, though she then presents her own view that this reveals only a possible origin, “or rather, it shows why Smith chose . . . [these] rather than, say, a lawyer and a sawyer”. But neither the strong Foley nor the weak Vivenza speculation is pertinent. Street-porters are a common referent throughout WN, as are philosophers; both terms are standard counters, place-markers, in various Smith arguments. Further, as is implicit when Smith here discusses the utility of the difference in developed talents – and explicit in the more developed illustrations in LJ (“Everyone who burns coals or eats bread is benefitted by the philosopher who invented the fire engine [steam-engine] or the corn mill . . .” LJ(A) vi.43, see also LJ(B) 221) – Smith is invoking primarily the natural philosopher; there is no reason to suppose the speculative sophist Protagoras (presented by Smith as a very different kind of thinker104) would be brought to his mind. The focus of Smith’s argument is not on the equivalence of fully formed adult identities, nor on any transition between adult identities; the adduced Protagoras tale misleads as to Smith’s expressed intent. Fleischacker concedes that, on this passage, Raphael has queried his case for “Smith’s socio-political egalitarianism, using close readings . . . to suggest that more qualified claims are in order” (Fleischacker 2013: 497). Read Raphael’s commentary and it is manifest that he offers only an attenuation: the passage about the philosopher and the porter is the strongest expression of Smith’s view on the topic, and it does not say that the natural abilities of the two are essentially equal; it says that in their infancy they were ‘perhaps very much alike’, so that others could not perceive ‘any remarkable difference’. (Raphael 2007: 123, emphases added) Raphael, again on the exact verbal detail of Smith’s formulation, further notes: “A vital part of Fleischacker’s view is that Smith progressed to a greater radicalism as he grew older . . . [but] Smith’s comparison between the philosopher and the porter is less radical in WN (1776) than in the LJ(A) of 1762–3.” (Raphael 2007: 124) Raphael’s detailed qualifications are well taken,105 but neither Fleischacker nor Raphael attend to the context within which the examined sentence appears. In isolation, the observation, like any empirical observation, remains, in Hume’s phrase, another of these ‘curious facts’. What matters – what gives a fact theoretical meaning – is the use made of that fact. Smith is here concerned to explicate the power and utility106 of the division of labour: The . . . very different genius which appears to distinguish men of different professions . . . is not . . . so much the cause as the effect [outcome] of the division of labour. The difference . . . between a philosopher and a common street porter, for example, seems to arise not so much from nature as from habit, custom, and education . . . But without the disposition to truck, barter, and exchange . . . there could have been no such difference of employment as

194  K. I. Macdonald could alone give occasion to any great difference of talents . . . it is this same disposition which renders that difference useful. (WN I.ii.4–5) Smith’s case is that the difference in talents is useful given the division of labour; the observation that the difference is not perceptible in childhood is adduced as part of an argument that the difference is brought about by the division of labour. Of course the ‘curious fact’ of no perceptible childhood difference could form a component in a distinct (and to us much more familiar107) argument: people are essentially the same, so, on these grounds, should be treated equally. But this is not an argument that Smith ever makes (so not ‘socio-political egalitarianism’). Smith never argues that, because we cannot differentiate between them as young children we should treat the adult porter and adult philosopher as equals. At one level it may be correct to claim “These passages show that Smith subscribed to the doctrine of the ‘natural equality of all men’” (Rahim 2011: 98); but only if read in the thinnest of thin readings, not making any claims about the equality of instantiated persons. Smith does, as discussed in §6.2 above, argue for equity, but in terms of contribution, not of essential equality or equal humanity. Contribution is determined by men’s current state, and: the understandings of the greater part of men are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments (WN V.i.f.50108) Nussbaum is insightful (though, as we shall shortly see, she reads the implications of this insight differently) elucidating that Smith: shows that different conditions of life do not merely create different classes and ranks of people in the eyes of those who are foolish enough to care about such things; they actually form the person himself, directly affecting the development of human abilities. (Nussbaum, in press, 7) These formed people are for Smith then the people to be evaluated: “when grown up to maturity” (WN I.ii.4). The thought that since differences are socially constructed, society has an obligation to attenuate their effects, is not one expressed in any Smith text. Nussbaum elsewhere allows an ‘equality’ reading of the porter and philosopher passage to colour interpretation of the breadth of WN: Early in WN, Smith emphasizes the fact that habit and education play a profound role in shaping human abilities . . . Much of WN is accordingly dedicated to documenting the many factors that can cause key human abilities to fail to develop. (Nussbaum 2007: 48, emphases added)

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  195 The contextualised reading of the Smith passage reveals a different emphasis. And that in turn has implications as to how empirical documentation in WN is to be read, to what (if anything) is it dedicated. This is such a salient disagreement that its full exploration is perhaps best left to the next section, §6.5. Fleischacker likewise sees Smith as running a specific agenda, ‘part of a larger, energetic attempt to minimize differences in human ability’: Smith appears to have been committed to a remarkably strong version of the claim that people are essentially equal in abilities. One of his most implausible claims – that ‘a great part’ of the machines used in manufacturing are invented by the workmen – reflects, in its very implausibility, his strong desire to see the humblest of people as ingenious. (Fleischacker 2004: 76, emphasis added) Again, not so. The passage (as with the street-porter and philosopher) is driven by Smith’s articulated intent to demonstrate the utility of the division of labour, not some hypothetical desire to see humble people as ingenious (and, parenthetically, the claim, in the qualified form that Smith actually presents, is less implausible than Fleischacker takes it as being; particularly if we remember that in the eighteenth century, ‘machine’, as a term, extended to cover ‘tool’ or ‘implement’109). Consider: Smith is explaining increases in productivity consequent on the division of labour: everybody must be sensible how much labour is facilitated and abridged by the application of proper machinery . . . I shall only observe, therefore, that the invention of all those machines . . . seems to have been originally owing to the division of labour. Men are much more likely to discover easier and readier methods of attaining any object when the whole attention of their minds is directed towards that single object . . . A great part of the machines made use of in those manufactures in which labour is most subdivided, were originally the inventions of common workmen, who, being each of them employed in some very simple operation, naturally turned their thoughts towards finding out easier and readier methods of performing it . . . very pretty machines, which were the inventions of such workmen in order to facilitate and quicken their particular part of the work . . . All the improvements . . . have by no means been the inventions of those who had occasion to use the machines. Many improvements have been made by the ingenuity of the makers of the machines, when to make them became the business of a peculiar trade; and some by . . . philosophers . . . In the progress of society, philosophy . . . becomes, like every other employment, the principal or sole trade and occupation of a particular class of citizens . . . [and] is subdivided into a great number of different branches . . . Each individual becomes more expert in his own peculiar branch . . . and the quantity of science is considerably increased by it. (WN I.i.5,8–9)

196  K. I. Macdonald This is a paean to the division of labour, not to the ingenuity of humble people. The same point (see p. 175, p. 179) was made in Smith’s defence of increasing population: “The greater their number, the more they naturally divide themselves into different classes and subdivisions of employment. More heads are occupied in inventing the most proper machinery for executing the work of each” (WN I.viii.57). LJ(A) (vi.40–42) has a more detailed discussion of machinery; but also is clear, as in the quotation above, that initial novel applications of principle are not arrived at iteratively: to apply powers which have never been used in that way, and seem altogether unfit, must be the work of one of these general observers whom we call philosophers. The fire engine [steam-engine] which raises water by a power which appears hardly applicable to such an effect, tho it has been improved no doubt by artists [artisans] who have observed, was the invention of an ingenious philosopher; and such without doubt was the inventor of wind and water mills. (LJ(A) vi.43) Smith’s tale110 of steam-engine improvement – which came when a boy, with the job of opening and closing a valve, “who loved to play with his companions, observed that, by tying a string from the handle of the valve . . .” (WN I.i.8) – fits with this narrative of improvement. The same account of original inventions from basic principles appears in Smith’s discussion of how apprenticeship might be simplified (part of his continuing argument – see p. 155 above – on economically unnecessary apprenticeship constraints): The first invention of such beautiful machines, indeed, and even that of some of the instruments employed in making them, must, no doubt, have been the work of deep thought and long time . . . But when both have been fairly invented and are well understood, to explain to any young man . . . how to apply the instruments and how to construct the machines, cannot well require more than the lessons of a few weeks: perhaps those of a few days might be sufficient.111 (WN I.x.c.16) So Smith has a nuanced, and not altogether implausible (even if untrue in detail, and somewhat at odds with the educational analysis112 later in WN), view of invention and improvement. And the Smith message in that main WN passage is: admire the advantages of the division of labour; not: admire the ingenuity of the humble people. Even were we to accept Fleischacker’s gloss that Smith’s ‘inventions of common workmen’ claim is “one of his most implausible” it remains the case that Smith’s declared proselytising view – “That the original invention of machines is owing to the division of labour is not to be doubted” (LJ(A) vi.53) – is entirely adequate to account for its espousal. The status of Fleischacker’s

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  197 claim is formally analogous to that of the redundant hypothetical introduced by Rothschild (see p. 183 above) to motivate Smith’s position on moderated tolls. There is here no need to invoke a hypothetical “strong desire to see the humblest of people as ingenious”; the manifest desire is adequate. We would smile at a naïve visitor to France who disbelieved French self-reports, and insisted the French must be short of food, to want to eat frogs’ legs. The other route to ditching the egalitarian Smith is simply to admit inconsistency; the route taken by Vivenza: “It is well known that Smith considered the philosopher and the porter to be born equal . . . However, Smith . . . readily accepts social inequality, and even considers it to be useful” (Vivenza 2001: 211–2). It is the case that, throughout WN, Smith accepts social inequality. Specifically, on street-porters we have already noted Smith’s pessimism113 about the empirical possibility of long-range social mobility (“A porter . . . must continue poor for ever”); there is further some evidence (albeit within the rhetorical context of a lecture, n. 25) that he was sceptical of its social acceptability: If I am told that a man’s grandfather was very poor and dependent on my family, I will grudge very much to see his grandson in a station above me, and will not be much disposed to submit to his authority. (LJ(B) 13; absent114 in LJ(A)) The lecture remark has echoes in the more considered tones of TMS: “An upstart, though of the greatest merit, is generally disagreeable, and a sentiment of envy commonly prevents us from heartily sympathizing with his joy” (TMS I.ii.5.1). The ineluctable unease about Vivenza’s position is her opening assertion, which leaves Smith as not following through on his assumptions. But Smith never asserts that the street porter and philosopher are ‘born equal’ – ‘born equal’ is not a Smith locution. His is more a position (if we are to translate into non-Smith terminology) that unformed people are indistinguishable.115 Before the division of labour, before ‘habit, custom and education’ kick in, these unformed people are “perhaps, very much alike” and no observer “could perceive any remarkable difference”. From that starting point (which is not ‘born equal’) the recurring defence of social inequality is less of a reach. Fleischacker is not alone in his interpretation of the porter-and-philosopher passage as evidence for an egalitarian Smith. I have already noted Nussbaum’s move, and shall specifically address it in the next section. Citing porter-andphilosopher, Darwall (1999: 158) notes approvingly Griswold’s (1999: 251) view that Smith’s moral and political egalitarianism is based on a remarkably egalitarian view of human nature. But Darwall and Griswold add no arguments beyond those encompassed by Fleischacker, so his exposition can stand as representative. Hanley does pick up on Smith’s aside that, once the youths come to be employed in different occupations, the “difference of talents . . . widens by degrees, till at last the vanity of the philosopher is willing to acknowledge scarce any resemblance” (WN I.ii.4), and, invoking Smith’s supposed “well-known”116 insistence on natural human equality suggests:

198  K. I. Macdonald he seeks to humble the philosopher’s pride . . . Smith is moved here by something other than mere philosophical ire, his goal is to compel philosophers in an age of interdependence to reconsider their orientation to others . . . It is easy to see how the porter may be of use to a philosopher. It is more difficult to imagine the obverse . . . (Hanley 2009: 205–206) But if Smith’s goal is to ‘compel philosophers . . . to reconsider their orientation to others’, it becomes odd that, in this illustration, Smith’s elaboration of the utility of the philosopher, (LJ(A) vi.49), is confined to the undergraduate lectures; for Smith this utility was so manifest that it did not need spelling out to the more mature readers of WN. It is also clear, from Smith’s preceding discussion on inventions (reported above, p. 195), that he is thinking of the natural philosopher, whose use to the porter would be, to Smith’s readers, self-evident. There is then no evidence, from the structure of the presentations, that Smith saw this as in any way puzzling or ‘difficult to imagine’, or novel, and the goal proposed for him by Hanley (“seeks to humble the philosopher’s pride”) is not visible in the text. Peart and Levy use the ‘vanity of the philosopher’ as a motivating title for the initial volume (2005) in their project on ‘analytical egalitarianism’; apply the same explanatory mechanisms to everyone. Such a truly thin version of egalitarianism is probably compatible with Smith’s principles, though the detail quickly gets tricky: In Smith’s account, all people, philosophers and subjects alike, are motivated by fame and fortune, and we are all equally capable of making decisions. We call this doctrine, which makes no distinction between the street porter and the philosopher, analytical egalitarianism. (Peart & Levy 2005: 4, emphasis added) Smith’s insistence on fame (not fortune) has been explicated, p. 127f.; also his partial realisation that then there is a problem, on his account, for the motivation of the unheeded – p. 131 above. I have also noted that, whilst Smith does run common explanatory decision-making narratives, he is very far from believing that fully formed people are ‘equally capable’ of making decisions’ – p. 135 above. And, whatever his view of them as children, Smith makes distinction between the street-porter and the philosopher. Peart and Levy (2005: 3, 2008: 3) say Smith sees it as “the ‘vanity of the philosopher’ to conclude, incorrectly, that ordinary people are somehow different from the expert”; but Smith is clear that education and habit are constitutive of persons (see p. 194f. above). Though their publishers are academic publishers, it may be unfair to hold authors responsible for the advertising of publishers, but their website states: Adam Smith, asserting the common humanity of the street porter and the philosopher, articulated the classical economists’ model of social interactions as exchanges among equals. This model had largely fallen out of favour

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  199 until, recently, a number of scholars in the avant-garde of economic thought rediscovered it and rechristened it ‘analytical egalitarianism’. 117 But this does show how easily the thought mutates, if we label it as any variety of egalitarianism. Certainly, Smith’s text is not at odds with the assumption that – at some very basic initial level – the levers of human motivation are similar across people. That is far from a view of “social interactions as exchanges among equals”. The thin version of the Peart and Levy project, though perhaps compatible with Smith, may not be powerful (or original); the thick version is misleading. Despite the apparent nominal relevance, their project does not advance the argument. Two postscripts to this section. Another of Fleischacker’s arguments references education: “Smith often appeals to the importance of early childhood education in shaping human character, and I take this to be a mark of an attempt to show that people are much more equal, in fact, than they are generally taken to be” (Fleischacker 2004: 76). Smith does argue that basic moral education does not require refined cognitive skills, but that is a subtly different move. Secondly, this section has targeted supposed egalitarian passages in WN (since it is these Fleischacker cites), but Fleischacker’s original claim was wider: “That people are in fact equal . . . is a theme that runs through both TMS and WN”. On TMS, I share Raphael’s (2007: 123) judgement: “There is no clear suggestion of egalitarianism in TMS, unless one were to count as egalitarian a snatch of romantic fantasy in the invisible-hand passage.” As we have repeatedly seen, the discursive nature of eighteenth-century argumentation makes the isolation of individual sentences dangerous. Though Hume, for example, can be similarly misread,118 Smith is particularly prone to such misinterpretation, because his ‘curious facts’, lifted from context are captured as part of alien arguments. Contextualised, Smith’s observations on the childhoods of porters and philosophers do not lead where those seeking an egalitarian Smith might wish they had led. 6.5 Poverty and the ‘new Smith problem’ The consistent interpretation emerging from my analyses of citations-in-context is of Smith as a writer who, though alert to social processes, is not disposed to any major intervention on behalf of the poor; certainly not to any intervention which predictably disturbs the status structure of the society he inhabits. It is worth reemphasising that, despite his irritation (quoted p. 170) with the French analysts who saw agriculture as the source of wealth, he is describing a Britain which was not truly industrial (notwithstanding the division of labour in the manufacturing of pins); Smith did not perceive a society in radical change, and that in turn limits his perception of possible change. As Chisick, following his defence of a nonoptimistic reading of Smith on poverty, concludes: Smith felt no discomfort at a distribution of wealth in which a few had nearly everything and the poor, who were the great majority, nearly nothing . . . 

200  K. I. Macdonald Smith’s outlook was pre-industrial, and his aspirations, positive though they were, accordingly limited. (Chisick 1990: 340, 342) Smith’s one major proposed direct social intervention (quoted above, p. 141) is education to attenuate the moral deformity arising from the entailed stupidity of the division of labour. But, even on education of the poor, he envisages its impact as stabilising the existing social order (see p. 138, above). Beyond that he does not go. To address the ‘disagreeably rigorous and unsocial’ morals of the religious sects of the poor, he relies on a modification of beliefs from the education of people of middling rank or higher (see p. 136f. above) – not on any improvement in the education of the poor themselves. Taxation is not for the relief of the poor (§6.3, p. 180f.). It is important for the wealth of nations that the poor be reasonably rewarded. But that wealth is aimed at in itself, not in order to lift the condition of the poor (see §6.2, p. 169f. above). These interpretations (arrived at through focus on the extended arguments, not on extraction of decontextualized snippets) may be astringent and bleak, and at odds with modern sensibilities. That does not make them mistaken as interpretations. Cumulated, they are a very different reading of ‘Smith on poverty’ from the account identified (§4 above, p. 123f.) as prevalent in the secondary poverty literature. The reading is also at odds with many of the commentaries explicitly on Smith. As should by now be manifest, my argument is somewhat of an outlier in its interpretation of Smith on the poor. An APSR article, on Smith and inequality, recently opined: There is now broad agreement among Smith scholars that he regarded poverty as deeply problematic and sought ways to combat it, a consensus that includes those who approach his thought from the contemporary right, such as Himmelfarb (1984), as well as the contemporary left, such as Fleischacker (2004). (Rasmussen 2016: 343) The left/right discussion is not part of my analytic concern, though Den Uyl’s (2005) extended, nuanced, review of left-leaning Fleischacker (2004) from a right-leaning perspective provides an intelligent guide to the issues. for Fleischacker, ‘the dignified picture of the poor is . . . Smith’s most novel contribution in WN’ (2004: 208). Fleischacker lays out this perspective on Smith masterfully and it is one in which we should all concur. (Den Uyl 2005: 178) That fits Rasmussen’s synopsis of right/left consensus; but the ‘ways’ sought to combat may diverge too sharply to constitute broad agreement: the flow of Smith’s position for me is not one of getting us to the conclusion that the state has the duty to abolish or alleviate poverty, but instead to suggest

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  201 that even if the state had such a duty, what we seek is to avoid putting the state in a position of having to exercise it . . . a celebration of the possibility of avoiding that duty with the need to develop a large middle class. (Den Uyl 2005: 179) I am not positioned on this continuum. Nor do I see the ‘middle-class’ argument in Smith. An outlier can maintain its position by careful, full, reading of the extracts invoked by the consensus. My readings have consistently shown that to believe Smith ‘regarded poverty as deeply problematic and sought ways to combat it’ requires imputation of a puzzlement and an intentionality not discoverable in the text. There is another, related, debate on which my view is wittingly an outlier. At the start of rejection of the ‘egalitarian Smith’ I noted (p. 151) that an egalitarian emphasis was admittedly compatible with a currently accepted inversion of the old ‘Adam Smith Problem’. Instead of a selfish Smith in WN confronting the moralist of TMS, the current dominant interpretation presents the sociologically percipient writer of WN faced with a writer in TMS disattending to these socioeconomic insights. There is, as always in intellectual history, the lingering suspicion that a perceived inconsistency in an intelligent writer is evidence that one has mistaken the structure of the writer’s argument, has somehow misformulated or mistranslated its import. This is demonstrably the story of the first Adam Smith problem. The suspicion – obviously – cannot be elevated into a principle; writers can fail to follow through the implications of their own expressed arguments, or be trapped by some unquestioned assumption which hindsight displays as disputable. Nevertheless, my bias is towards the need to render a consistent narrative; minimally, a narrative which makes it explicable why the writer expressed the view that they did – why from the perspective of the writer, any inconsistency is less than we might perceive it to be. So what is the impact of my readings upon the new Adam Smith problem? Most (not all) of the citations have been from WN; but a proper reading of the ‘problem’ requires also an accurate fix on TMS. In the sixth edition, despite his expressed admiration, Smith does in some ways distance himself from Stoicism – as, for example, Griswold (1999: 320) and Rothschild (2001: 132) have noted. But Nussbaum (in press) rightly observes that “neither author spends enough time distinguishing what is criticized from what is retained”, and presents a more intelligently nuanced picture of Smith’s complex views on Stoicism (suggesting also an intriguing background narrative as to their genesis). Nussbaum’s overall narrative here, on TMS, despite some reservations from Paganelli (2008: 366) and Fleischacker (2004: 294), is persuasive. She provides an effective and contextualised account of Smith’s attraction to stoicism, particularly in those sixth edition additions. We have seen that Smith’s espousal of a broadly ‘Stoic’ position is both empirical – implied by the facts of human psychology: the “wise man endeavours . . . to anticipate . . . that tranquillity” (reported more fully p. 122) – and a derivation from his analysis of an ethical theory. Though sociologically alert to the context rendering Stoicism attractive at its inception (as a rational response

202  K. I. Macdonald to uncertainty119), Smith regards the perspective as universally admirable, and throughout TMS downplays the impact of material circumstance upon what people should perceive as valuable in life. Do they imagine that their stomach is better, or their sleep sounder, in a palace than in a cottage? The contrary has been so often observed, and, indeed, is so very obvious . . . that there is nobody ignorant of it (TMS I.iii.2.1, for more context see pp. 127–8 above) This ‘Stoic’ strand may seem at odds with the WN analyses, which articulate the disadvantages (on education, on procreation, on opportunity) of life as a labourer in a cottage; Nussbaum expresses the tension clearly: the tension between TMS and WN is not just a normative tension, TMS asking us to disregard as unimportant what WN appears to regard as highly important, urgently in need of correction. There are empirical claims in TMS that are quite plainly at odds with the more careful empirical work of WN. (Nussbaum, in press, p. 30, emphasis added) The empirical claims may be the more rebarbative issue, but let us first look at the normative, and in particular at those things that WN is said to regard as ‘urgently in need of correction’. Nussbaum more readily reads Smith as identifying issues to be in need of correction than my analyses would support. Sometimes the difference is one of emphasis: We have already seen that his critique of the apprenticeship system is based on the “manifest” injustice of violating a person’s “sacred and inviolable property” in his own labour. (Nussbaum, in press, p. 11) Smith does use these words; but, equally noteworthy, they appear within, and as part of, a long, predominantly empirical, consequentialist discussion (see p. 155f. above). Read in context, what Smith’s critique of apprenticeship is ‘based on’ may then be a judgement call. Some of the Nussbaum discussion invokes passages analysed above: [Smith] shows at least some sympathy with wage regulations that favor workmen . . . He is especially concerned that all workmen should be guaranteed that “lowest rate that is consistent with common humanity”. (Nussbaum, 2007: 48) That interpretation is present elsewhere in the literature, but I find no textual evidence to support the normative reading – see §6.1 (p. 163f. above), though Nussbaum is manifestly a more careful scholar than Witztum. Further, she posits a touchstone question:

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  203 [Smith’s] touchstone is always the question: what form of action by government permits human abilities to develop and human equality to be respected? . . . Thus he supports the abolition of apprenticeship, and laws against monopolies and restrictions on lobbying by powerful financial interests, which, in his view, make citizens’ influence on the political process grossly unequal, and guarantee that government will be held hostage to what he calls a “standing army” of wealthy elites. (Nussbaum 2007: 47–48) This touchstone is an imputation; its invocation is not to be found within the text.120 The ‘standing army’ phrase comes from WN IV.ii.43, part of Smith’s critique of ‘restraints upon . . . importation’. He notes that “master manufacturers set themselves against every law that is likely to increase the number of their rivals in the home market”; these manufacturers indeed organise the “standing army”. But the tone of that passage is more observational than Nussbaum’s usage might suggest. The next paragraph finds Smith concerned about the effect of opening markets (‘to the competition of foreigners’) upon the “undertaker of a great manufacture”: The equitable regard, therefore, to his interest requires that changes of this kind should never be introduced suddenly, but slowly, gradually, and after a very long warning. (WN IV.ii.44) Certainly a concern for ‘equitable regard’, but not quite one for equality. This is an empirical economist at work, not a proselytiser for human development. Nussbaum’s (2007: 48) willingness to take the street-porter and philosopher discussion as driving a WN project to document impediments to the development of human abilities, has already been examined (pp. 194–5). Consider now two passages not hitherto discussed. Firstly, an excerpt on wage regulation regularly lifted from context, perhaps most notably by Rothschild in her salient 1992 paper: Smith himself was tolerant, after all, of some wage regulation: “When the regulation . . . is in favour of the workmen, it is always just and equitable”. (Rothschild 1992: 84) More recently, Rasmussen proffers a similar normative rendering, as a guide to action: Smith . . . suggests that “whenever the legislature attempts to regulate the differences between masters and their workmen. . . when the regulation . . . is in favour of the workmen, it is always just and equitable”. (Rasmussen 2016: 345) and Nussbaum, in this tradition, invokes the phrase as support for an image of an interventionist Smith, driven by justice:

204  K. I. Macdonald [I]t is also clear that Smith has arguments for his concrete proposals based on justice and independent of considerations of efficiency . . . Legal regulations favoring workmen, we recall, are “always just and equitable”, whereas those that favor masters are not. (Nussbaum, in press, p. 11) These invocations read as if “When the regulation . . . is in favour of the workmen, it is always just and equitable” were a maxim for decision-making, so a decision in favour of the workmen would be just and equitable. Martin is right to urge caution: Rothschild seems to take this as a forward-looking benediction on any regulations in favor of workmen, but the context makes it clear that Smith is mainly assessing political experience (Martin 2011: 117) But this understates the case; Smith is doing more, and less, than Martin suggests. Let us reinsert the phrase into context. It comes towards the end of WN I.x, a chapter which addresses the issue of why, if analytically the rewards of different occupations should be ‘continually tending to equality’, we nevertheless continue to observe differences (the preamble was reported at more length on p. 155. above, when contextualising the apprenticeship discussion). I shall conclude this long chapter with observing, that though anciently it was usual to rate [i.e. fix] wages, first by general laws . . . and afterwards by particular orders . . . these practices have now gone entirely into disuse. “By the experience of above four hundred years,” says Doctor Burn, “it seems time to lay aside all endeavours to bring under strict regulations, what in its own nature seems incapable of minute limitation . . .” Particular acts of parliament, however, still attempt sometimes to regulate wages in particular trades and in particular places . . . Whenever the legislature attempts to regulate the differences between masters and their workmen, its counsellors are always the masters. When the regulation, therefore, is in favour of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favour of the masters (WN I.x.c.60–61) Note by the way (and this particularly bites against Rothschild) the argument arc is defending (explaining) the disuse of wage legislation. The cited phrase falls within a subsection of this argument (“Whenever the legislature attempts to regulate . . .”); this is Smith, in cynical vein, making a part analytic observation (the ‘therefore’, elided by Rothschild and Rasmussen, matters to the phrase). If the motives of legislation are justice and equity, but deformed by power, and A is observably more powerful than B, then observed laws favouring B must have been driven by justice and equity (since power cannot have been the precipitor); but in laws favouring A, the powerful, ‘it is sometimes otherwise’. Even with an ear alert

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  205 to litotes, that ‘sometimes’ entails that some legislation favouring masters is just and equitable. We do not here have an algorithm flagging whom we should favour. Smith’s wry logical remark perhaps invites misreading.121 Martin, though percipient on Rothschild, makes, citing Stigler (1971: 139–140), unnecessarily heavy weather: the paragraph is puzzling – why would the legislature, dominated by the interests of the employers, ever pass a just and equitable law in favor of the workers? (Martin 2011: 117) But Smith’s immediately following illustration, identifying grounds for a particular lack of opposition, should answer that puzzlement: Thus the law which obliges the masters in several different trades to pay their workmen in money and not in goods is quite just and equitable. It imposes no real hardship upon the masters. (WN I.x.c.61) Admittedly, the oft quoted extract does entail that Smith recognises extant legislation in favour of workmen as ‘just and equitable’ (whilst noting that there is little of it – “These practices have now gone entirely into disuse” – and acknowledging that some legislation in favour of masters is also just and equitable). But the point of the whole passage is that the act of legislating in this area is unstable and unsatisfactory. Smith is not expressing himself in favour of legislative122 wage regulation, he is not introducing “concrete proposals based on justice and independent of considerations of efficiency”. To claim otherwise is to go beyond the meaning of Smith’s words. A further example of such a move is Nussbaum’s discussion of differential infant mortality: Smith’s close attention to people’s actual economic circumstances and his awareness that infant mortality is linked to poverty enable him to attain a simple but neglected insight: if human dignity ought to be respected, then we had better arrange things so that children can live to adulthood. Human dignity doesn’t even get to exist, without material aid. (Nussbaum, in press, 14) The substantive derivation from mortality to dignity, and thence to material aid, is reasonable; we, in the twenty-first century, concur. The issue is whether this can be claimed as an insight Smith attained. The precipitating quotation is: [P]overty, though it does not prevent the generation, is extremely unfavourable to the rearing of children. The tender plant is produced, but in so cold a soil and so severe a climate, soon withers and dies. (WN I.viii.38)

206  K. I. Macdonald Nussbaum has discussed this also in an earlier article, observing: Elsewhere, Smith generalizes the point. Any class that cannot support itself from wages will be afflicted with “[w]ant, famine, and mortality.” These passages show Smith breaking with the Stoics and developing an Aristotelian account of the human being and of basic needs. He reminds his reader that human dignity is a “tender plant” that will wither if it encounters a cold soil and a severe climate. This means that we cannot take the view that the distribution of material goods is irrelevant to human dignity, for dignity requires, at the very least, life, and the lives of children are in the hands of these material arrangements. (Nussbaum 2007: 48) This commentary couples a close reading of WN with a willingness to extend the argument: ‘He reminds his reader that human dignity is a ‘tender plant’ . . .”. The modern reader may be so reminded. But Smith does not so remind the reader. His tender plant remains, throughout WN and LJ,123 the child, and is not generalised to human dignity; indeed, though Smith speaks of the dignity of the Church, of Parliament, of the Sovereign, ‘human dignity’ is not in his lexicon. The ‘tender plant’ metaphor, even as deployed, of a dying child, does not lead Smith to suggest intervention. Nussbaum’s “[w]ant, famine, and mortality” phrase comes from Smith’s extended discussion of wages and survival, and is a move in that empirical argument. The ‘tender plant’ mention comes after the discussion (reproduced, in part, p. 165) of a wealthy but ‘long stationary’ economy, contrasting next with a country going ‘backwards’: where the funds destined for the maintenance of labour were sensibly decaying . . . The lowest class being not only overstocked with its own workmen, but with the overflowings of all the other classes . . . Many would not be able to find employment . . . would either starve, or be driven to seek a subsistence . . . by begging, or by the perpetration . . . of . . . enormities. Want, famine, and mortality would immediately prevail in that class, and from thence extend themselves to all the superior classes, till the number of inhabitants in the country was reduced to what could easily be maintained by the revenue and stock which remained. The scanty maintenance of the labouring poor . . . is the natural symptom that things are at a stand, and their starving condition that they are going fast backwards. (WN I.viii.26–7) This is a dispassionate economist; this is not a moral philosopher developing an Aristotelian account of the human well-being. Admittedly, having identified Bengal as an exemplar124 of ‘going fast backwards’, Smith is critical of the “mercantile company which oppresses and domineers in the East Indies”. But even this concern with oppression, reads, in context, as more a concern with its effect on national wealth than a derivation from an articulated account of human wellbeing. One element of his charge sheet is that, in Bengal, “three or four hundred

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  207 thousand people die of hunger in one year”. Concern over that requires no very sophisticated morality; and in context less so – the author of the wealth of nations has just reminded his readers that: The most decisive mark of the prosperity of any country is the increase of the number of its inhabitants. (WN I.viii.23) Here ‘prosperity’ means something like ‘growth, prospering’ (as distinct from wealth) – throughout WN the antithesis of ‘prosperity’ is variously ‘decline’, ‘decay’, ‘declension’125 – and this concern for population growth is, within his framework, sufficient reason for Smith to be concerned about these deaths. WN does contain careful empirical work, identifying mechanisms, some of which generate manifest costs to human functioning; but this co-exists with the absence of any move towards intervention. Within the ‘tender plant’ passage, Smith reports observed126 instances of 50 per cent childhood mortality: This great mortality, however, will everywhere be found chiefly among the children of the common people, who cannot afford to tend them with the same care as those of better station . . . In foundling hospitals, and among the children brought up by parish charities, the mortality is still greater than among those of the common people. (WN I.viii.38) To the modern perception this manifestly identifies a problem ‘urgently in need of correction’. Moreover, Smith, in his accounts of ‘tending’, and of foundling hospitals, has shaped tools enabling interventions, however modest, which would save lives. The step to intervention could be made, it would seem, using concepts available to Smith. So it is not the case that the step is evaded because literally unthinkable. Yet this step is not a move Smith makes. Nor is it easy to read the text as even hinting at attenuations. To modern sensibilities it may be obvious that, given the facts listed, ‘we had better arrange things so that children can live to adulthood’. Smith invokes no such entailment. For him the implication is, simply, this is how the homeostatic mechanisms work; his text (already noted, p. 175) immediately continues: Every species of animals naturally multiplies in proportion to the means of their subsistence, and no species can ever multiply beyond it. But in civilized society it is only among the inferior ranks of people that the scantiness of subsistence can set limits to the further multiplication of the human species; and it can do so in no other way than by destroying a great part of the children which their fruitful marriages produce . . . It is in this manner that the demand for men . . . necessarily regulates the production of men; quickens it when it goes on too slowly, and stops it when it advances too fast. (WN I.viii.39–40)

208  K. I. Macdonald There is no evidence that the conjunction of ‘civilized society’ and ‘destroying . . . children’ is presented in any way ironically, however much we would wish so to read it. Yet again it is not the prose of a writer presenting a problem as urgently in need of correction. As I have argued throughout, it is hard to find in Smith any textual evidence (other than the extremely limited education to repair deformity) that for him his detailed expositions, of what we perceive as mechanisms of social disadvantage, point to required correction. In short, neither these particular examples, nor Smith’s other discussions of poverty, support a normative instantiation of the new Adam Smith problem. For the purposes of my overall case, the normative interpretation was the one that mattered. Had that proved compelling it would have called into question much of my preceding argument. Since the normative version of the problem is not supported by the text, the reading of a non-egalitarian non-interventionist Smith can stand. This however leaves intact the thought that there are empirical claims in TMS that are at odds with the more careful empirical work of WN. Whilst such a tension would not discomfit my main argument, there may be merit in examining that tension’s configuration in relation to poverty. After citing the ‘mere poverty excites little compassion’ passage127 from TMS III.3.18, Nussbaum observes: In the service of making his point about indifference to one’s own misfortunes, Smith [in TMS] is led to repudiate some of the best insights of WN about poverty and misery and their effect on the mind . . . Several jolting points are made here: first, that a longterm state of poverty is contemptible. Second, that a fall into poverty is (in the present state of society) the fault of the impoverished person. Third, that the poor person should easily adjust to the new situation and view the change as basically insignificant. (Nussbaum, in press, p. 27) I shall disagree on the first point; the second and third points are veridical – the disagreement is over their import. On that first claim, Fleischacker comments: I take it that Smith is reporting a natural attitude here, not endorsing it, and that the criticisms he offers of that attitude in TMS I.iii are supposed to be borne in mind as we read this passage. (Fleischacker 2004: 295) Fleischacker’s reference is to Smith’s characterisation of the “contempt . . . most unjustly bestowed upon poverty” (TMS I.iii.3.1). Though Fleischacker is diffident (“I do not offer my reading . . . over Nussbaum’s with great confidence”), my earlier interpretation of the passage (discussed, and reported more fully, on p. 129f. above) would support his reading. There is, however, a qualification. Though Smith emphasises that the contempt bestowed on poverty is unjust, later in TMS he endorses its utility. Consider, he says:

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  209 those who are distinguished by their extraordinary situation: the greatly fortunate and the greatly unfortunate . . . The distinction of ranks, the peace and order of society, are, in a great measure, founded upon the respect which we naturally conceive for the former. The relief and consolation of human misery depend altogether upon our compassion for the latter. The peace and order of society is of more importance than even the relief of the miserable. . . . [Moralists] warn us against the fascination of greatness. . . . [but] Nature has wisely judged that the distinction of ranks, the peace and order of society, would rest more securely upon the plain and palpable difference of birth and fortune, than upon the invisible and often uncertain difference of wisdom and virtue. The undistinguishing eyes of the great mob of mankind128 can well enough perceive the former; it is with difficulty that the nice [i.e. refined] discernment of the wise and the virtuous can sometimes distinguish the latter. (TMS VI.ii.1.20) This embracing of practicality is similar to the move Smith makes when talking of distant suffering, (see n. 32). It also echoes his solution to the ‘moral luck’ problem (see p. 229 below). And it is similar to the move he makes at the end of his fable of the poor man’s son “whom heaven in its anger has visited with ambition” and who upon reaching “the languor of disease and the weariness of old age” attains insight: “Power and riches appear then to be, what they are, enormous and operose machines contrived to produce a few trifling conveniences to the body”. Having recognised this, Smith comments that, when in health, “we never fail to regard them under a more agreeable aspect . . . it is well that nature imposes on us in this manner. It is this deception which rouses and keeps in continual motion the industry of mankind” (TMS IV.1.8–10). As with the ‘operose machines’ of wealth, having articulated the moral weakness of contempt for the poor, but noting its ubiquity, Smith explores the implications for social functioning of this facet of ‘Nature’. Identifying ‘natural’ human responses, Smith is prepared – in both WN and TMS – to assess129 their utility. But that is not to take the contempt bestowed on poverty as just. Nussbaum’s second and third points are reasonable reports of Smith; their jolting force, however, in the WN/TMS contrast, depends upon the lack of salience she accords to the ‘fall into poverty’ in Smith’s formulation. The attribution of ‘fault’, and the expectation of adaptation, I take as pendant from the discussion of the fall. If Smith is examining transitions, the conflict with his other insights attenuates. Smith is consistent across TMS and WN in seeing a fall from affluence to poverty as a marker of misconduct. We have already discussed (pp. 121–2) his view that, for the creditable labourer, the want of a linen shirt “would be supposed to denote that disgraceful degree of poverty which, it is presumed, nobody can well fall into without extreme bad conduct” (WN V.ii.k.3). Admittedly, there could be some unclarity as to whether Smith shares or is merely reporting the presumption, but the same presumption reappears as Smith’s own in the WN discussion of the analytic importance of capital over revenue:

210  K. I. Macdonald Every increase or diminution of capita . . . naturally tends to increase or diminish . . . the real wealth and revenue of all [a country’s] inhabitants. Capitals are increased by parsimony, and diminished by prodigality and misconduct. (WN II.iii.13–14) Loss of capital is seen to require ‘prodigality and misconduct’; luck and circumstance are given no mention. The theme is continued when Smith discusses bankruptcy: With regard to misconduct, the number of prudent and successful undertakings is everywhere much greater than that of injudicious and unsuccessful ones . . . the unhappy men who fall into this misfortune [bankruptcy] make but a very small part of the whole number engaged in trade . . . Bankruptcy is perhaps the greatest and most humiliating calamity which can befall an innocent man. The greater part of men, therefore, are sufficiently careful to avoid it. Some, indeed, do not avoid it; as some do not avoid the gallows. (WN II.iii.29) Bankruptcy particularly would seem, from our perspective, to invite invocation of external adventitious shocks, or maleficent systemic pressures, but Smith’s WN discussion proceeds in terms of misconduct, or, minimally, injudicious behaviour. The phrase ‘befall an innocent man’ might, on cursory reading, suggest otherwise, but the preceding context makes clear that ‘hitherto innocent’ is the appropriate reading, as with the immediately following gallows encounter (the referent is not those guiltless of wrongdoing). However grating the claim that a fall into poverty is the fault of the person, it is a claim Smith accepts in both WN and TMS.130 Note that this is different from a claim that the established poor are poor because of their own failings. If anything, Smith’s analysis is closer to the thought that the established poor (the bulk of society) are poor because the structure of production and the economy so requires. That is not inconsistent with holding that a transition from riches to poverty can seldom happen without some misconduct by the sufferer. This concentration on change of states matches Smith’s exposition of the Stoics; he is at his most fervent when discussing alteration of circumstance: [The Stoics] endeavoured to point out the comforts which a man might still enjoy when reduced to poverty, when driven into banishment, when exposed to the injustice of popular clamour, when labouring under blindness, under deafness, in the extremity of old age, upon the approach of death (TMS VII.ii.1.29) This affects the reading of Nussbaum’s third jolt: that ‘the poor person should easily adjust to the new situation’. The ‘poor person’ most vividly in Smith’s narrative is the formerly affluent. The ‘they’ whose imaginations are taxed by sleep in the cottage (in TMS I.iii.2.1, quoted above, p. 202) are those who have been “educated in the higher ranks of life”. In the ‘anticipate . . . tranquillity’ discussion,

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  211 one of the examples adduced is the “fashionable and frivolous” Count de Lauzun, who, imprisoned in the Bastille, “recovered tranquillity enough to be capable of amusing himself with feeding a spider” (TMS III.3.30). Smith’s acidulous passing blow – “A mind better furnished would, perhaps, have both sooner recovered its tranquillity, and sooner found, in its own thoughts, a much better amusement” – gives some insight into the target population for his (empirical and moral/Stoic) claim that men “accommodate themselves to whatever becomes their permanent situation”. Nussbaum considers, but rejects, this exculpating move: Maybe once adults are already whole – once, that is, they have had a decent education – changes in their situation are less important for the inner life. But [in TMS III.3] Smith is clearly thinking of situations that extend throughout the whole course of life, (Nussbaum, in press, p. 28) Nussbaum is correct to stress that Smith describes settled lives as well as transitions. A counterclaim would be that Smith, when he thinks of the Stoics, latches onto the fall into adversity; this gives not a logical consistency, but it may go part way towards explaining why he was prepared to make the assertion. The assertion also coheres with his empirical, psychological claim, as in his ‘wooden leg’ example,131 that people adapt to permanent circumstances (both of prosperity and poverty) – a view, as we have noted (p. 122), with some current research support. But admittedly the tension remains. It is worth observing that the two emphases on poverty apparently in tension – that poverty is bearable, and, besides, any fall into poverty is culpable; alternatively that being poor is structural, mentally stultifying, shaming, and disadvantaging – are present across Smith’s work. We have noted the misconduct discussions in WN, and the shame of the poor (§5, p. 127f.) in TMS. There is a minor imbalance in that the extreme of cheerful disregard of circumstance is to be found in TMS, as, famously: In ease of body and peace of mind, all the different ranks of life are nearly upon a level, and the beggar, who suns himself by the side of the highway, possesses that security which kings are fighting for. (TMS IV.1.10) But the WN opening description of the circumstances of “the most common artificer or day-labourer in a civilised and thriving country” is distinctly upbeat: Compared, indeed, with the more extravagant luxury of the great, his accommodation must no doubt appear extremely simple and easy; and yet it may be true, perhaps, that the accommodation of a European prince does not always so much exceed that of an industrious and frugal peasant as the accommodation of the latter exceeds that of many an African king. (WN I.i.23)

212  K. I. Macdonald The WN discussion, as is appropriate, centres on material circumstance (and would not follow TMS in extending to beggars), but the tenor is not dissimilar. So the surface description of the ‘new problem’ as a contrast between books, TMS vs. WN, does not sharply hold. But this qualification is trivial, because Nussbaum’s general analytic point – that these two strands are present, and in tension, in Smith’s thought – stands. The tension, I have argued, is reduced (though not eliminated) by the realisation that, for Smith, the disadvantages of poverty are less in need of remediation than we might take them to be. Besides he does not see these disadvantages as extreme. Smith interprets the wages of the labouring poor (“that is, the great body of the people” WN V.i.f.50) “in the present times, to be evidently more than what is precisely necessary to enable the labourer to bring up a family” (WN I.viii.28). Further, as already noted (p. 130), Smith’s use of ‘poor’ does not reliably differentiate between the waged labouring poor and those more disadvantaged (those we might call ‘the poor’), so this image of the relatively affluent waged colours his view of the more disadvantaged. Add to that his explicit, and empirically presented, moral psychology of adaptation, and it may be less surprising that Smith himself does not react to the tension we perceive. There might however seem to be another lingering problem, which we have already touched on. How can the Adam Smith who analyses clearly the disadvantages of poverty be so little exercised about its eradication? He sees differential mortality (“This great mortality . . . will everywhere be found chiefly among the children of the common people” WN I.viii.38). He sees the costs of unskilled repetitive labour (“The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations . . . becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become” WN V.i.f.50). He sees the educational costs of early labour (“They have little time to spare for education. Their parents can scarce afford to maintain them even in infancy. As soon as they are able to work, they must apply to some trade by which they can earn their subsistence” WN V.i.f.53). He sees other disadvantages of childhood labour (“The boy begins to find that his father is obliged to him, and therefore throws off his authority” LJ(B) 330). He sees the importance of nurture and “habit, custom, and education” WN I.ii.4, see pp. 193–4 above). He sees the impediments to mobility (“A porter or day labourer must continue poor for ever” LJ(B) 286, see p. 131 above). He sees how the labourer is excluded from effective political participation (“His condition leaves him no time to receive the necessary information” WN I.xi.p.9); on workers’ time constraints, see also LJ(A) iv.69, quoted p. 236 below. He sees the social exclusion consequent on stratification (“The poor man goes out and comes in unheeded” TMS I.iii.2.1, §5 above, p. 127f.). Yet ‘seeing’ this does not drive Smith towards the entailments the modern reader might expect. We have noted (p. 137f.) the boundaries around his educational aims, and limited concern for the social interactions of the unnoticed poor. But the issue here is his acceptance of overall poverty and inequality. One might contemplate an answer along the lines of: ‘Smith accepts these bads because he wishes to preserve the distinction of ranks’. And one could envisage the construction, from dispersed text, of a putative Smith defence of the

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  213 established order – excerpts such as: “The peace and order of society is of more importance than even the relief of the miserable” (TMS VI.ii.1.20, quoted more fully p. 209 above). But this would be to present Smith as engaged in an argument that he is not having. Smith, in passing, makes supportive comments about order. Yet the larger query – should the distinction of ranks be reduced? – is not on his agenda as written. Here, to the modern reader, the temptation of a ‘circumspect Smith’ reading is again palpable – it would allow us a Smith who, matching modern sensibilities, was concerned about the poor, but, politic, refrained from utterance. I have argued (§5.3, p. 144f.) that such an interpretation lacks evidence. This ‘seeing but uncaring Smith’ tension is reduced by the readings I have given throughout. Smith’s empirical accounts of disadvantage are consistently reported, by him, with markedly lower emotional overtone than the secondary literature imposes on them. That realisation attenuates the tension. And, as I have shown, his facts are characteristically deployed in his arguments, which oft-times point in directions not characteristic in modern discourse. This again attenuates the tension. Or, at the least, reduces it to the acceptance – which should come as no surprise – that the intellectual frameworks of the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries differ.

7. The logic of shame and poverty The focus of this concluding section is on the logic of shame and poverty. That was, it will be remembered, the precipitor of this entire enterprise. So, continuing the tone of Sen’s discussion, and of Smith’s explorations of shame. The writers reported in §4 saw shame as a defining component of poverty, and, variously, invoked Sen and Smith in support of that move. I have, above, passim, queried the validity of that support. But what of the substantive question itself: irrespective of any historical readings, does it make sense to invoke shame as a defining component of poverty? I have been writing as if it were self-evident to a twenty-first-century sensibility (though demonstrably not to an eighteenth-century one) that incapacitating material disadvantages were states of affairs requiring, or at least requiring consideration of, intervention. This may be a not unreasonable assumption, though our subtending reasons, our acceptable costs, and our ameliorations, will (properly) vary with our articulating philosophies. A way of carrying the discussion of shame forward is to ask: does the presence of shame amongst the disadvantaged (compare high mortality amongst the disadvantaged) suggest we should act to reduce that shame (as we might act to reduce that high mortality)? Might shame (like high mortality) count as a defining component of (requiring intervention) poverty? And even if we reject the notion of shame lying at the irreducible core of poverty, might there still be a role for shame as one contributory defining component of poverty? The proffered answer will be no, to both, because the logic of the term ‘shame’ is, in determining ways, different from the logic of, say, ‘high mortality’.

214  K. I. Macdonald Undeniably there are empirical interconnections between shame and poverty. Modern writers discuss, though we have shown that Smith did not, the material preconditions for self-respect. Smith discusses, in a tone that modern writers might not, the shame (‘unheeded’) consequent upon obscurity. And, as researchers such as Walker (2014) demonstrate, some of the poor are prepared to talk about their shame. There is also a (very) extensive literature on the psychology of shame, its connection to other psychological constructs, and to putative empirical precipitors; some of that literature is even prepared to claim a shame that is not culture specific. That literature is irrelevant for our present purpose. Nothing will depend on assessment of the quality of the psychology invoked by the proponents of shame, or the extent to which the poor talk of shame. The issue is whether shame can define (even, be a component in defining) poverty. The problem with shame is that it is a moral concept, and so always morally contestable in a way that non-moral descriptors (such as to tiredness or anxiety) are not. If we are to treat disadvantaged actors with respect, that entails taking their ‘shame’ claims seriously. And here ‘taking seriously’ means treating these claims as moral statements (so opening them to criticism as such), not simply treating as uncontested psychological data. A counterargument would be that shame is merely an emotion with a moral dimension – we could go around describing the conditions under which people feel shame, as an entirely empirical phenomenon, albeit one that has a moral aspect, but a moral aspect does not make a ‘moral concept’. The claim that shame is a moral concept is grounded on the straightforward observation that an invocation of shame, if taken seriously, is defeasible by moral argumentation. It is always open to the query: ‘ought you to be ashamed?’ Consider relatedly a sense of sin, or virtue. We can, with due attention to construct and content and criterion validity but some fuzziness, assess your sense of sin or your conviction that you are virtuous. A paper reporting members of neo-Nazi groups to have high levels of belief in their own virtue is not intrinsically absurd; these might well be veridical reports of psychological states. But if we move to asking ‘how should we treat members of such groups?’ the empirical fact that they feel virtuous becomes irrelevant (except insofar as it empirically may affect strategy for intervention). When ‘sin’ or ‘virtue’ are to be read as indicators for action, as grounds for our response to individuals, the focus must shift to the validity of the ownership of sin or virtue – and these are moral discussions. Minimally, if ‘validity’ is felt too strong a posit, the focus must shift to what the potential intervener could defend as ‘virtue’. So perhaps the more precise form of the claim that shame is moral, a form which, I think, evades the force of the counterargument above, is: shame is ineluctably a moral concept when invoked as a ground for action. The point of ‘poverty’ discourse is as a marker for action; so ‘shame’, when invoked to define it, functions as a moral concept. If I ought not to be ashamed, then that shame cannot ground a claim to poverty (in the sense of a state requiring remediation). To make the moral adjudication requires that you assess my context, and thus make the adjudication on the proper assessment of these circumstances, not on whether I report a feeling of shame.

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  215 Though the claim is that shame is a moral concept, no claim is made that it is a particularly powerful moral concept, or indeed that its evaluation is unproblematic. A review of the philosophical literature “finds analyses of shame that displace it from any significant role in morality” (Calhoun 2004: 127). On the specific issue of ‘subordinate’ shame, Calhoun is percipient (though, as we shall see, she wishes to challenge the view): in societies structured by relations of domination and subordination, shame is an especially worrisome moral emotion. Subordinated people who suffer shame before bigoted criticisms seem to have failed to achieve (or failed to be able to sustain) a sufficiently critical moral perspective. (Calhoun 2004: 128) But even that disattends to a further issue with subordinate shame; for a valid invocation of shame requires agency. If asked “of what should you be ashamed” substantive content of answers will vary, but one logical characteristic remains constant: a defensible answer will involve some performance, or lack of performance. If you profess to be ashamed at your treatment of your aged parents, that is intelligible. But you ought not to be ashamed of your skin colour, or your height. It is possible to construct contexts within which it might appear legitimate to say “I am ashamed of my skin colour”, for example if white in a country where being white is a marker for ‘descendant of slave-owners’. But that properly decomposes into statements about shame at the performance of my ancestors, or, if I have inherited the resulting resources, shame at my retention of these resources. To express moral shame at the possession of an ineluctable attribute would be to misunderstand the notion of moral; morality inheres in performances, not in ineluctable attributes. It should follow that those poor or subordinate through no fault of their own have no proper claim to feel moral shame at their poverty or subordination. Smith himself (though this runs counter to his treatment of the poor man who ‘goes out and comes in unheeded’) poses the rhetorical question, expecting the answer ‘No’: Can there be any shame in that distress which is brought upon us without any fault of our own, and in which we behave with perfect propriety? (TMS VII.ii.1.23) This, which seems plausible, has one uncomfortable corollary. Those poor through fault of their own – the ‘undeserving poor’ – may have proper claim to feel moral shame at their poverty. Park for the moment the question of whether this is a null class, and the question of whether the deserving/undeserving distinction is tenable (I devote the next section, p. 223f., to that issue). Focus on the thought that those poor through no fault of their own have no proper claim to feel moral shame at their poverty. Given the ease with which actors misperceive their autonomy (on the one hand: our first-person volitional narratives characteristically downplay the structural constraints that the sociologist may locate; on the other: part of the trick

216  K. I. Macdonald of domination is to persuade the dominated that they have no freedom of action) this uncertainty further unsettles claims to shame. Suppose an agent (falsely) perceives himself as lacking autonomy; but expresses poverty-related shame (so a logically improper response for him, given his perspective) – should that shame count as valid? These are the tangles we get into if we seek to use agent shame as a definer of poverty. Some shame may present as imposed, not chosen. If shaming is seen as done to the dominated individual (this is the sense that Calhoun analyses), not a moral judgement by the individual, then: it might well seem morally preferable for agents to be, or to strive to be, insensitive to the shaming gaze of others . . . This might seem particularly good moral advice for members of socially subordinated groups. (Calhoun 2004: 128) I would concur on that moral advice, but Calhoun herself dissents (these ‘seems’ being indicative). The gist of her counter-argument, as I understand it, is that shaming practices carry ineluctable costs which cannot – if we are to continue as social beings – just be wished away. Because shaming criticisms that articulate representative viewpoints are not something that people can just steel themselves against, we need to take very seriously the sexism, heterosexism, racism, and the like that are embedded in ongoing moral and political practices. (Calhoun 2004: 146) The emphasis upon taking seriously practices is unproblematic; these are proper concerns of those interested in inequality. The peculiar status that Calhoun’s account accords to shaming is problematic. Calhoun’s thought that, in some deep sense, shaming criticisms are not evitable has kinship with an emphasis that Williams invokes. In characteristic low-key fashion, he notes that our sense of shame over foolishness (stumbling over shoelaces and such) is heightened by, though it does not require, an actual watcher. He continues: A solitary castaway might reasonably cease to have such feelings; but it is illuminating that he might intelligibly want not to lose them, as part of a discipline to keep himself in touch with the possibility of social life. (Williams 1993: 221) Attending to the gaze of others may (let us cede) be involved in being human. But disagreement, anger, is also attention to the gaze of others. We can accept the importance of engagement, whilst rejecting the entailment that shame is the required signifier of such engagement. It is easy to think of examples (black power, gay pride, much feminist writing) where a re-description, a re-invocation

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  217 of autonomy, appears both a more appropriate and a more efficacious response than passive acceptance of shame. As a survey of empirical research finds: Many protest movements revolve around efforts to transform shame into pride (Jasper 2011: 290) Pride in denigrated origins is first-cousin to anger that the origins are so denigrated. It may be that, empirically, for the poor, such re-positioning is more fraught than for other disadvantaged groups (the poor being even less a unitary group in any structural sense); but this does not undermine the logical point. And the point does not require that invocation of anger be unproblematic. Anger generates its own dilemmas as victims address prudential issues,132 and: anyone can get angry – that is easy – . . . but to do this to the right person, to the right extent, at the right time, with the right motive, and in the right way, that is not for everyone, nor is it easy; wherefore goodness is both rare and laudable and noble. (Nicomachean Ethics II.9) As Aristotle makes clear, anger is morally complex; for a more modern demonstration see Nussbaum (2016). But for my present purposes, it is irrelevant whether ‘anger’ is in any sense a ‘better’ response to shaming practices. It is sufficient that it is a possible response; it is also a mode of engaging with the social. If so, ‘shame’ cannot be taken as a defining marker of such practices. If truly moral shame is unsuitable as a definer precisely because of its moral status, might there still be room for customary, conventional, normative shame? Earlier, I blithely asserted that you should not be ashamed of your height or skin colour. But what if I am ashamed of my stammer, or my large disfiguring facial birthmark; knowing I ought not to be may, of itself, be little help. If, as a matter of brute fact, I feel shame connected to my poverty, and this inhibits my ‘going about’ in society, surely that shame is validly regarded as a component of poverty? In some tones of voice, Sen (citing Smith’s ‘necessaries’ passage) seems minded to yield the epistemological status of convention: For the person studying and measuring poverty, the conventions of society are matters of fact (what are the contemporary standards?) and not issues of morality or of subjective search (what should be the contemporary standards? what should be my values? how do I feel about all this?). The point was brought out very clearly by Adam Smith more than two hundred years ago . . . (Sen 1979: 285–6, emphases in original) We have already established (§3, p. 119f.) that Smith was talking about taxation, not poverty, so the point Sen here makes is Sen’s, not Smith’s. Opting to interpret ‘the conventions of society’ as ‘matters of fact’ generates a number of interrelated difficulties.

218  K. I. Macdonald When discussing poverty, we are discussing comparative interventions: how then do we weight competing conventions. In his taxation discussion, Smith could safely treat conventions as matters of fact, since he was estimating the consequences for wages, given these conventions. National differences are then unproblematic; tax can vary by nation as their ‘necessaries’ vary. For Smith, as he assesses the empirical impact of a particular tax, questions of morality (beyond the narrow constraints of his ‘maxims’ of taxation, of which the first, p. 182 above, carries the most obvious ethical import) are, rightly, irrelevant. But diverse ‘conventions of society’ become problematic if we take shame to be a constitutive component of poverty. There are then comparative questions to address; does my shame trump your lack? If we were concerned to alleviate eighteenth-century poverty, and (incorrectly) read Smith as talking about the apparel shame of the poor, it would be proper to ask: do we give leather shoes to English women (who would be ashamed to appear without) and not to Scottish women (who are, on Smith’s report, unashamed by their lack)? Or, within one nation, coming back to our creditable day labourer, has he a greater claim on a linen shirt (because he would be ashamed without) than an individual of lower economic standing (“accustomed to slovenly disorder”). As this discussion of competing conventions starts to indicate, a large problem lurks. An account such as Calhoun’s relies on ‘articulate representative viewpoints’ to motivate the force of ‘shame’; Sen, invoking Adam Smith, postulates that for the person studying poverty ‘the conventions of society are matters of fact’. But if we seek to make policy, attentive to such viewpoints and facts, we are faced with a simple, familiar, and ineluctable issue. Any contemporary society is, properly, home to diversity: Honour has to do with avoiding shame, and can you argue with people about what they find shameful? Well, yes and no. If honour and shame are taken as ultimates . . . then no argument is possible. But if one takes seriously the variety of definitions, and at the same time acknowledges that there are other moral or religious demands with which honour [or shame] must be squared, then questions can arise about what really should be a matter of honour [or shame], what is true honour [or shame], and the like. (Taylor 1993: 229, insertions added) The ‘or shame’ insertions are my insertions, but legitimated by Taylor’s opening sentence. The final force of his argument might be subject to further discussion, but the empirical observation is surely robust. That suffices. If ‘shame’ is not tightly tied to particular deprivations and the presence of particular constraints, then it cannot act as a definer of the presence of these deprivations. The extant diversity of normative views within a society also has unsettling implications for other arguments. As Sen himself understates: It is possible that Smith . . . may have overestimated the extent of uniformity of views that tends to exist in a community on the content of ‘subsistence’ or ‘poverty’. (Sen 1979: 286)

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  219 We have already noted the difficulties arising from Smith’s uniform narrative of motivation. Though ‘being noticed’ mattered in the circles in which Smith moved, and he is at times minded to extend that concern, in more empirical mode he concedes (WN I.viii.44, quoted p. 131) its inapplicability to the moral concerns of the labourer. Whence, even if we saw these labourers as all similar, unitary shame at poverty was implausible in the eighteenth century; much less plausible in the pluralist economies of the twenty-first century. Suppose, for the momentary sake of argument, that ‘the poor all feel shame’. If different sections of ‘the poor’ construe the moral structure of their shame differently – they can inhabit differing moral universes – then the ‘all feel shame’ phrase of the supposition becomes the purest nominalism. What different groups, amongst the poor, feel, differs;133 it is then strange to use that nominalism to define poverty. And not all conventions are worth heeding. Consider: “I am ashamed to be living in a street with so many coloureds”; “I am ashamed my son married a gentile”; “I am ashamed to be so poor”; “I am ashamed my daughter refused khafḍ”; and (actually heard from a Gaelic-speaking Pakistani shopkeeper, who had read his Weber, but saw his Hebridean protestant neighbours as lacking that ethic) “I would be ashamed if my daughter married one”. Examples are easy to generate: the speakers, real or imagined, are expressing conventions which exist. In that sense they are ‘matters of fact’. But not incontestable. We do not forthwith seek to homogenise streets by skin colour, or enforce FGM, or ban religious or cultural exogamy. Why then should we automatically accept and seek to ameliorate a claimed shame of poverty? Suppose it is demonstrated that specified people do feel shame at their poverty. The question for the analyst of poverty is ‘what action do we take in response to this fact?’. That requires evaluation of the context and constraints; once we have carried out that evaluation, we no longer need reference the psychological response to the context and constraints. The intervention can be legitimated simply by that context and these constraints. Of course, if we could identify a stable social mechanism – not dependent on evaluation – by which shame was induced, then shame would merit attention in poverty/disadvantage terms. There are attempts: Smith’s linen-shirt example . . . is in fact representative of a more general social dynamic . . . For example, as more and more people own a private car, public transport tends to deteriorate, making it more difficult for people without a car to get around, just as Smith’s poorer contemporaries found it more and more embarrassing to appear in public without a linen shirt. (Hirata 2004: 154, emphasis added) That ‘just as’ is not apt; the car example (discussed by Sen, 1983: 162) points to an objective constraint on action. A more recent example would be access to the internet; this should be of concern to policy makers, not because the poor would be ashamed to lack access (though they might be), but because lack of access to the internet has become lack of access to salient services. The social mechanisms by which a group’s lack of such resources translates to objective disadvantage are clear. The linen shirt, in contrast, is a constraint only if it is perceived to be.

220  K. I. Macdonald The social pressure for conformity may increase as a sartorial practice spreads; but the social pressure remains just that: evitable social pressure. It is distinguishable from the objective constraints of not having a car when public transport declines; not having internet access when government and commerce assume its presence. If before accepting my claim to shame you have to assess my situation, this shifts the leverage to the situation, not my (accidental, individual) response to the situation. Better to begin with the situation. For individual responses to situations may properly vary. Were we to shift attention from structural disadvantages of the poor to their psychological responses (including here ‘shame’), this shift can muddle intervention. Though, incorrectly also reading Smith’s ‘linen shirt’ as about the shame of poverty, Barrientos nevertheless makes intelligent assessment of the implications of such readings: should the response be: to provide [the labourer] with a linen shirt or a minimum wage which would enable him to buy one? Persuade him that linen shirts should not matter that much for his self-belief? Agitate for increased informality in social and political life? Advocate for a lower threshold for participation, e.g. cotton vests? (Barrientos 2010:6) Or consider the homely (possibly now dated) translation offered by Lister (2004: 26): “The other example Smith gave was leather shoes; had he been writing today, he might have substituted designer trainers, particularly in the case of ‘creditable’ young people”. When your teenager expresses their shame at their lack of BrandYY trainers (or BrandXX smartphone), should you merely reiterate with Sen ‘the conventions of society are matters of fact’, and reach for your purse or wallet? Should you share their shame? Feel shame at having engendered such materialist offspring? Discuss objective trainer or smartphone quality? Offer a cheaper alternative, the money saved to be added to their savings? Tell them they will feel better after a good night’s sleep? These are not impermissible questions. To identify poverty is to identify conditions having a defensible call on (scarce) resources. It is not self-evident that a lack of pure status goods would ever so qualify. Cases that at first sight might seem to qualify, on inspection depend upon a consequent claim to lack of some defensible functioning (as in the internet example above). I can surely never properly appropriate goods pertinent to your functioning in order to alleviate merely my status anxiety or shame. Streeten (1990), who is another who overinterprets Smith (“the shame that the shoeless feel . . . might . . . derive from a sense of lack of participation in community life”), still expresses the difficulties well: This view of shame also leads to odd remedies. They may lie more in the realm of psychology than of economics. Educating people not to be ashamed when they do not have shoes (or linen shirts, another example of Adam Smith’s) but proudly to display their different life style, as the members

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  221 of the German Wandervogel did before the First War, or the hippies more recently, is one cure. (Streeten 1990: 6) These concerns are not simply armchair speculative; we can see them affecting the analyses of sober poverty researchers. Walker and Chase document the shame of British benefit recipients: When asked directly, benefit recipients often describe systems is dehumanising and their treatment as demeaning . . . such policies are more likely to sap and undermine self-confidence134 and agency than they are to facilitate exit from poverty. (Walker and Chase 2013: 152) We may respect Walker and Chase’s concerns, but a focus on the psychology of the poor leads (as in the speculations above, and as with Anderson, see p. 231 below) to psychological intervention: Our analysis suggests that, in order to shift anti-poverty policies from being shame-inducing to dignity-promoting, policy reform should start with a critical evaluation of its framing. (Walker and Chase 2013: 152) ‘Framing’ may not be the most central of issues, or even the best starting point. I profess no peculiar expertise here, but suspect that any symptom-alleviation approach to poverty – offering compensation for market or systemic inequalities – runs the danger of undermining agency; we should instead be pondering structural change, addressing the causes of poverty; but that is a tale for another day (as Atkinson, 2015: 302, observed “In order to understand inequality, we need to understand all aspects of our societies”). Analysts of poverty are, properly, concerned with social processes. I have touched on several occasions on Sen’s capability of going about without shame, which he sees (with cautions) as one pertinent capability for assessing full citizen participation and well-being. Its derivation from the writings of Adam Smith is, I have argued, less well-grounded than the later Sen characteristically reports it as being. That weakens one characteristic motivator for introduction of the capability, but that lack of derivation does not, in itself, undermine the pertinence of the capability. And, obviously, to see the capability, as Sen does, as one pertinent capability is not, as Walker (2014: 181) would have it, “Sen’s recognition of an immutable connection between poverty and shame”. So far so good. But it will not have escaped notice that the arguments of this section (the narrative of the diversity and plurality, and modifiability, of shame), if accepted, bite against the adoption of the capability to go about without shame, as they would against a claim to take shame as a definer of poverty. If shame is, as I have argued, unstable and culturally diverse then this unsettles its inclusion in

222  K. I. Macdonald Sen’s list of capabilities. Put this another way. A central attraction, and strength, of Sen’s capability analyses is that they provide a relatively culture and context free framework for analysing human functioning across societies. But, as Sen himself notices, the ‘going about without shame’ capability may be different: This particular capability, emphasized by Adam Smith, clearly has a strong psychological component in a way that other capabilities that have been thought to be basic may not have. (Sen 1983: 161) This psychological component localises responses. As Williams (1987: 100) remarks “one has to put some constraints on the kinds of capabilities that are going to count”; this particular capability may not have the strongest claim to count,135 as not being well-defined. To ‘go about without shame’ may be an aspiration, but it is, in contrast to the formulation of Sen’s other capabilities, a culture dependent aspiration. This aspiration has a further oddity: there are many situations in life where, as moral beings, we commendably claim shame. Consider some low-key academic examples, not all hypothetical. I am ashamed of my foolish remark at last Wednesday’s seminar (and that shame may prevent a repetition). Contrastingly, I have known colleagues – and not those whose absence I most regret – who were shameless in self-advertisement. A sense of shame, if you will, is recognition that we are monitoring our performances. The ability to act completely without shame is, after all, a mark of psychopathology, not of virtue. Further, we can, of the same action, be both ashamed and not ashamed (and this is not dissolved by specifying a disaggregated target of the shame). I may, daily-day, go around with head unbowed. But there are contexts in which, on reflection, even ‘well lived’ lives properly evoke shame at their performance. As I move down the hierarchy of universities – seeking ‘some association . . . in which activities that are rational for [me] are publicly affirmed by others’ (the phrase is from Rawls (1999: 387), and was discussed above, p. 133) – I may still, from time to time, look over my shoulder, towards better institutions with more astringent standards, and feel shame. I may unashamedly get angry with rebarbative colleagues; but then I read the Nicomachean Ethics (“to the right extent, at the right time, with the right motive”?) and am ashamed. And, ending with a more serious example, Smith’s ‘sober and industrious poor’, secure in their families and jobs, the support of the economy, can still be ashamed because (p. 129) more widely unheeded. The Sen capability to go about without shame may serve to alert us to oppressive practices, but its psychological formulation entails difficulties. My suggestion is that its assessment, and that of poverty, be driven forward, not by examining the psychological states, but by attending to the impediments – to functionings or access to resources. More strictly, by attending to the external impediments. Consider again the simple scenario, which was presented as a decisive argument at the beginning of this paper (§1, p. 117) – individuals identically at the bottom end of the distribution of resources, experiencing anger or shame, but, in

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  223 the grip of either, equally poor. You may have felt the argument there moved too quickly. Might we not, defensibly, have an intuition that the ashamed individual is more impoverished than the one retaining her anger and pride? So shame does matter in the definition of poverty? But for this intuition to have traction in the poverty discussion, that difference (between shame and anger) would have to be driven by some difference in the circumstances of the individuals. It is, I suspect, this thought that makes the intuition seductive (my being shamed is naturally read as indicative of shaming practices). But if – as in the conditions of this posited example – the external conditions are identical (this includes the behaviour and attitudes of others) while, as is possible, individual responses differ, then the different individual responses are not a marker of external difference; so not pertinent definers of poverty. In the actual world, of course, the presenting angry and ashamed individuals do not come with this known background equivalence. It is for us to investigate. But the argument would be that proper shame is identified in terms of real disadvantage, not that the real disadvantage is identified in terms of shame. To discuss ‘poverty’, rather than ‘inequality’, entails, if we are to speak social policy, a concern with conditions requiring amelioration.136 We then have the question: is shame an apt definer of such required amelioration? If we were to reply ‘yes’, we would be encapsulating within a definition of poverty the variable response to the condition. 7.1 These undeserving poor Interventions to handle poverty can either be recipient-blind, as with an unconditional social wage, or provide targeted relief to those in poverty. If a society is to bestir itself about the targeted relief of its poor then some boundary has to be set to delineate legitimate claims on common resources. (Even with recipient-blind interventions, some such adjudication is required to assess success in improving the lot of those ‘truly’ in need.) Defining who has legitimate claims, and for what, remains the analytically challenging conceptual issue of poverty research. If you choose not to act in your own support, or waste your resources foolishly, then you seem to have no justice claim137 on others. Though that is easily said, to locate the boundaries of defensible support is far from straightforward, as Arneson’s (1997) pivotal article demonstrates. I have argued above that any grounding of a claim for shame-as-definer in the writings of Smith, or Sen, or Sen-on-Smith, though common in the literature, is not sustainable. Another possible defence of the salience of shame would invoke the thought that we should take ‘shame’ seriously because the poor talk of shame. I am not so careless as to suggest we disattend to the reports by the poor, though the next section (p. 235) argues against assigning epistemological primacy. But underpinning any emphasis on ‘attending to what the poor say’ is the insistence, or the insight, that we should treat the poor with respect. As I have argued, such ‘treating with respect’ entails that we treat shame-talk as substantive moral utterance, not mere psychological report. And shame-talk as substantive moral utterance cannot count as a definer of poverty, precisely because it is moral utterance.

224  K. I. Macdonald Absent these two defences, it is not clear on what a case for the definitional salience of shame might be based. There remains a possible search move: isolate the ‘key’ issue in the analysis of the concept of poverty, and see whether ‘shame’ has – might have – any leverage in this discussion. There is no claim that the involvement of shame has been so claimed. This section of the paper, then, is part driven by curiosity as to what case might be made in defence of ‘shame’, part by a desire to complete the exploration of the possible relations between shame and poverty. You may wish to short circuit this entire discussion by emphasising that, if we look at basic subsistence, there is sufficient deficit to abrogate any lingering concern over ‘deservingness’. For example, recent articulation of a basic needs poverty line (Allen, forthcoming), referencing an austere diet and non-food ‘basket’, finds more poverty in Asia than the World Bank recognises, and many in absolute poverty in rich countries, especially the USA and the UK. In that context you may, properly, feel that concern over the boundary of desert (and, a fortiori, the place of ‘shame’) is pernicious, or at best irrelevant. I would not object to that move. But for the present I retreat to a more parochial specification of the key conceptual problem; the policy of many democracies entails that the location of the deserving/undeserving boundary matters. Historically, the notion of ‘undeserving poor’, in this sense, goes back less far in English poverty discourse than is often assumed. Its common attribution to the 1601 legislation is misallocated. Consider a fairly standard description, of: the 1601 Elizabethan Poor Law, which categorised the ‘impotent poor’ alongside two groups of ‘able-bodied poor’ – those who could not work, the unemployed, and those who would not work, the ‘rogues and idlers’. These distinctions essentially coined the ‘deserving’–‘undeserving’ dichotomy. It has since both dominated political and public discourses surrounding poverty and created space for shame to emerge as a central component of policy. (Walker and Chase, 2013: 134, emphasis added) Despite this standard description, the act did not categorise two groups of ablebodied poor. Most of the act (43 Eliz. c2) is given over to the administrative mechanisms of relief, yet its categorisation of the poor (identifying five138 distinct allowable interventions, as did, in 1597, 39 Eliz. c3) is both more nuanced and less judgemental than the quotation suggests. The act makes provision for: [a] setting to work the children of all such whose parents shall not be thought able to keep and maintain their children . . . putting out of such children to be apprentices139 (43 Eliz. c2.i) [b] setting to work140 all such persons, married or unmarried, having no means to maintain them, and [who] use no ordinary and daily trade of life to get their living by (43 Eliz. c2.i)

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  225 [c] [raising] competent sums of money for and towards the necessary141 relief of the lame, impotent, old, blind, and such other among them, being poor, and not able to work (43 Eliz. c2.i) [d] [raising] competent sums of money . . . out of every County . . . for the relief of the poor prisoners of the King’s Bench and Marshalsea, and also of such Hospitals and Almshouses as shall be in the said County (43 Eliz. c2.xiv) Finally, any residue (“the surplusage of money”) would be: [e] bestowed for the relief of the Poor Hospitals of that County, and of those that shall sustain losses by fire, water, the sea, or other casualties, and to such other charitable purposes, for the relief of the poor, as . . . shall seem convenient. (43 Eliz. c2.xv) The ‘rogues and idlers’ phrasing appears nowhere in the 1601 Poor Law. Admittedly the 1597 “Act for punishment of Rogues Vagabonds and Sturdy Beggars” (39 Eliz. c4) identifies a further distinct group, but these were closer to the mobile maleficent142 than to the later concept of the undeserving poor: All persons calling themselves scholars going about begging, all seafaring men pretending losses of their ships or goods on the sea . . . all idle persons . . . feigning themselves to have knowledge in physiognomy, palmistry, or other like crafty science, or pretending they can tell destinies, fortunes, or such other like fantastical imaginations . . . (39 Eliz. c4.ii) whilst making special arrangements, compassionately, for those “diseased or impotent poor persons” travelling to Bath or Buxton “to the baths there for the ease of their griefs” (39 Eliz. c4.vii, echoing 14 Eliz. c5). Seventeenth- and eighteenthcentury interconnections between geographic movement and poverty are interesting in their own right (see for example Hitchcock, 2013) – also of relevance to modern migration debate – and Smith, in his discussion of the Poor Law, correctly takes its mobility constraints as central: it was enacted by the 43rd of Elizabeth, c2, that every parish should be bound to provide for its own poor . . . Who were to be considered as the poor of each parish became, therefore, a question of some importance. (WN I.x.c.46–47) But none of this maps to what was to be later seen as the ‘undeserving poor’. In Elizabethan legislation, outwith the Poor Law, ‘idle persons’ appear in 43 Eliz c7, which addresses rural scrounging (“robbing of orchards and gardens . . . 

226  K. I. Macdonald and such like offences”). Though noting that “the said offences are great causes of the maintaining of idleness”, the act restricts itself to inserting the “punishment of whipping” in place of fines (since the idle have not “wherewith to make recompense”), not targeting the prevention of idleness. It is “an act to avoid and prevent diverse misdemeanours in lewd and idle persons”. The closest in terminology to a ‘deserving poor’ judgement within Elizabethan legislation appears in 18 Eliz. c3 (enacted “for some better explanation, and for some needful addition” to 14 Eliz. c5) which sees parish provision for bastards as a “great burden and defrauding of the impotent aged true poor of the same parish” (and moves responsibility “by charging such mother or reputed father”). But the contrast with bastards is not with the volitionally undeserving. In short, when read as written, the 1601 Elizabethan Poor Law is far from distinctions which “essentially coined the ‘deserving’/‘undeserving’ dichotomy”. Its narrative is a work-based categorisation. Setting to work those not supported by work ([a],[b] above), whilst providing for those unable to work ([c],[d],[f]), with some provision (that ‘surplusage’) for “losses by fire, water, the sea, or other casualties” ([e]). This is fairly neutral ‘entitlement’ categorisation, with little room for an active role for ‘shame’. Earlier (p. 159) we saw Fleischacker import, unquestioningly, a ‘work for your living’ principle into Smith. Arneson is right to question the alleged moral obligation to be self-supporting, but right also to note: If such an obligation can be shown to exist, this immediately would explain why assistance to the able-bodied non-aged poor should be offered only in the form of opportunities to work . . . and never in the form of cash income supplements or the equivalent. (Arneson, 1997: 337, emphasis added) Elizabethan legislation is written as if the obligation were self-evident; and its implications can be articulated without invocation of the concept ‘undeserving’. Even Victorian writers do not necessarily construe the issues in a way which creates “space for shame to emerge as a central component of policy”. Nicholls, in his 1854 history of the Poor Law, admittedly describes the workless group of 43 Eliz c.2 in terms not found in that Act, but terms pointing away from shame. He presents a group whose standards are so low they are impervious to shame – “the motives which actuate others fail of influencing them” (Nicholls 1854: 201). That does not suggest shame as an effective component of policy. Deservingness is an issue on which citizens in contemporary polities have views. Appelbaum, surveying Americans, reports dispiritingly (and this before the more divisive politics of the twenty-first century): In sum, the undeserving poor are defined as people with low income who violate mainstream norms, are non-whites, and are individually responsible for their poverty. (Appelbaum 2001: 422)

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  227 Other researchers report differently: We suggest that people will agree on social welfare across institutional and cultural differences when cues about recipients’ deservingness are present . . . [since] the effects of . . . default stereotypes are crowded out when direct information is available and, hence, support among Americans and Danes becomes substantially and statistically indistinguishable – despite a lifetime of exposure to different welfare state cultures. (Aarøe and Petersen 2014: 694, 692) Though their discussion proposes that ‘deservingness’ is doing the main definitional work in the deserving/undeserving contrast, their experimental instrument143 is in fact neutral on direction. Illuminating though their analysis is, it does not address the ‘prodigal’ dimension of merit. Of course workrelated deservingness matters, and the implementation of such deservingness will change over time (for example as employment changes) – see Jeene et al. (2014) for a pioneering study of such change, albeit within one polity. Further, particularly in the European context, migration144 is an active entitlement issue – Kootstra (2016), deploys an elegant vignette experiment to disentangle some of its perceptual role. I am not aiming at an overview of current empirical research on viewed entitlement; the citations are but exemplars, though not unrepresentative. When not prompted otherwise, respondents seem more concerned with entitlement, and, possibly, deviance, than shame. In academic discussion, the boundary issue (between deserving and undeserving poor) has strong parallels with abstract political theory discussions around ‘luck egalitarianism’ (this also does seem to echo one distinction that people do make145). The term was introduced by Anderson (1999: 289), in her review and critique of a literature which placed: great stress on the distinction between the outcomes for which an individual is responsible – that is, those that result from her voluntary choices – and the outcomes for which she is not responsible . . . Luck egalitarians dub this the distinction between “option luck” and “brute luck”. (Anderson 1999: 291) Again, Smith’s insistence on the bad conduct associated with a fall into poverty (examined p. 209f. above) is pertinent. The ‘option/brute’ terminology comes from Dworkin (1981: 293); another cited precursor is Cohen,146 proposing his ‘right reading’ of egalitarianism: namely, that its purpose is to eliminate involuntary disadvantage, by which I (stipulatively) mean disadvantage for which the sufferer cannot be held responsible, since it does not appropriately reflect choices that he has made or is making or would make. (Cohen 1989: 916)

228  K. I. Macdonald Anderson grants distinctions147 within the tradition, but she is clear that there are consistent implications for how we conduct welfare interventions (indeed, much of her critique is progressed by bringing out the welfare implications of the luck-egalitarian position). The debate has much expanded since the last century, but the brute-luck/option-luck contrast (in some form) remains vivid; as LippertRasmussen notes in in a recent, relatively neutral, overview of the field: A number of luck egalitarian accounts suggest that how much talent people have is a matter of luck, whereas their levels of effort are not. Metaphorically speaking, the first is a matter of the cards one has been dealt, whereas the latter is a matter of how one chooses to play them. (Lippert-Rasmussen 2014: §9) Although Lippert-Rasmussen seeks to carry the locating of the boundary-line forward on logical grounds alone, once we anchor the discussion within welfare policy, empirical social science becomes pertinent. Acknowledging individual empirical differentiation (in how much talent people have) entails that how actors choose to ‘play the cards’ is parasitic on their social resources. Those who enter with different degrees of inherited capital (social or monetary) can treat risk, in education, or in employment, differently. As Smith observes on risk, resource and occupational choice: Put your son apprentice to a shoemaker, there is little doubt of his learning to make a pair of shoes: But send him to study the law, it is at least twenty to one if ever he makes such proficiency as will enable him to live by the business. (WN I.x.b.22) Some families can better carry such risk than others. And, considering ‘levels of effort’, it is unsurprising that effort is modulated by the anticipatable rewards for effort (these rewards being not unconnected with the brute luck of where – socially and spatially – we are born). Engaging in long range financial planning is eased if in secure employment with access to the financial instruments (mortgages and such148) that facilitate; it is palpably more difficult if on so-called ‘zero hours’ contracts, and below any lending threshold for house-purchase. And so on. Empirically the set of actors is wider than monadic individuals; people come with obligations to others. I have so far disregarded children, other than in the Adam Smith discussion – but he clearly, in the modern phrase, regards them as ‘becomings’ not ‘beings’. The problem with children is that they are fresh autonomous persons exposed to choices they did not make. How we handle children on any egalitarian analysis – remembering that their arrivals are not purely exogenous events (it is not accidental that pregnancy patterns vary by class – as Smith noticed (WN I.viii.37) – and education and occupational availability) – is, even were we clear on the nature and limits of family partiality,149 not uncontentious. Pushing further against that distinction between the cards, as talents, and our choice, in the playing of them, consider Mischel’s iconic ‘marshmallow’ experiment

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  229 on deferred gratification150 amongst the very young. Though much of the early research interest was on short-term modifiers of the pattern (see e.g. Mischel & Baker, 1975), it became known as an identifier of a particular, and stable,151 skill. As Mischel himself, in retrospect, reports: In the 1960s, Mischel and colleagues developed a simple ‘marshmallow test’ to measure pre-schoolers’ ability to delay gratification. In numerous followup studies over 40 years, this ‘test’ proved to have surprisingly significant predictive validity for consequential social, cognitive and mental health outcomes over the life course. (Mischel et al. 2011: 252) The thought is that the ability to delay gratification is a given152 talent which affects how one would choose to play the cards (talents) one has been dealt. That fatally destabilises the metaphor. Even if we follow Kidd et al. (2013), deriving the extent of that talent from beliefs about environmental reliability (so not itself innate), that does not affect the destabilisation. All this is happening at too young an age to be placed in the ‘choice’ box. The other problem is that a simple formulation – “outcomes for which an individual is responsible – that is, those that result from her voluntary choices” – disattends to the disconnect between actions and outcome; chance intervenes. Arbitrarily malign outcomes of intelligently taken decisions are not best assigned to the responsibility of the taker, leading us to withhold remediation. The social worker who, after careful and grounded evaluation, chooses to leave a child with a subsequently murderous parent arguably should not be held responsible for that outcome (Macdonald, 1990). Likewise the bankrupt, who, pace Smith (p. 210 above), may not have been injudicious. Here the moral luck and luck-egalitarian literatures intersect. If we properly evaluate actions, not outcomes, then it is perverse to hold people accountable for outcomes, not actions. Smith in TMS (in another of his discussions which might legitimately be invoked as a precursor of later debate) draws attention to an “irregularity of sentiment, which everybody feels, which scarce anybody is sufficiently aware of, and which nobody is willing to acknowledge” (TMS II.iii.intro 6): Everybody agrees to the general maxim, that as [i.e. since] the event [i.e. outcome of an action] does not depend on the agent, it ought to have no influence upon our sentiments with regard to the merit or propriety of his conduct. But when we come to particulars, we find that our sentiments are scarce in any one instance exactly conformable to what this equitable maxim would direct. (TMS II.iii.3.1) My reading of Smith’s resolution of the tension is that he pragmatically accepts, as in aggregate benign, the direction, however unreasonable, of our sentiments; for a reading rescuing Smith as a more analytic thinker see Hankins (2016). Pragmatic disattention to principle would match Smith’s strategies elsewhere. As

230  K. I. Macdonald in his discussion of rank, on the mismatch between principle (virtue should dominate) and the practice of resting more on the “palpable difference of birth and fortune, than upon the invisible and often uncertain difference of wisdom and virtue” (TMS VI.ii.1.20). Or again his discussion of the mistakenly perceived value of power and riches: “It is this deception which rouses and keeps in continual motion the industry of mankind” (TMS IV.1.8–10); or, after excoriating our disregard for suffering-at-a-distance, remarking that this “seems wisely ordered” (TMS III.3.9). As noted in the earlier discussion of these examples (p. 209, above), Smith, when confronting a conflict between abstract analytic principle and pragmatic solution, more readily waives the analytic than we might find academically praiseworthy. Interesting though all this might be, it seems to have little to do with shame. Shame may appear consequentially in the narrative (that social worker whose case-load child is murdered, shamed – irrationally – by the popular press) but has no role in the adjudication itself; and it is difficult to see how it might have a role. If we, as citizens, were punctilious in reserving ‘shame’ for volitional acts, our usage might serve as a marker for where citizens in general perceived free action to lie. But we are not punctilious. There are however two critiques of deservingness which could involve shame; neither supportive. Firstly, a concern for mensuration. Invoking manifest facts, Arneson stresses the implementation difficulties for any fine-grained deservingness criterion in service delivery: The situation is complicated by a pervasive and unavoidable paucity of information about who faces exactly what obstacles and hurdles . . . the subgroups are not readily distinguishable, even to close observers such as work-mates, family and friends . . . [T]he information . . . if not available to intimate observers, is not available to bureaucrats administering state policies. (Arneson 1997: 344) Such in-practice difficulty can constitute an in-principle objection: it is unworthy to appear to be doing what one cannot. Going beyond153 this, Carter (2011) articulates a direct in-principle justification for evaluative abstinence, suggesting that respect for persons requires that we treat them, in part, as opaque: In other words, we avoid evaluating people’s agential capacities as an aid to deliberation about alternative courses of action . . . we take the subject as given and ask no questions about his or her capacity to pursue the good . . . or to understand his or her place in the world. This account of respect . . . [is] an intuitively plausible interpretation of the idea of treating persons as ends in themselves. (Carter 2011: 551–2) The argument from information stands well in its summary; the argument for opacity would require more elaboration were you to be persuaded. Any sufficiently articulated evaluation of shame, as a guide to policy (poverty intervention) runs afoul of both.

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  231 Parenthetically, moving for the moment away from merely the deservingness issue, my intuition would be that any restrictive move on what is to count, in political theory, is likely to impact, negatively, on the claims of shame talk. Consider a salient restriction: the public/non-public distinction emphasised by Rawls. This differs from the arguments about the ‘private’ that we have just seen. Given the fact of the reasonable pluralism of democratic culture, the aim of political liberalism is to uncover the conditions of the possibility of a reasonable public basis of justification on fundamental political questions . . . It has to distinguish the public point of view from the many nonpublic (not private) points of view. (Rawls 2011: 5) My arguments in the last section were pushing ‘shame’ towards the ‘private’; some of the arguments for shame started at no better than (in Rawls’s terms) nonpublic grounds. To deal with poverty we require a public basis of justification; on these premises, ‘shame’ cannot provide such a basis. End parenthesis. Secondly, a concern for normative redefinition. Anderson (1999) wished to redirect the study of equality. She regards Sen’s capability approach favourably, and is prepared to consider the ability to go about without shame as a pertinent capability for active citizenship; on this, my earlier criticisms (p. 221) would remain pertinent. She then develops the approach into an account of ‘democratic equality’. When faced with discriminatory judgements: [d]emocratic equality . . . asks whether the norms based on such judgments are oppressive. (Anderson 1999: 335) This – a willingness to advocate normative modification – appears a fresh move in the debate (though, as luck egalitarians were quick to point out, they too, without logical impediment, can advocate norm modification as a means to just distributions). Consider a birth defect, affecting only a person’s appearance that is considered so abhorrent by current social norms that people tend to shun those who have it . . . the remedy need not consist in plastic surgery . . . An alternative would be to persuade everyone to adopt new norms of acceptable physical appearance, so that people with the birth “defect” were no longer treated as pariahs. This is not to call for the abolition of norms of beauty altogether. (Anderson 1999: 335) Though Anderson does not use the terms, this could be read as an attempt to reduce discriminatory shame by norm modification (so echoing some moves discussed in the last section). That could be seen as positioning shame centrally in the discussion of equality – we monitor our progress by seeing where we have

232  K. I. Macdonald reached on shame. Admirable though this might be, the sting comes in Anderson’s final sentence – ‘this is not a call for the abolition of the norms of beauty’. It is possible to envision a normative shift in our judgements of the extremes of pertinent distributions (the recent history of terms such as ‘spastic’ and ‘moron’ give some flags for cautious optimism). But insofar as the society is concerned to rank on whatever its effective judgements are (whether intelligence, or strength, or courage, or probity, or disciplined obedience, or . . .), that ranking entails a problem. Perhaps those in the hundredth centile present us with conditions so extreme (positioned on the long tail of the distribution) that they elicit our sympathy, not our disapprobation. But that leaves the rest of us, not in the upper centiles; we are ranked, and, not being deformed, not exculpated. The ranking based on these norms, if we keep the norms, cannot just be wished away. This is what underpins, on Smith’s understanding, the position of the shamed poor man, as he comes in and goes out unheeded. I am presenting this in the first instance as a critique of the ‘democratic equality’ project, enforcing “the expressive demands of equal respect” (Anderson 1999: 289). Of course, if we located respect solely in some good capable of uniform universal distribution (such as Rawls’s invocation of ‘fundamental rights and liberties’ – see above p. 133), equal respect is plausible. But the instantiation of equal respect in relation to individuals holding (having as attributes) valued goods unequally distributed does not make empirical sense. On this analysis, reverting to my central concern, ‘shame’ (if that is what it is) has indeed re-entered the discussion, but not in a helpful way. This type of shame, what we might call non-evitable shame, fits ill with interest in poverty. The point of ‘poverty’ talk (why it sits more in social-policy than in sociology) is to identify states of affairs capable of amelioration.154 This non-evitable shame does not permit such amelioration. The adjudication of deservingness is fraught (and, fortunately, for the purposes of this paper can remain unsettled) – and it may be that we might choose to set the boundary for moral evaluation in a different place from the boundary for policy intervention (since the implications for action differ under the two modalities). And I have been talking as if the task of locating the tilt-point could at least be done and then left, as a tool for policy. But of course this is not accurate: the process is iterative. Setting the appropriate extent of state intervention may have unanticipated consequences for prevalence of poverty, and empirical, povertyrelated, shame. As Walzer notes: It is sometimes said to be an argument against the welfare state that its members are unwilling to take on certain sorts of jobs. But surely that is a sign of success. (Walzer 1983: 186–7) Walzer’s thought (though articulated in terms of self-respect, not shame) is that ‘certain sorts of jobs’, accepted out of necessity in the absence of a welfare state, come to be seen, as they properly are, antithetical to self-respect, only once

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  233 alternative livelihood exists. Welfare may increase the shame of those now in low-end jobs. Returning to the metaphor of playing the cards, the welfare state (and its extent) understandably impacts on the play: In fact, the standing offer of aid by the state should affect individuals’ calculations as to what level of risk it is prudent to bear, and may increase the incidence of prudent conduct that leads to a condition of poverty (Arneson 1997: 335, emphases added) This can co-exist with the possibility that such more adventurous plans might “on the average improve the productivity of the economy and the flourishing of the individuals within it” (Arneson 1997: 336). So adjudication on the boundary line must be alert to possible increases in the probability of poverty, and possible subsequent repositioning of the boundary (following shifts in the level of risk it is prudent to bear), that reposition in turn being liable to further iterations. Such calculations would become more fraught were we to define poverty in shame-related terms. The obverse of poverty assessed on some measure of material resource is, at one level, easy to define – think of Bob’s extra hundred units of resource set against Ann’s loss of the same. Assessing benefits and losses (as Smith noted, see p. 113 above), and attending to proportional gains and losses, requires much further thought; but at least we would have starter steps. But if we try to account in terms of ‘shame’ we have the problem that, whilst we may see degrees of shame, we lack any measure – or concept of a measure – for degrees of notshame. We would be reduced to awkward trade-off between degrees of shame and units of resource; I do not know how to take even starter steps in that coordination. Sen, it will be remembered (see p. 118 above) was disinclined to talk of degrees of shame – “the person in question needs leather shoes not so much to be less ashamed than others – that relative question is not even posed by Adam Smith – but simply not to be ashamed, which as an achievement is an absolute one”. But, even staying within Sen’s framework (which emphasises that the commodity resource required to trip the absolute capability can vary), it seems not unreasonable to say that as I find myself lacking one resource and another, my shame increases, even if we continue to eschew relative-to-others statements within the space of capabilities (my concern is not to be less-ashamed than another, just to be less-ashamed). There is one extreme argument which would put shame (in the form of its putative opposite, self-respect) centre stage, as a precondition grounding any discussion of a deserving/undeserving dichotomy. Suppose self-respect (an absence of shame) is a central pivotal human capability, sustaining the meaning of all else that we do, then anti-poverty intervention – any anti-poverty intervention – must start by enhancing self-respect. Rawls, in some tones of voice, sees self-respect as a primary good: Without it nothing may seem worth doing, or if some things have value for us, we lack the will to strive for them. (Rawls 1999: 386)

234  K. I. Macdonald This may make more sense under Rawls’s strong definition of self-respect (involving the sense that a “plan of life is worth carrying out”). Also, it works more plausibly for his claim that self-respect inheres in a “publicly affirmed distribution of fundamental rights and liberties”, than for his suggestion that self-respect depends on appropriate associational membership (p. 133). But the overall extreme argument does not work, for two reasons. The first is that shame does not have the required one-to-one mapping to absence of self-respect (in fairness, Rawls does not claim such a mapping). Consider the utterances: ‘Because I still have some self-respect, I am ashamed to be standing in the queue for this soup kitchen’; alternatively: ‘I, having selfrespect, refuse to feel shame at standing here.’ Neither locution is palpably, and intrinsically, flawed. The second reason is that, outwith Rawls’s tight definitions, the claim of selfrespect to be a primary good is eminently contestable: Self-respect might be the most important primary good were it true that without it other goods have no value, or that one could enjoy nothing else without self-respect. Yet neither of these claims is true. (Massey 1983: 259) Massey is thinking of obvious ‘other goods’ such as health and food and education (and, though he talks of goods, his case could also be expressed in terms of basic capabilities). Food matters even to the ashamed. It could even be argued that a failure to ‘go about without shame’, rather than eviscerating, accentuates the value of other capabilities. Precisely because I lack self-respect, education for me becomes more valuable (education then having the capacity to be more transformative than for some cocky scion). This seems not unpersuasive. Besides, selfrespect in this more circumstantial sense, as articulated by Massey, seems closer to the obverse of shame, thus preferable for the present discussion. The opening portion of §7 addressed the possible role of shame in the overall definition of poverty. The present section (§7.1) has explored whether shame might have some utility in defining an unpleasant but necessary divide between the deserving and undeserving poor. Both discussions sought to show the irrelevance of shame to these endeavours. The next section looks to see whether shame might at least have some merit as an indicator of poverty. 7.2 Shame as merely an indicator? The least demanding use of ‘shame’ might be to take it merely as an indicator, a flag, for something requiring attention. If the occupant of a chair we have designed displays discomfort, is restless, wriggles, then perhaps – our design expertise notwithstanding – we need to rethink; the sitter is in this sense an expert on sitting? Some writers espouse a strong version of that claim, with disturbing epistemological implications:

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  235 people experiencing poverty must be experts on their own condition (Walker 2014: 182–3, emphasis added) This underpins the thought that if the poor talk of poverty in terms of shame they should be heeded; I have already argued (p. 223) that the moral status of shame discomfits that assertion. If the claim entails that those experiencing poverty have peculiar insight into the structure and causes of their condition, then the claim is implausible, and perhaps enticing only for ‘underdog’ reasons. A logically equivalent claim – ‘members of the business elite must be experts on their own condition’ – would be manifestly less plausible. Though in one sense both elites and marginalised have more information about their lives than any external observer, their conceptualisation of their lives is but an observer’s narrative,155 and has no claim to ontological primacy. Individuals extrapolate from individual experience, deploying their individual assumptions about human psychology and social processes (which, as Collingwood (1999: 42–3) notes, most often articulate past, now discredited, understanding). It is not accidental, or malign, that social science depends upon collection of data over many exemplars, and has to put in place institutionalised procedures – not always efficaciously – for hypothesis testing and challenge.156 We are by nature lazy thinkers; attempted falsification does not come naturally. If those experiencing poverty (and, at the same time, perhaps also shame) are not experts on the causes of their condition, they are unlikely to be experts on the amelioration of their condition. As with the sitter on our uncomfortable chair, the resolution of the unease may not be apparent to the sufferer. Herbert Spencer started from a mechanistic model, and is over-quoted, but the point he made a century and a half ago still has force. Consider amending a notquite-flat iron plate by hammering vigorously on the manifest obtrusion: Had we asked an artisan practised in ‘planishing’, as it is called, he would have told us that no good was to be done, but only mischief, by hitting down on the projecting part. He would have taught us how to give variouslydirected and specially adjusted blows with a hammer elsewhere: so attacking the evil not by direct but by indirect actions. (Spencer 1873: 271) But if the sufferer is not in this sense an expert, might it at least be argued that the discomfort, the reported shame, is real, and points to something requiring amelioration? Most of the points already made against shame as a definer of poverty, retain traction against this, reduced, speculation. If shame can be misplaced, mistaken, or just plain inappropriate – as has been argued – then its presence cannot without further investigation be taken to point to something requiring amelioration. Action, if it is entailed, is entailed by our assessment of the circumstances, not by the emotions felt by those exposed to these circumstances. Retreating further, the most attenuated form of the ‘shame as indicator’ thought would be to take the presence of poverty-related shame as an indicator of a state

236  K. I. Macdonald of affairs requiring further research. The research, let us grant, would inform whether intervention were appropriate. And, let us further grant, the motivational precipitors of a piece of research (provided they do not obtrude into the analysis) are irrelevant to the assessment of the particular enacted research. But precipitors are relevant insofar as they funnel the kinds of questions asked (it is this issue, for example, that legitimately exercises feminists and their critics), determining what out of the “blooming, buzzing confusion”157 of social structure we consider worthy of knowing. It is tempting to treat shame as an ‘easy’ indicator for further research; but it remains not a good one. Not because it is noisy (though it is that), but because it is systematically biased – it attends to certain aspects of disadvantage but ignores others. I have hitherto fretted mainly about false positives – instances of shame which do not entail anti-poverty action – but we should also fret about false negatives – situations that require intervention, but which are not flagged by shame. Political exclusion, widely construed, provides many examples (for example, shame is implausible as a precipitor of the suffragettes). Smith himself (and this is another ‘problem’ he located yet made no move to attenuate) is sociologically alert to impediments to political participation: In the modern republics . . . the poorer sort are all employed in some necessary occupation. They would therefore find it a very great inconvenience to be obliged to assemble together and debate concerning public affairs . . . Their loss would be much greater than could possibly be made up to them by any means, as they could have but little prospect of advancing to [public] offices. (LJ(A) iv.69) Shame would not issue an alert marker for this mechanism. In our ‘modern republics’ it is now well known that access to health care is mediated by price and availability, but also more subliminally by time-costs of access (the hourly waged lose hours), by knowledge, and expectations of common discourse among educated professionals. The disadvantaged, when they notice, are unlikely to respond with shame. The same holds for the disadvantage occasioned by the ‘unhealthy eating’ of the poor, some at least of which is generated by the constraints under which the poor must purchase and consume food. Likewise for other disadvantages affecting health. The economic infrastructure of inequality, lucidly analysed by Atkinson (2015), if understood by participants, is not understood in terms of shame (see n. 148). Shame manifestly does not locate all relevant disadvantages. Equally, shame may not point to the relevant aspect of a disadvantage. We have already noted that, if we think of internet access, shame at its lack does not point to why its lack matters. On the obesity of poverty (particularly in ‘advanced’ economies) social media may do a discommodingly effective job of shaming on ‘body image’; but that shame does not direct attention to (indeed, distracts attention from) underlying nutritional disadvantage, its causes and life-chance effects. All of the above is written as if the basic empirical identification of shame were unproblematic; it is not. The cultural plurality arguments already made entail that

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  237 knowing that a respondent ‘feels shame’ is insufficient; we need at least some sense of the normative universe inhabited; that does not make for simple question design. There may also be research ethics concerns; even if unpersuaded by Carter’s (2011) thought that people be treated with ‘opacity respect’, asking about your shame has, almost by definition, the potential to be profoundly unsettling. And once we entertain the thought that you may be ashamed of being ashamed it is tempting to label silent respondents as just those who “did not admit to feeling ashamed” (see p. 117 above); a slippery place for an empirical researcher to stand. The considerations delineated in this concluding section are merely concerns (albeit serious), not precluding invocation of shame as a very tentative indicator (in contrast to its invocation as a definer of poverty). Provided the evidence is approached alertly, with active scepticism, we can recognise that (some) shame may be a helpful pointer for (some) areas to be investigated. But, even on this guarded admission of observed shame as a possible indicator, the excitement should lie in understanding the social processes driving the context; not in discovering that some people respond by feeling shame about some things.

8 Conclusion Since this has been a long discussion, there may be merit in listing, in unqualified brutalist form, its central contentions: 1

Amartya Sen did not claim shame as a universal attribute of poverty; writers should cease to assert that he did. 2 Adam Smith, in his oft cited discussion of linen shirts and leather shoes, was not discussing the shame of poverty; so, again despite common practice, should not be invoked as the progenitor of a relativist understanding of consumption poverty. In examining the underpinnings of (2), I had occasion to explore further Smith’s writings on poverty and inequality, and the contrasting literature claiming an egalitarian Smith. My recurring exegetical concern was with the way in which modern readers disregard the discursive structure of eighteenth-century argumentation, with a resulting tendency to extract phrases from context, and so misread role and import. Whence: 3

Key passages invoked by those claiming an ‘egalitarian’ Smith, once contextualised, do not bear the interpretations given; the ‘egalitarian’ case is, at very very best, ‘not proven’. Likewise for those claiming Smith’s concern for the poor.

The acerbic tone of my presentation was occasioned by surprise; when this project was begun, though misinterpretation of Smith by scholars of poverty was not entirely unexpected (and possibly excusable), it was not anticipated that the exegetical Smith literature would be found to be so often based on hasty and

238  K. I. Macdonald partial readings. In the light of (1)–(3), I returned again to the logic of the substantive arguments which might link shame and poverty, concluding: 4

An ability to go about without shame is an unsatisfactory marker for the poverty boundary-line. In understanding poverty, we should focus on the ways in which the disadvantaged are discriminated against, not on the transient and contestable psychology of shame.

Of course shame matters to those who experience it; no argument; the caring might wish to attenuate this shame (and they have choice of a plurality of strategies). Identifying poverty is a different task. So where does this leave our understanding of Smith? His analyses of shame and its possible relation to poverty are unproblematic. His creditable labourer, motivated by a concern to avoid the shame of being thought of bad behaviour, is conceptually and consequentially unproblematic. Smith’s perception of the consequential shame of the poor, from being unnoticed, may be culturally myopic, and (perhaps for that reason) may leave no route to amelioration; but it is, given its causal direction, not logically problematic. For the rest, I have tried to chip away at the interpretative accretions attaching to readings of Smith’s prose. The result is not an egalitarian, even a proto-egalitarian, Smith. If we read his observations as he wrote them, attending to the uses he makes of them, attending to the roles they play within his arguments, we have a simpler, more astringent, eighteenthcentury thinker, puzzling over the organisation of commerce. A thinker, in short, concerned, not with the poor, and not with egalitarian issues, but with an inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations.

Acknowledgements For critique, insight, and comment I am indebted to the following (though I retain ownership of residual errors and follies): Robert Allen, Fran Bennett, Christopher Berry, Richard Breen, Dominic Byatt, Cécile Fabre, Elizabeth Frazer, John Goldthorpe, Daniel Klein, Julian Le Grand, Myra Macdonald, Iain McLean, Brian Nolan, Teresa Smith, Richard Spady, Adam Swift, the Editor, and an anonymous reviewer. I remain grateful (very grateful) to the Warden and Fellows of Nuffield College, Oxford, for their continued provision of academic space to those nominally retired.

Notes In these Notes, page references not otherwise specified point to the present text. 1 Skinner’s retrospective judgement notes his satire: “Meaning and Understanding was sort of fierce. I would never write like that now. . . . I had to re-read it . . . about ten years ago . . . And I was struck, if I may say this, that it was very funny. I thought it had a lot of quite good jokes in it . . . it was a satire amongst other things” (Skinner 2011:2) 2 Collingwood’s earlier formulation of the Skinner concern for extrapolation, echoing Francis Bacon (the natural scientist must ‘put Nature to the question’), runs: “the

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  239









scientific historian puts [books] to the torture, twisting a passage ostensibly about something quite different into an answer to the question he has decided to ask . . . ‘Do you not see that in this passage about a totally different matter it is implied that the author took such-and-such a view of the subject about which you say his text contains nothing?’” (Collingwood, [1939] 1999: 25). Though I have presented this as a precursor of Skinner’s similarly worded observation (perhaps over-relying on that “twisting” and Skinner’s invocation of Collingwood) the statement is not all straightforward to interpret. Collingwood makes the remark within a sequence arguing for scientific history (as against the scissors-and-paste variety), does not (apart from the implication of that one word, ‘twisting’) criticise this example or its implications, and his overall argument here emphasises the merit of scientists being able to ask their own questions. Collingwood’s emphasis on the actor’s aim – see my p. 115 – would push interpretation closer to the Skinner reading; but there is some tension here. 3 Another example of a ‘non-precursor’ would be Ramazzini, cited by Smith, though not on this, who at the start of the eighteenth century, comments on the then contemporary health fad, for office workers, of using ‘standing’ desks, and cites a Brussels correspondent of 1662 who (think ‘reducing car journeys’) observes: “Tis an ugly custom we have brought in of getting in a coach every foot. If we did but walk the fourth part of the way that we ride in a day, the sedentary fatigue might be discussed [i.e. dispelled] by the ambulatory motion” (Ramazzini 1705: 248, 256). Reverting to the Problems for another quasi-psychological, example: Pies (2007) is perhaps on slightly stronger ground than the horseback example when he claims: “Aristotle may have perceived elements of our contemporary bipolar spectrum more than two and a half millennia ago” (Pies 2007:10). ‘Stronger’ because Pies’s selected text (Book XXX:1, 1984: 1498–1502) is, for the Problems, an unusually extended discussion, so the consequences of the empirical observation are more articulated; but only ‘slightly’ because the ‘Aristotelian’ discussion there does not make the connections which a current discussion of the bipolar spectrum would invite. 4 Following standard practice, quotations from Adam Smith are taken from the Glasgow Edition; references are given by part, section, chapter and paragraph. Smith did not deploy italics for emphasis; any such italicisation in the deployed quotations in this paper has been added. 5 Another defensible example of a ‘modern usage’ is Smith’s foreshadowing of the ‘moral luck’ debate – see p. 229. 6 “Res Gestae are not mere action, they are rational action, action which embodies thought. To embody thought is to express it. To express thought is to be language.” (Collingwood [1939] 1999: 25) 7 “When my pupils came to me armed with grotesquely irrelevant refutations of (say) Kant’s ethical theory . . . my move was to reach for a book with the words, ‘Let us see if this is what Kant really said’.” (Collingwood [1939] 2013: 27) 8 Collingwood, perhaps because he initially focusses on highly abstract ideas, ties the identifiability of a question to the clarity of its answer: “If Leibniz . . . was so confused in his mind as to make a complete mess of the job of solving his problem, he was bound at the same time to mix up his own tracks so completely that no reader could see . . . what his problem had been. For one and the same passage states his solution and serves as evidence of what the problem was . . . we only know what the problem was by arguing back from the solution” (Collingwood [1939] 2013: 69–70). This does seem a stronger claim than required; Skinner (1969: 50–51) articulates the unease further, whilst defending Collingwood against consequent misinterpretations. In the case of Adam Smith, as I shall attempt to show, the thrust of Smith’s argument – what he is aiming at – can be discerned, even where his pursuit has been less than successful. 9 It should be clear from the context of his 1983 paper that when Sen writes ‘poverty has an absolute requirement . . .’ he does not mean ‘ineluctable requirement’ but ‘requirement with the logical property of being absolute, i.e. not relative’.

240  K. I. Macdonald 10 In contrast to the creditable labourer’s paternal prohibition on enlisting, Smith describes: “common labourers, the rank of people from which foot soldiers are commonly drawn” (WN I.viii.34) 11 Smith admittedly uses, in his discussion of ‘what is perhaps impossible’, as an exemplar the ‘loss of reason’ (‘the poor wretch, who is in it, laughs and sings’), but explicitly to make a general analytic point about the logic of sympathy. 12 That Smith’s claim about the lack of classical linen is factually incorrect – see e.g. Olson (2008: 143) – does not discredit Smith’s argument here. 13 The salience of the transition ‘from riches to poverty’ is discussed further below, p. 209f. 14 When, later in TMS, Smith reviews theories of others, he is much taken by the Stoics: “The few fragments which have come down to us . . . form, perhaps, one of the most instructive as well as one of the most interesting remains of antiquity. The spirit and manhood of their doctrines make a wonderful contrast with the desponding, plaintive, and whining tone of some modem systems” (TMS VII.2.1.29). The entailed devaluing of material circumstances has been held to indicate a tension in Smith’s writing; I assess that interpretation in §6.5, p. 199f. 15 The more, however, we follow Smith into the invocation of psychological adaptation as justification for his ‘impartial spectator’ the more alien it becomes to current deployment. 16 Though Smith in (WN V.ii.k.6) is clear that the responsible waged labourer responds to increases in the price of luxuries by moderating consumption, earlier in WN we find a different analysis: “The money price of labour is necessarily regulated by two circumstances; the demand for labour, and the price of the necessaries and conveniencies of life” (WN I.viii.52). That inconsistency however is irrelevant to our present argument, about Smith’s subject matter. 17 Even were we to grant the Rothschild and Sen reading of the ‘shame’ passage as being about poverty, there is no evidence (in WN or TMS) that Smith saw poverty as a matter of ‘unfreedoms’; this Rothschild and Sen conceptualisation is not Smith’s. 18 Note Smith’s defence, in the quoted WN V.ii.k.7 passage, of taxes which act as sumptuary laws; this is pertinent for evaluation of commentary which reads him otherwise – see my discussion, p. 187. 19 I develop the dissimilarity between Smith and Swift, p. 147f. 20 On Smith’s robust views on population, see my discussion of minimum wages, p. 166, and on homeostatic mechanisms, p. 207. 21 The assumption, that workers’ wages were adequate, may not be veridical – admittedly “Smith seems more than a little out of touch with the difficulties of life for so many people even in proximate 18th century England and Scotland” (Forman-Barzilai 2010: 147) – but that is, for the argument here, immaterial. 22 Smith’s usage of ‘sympathy’, pace Hill (2007: 17, 2012: 8), is not an ‘eccentric use of the term’. 23 The equivalent WN passage, WN V.i.g.12, quoted p. 134, to the TMS depiction of the unheeded poor, restricts the ‘obscurity and darkness’ to the urban poor (“while he remains in a country village his conduct may be attended to”; see also n. 31); but both passages emphasise social standing – disregarding that family, or indeed place of employ, might notice comings in and goings out. Further, though I eschew much reliance on ‘contextual’ interpretation, Smith (and his readers) would surely have recognised his use here of a frequent Old Testament phrase – as in Psalm 121:8, or again: “if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God . . . blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out” (Deuteronomy 28:1, 6). Against that background, Smith’s assertion reads even more starkly: “the poor man goes out and comes in unheeded”. 24 I examine the ‘necessary’ component that Smith perceives in the moral misunderstanding of admiration for the ‘rich and powerful’ on p. 209.

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  241 25 The dramaturgy of a lecture, and the instability of student transcription, obviously entail that LJ should carry less interpretative leverage than considered text, particularly in the fine detail of the wording; but the particular excerpt on the difficulty of upward movement is coherent with Smith’s general position. In what follows I try to restrict invocation of LJ to illustrations or elaborations of arguments that Smith himself published (i.e. in TMS or WN). The adventitious nature of lectures is neatly illustrated by this account that Smith gave of his presentation strategy: “During one whole session a certain student with a plain but expressive countenance was of great use to me . . . He sat conspicuously in front of a pillar . . . If he leant forward to listen all was right . . . but if he leant back in an attitude of listlessness I felt at once that all was wrong, and I must change either the subject or the style of my address” (cited Ross 2010: 125). A kindlier reading of such a responsive lecture context is, however, possible: “Smith would not be much concerned about how his words would have sounded to those beyond the immediately congregated. . . . [LJ] provides a candour and casualness that we do not have in the works composed and released by Smith for publication.” (Klein 2017b: 430). LJ(A) and LJ(B) are by two different reporters, of two different presentations, of the Lectures. 26 Smith’s treatment of the improvement of wages is discussed in §6.2, p. 169f. 27 The general issue of an apparent disjunction in tone between WN and TMS is discussed fully in §6.5, p. 199f. 28 Smith sees the poor as already tolerably fed and clothed: “It is the great multiplication of the productions of all the different arts, in consequence of the division of labour, which occasions, in a well-governed society, that universal opulence which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people” (WN I.i.10) “If we examine [the meanest labourer’s] economy with rigour, we should find that be spends a great part of [his wages] upon conveniences, which may be regarded as superfluities” (TMS I.iii.2.1). 29 Rasmussen in his paper on Smith and inequality, reading the ‘shame’ passage (incorrectly) as being about ‘extreme economic inequality’ (Rasmussen 2016: 350), suggests that sympathy would vary with degree of (economic) inequality; this is at best a contestable extrapolation, from a subset of Smith principles, to an issue on which Smith is silent. 30 As I shall argue (p. 170f.), the interpretative invocation of the ‘difference principle’ mistakenly conflates Smith’s empirical interest in the poor with Rawls’s moral interest in the disadvantaged. 31 In 1750 about a quarter of the population lived in towns/cities of 5,000 people or more (Allen 2017: 6); this only rose to a half by 1850. 32 Smith on distant suffering: “Whatever interest we take in the fortune of those . . . who are placed altogether out of the sphere of our activity, can produce only anxiety to ourselves, without any manner of advantage to them . . . All men, even those at the greatest distance, are no doubt entitled to our good wishes, and our good wishes we naturally give them. But if, notwithstanding, they should be unfortunate, to give ourselves any anxiety upon that account, seems to be no part of our duty. That we should be but little interested . . . in the fortune of those whom we can neither serve nor hurt . . . seems wisely ordered by Nature; and if it were possible to alter in this respect the original constitution of our frame, we could yet gain nothing by the change” (TMS III.3.9). This apparent realism despite Smith’s own moral censure, cited note 60 below; as Ward (2015: 10) remarks “Smith’s rhetoric here ignores the increasingly global world he inhabited”. On the associated spatial issue of the ‘reach’ of Smith’s sympathy, see, for insightful discussion, Forman-Barzilai (2010: 139f). 33 “The great mob of mankind are the admirers and worshippers, and what may seem more extraordinary, most frequently the disinterested admirers and worshippers of wealth and greatness” (TMS I.iii.3.2). 34 Smith’s characterisation of sects echoes Hume’s analysis (Rasmussen 2017: 175), though where Smith sees self-balancing diversity, Hume infers the need for an established church.

242  K. I. Macdonald 35 On public diversions, the state should act “by giving entire liberty to all those who for their own interest would attempt without scandal or indecency, to amuse and divert the people by painting, poetry, music, dancing; by all sorts of dramatic representations and exhibitions” (WN V.i.g.15). This endorsement of the ‘dramatic’ moves away from an earlier position (whilst at Glasgow Smith actively opposed the establishment of a playhouse in the city, Ross 2010: 154), but Smith is explicit that the implementation involves no charge on the state; it only grants the ‘liberty’. Elsewhere, in WN V.i.i.5, Smith concedes there would be no injustice in state provision of education, just “some advantage” in payment. by “those who receive the immediate benefit”; he makes a similar move on road taxation, p. 181. 36 Smith’s intrinsic advocacy of basic education is discussed at pp. 141–2f. 37 Fuller quotation of the ‘exclusion’ passage appears on p. 135; for Smith’s recognition of further time-constraints on political participation see LJ(A) iv.69 (reported p. 236). 38 As LJ(B) 210 summarises: “Writing, to record the multitude of transactions, and geometry, which serves many useful purposes.” 39 On the podium, Smith was more flamboyant: “It is remarkable that in every commercial nation the low people are exceedingly stupid. The Dutch vulgar are eminently so, and the English are more so than the Scotch. The rule is general; in towns they are not so intelligent as in the country, nor in a rich country as in a poor one” (LJ(B) 329). 40 “In the year 1745 four or five thousand naked unarmed Highlanders took possession of the improved parts of this country without any opposition from the unwarlike inhabitants . . . These are the disadvantages of a commercial spirit. The minds of men are contracted . . . education is despised . . . and heroic spirit is almost utterly extinguished. To remedy these defects would be an object worthy of serious attention.” (LJ(B) 331–333). Thus lectured, in 1766, the Lowland professor. But though it is tempting to scoff, Smith’s admiration for military valour was apparently sincere: James Boswell records that ‘Mr Smith at Glasgow once told me that his friends had cut his throat in not allowing him to be a soldier’ (cited Ross 2010: 3) 41 Smith’s derivation of inventive workmen is further discussed, p. 195f. 42 “Premiums [prizes] given by the public [state] to artists [craftsmen] and manufacturers who excel in their particular occupations, are not liable to the same objections as bounties [subsidies]. . . Their tendency is but to render the work . . . as perfect and complete as possible. The expense of premiums [prizes], besides, is very trifling . . . Bounties are sometimes called premiums . . . [b]ut we must in all cases attend to the nature of the thing, without paying any regard to the word” (WN IV.v.a.39–40) On Smith’s critique of bounties see Elmslie (2004). 43 The low cost of London lodgings “arises in part from the peculiar manners and customs of the people . . . A tradesman in London is obliged to hire a whole house in that part of the town where his customers live. His shop is upon the ground-floor, and he and his family sleep in the garret . . . letting the two middle stories to lodgers. He expects to maintain his family by his trade, and not by his lodgers”. (WN I.x.b.52) 44 Smith himself doubts the implied customary skill distinction amongst trades (“in the greater part it is quite otherwise” WN I.x.b.8); in contrast to husbandry, “there is scarce any common mechanic trade . . . of which all the operations may not be as completely and distinctly explained in a pamphlet of a very few pages” (WN I.x.c.23). And, as discussed pp. 155–6, he is critical of the utility of these apprenticeship constraints: but the conventional distinction is readily drawn. 45 The ‘Scotch Pebbles’ were agates, or similar semi-precious stones. 46 The most persuasive evidence for the ‘French’ view of Smith’s caution is perhaps the report of Du Pont de Nemours (cited in Ross 2010: 228) that, ‘in the home of M. Quesnay’, Smith agreed that taxes on commodities consumed by labourers were inflationary, admittedly not quite the view expressed in WN. But an alternate understanding is that the luxuries/necessaries distinction of WN is intended precisely to

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  243 clarify the issue of which commodities; so we have a development, not a suppression, of ‘real opinions’. 47 As Rasmussen (2016: 345) correctly emphasises: “This ‘mercantile system’ was, of course, Smith’s central polemical foe in Book IV of WN”. Endres (1991) provides an analysis of the effect of this on the compositional style of that Book. 48 Interestingly, Hugh Blair (Corr. 151) chastises Smith for some of the WN discussion of America, seeing, in 1776, that as “too much like a publication for the present moment”. Hume, writing also in 1776, but before WN publication, seems of like mind: “The Duke of Bucleugh tells me, that you are very zealous in American affairs. My notion is, that the matter is not so important as is commonly imagined.” (Corr. 149). But the concern for America fits well with Smith’s overall arguments on commerce (for further evidence of the vivacity of Smith’s concern see Ross 2010: 264, quoting a jocular contemporary suggestion that Smith might onetime have been thought, given his views, in danger, in parts of Scotland, of being ‘tarred and feathered’). 49 The one Swift reference in WN is to straightforward argument: “The high duties which have been imposed upon . . . importation . . . have in many cases served only to encourage smuggling; and in all cases have reduced the revenue . . . The saying of Dr. Swift, that in the arithmetic of the customs two and two, instead of making four, make sometimes only one, holds perfectly true with regard to such heavy duties” (WN V.ii.k.27). The likely source, An Answer to a Paper called ‘A Memorial of the poor Inhabitants, Tradesmen, and Labourers of the Kingdom of Ireland’, is good knock-about Swiftian polemic (“Sir . . . your paper is a very crude piece, liable to more objections than there are lines”), but the tools deployed are not satirical, just (forceful) argument: “I will tell you a secret, which I learned many years ago from the commissioners of the customs in London: they said, when any commodity appeared to be taxed above a moderate rate, the consequence was, to lessen that branch of the revenue by one half; and one of those gentlemen pleasantly told me, that the mistake of parliaments, on such occasions, was owing to an error of computing two and two to make four; whereas, in the business of laying impositions, two and two never made more than one; which happens by lessening the import [i.e. importation], and the strong temptation of running [i.e. smuggling] such goods as paid high duties”. This (pace Smith’s comment in LRBL i.91, quoted below) has Swift giving reasons for an opinion. 50 Ross (2010: 84), attending to the pedagogic context in which LRBL were delivered, sees Smith as discussing the peculiarly Scottish perception of Swift; a verdict on this does not affect my present argument. 51 The quotation comes from a long first footnote to The principles which lead and direct philosophical enquiries; illustrated by the history of the ancient logics and metaphysics. Melze (2014: 29) invokes Smith’s stance here as representing the “whole of the ‘other side’” in the debate on esotericism in philosophy. He then claims, in a footnote (Melze 2014: 372), that, despite this, the later Smith “employed a good deal of caution and art in his own discussion of religion”; but caution is not misdirection, and, as noted (p. 146), religion is in any case a separable issue. 52 On the substantive issue of the invisible hand, Nussbaum (in press, 31) is clearly right: “what is surprising about the occurrence of the phrase ‘the invisible hand’ in TMS is that anything much has been made of it”. For a judicious account of the historical context see Harrison (2011). 53 Schliesser (2017) was published after the present paper was formed, but since he ‘elaborate[s] on the line of argument that has been developed during the last three decades’ by others, my evaluation of Schliesser’s theses on the working poor can be left implicit in my evaluation of that prior research. However, one autonomous Schliesser move is analysed at p. 156. 54 An extreme instance of ignored context appears on p. 170; other examples can be found at p. 165, p. 170f, p. 187, p. 193, p.205f.

244  K. I. Macdonald 55 These unjust colonial constraints include “an absolute prohibition upon the erection of steel furnaces” (WN IV.vii.b.42); but Smith observes: “Unjust . . . as such prohibitions may be, they have not hitherto been very hurtful” (WN IV.vii.b.44) 56 One jurisdiction of the period elegantly sidestepped the conceptual infelicity of action after death: “In Scotland . . . an estate . . . can only be disposed of by a disposition of the same sort as that by which property is transferred amongst the living.” (LJ(A) i.153) – the transferor executed a conveyance of the land, to be put into effect after his death: essentially an event-dated present contract. 57 The ‘buried out of sight’ phrase of ED matches the ‘poor man goes out and comes in unheeded’ of TMS I.iii.2.1 (reported p. 129) and the ‘sunk in obscurity and darkness’ of WN V.i.g.12 (reported p. 134). 58 I extend this discussion on the difference principle at p. 169f., looking at specifically WN-related claims. 59 Rothschild’s handling of ‘equity, besides’ I address specifically p. 171, p. 174. 60 Upon receiving intelligence that great empire of China was suddenly swallowed up by an earthquake: “He would, I imagine, first of all express very strongly his sorrow for the misfortune of that unhappy people . . . He would, too, perhaps, if he was a man of speculation, enter into many reasonings concerning the effects which this disaster might produce upon the commerce of Europe, and the trade and business of the world in general. And when all this fine philosophy was over . . . he would pursue his business or his pleasure . . . as if no such accident had happened.” (TMS III.3.4) 61 Smith’s later remarks on master–workman power asymmetry in wage negotiation (see p. 204) are in similar mode. 62 Though Smith sometimes deploys ‘regulated’ in the more familiar modern sense of legal regulation, he also uses it, as here in WN I.viii.28, to point to simple causal determination: “the quantity of industry annually employed is necessarily regulated by the annual demand” (WN I.x.b.46), “custom everywhere regulates fashion” (WN I.ix.20); “the demand for men, like that for any other commodity, necessarily regulates the production of men” (WN I.viii.40, quoted more fully p. 207) 63 Smith’s dispassionate account of the interconnection between economy and population is further examined at p. 207. 64 On the ‘equity besides’ passage, and on Rawls, see the next section, §6.2 p. 169f. The Salter quotation, cited p. 153, was addressing Smith’s usage of the term ‘justice’. 65 Though Clary misreads the ‘necessities’ quotation: “Smith . . . adhered . . . to a social measure of subsistence . . . Relative income deprivation can deprive people of social functioning and social participation, such as appearing in public without being ashamed.” (Clary 2005: 1067–8) 66 Some of Kaufman’s attributions to Smith are, however, bizarre: “Smith observes  .  .  .  that a pair of shoes was regarded by the working poor in wealthier England as a ‘necessary’ but in poorer Scotland they went shoeless and defined a necessary as a coarse over-garment” (Kaufman 2016: 41) – a travesty of WN V.ii.k.3, quoted p. 121. 67 Smith on the price of bread: “[w]here there is an exclusive corporation [i.e. monopoly], it may perhaps be proper to regulate the price of the first necessity of life. But where there is none, the competition will regulate it much better than any assize [i.e. edict]” (WN I.x.c.62). 68 It has, in the literature, been insufficiently remarked that much Smith economic analysis focuses on the import of variation, or regularity, in ratios (‘proportions’ in his terminology), rather than variation in quantities. 69 Fleischacker’s invocation of the difference principle on the evidence of ED has already been discussed, p. 162. 70 Witztum and Young (2006: 445) cite the equity passage, and (WN I.viii.1), and write (emphases added): “Based on these references, we follow the line according to which the origin of property rights is the expectations that people have of the proposed use

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  245 of an asset”. Neither the internal structure of that conclusion, nor its derivation, make sense, and will not be further discussed. 71 Others of Smith’s apparently moral phrases, such as ‘common humanity’ or ‘relief of the poor’ are misread as such; see respectively §6.1, p. 163f., and the next section, §6.3, p. 180f. 72 The other nine ‘at first sight’ interpretations in WN, all immediately contradicted, are: “It seems absurd at first sight that we should despise [players, opera-singers, operadancers], and yet reward their talents with the most profuse liberality. While we do the one, however, we must of necessity do the other” (WN I.x.b.25); “This notion [gold imports lowered interest rates], which at first sight seems so plausible, has been so fully exposed by Mr. Hume, that it is, perhaps, unnecessary to say anything more about it” (WN II.iv.9); “The interest of the inland dealer, and that of the great body of the people, how opposite soever they may at first sight appear, are. . . exactly the same” (WN IV.b.3); “[this] may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers” (WN IV.vii.c.63); “At first sight, no doubt, the monopoly of the great commerce of America naturally seems to be an acquisition of the highest value. To the undiscerning eye of giddy ambition, it naturally presents itself as a very dazzling object” (WN IV.vii.c.85); “though at first sight he appears . . . he in reality . . .” (WN IV.ix.12); “The invention of fire-arms . . . which at first sight appears to be so pernicious, is certainly favourable . . . to the extension of civilization” (WN V.i.a.44); “It may naturally be thought, at first sight, that the ecclesiastics belong to the first class . . . But if we consider the matter more closely . . .” (WN V.i.g.5–6); “At first sight. . . interest . . . seems to be a subject as fit to be taxed directly as the rent of land. There are, however, two different circumstances [i.e. considerations, not events] which render . . . interest . . . a much less proper subject of direct taxation than the rent of land” (WN V.ii.f.3–4). The three instances of the phrase in TMS – TMS II.iii.2, IV.2.16, VII. ii.4.6 – are similarly deployed. 73 Fleischacker (2004: 11), in his helpful introduction to reading the text, notes this tendency in Smith but links it only to Aristotle; the habit was much wider. Failure to recognise the convention of presenting opposing argument may be part reason why Herzog, as shown, p. 170, misunderstands what Smith is about when he expounds at length the views of French intellectuals on unproductive labour. 74 Pace Waterman, Smith did not favour a wage ‘regime’; does not defend ‘high’ wages; advances many more than three reasons; and does not quite say that ‘justice requires it’. 75 The erudite Editors of the Glasgow edition note that Lochiel’s situation was not necessarily so devoid of legal authority as Smith implies; but that does not matter for the force of the ostensive definition of equity. 76 Smith on the tension between equity and enacted legislation: “some years ago the British nation took a fancy (a very whimsical one indeed) that the wealth and strength of the nation depended entirely on the flourishing of their woollen trade, and that this could not prosper if the exportation of wool was permitted. To prevent this it was enacted that the exportation of wool should be punished with death. This exportation was no crime at all, in natural equity, and was very far from deserving so high a punishment in the eyes of the people; they therefore found that while this was the punishment they could get neither jury nor informers.” (LJ(A) ii.91–92) 77 It will not have escaped notice that Smith’s formulation of equity (as in his discussion on education, see p. 143) ignores half of humanity (given his undeveloped account of domestic eighteenth-century labour – though he has traces of such an account: when provisions are cheap “women return to their parents, and commonly spin in order to make clothes for themselves and their families. . . .. The produce of their labour, therefore, frequently makes no figure in [the] public registers” WN I.viii.51). But that, though important in the real world, is not an issue peculiar to Smith’s argument here.

246  K. I. Macdonald 78 As Young’s (1995) lucid and intelligent volume makes plain, specification of what in general ‘equity’ might entail requires thought. 79 “The price of labour, it must be observed, cannot be ascertained very accurately anywhere, different prices being often paid at the same place and for the same sort of labour, not only according to the different abilities of the workmen, but according to the easiness or hardness of the master”, WN I.viii.34. 80 Further claimed instances of argument from intrinsic equality are demystified below, §6.4, p. 192f. 81 Smith’s views on demography and the lower bound of wages has already been noted, p. 165; his astringent account of the upper bound is discussed further on pp. 207–8. His overall views on the interaction between population and resources are well presented by Chisick (1990: 335f.). 82 In an alternate, perhaps stronger, formulation: “The liberal reward of labour, therefore, as it is the necessary effect, so it is the natural symptom of increasing national wealth” (WN I.viii.27) 83 Arthur Young is quoted in truncated form by, for example, Fleischacker (2004: 305, 2016: 49), whereas Himmelfarb (1984: 51–52) and Rosenberg (1975: 379) capitalise, without so noting, the first letter, so removing any lingering trace of any omitted preceding clause. 84 The same query over the correct account of Smith’s project could be raised over Himmelfarb’s (1984: 62) description of Smith’s views as “notably progressive”. 85 Some ninety years ago Gay (1927) noted that Young’s road data did not match his commonly cited ‘views’ on roads. 86 For modern readings of Arthur Young see, for example, Humphries’ (1990) deployment of his information on enclosures, and the overviews by Brunt (2003) and Jones (2012). 87 The poor’s consumption of tea is something of a Young obsession: “Where ever I came, everybody agreed in their assertions on this head; whether they were for or against the poor in their arguments, made no difference; all united in the assertion, that the practice [of tea] twice a day was constant, and it was inconceivable how much it impoverished [the poor]” (Young 1771 IV: 351, emphasis added). 88 Martin (2011: 119–120) has an informed discussion of Smith’s wider views on the mechanisms affecting wages 89 Smith when he mentions an individual shifting rank upwards is disparaging, quotations p. 131 and p. 197 (though a fall is, unsurprisingly seen as a misfortune, quotation p. 122), and he takes the distinction of ranks to be worth defending, quotation pp. 208–9. 90 Though Smith recognises that employers might adopt extant machinery to offset high wages, he nowhere considers economic pressure for the invention or production of machinery (a key factor, as Allen 2017: 35f. argues, in determining why the industrial revolution was – initially – British). For example, just within Smith’s time, the ingenious scheme of Boulton and Watt for extracting revenue: mine pumps were installed at cost, profit came from an annual charge “equal to one-third of the savings of the fuel costs attained by the Watt engine in comparison with the Newcomen engine” (Nuvolari 2004: 353). The closest Smith comes to the issue is in LJ, discussing ‘exclusive privileges’ in the form of 14-year copyright in books and inventions, but here the focus is on individual returns, within general disapprobation for such privileges: “These two privileges . . . as they can do no harm and may do some good, are not to be altogether condemned. But there are few so harmless” (LJ(A) ii.33). The copyright practice (“a temporary monopoly) is alluded to, not examined, at WN V.i.e.30, but not otherwise discussed in relation to invention within WN. And, understandably, given his focus on material commodities, Smith is even less well positioned to analyse a service economy; holding that the labour of the service worker “does not fix or realize itself in any particular subject or vendible commodity. His services generally perish in the very instant of their performance, and seldom leave any trace or value behind them” (WN II.ii.1).

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  247 91 The other taxation maxims (WN V.ii.b.4–6) are: secondly “The tax which each individual is bound to pay ought to be certain, and not arbitrary”; thirdly “Every tax ought to be levied at the time, or in the manner, in which it is most likely to be convenient for the contributor to pay it”; and fourthly “Every tax ought to be so contrived as both to take out and to keep out of the pockets of the people as little as possible, over and above what it brings into the public treasury of the state”. Of these, the fourth, for Smith, speaks to the widest range of unanticipated consequences (namely: obstruction of industry; smuggling; bankruptcy; and overheads and vexation – “though vexation is not, strictly speaking, expense” – in collection). 92 Boucoyannis also in places misleading summarises Smith in a way which gives undue succour to those seeking a ‘caring’ Smith – “He consistently advises against taxing the working poor” Boucoyannis (2013: 1058). But as reported (p. 127), Smith is quite prepared to tax the luxuries of the poor, even at the cost of ‘distress’; the taxes he objects to are only those which raise wages. See also Smith’s endorsement of the productivity of taxes on the poor in WN V.ii.k.43–44, reproduced p. 186. 93 The ‘other three’ taxation maxims were reported in note 91. 94 “Taxes upon such consumable goods as are articles of luxury, are all finally paid by the consumer, and generally in a manner that is very convenient for him. He pays them by little and little, as he has occasion to buy the goods. As he is at liberty too, either to buy, or not to buy as he pleases, it must be his own fault if he ever suffers any considerable inconveniency from such taxes.” (WN V.ii.b.5) 95 Smith’s focus on particulars is also active in TMS; Griswold in an engaging article on its rhetoric notes “the remarkable role played by examples throughout Smith’s discussion. We are asked over and over again to consider this or that situation and this or that reaction to a situation, and to draw the appropriate moral” (Griswold 1991: 217). 96 By ‘home-made’ liquors Smith means ‘non-foreign’; the modern sense of ‘home made’ is not pertinent; we have already (p. 154) noted Smith’s discussion of the anomaly that brewing for private use attracted no taxation. 97 “The [slaves] accordingly have almost everywhere their allowance of rum and of molasses or spruce beer, in the same manner as the white servants; and this allowance would not probably be withdrawn, though those articles should be subjected to moderate duties. The consumption of the taxed commodities, therefore, in proportion to the number of inhabitants, would probably be as great in America and the West Indies as in any part of the British empire” (WN V.ii.68). 98 Following the surrender at Saratoga, Sinclair, lamenting the misfortunes of the American war exclaimed: “If we go on at this rate, the nation must be ruined.” Smith replied: “Be assured, my young friend, that there is a great deal of ruin in a nation.” (Corr. 221, n.3) 99 It is also pertinent that, when exploring a revision of taxation on the production of alcoholic beverages, Smith notes the extant “policy of Great Britain to discourage the consumption of spirituous liquors [i.e. not beer, ale], on account of their supposed tendency to ruin the health and to corrupt the morals of the common people” (WN V.ii.k.50) and (despite the slight distancing suggested by ‘supposed tendency’) is at pains to show how the proposed revision would not subvert that ‘policy of Great Britain’. 100 Berry, personal communication. 101 The ‘insufficient knowledge’ argument in the discussion of sovereign duty, if it were to defeat sumptuary laws should also defeat sumptuary taxation. 102 In the event, the overall lack of success of the Wilberforce and Beaufoy scheme seems attributable to the fluctuations in herring – that ‘shifting and ambulatory fish’ in the words of a contemporary – and at least one village, at Wick, was a success, see Youngson 1973: 131, 133; so Smith’s analysis was perhaps misplaced. The Youngson (1973) volume provides an illuminating explication of an aspect of local, Highland, economic intervention which Smith, given his aims, disregards.

248  K. I. Macdonald 103 Both LJ and ED provide information on Smith’s developing economic arguments, but have to be read with caution: one is a report, admittedly of views publicly affirmed, but a report not by Smith; the other, admittedly in Smith’s own words, is merely an interim draft – one, as we have already noted, p. 161, at times differing from WN. 104 Smith sees Protagoras as teaching the fashionable conjunction of philosophy and rhetoric to the children of the ‘better sort of people’ (WN V.i.f.43), thus making a living “splendid even to ostentation” (WN I.x.c.39); Smith’s familiar contempt for the “cobweb science of ontology” (WN V.i.f.29) is also pertinent. 105 Raphael’s second objection to Fleischacker’s reading, though it suffices, is less dramatic than presented: Smith’s own words in ED 26 are, unlike the reported LJ from roughly the same date, indistinguishable from the later WN. 106 The subsequent fate of the theory of the division of labour is immaterial (Stigler in 1976 labelled it one of Smith’s ‘improper failures’: “there is no evidence, so far as I know, of any serious advance in the theory of the subject since his time” Stigler 1976: 1209). Our concern is with Smith’s manifested intent. 107 Whether the familiar argument (from indistinguishability to equality of treatment) would form a tenable argument is another matter – see Carter’s (2011) dissection of such empirically based claims. The argument that childhood indistinguishability forms a strong ground for treating mature adults equally is not in itself persuasive. Contrast extrapolation had Smith written: “Considering the murderer and his schoolfellow, the parson, they were, for the first six or eight years of their existence, very much alike, and neither their parents nor play-fellows could perceive any remarkable difference.” Nothing on equality of treatment would follow. 108 Other portions of WN V.i.f.50 have already been reported – p. 141. 109 The range of ‘machines’ covers simple tools: “that very simple machine, the shears with which the shepherd clips the wool” (WN I.i.11); “A musket is a more expensive machine than a javelin or a bow and arrows” (WN V.ii.a.43); “The miller and his servant will do more with the water mill than a dozen with the hand mill, though it too be a machine” (LJ(B) 217). 110 The punctilious Editors of the Glasgow edition add, to Smith’s account of the development of steam-engines, the footnote: “The story that follows seems untrue. See Derry & Williams 1960: 316–319”. Yet Smith’s overall empirical emphasis on local innovation captures one important strand in technological development of the period: “in iron as in textiles, small anonymous gains were probably more important in the long run than the major inventions that have been remembered in history books” (Landes 1969: 92). 111 The ‘beautiful machines’ of this paragraph are specifically ‘clocks and watches’, but invoked by Smith to make a general point. The Editors of the Glasgow edition drily note that in relation to the botched repair of his own watch – “I suppose he had given her to some of his apprentices” Corr. 125 – Smith was more hesitant about the ease of acquisition of competence. 112 “The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects too are, perhaps, always the same, or very nearly the same, has no occasion to exert his understanding . . .” (WN V.i.f.50), quoted more fully p. 141. 113 Smith’s optimistic tales of great fortunes acquired “in consequence of a long life of industry, frugality, and attention” are restricted to wholesale and retail trades in great towns (WN I.x.b.38), as are ‘great fortunes from small beginnings’ restricted to urban ‘trade and manufactures’ (WN I.x.c.21, II.v.37) 114 LJ(A) only weakly prefigures the LJ(B) phrasing: “an old family excites no such jealousy as an upstart does” (LJ(A) V.229). 115 Nussbaum’s observation (reported p. 194) of the way in which, for Smith, conditions of life form the person, is here again pertinent. 116 As should not by now need saying: I hold Hanley’s invoked ‘well-known’ view to be not correctly known.

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  249 117 https://www.press.umich.edu/212207/street_porter_and_the_philosopher, July 2016, emphasis added. 118 Le Grand (1997: 149), in an engaging, and, as Taylor-Gooby et al. (2000: 375) note, influential article on knights and knaves in social policy, the basis of a later book, quotes, from Hume, as if it were Hume’s view: “In contriving any system of government . . . every man ought to be supposed a knave and to have no other end . . . than private interest” (Hume 1742 [1963]: 40). But Le Grand has truncated the quotation, inserting that capital, and ignoring Hume’s qualifying preamble: “Political writers have established it as a maxim, that in contriving any system of government . . .”. That qualifier, to those who know their Hume (never fond of the maxims of others), flags a familiar distancing move. Sure enough, a mere two pages later, Hume, with characteristic bite, observes of this precept: “it appears somewhat strange that a maxim should be true in politics which is false in fact”. Le Grand’s book-length treatment uses the (again truncated) observation as an epigraph, the text cites “Hume’s maxim that everyone is a knave” (2003: 12), but a footnote now reports “Hume went on to muse that it ‘appears somewhat strange that a maxim should be true in politics which is false in fact’” (2003: 12, n.15). ‘Muse’ would not be my reading. None of this disempowers Le Grand’s argument; but it may modify our view of Hume. 119 “During the age which nourished the founders of all the principal sects of ancient philosophy . . . the different republics of Greece were . . . distracted by the most furious factions, and . . . involved in the most sanguinary wars . . . [those philosophers] endeavoured, therefore, to show that happiness was either altogether, or at least in a great measure, independent of fortune” (TMS VII.ii.1.28). 120 Nussbaum’s invocation of a ‘touchstone . . . question’ for Smith is first-cousin to Fleischacker’s invocation of a social-mobility motivation – see p. 152. 121 Though I criticize Nussbaum’s later use of (WN I.x.c.61), her initial introduction of the reference accurately captures the logic of Smith’s analytic/empirical stance. 122 Smith’s earlier discussion of the power of masters over workmen (discussed on p. 165) located empirical lower limits to wages. 123 The WN paragraph cited continues the child-as-plant metaphor, discussing “the common people, who cannot afford to tend [their children] with the same care as those of better station” (WN I.viii.38). LJ also takes the fragile plant metaphor as referencing not human dignity but the child simpliciter: “A child is a very delicate plant, one that requires a great deal of care and attendance, and attention in the rearing” (LJ(A) iii.132). 124 “This [the decaying maintenance of labour] . . . is nearly the present state of Bengal . . . a fertile country which had before been much depopulated, where subsistence, consequently, should not be very difficult . . . The difference between the genius of the British constitution which protects and governs North America, and that of the mercantile company which oppresses and domineers in the East Indies, cannot perhaps be better illustrated than by the different state of those countries” (WN I.viii.26) 125 On defining ‘prosperity’ by contrast: “rent and wages, rise with the prosperity, and fall with the declension of the society” (WN I.xi.p.10). 126 This 50 per cent estimate for childhood mortality is also the figure reported, (WN I.viii.15) from Richard Cantillon’s Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en Général (mss. c1730); Smith in LJ presents a similar, but unevidenced, consensus, but then adds his own observations on class differentials: “It is generally reckoned that the half of mankind die before 5 years of age. But this is the case only with the meaner and poorer sort . . . The better sort, who can afford attendance and attention to their children, seldom lose near so many. Few women of middling rank who have born 8 children have lost 4 by the time they are 5 years old, and frequently none of them at all. It is therefore neglect alone that is the cause of this great mortality” (LJ(A) iii.132). 127 The ‘mere poverty excites little compassion’ passage was quoted on p. 122, though Nussbaum also notes its elaboration: “[Poverty’s] complaints are too apt to be the

250  K. I. Macdonald objects rather of contempt than of fellow-feeling. We despise a beggar; and, though his importunities may extort an alms from us, he is scarce ever the object of any serious commiseration” 128 Fleischacker, gesturing towards even-handedness, launches a misconceived discussion around this phrase: “As against these sorts of egalitarian passages [discussed above p. 192f.] . . . one might mention his references to the undiscerning eyes of ‘the mob’ . . . [but] . . . language deriding ‘the mob’ is eighteenth century boilerplate, something Smith easily may have included as part of the rhetorical conventions of his time”. As an interpretative move this is misguided. Even were it ‘boilerplate’, are we to be held not responsible for things that we express in a conventional manner (think, if argument be needed, of racist remarks; or Trumpian ‘locker-room’; or indeed of formulaic academic writing)? But Smith’s usage is not here ‘boilerplate’. The emotional baggage of ‘mob’ may differ in eighteenth-century usage; that would be fair caution. But, consistently, Smith’s argument does not rest on boilerplated emotion, but upon an explicit (claimed) behaviour of the identified group. Besides, the effective critique of the ‘egalitarian passages’ is not that they might be at odds with occasional Smith phrases; it is that, as I have shown, they are not properly read as ‘egalitarian passages’. 129 Smith is not committed to any claim that the natural is, in aggregate, beneficial. For example, he notes that inheritance has to be based on “some plain and evident difference which can admit of no dispute. Among the children of the same family, there can be no indisputable difference but that of sex, and that of age” (WN III.ii.3). After sketching the advantages, and persistence, of male primogeniture he proceeds to the critique we have already met on p. 159. 130 This thought – that the fall is, most likely, the fault of the person – is consistently linked with the thought that it is the fall which elicits sympathy. It may be at its most striking in the ‘mere poverty’ (TMS III.3.18) passage, but it reappears throughout TMS: “Our sympathy . . . with deep distress is very strong and very sincere . . . If . . . by some extraordinary misfortune you are fallen into poverty, into diseases, into disgrace and disappointment; even though your own fault may have been, in part, the occasion, yet you may generally depend upon the sincerest sympathy of all your friends . . . But . . . if you have only been a little baulked in your ambition, if you have only been jilted by your mistress, or are only hen-pecked by your wife, lay your account with the raillery of all your acquaintance” (TMS I.ii.5.4). Again this is a tale told about, and from the perspective of, the ‘superior ranks’ (those friends). 131 “A man with a wooden leg suffers, no doubt . . . [but] comes to view it . . . as an inconveniency under which he can enjoy all the ordinary pleasures both of solitude and of society” (TMS III.3.29). 132 “occasions for apt but counterproductive anger present victims of injustice with substantive normative conflicts, conflicts that themselves plausibly constitute a form of second-order injustice” (Srinivasan 2018: 136). 133 If I assert “My grandparents, on Na h-Eileanan Siar in the late 1800s, were incontestably poor; also incontestably unashamed by their lives”, this, though true, sounds rhetorical flourish. But it does remind that – at a normative, human, level – if we define poverty and shame to be interconnected we can also end by devaluing the diverse dignities of the poor. 134 Wider ‘shaming’ impact can too readily be assumed: “it is not obvious that the ‘deserving poor’ will always feel insulted by checks to catch the undeserving poor” (Wolff 1998: 111). 135 I look briefly, pp. 233–4, at an argument that seeks to make a ‘capability to go about without shame’ to be pivotal, not disposable. 136 Of course – and perhaps more fruitfully – inequality itself might be held to entail amelioration. 137 It is this intuition of absence of justice which, within the Judeo-Christian tradition, sustains the emotive impact of the redemptive father’s action in the parable of the son

Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  251 who ‘wasted his substance with riotous living’ – or, as the brother more forcefully put it ‘hath devoured thy living with harlots’ (Luke 15: 13, 30). 138 Other Elizabethan legislation added a sixth specialised target group, and explicitly excluded another. In 1601, 43 Eliz. c3.iii addressed [f] the “relief of sick, hurt and maimed soldiers and mariners”, whilst a clause, still active in 1601, of 18 Eliz. c3 removed responsibility for bastards from the parish “by charging [the] mother or reputed father”. 139 Apprenticeship was to be till age 24 for a ‘man-child’, and 21 (“or the time of her marriage”) for a ‘woman-child’; there is also provision for the funding of these apprenticeships (43 Eliz. c2.v,i). 140 The legislation stipulated resources (“a convenient stock of flax, hemp, wool, thread, iron, and other necessary ware and stuff, to set the poor on work” 43 Eliz. c2.i) and sanctions (“to send to the House of Correction or common Gaol, such as shall not employ themselves to work, being appointed thereunto as aforesaid” 43 Eliz. c2.iv). The Act also provides enabling legislation for services: “it shall and may be lawful . . . to erect, build and set up . . .convenient houses of dwelling for the said impotent poor” (43 Eliz. c2.v). 141 The act imposed prior obligations on the vertical (not horizontal) kin of these poor: “the father and grandfather, and the mother and grandmother, and the children . . . being of a sufficient ability, shall, at their own charges, relieve and maintain every such poor person in that manner, and according to that rate, as . . . shall be assessed” (43 Eliz. c2.vii); earlier, 39 Eliz. c3 had imposed obligation only on the children. 142 Further evidence that it is exactly this mobile group which is pertinent comes from the explicit provision in 39 Eliz. c4.vi (repeating 14 Eliz. c5) of punishment for: “persons having charge in any voyage in passing from the realms of Ireland or Scotland . . . [who] do wittingly or willingly bring or convey . . . any vagabond, rogue, or beggar, or any such as shall be forced or very like to live by begging within the realm of England”; the “lewd and licentious persons” who “have of late days wandered up and down in all parts of the realm, under the name of soldiers and mariners, abusing the title” (39 Eliz c17) are similarly targeted. 143 Aarøe and Petersen’s (2014) instrument runs: “Imagine a man who is currently on social welfare. He has always had a regular job, but has now been the victim of a workrelated injury. He is very motivated to get back to work again” // “Imagine a man who is currently on social welfare. He has never had a regular job, but he is fit and healthy. He is not motivated to get a job”. As a cultural footnote on how ‘definitional work’ is expressed, and a comment on the flexibility of clothing shame, it its salutary to recall, that, not long ago, sophisticated academic philosophers would discuss the issue of which in a word-pair carried the defining force, by echoing a J.L. Austin usage, unironically: ‘which word wears the trousers?’ (e.g. Coval and Forrest 1967). 144 For two, differing, perspectives on the complexity of migration see Carens (2013) and Miller (2016). 145 Almås et al. (2016: 25), looking also at an American/Scandinavian contrast, report: “In our experiment, the majority of Americans equalize completely when the inequality is due to luck, even when there is a significant cost of redistribution” (though their design contrasted brute luck with effort, and did not isolate option-luck as such). 146 Cohen’s writings on luck egalitarianism may not be fully coherent with his central tenets; on this see Miller (2014), note also Anderson’s comment (1999: p. 292, n.19). 147 “Luck egalitarians disagree with one another primarily over the space in which they advocate equality . . . two camps : one which accepts equality of welfare as a legitimate (if not the only) object of egalitarian concern . . . one which only equalizes resources” (Anderson 1999: 293, emphasis added). Cohen is cited as an exemplar of the first camp, Dworkin of the second. 148 Note the force of one of Atkinson’s ‘ideas to pursue’ in the constraint of inequality: “a thoroughgoing review of the access of households to the credit market not secured on

252  K. I. Macdonald housing” (Atkinson 2015: 304); such access, though itself a resource, clearly affects how individuals deploy their resources, how they play their cards. And notice also that the discussion does not involve shame. 149 The best guide to the issues around family partiality is still Brighouse and Swift’s (2014) pioneering account of the logics underpinning family values. 150 Children in the ‘marshmallow’ experiment were offered the choice of getting one treat (their selection, so not always that marshmallow) right away, or two if they waited for the researcher to return. 151 The ability to defer gratifications is held to be stable for the individual (though see the following note); but Protzko (2017), looking at data for the last 50 years, detects an increase of a fifth of a standard deviation per decade in the ability of cohorts of children to defer gratification. 152 Mischel (2015), in self-help mode, does present research-based strategies for gratification control, but is clear about the existence of early differences in disposition. 153 An intermediate stance would be Anderson’s impassioned comment on the rebalancing requirements of luck-egalitarianism “Nor is it the state’s business to pass judgment on the worth of the qualities of citizens that they exercise or display in their private affairs . . . If it is humiliating to be widely regarded by one’s associates as a social clod, think how much more degrading it would be for the state to raise such private judgments to the status of publicly recognized opinions . . . Equality of fortune disparages the internally disadvantaged and raises private disdain to the status of officially recognized truth” (Anderson 1999: 305–6, emphases in original). 154 For proponents of relative understandings of poverty the capability of amelioration remains an issue, rumbling in the background; but at least they can reduce numbers at risk, and severity of the relative gaps. 155 Our ability to repeatedly revise narratives of our ‘true’ motives (besides providing income for psychoanalysts) suggests we, though we may have much information, lack privileged epistemological access to our motives. Should you find this epistemological aside unpersuasive, the remainder of the argument, from social science, in this paragraph is not dependent upon its acceptance. 156 For an astringent rendition of the difficulties of maintaining this standard of hypothesis testing within one pertinent discipline, sociology, see Goldthorpe (2007, 2016). 157 Echoing the methodological preoccupations of this paper, for an entertaining insight into the ways in which the “blooming, buzzing confusion” phrase from William James has been abstracted from context and hence misconstrued see: johnhawks.net/weblog/ topics/minds/baby/james-blooming-buzzing-baby-2010.html

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Of shame and poverty; and on misreading Sen and Adam Smith  253 EPS Essays on Philosophical Subjects, ed. W. P. D. Wightman and J. C. Bryce (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983). Mostly unpublished in the author’s lifetime. LJ Lectures on Jurisprudence, ed. R. L. Meek, D. D. Raphael, P. G. Stein (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978). Unpublished in the author’s lifetime. [ LJ(A) is the report of 1762–3 lectures, LJ(B) is the report of 1766 lectures] LRBL Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, ed. J.C. Boyce (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983). Unpublished in the author’s lifetime. [report of 1762–3 lectures] TMS Theory of Moral Sentiments, ed. D. D. Raphael, A. L. Macfie (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976); first published in 1759; text of the sixth edition 1790 WN An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. R. H. Campbell, A. S. Skinner, W. B. Todd (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976); first published in 1776.

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Articles

Adam Smith’s Humean attitude towards science Illustrated by “The History of Astronomy” Erik W. Matson

1. Introduction This essay considers Smith’s posthumously published essay, “The History of Astronomy” (HA), in light of Hume.1 Connections between Smith and Hume in HA, and their broader implications for Smith’s thinking about science, have long been recognized and discussed by scholars. Herbert Thomson (1965), for example, notes that Smith seems to have shared Hume’s emphasis on the role of the aesthetic in science, using “taste as a main criterion by which to appraise a system of thought” (p. 222). Andrew S. Skinner (1974) points out that Smith shares with Hume the conviction that the study of human nature is a necessary precondition to understanding all forms of human activity, including science. D.D. Raphael (1979) proposes that Smith’s epistemology in HA adopts and extends Hume’s analysis of our enduring belief in causation and the external existence of objects. Sergio Cremaschi (1989, p. 85) says that the principles of the mind sketched in HA are identical to those developed by Hume in his Treatise. Christopher Berry (2006) speaks of a “conspicuously Humean passage” (p. 118) in HA where Smith evinces a roundly Humean understanding of causation. Several scholars have also pointed to some differences between Smith and Hume in these matters. Eric Schliesser (2005), while acknowledging Hume’s central influence on Smith’s thinking, notes that Smith’s “treatment of Copernicanism [in HA] shows his position to be subtly different from Hume’s” (p. 696). Schliesser points to Smith’s willingness to push past Hume’s mitigated skepticism when considering the validity of a scientific system (pp. 721–722). Somewhat relatedly, Kwangsu Kim (2012) argues that “Humean causality and knowledge theory do not fully account for Smith’s theory of knowledge . . . Smith has something to add with regard to scientific knowledge” (p. 802). Building on this literature, I here propose an additional perspective by which Smith’s HA and thinking on science might be understood: Humean naturalism.2 Humean naturalism, which is distinct from scientism or a more reductionist naturalism, can be summed up as the mind’s pragmatic acceptance of a rationally unverifiable frame of belief formation.3 Throughout his corpus, Hume points out that this kind of naturalism is constitutive of the central operations of the human understanding, even though its logical underpinnings are vulnerable to

266  Erik W. Matson skeptical criticism. Smith’s HA appears to have been designed to convey a similar message – it illustrates the logic of Humean naturalism both in its explicit framing of the psychology of science in terms of natural belief and in its broader rhetorical and structural design. Smith’s program of Humean naturalism in HA can be seen in three parts: (1) Smith begins the essay by explicitly recognizing the mind’s unavoidable commitment to belief in the regularity and uniform proceeding of nature. His recognition of this commitment is demonstrated by his sentimental account of the process of scientific inquiry and his implicit treatment in that account of the twin presuppositions, or natural beliefs constitutive of a Humean frame of belief formation – the belief in external existence and the belief in causal relations; (2) Smith speaks to some problems with the logical underpinnings of natural belief formation and points to reasons for maintaining a diffidently skeptical attitude in science; (3) Finally, Smith illustrates our unavoidable disposition to believe, despite reasons for skepticism, by consciously (and somewhat ironically) contradicting his earlier skeptical intimations and sliding into a realist outlook concerning Newtonian Copernicanism. Smith shows the reader the process by which the mind naturally gravitates towards belief formation by going through the process himself. The overarching message: If unverifiable belief dominates an investigation into the very principles directing scientific or philosophical inquiry, then such unverifiable belief should be understood to subconsciously constitute science more generally. Section 2 briefly comments on Hume’s naturalism. Turning to HA, sections 3 and 4 deal with Smith’s sentimental account of inquiry and his understanding of the pillars of Humean belief formation that precede inquiry – belief in the external existence of objects and in causal connections. Section 5 considers Smith’s presentation of reason for skepticism and his deepest-to-date view of scientific knowledge. Section 6 treats Smith’s rhetorical slide towards realism. Section 7 concludes.

2. Hume’s naturalism Some of the early interpreters of Hume, for example, Thomas Reid and James Beattie, understood Hume as a global skeptic who merely succeeded in undermining faith in existence, causation, the self, and the deity (see Kemp Smith 2005, pp. 3–20). A tradition of similar interpretations of Hume continued into the twentieth century. Interpreting Hume as a dogmatic skeptic, however, neglects much of his thinking, particularly its significant moral, political, economic, and historical dimensions. These sorts of interpretations tend to be overly dependent on Book I of Hume’s Treatise and further neglect the subtly and dialectic present within Book 1.4 Upon a more holistic view of Hume’s writings, it is clear that his philosophy is not confined to the negative contributions of dogmatic skepticism. Hume does not aim to subvert common understanding through skepticism; rather, he builds a philosophical outlook in light of the observation that rationally unverifiable heuristics of common life engulf all aspects of human activities (including philosophy).

Adam Smith’s Humean attitude towards science  267 Norman Kemp Smith (2005 [1941]) was among the first to offer something like this reading of Hume, which he originally dubbed Hume’s “naturalism.” Kemp Smith points to two core “natural beliefs” of common life and experience that Hume sees as organizing the mind’s broader frame of belief formation: the belief in the external existence objects and the belief in causal connections. These two beliefs instinctively and naturally spring to the mind before reflection. They “provide the context – the frame of reference, so to speak – in the absence of which none of our other more specific beliefs, in the modes in which they are found to occur, could have been possible to the mind” (Kemp Smith 2005 [1941], p. 121). Despite their practical indispensability, Hume understands the logical underpinnings of these beliefs to be shaky. Verifying the belief in external existence requires one to navigate the problematic connection between mental perception and the outside world. One must address the question of the relationship between sensory experience and the world as it exists – if in fact it does – outside of such experience. Verifying the belief in causal connections requires showing both that experience continues uniformly and that there is a necessary connection between certain observations. Hume sees the understanding to be inept in both cases (see T 1.3.6, T 1.4.1, T 1.4.2). Nonetheless, the mind persistently clings to natural beliefs: Thus the sceptic still continues to reason and believe, even tho’ he asserts, that he cannot defend his reason by reason; and by the same rule he must assent to the principle concerning the existence of the body, tho’ he cannot pretend by any arguments of philosophy to maintain its veracity. Nature has not left this to his choice, and has doubtless esteem’d it an affair of too great importance to be trusted to our uncertain reasonings and speculations. We may well ask, What causes induce us to believe in the existence of the body? but ’tis vain to ask, Whether there be body or not? That is a point, which we must take for granted in all our reasonings. (T 1.4.2.1) It is important to note that this reading of Hume does not preclude skepticism but entails skepticism of subtler and more mitigated brand than that with which Hume is sometimes associated (see EHU 12). Skepticism is redirected away from natural beliefs of common life, which one must take for granted. Skepticism becomes internalized into Hume’s ethos of inquiry given the unverifiable principles on which all inquiry necessarily proceeds. After Hume’s commitment to philosophy, despite the presence of reasons for skepticism, in his famous conclusion to Book 1 of the Treatise, he comments: In all the incidents of life we ought still to preserve our skepticism. If we believe, that fire warms, or water refreshes, ’tis only because it costs us too much pains to think otherwise. Nay if we are philosophers, it ought only to be upon sceptical principles, and from an inclination, which we feel to the employing ourselves after that manner. Where reason is lively, and mixes

268  Erik W. Matson itself with some propensity, it ought to be assented to. Where it does not, it never can have any title to operate upon us. (T 1.4.7.9) Thus, pragmatically resolving to accept a general frame of belief formation means carrying on in the agreeable endeavors of philosophy – in that to not carry on in this endeavor would be disagreeable and impractical –with a diffidently skeptical spirit and posture towards knowledge claims and interpretations.

3. Smith on the psychology of inquiry Smith develops an outlook in HA that shows sensitivity to, and might be understood in terms of, Humean naturalism. From the outset of the essay, Smith discusses the psychology of inquiry and illustrates how the mind engages in a process of inquiry within a framework of natural belief. Such thinking provides the basis for his larger attitude concerning the potentialities and status of scientific conclusion. Smith begins by first elaborating his understanding of the basic operations of the mind. The baseline of his account is the idea that the mind is soothed by the notion of regularity, which motivates it to observe and collect resemblances between different experiences (HA 2.1). The mind organizes experiences and abductively generates a working interpretive framework (HA 1.1). Interpretations are conditioned by internal habits of the imagination and by external general rules and expectations (HA 1.8, 1.10). The pleasure arising from observing the correspondence of experience with interpretation leads to growing belief in the soundness of the interpretation. As long as experience fits expectations, the mind rests confirmed and soothed in its ongoing set of interpretations. Three key sentiments move the mind in the formation of its interpretive frame: surprise, wonder, and admiration. The mind is jarred from its habitual mode of interpretation when it feels the sentiment of surprise. When the mind encounters an experience that is surprising, or unexpected, it falls into an uncomfortable emotional state. Such a state can “entirely disjoint the whole frame of the imagination, that it never after returns to its former tone and composure, but falls either into a frenzy or habitual lunacy; and such as almost always occasion a momentary loss of reason, or of that attention to other things which our situation or our duty requires” (HA 1.2). The mind struggles to stretch its interpretive framework to deal with surprises. Smith nicely captures this struggle with the example of a naturalist trying to classify a new fossil: [The new fossil] stands alone in his imagination, and as it were detached from all the other species of that genus to which it belongs. He labours, however, to connect it with some one or other of them. . .When he cannot do this, rather than it should stand quite by himself, he will enlarge the precincts, if I may say so, of some species in order to make room for it; or he will create a new species on purpose to receive it, and call it a Play of Nature, or give it some

Adam Smith’s Humean attitude towards science  269 other appellation, under which he arranges all the oddities that he knows not what else to do with. (HA 2.5) When the mind fails to deal with the irregularity under its current interpretive framework, it arrives at a point of wonder: It is this fluctuation and vain recollection [of the memory and imagination], together with the emotion of movement of the spirits that they excite, which constitute the sentiment properly called Wonder, and which occasion that staring, and sometimes that rolling of the eyes, that suspension of the breath, and that swelling of the heart, which we may all observe, both in ourselves and others, when wondering at some new object, and which are the natural symptoms of uncertain and underdetermined thought. (HA 2.3, 39) It is wonder that is the pivot-point towards science, innovation, and discovery.5 The mind moves from wonder through the imagination to abductively generate new interpretations that better tie together its experience. This abductive leap is not unhinged but guided by various epistemic virtues, virtues which are developed sympathetically by way of social standards: [It] is the great leader in science and taste, the man who directs and conducts our own sentiments, the extent and superior justness of whose talents astonish us with wonder and surprise, who excites our admiration, and seems to deserve our applause: and upon this foundation is grounded the greater part of the praise which is bestowed upon what are called the intellectual virtues. (TMS I.i.4.3) As Smith notes later in HA, the Copernican system – and, in fact, the Aristotelian system – originally recommended itself to the imagination not primarily by its correspondence with experience but rather by its display of intellectual virtues such as beauty, simplicity, novelty, and unexpectedness (HA 4.34). Likewise, the system of concentric spheres found reception in that it was capable of “connecting together, in the imagination, the grandest and the most seemingly disjointed appearances in the heavens” (HA 4.4). Smith speaks of the role of the sentiment of admiration in science. Admiration is the sentiment that arises upon beholding something “great or beautiful” (HA 1.1). Of the three sentiments, admiration receives the least amount of attention in HA. But the sentiment of admiration is important in that it contributes to the motivation to inquiry, recommends systems of explanation, and helps the mind form an understanding of intellectual virtue. Admiration can lead to the desire to explain. The admiration and consequent curiosity regarding celestial heavens is pointed to by Smith as one of the universal historical motivations behind the study of astronomy (HA 4.1). The beauty of a system, such as Aristotle’s or Newton’s, excites our

270  Erik W. Matson admiration and recommends such systems to our imagination. And admiration of intellectual exemplars – the great leaders of science and taste, as it were – effects the way in which we form our own explanations and interpretations of the world (TMS I.i.4.3). Smith culminates his sketch of the operation of the mind with some corresponding descriptions of philosophy: Philosophy is the science of connecting the principles of nature . . . Philosophy  . . . endeavours to introduce order into this chaos of jarring and discordant appearances, to allay this tumult of the imagination, and to restore it . . . to that tone of tranquillity and composure, which is both most agreeable in itself, and most suitable to its nature. Philosophy, therefore, may be regarded as one of those arts which addresses themselves to the imagination . . . (HA 2.12) Several things here are worth mentioning in light of a Humean naturalist frame. Smith tacitly articulates that belief in the regularity of nature is unreflectively and necessarily assented to. Regularity is impressed upon the mind by experience of its own natural sentimental orientation. The discomfort that the mind feels when it cannot account for an experience implies a sentimental commitment to regularity and a belief that the world operates according to discernable rules. The belief in regularity is a habit of the imagination “which the constitution of things in this world necessarily impresses on [the mind]” (HA 2.10). Smith corroborates such an interpretation in Section 3 of HA, where he says that men are necessarily led to conceive a chain of connection between the irregularities in nature (HA 3.3). Smith suggests that the belief in the regularity of nature that is antecedent to philosophical or scientific exploration is externally unverifiable. Philosophy originates in and addresses itself to the imagination; it seeks to “render the theatre of nature more coherent, and therefore a more magnificent spectacle” (HA 2.12). The attempt to render the theatre of nature more coherent and more magnificent is a sentimental endeavor, an endeavor that is successful inasmuch as it allows the imagination to go along with its explanation. At times it seems that we really have been admitted behind the scenes in the theatre of nature. But such admission is not truly to be had. Philosophy only “pretends [claims] to lay open the concealed connections that unite the various appearances of nature” (HA 3.5). Smith’s location of the exercises of inquiry in the imagination here clearly follows Hume. As Charles Griswold (2006) says, “[Smith’s] emphasis on the imagination, and indeed on its creative capacity, unquestionably represents an appropriation of Hume” (p. 22). To Smith as with Hume, it seems that the universe lives within the imagination. Hume expresses this in the Treatise: “Let us chace our imagination to the heavens, or to the utmost limits of the universe; we never really advance a step beyond ourselves, nor can conceive any kind of existence, but those perceptions, which have appear’d in that narrow compass” (T 1.2.6.8). Smith makes a similar comment, though in the context of moral

Adam Smith’s Humean attitude towards science  271 inquiry, in TMS: “[Our senses] never did, and never can, carry us beyond our own perceptions, and it is by the imagination only that we can form any conception of what are his sensations. Neither can that faculty help us to this any other way, than by representing to us what would be our own, if we were in his case. It is impressions of our own senses only, not those of his, which our imaginations copy” (TMS I.i.1.2). The imagination in Hume and Smith is adaptable and everchanging, evolving along the lines of sympathy and experience. It is “ductile,” and sentimental, “readily [assuming] . . . the shape and configuration of the imagination of those with whom [it is] familiar” (TMS I.ii.1.6). A final point that comes across at HA 2.12 is Smith’s implicitly pragmatic perspective regarding systems of philosophy. Scientific explanations are judged not necessarily by their realism but by their functionality, i.e., how well they render the theatre of nature coherent and magnificent and how easy it is for the imagination to enter into their explanations. Such systems are always couched in language and principles of their time and are subject to reinterpretation along some margins: “Those artists, however, naturally explained things to themselves by principles that were familiar to themselves” (HA 2.12).

4. Natural beliefs in Smith Underpinning Smith’s basic account of the psychology of inquiry are Humean natural beliefs. The key natural beliefs, again, for Hume are: the belief in external existence of objects and the belief in causal relations. Hume goes to lengths in Book I of the Treatise and in his First Enquiry to show how these beliefs lack a decisive foundation yet constitute a significant portion of the understanding. These beliefs are not reasonable, at least from the traditional understanding of reason as a narrow inferential faculty.6 In HA and some of his other philosophical writings, Smith provides evidence that he shares Hume’s views and, moreover, recognizes these natural beliefs as antecedent to his own account of inquiry. The natural belief in the external existence of objects is central in that it motivates a reliance upon sensory experience in the mind’s deliberations. If objects exist outside of the mind’s perception of them, then perceptions of objects can perhaps communicate truths about the world. Smith clearly holds that the mind unreflectively and automatically relies on sensory perception in its inquiries. He shows sensibility to potential issues with this reliance. Smith doesn’t comment on external existence directly in HA. But he does in one of his other philosophical essays, “Of the External Senses.” Whatever system may be adopted concerning the hardness or softness, the fluidity or solidity, the compressibility or incompressibility, of the resisting substance, the certainty of our distinct senses and the feeling of its Externality, or of its entire independency upon the organ which perceives it, or by which we perceive it, cannot in the smallest degree be affected by any such system. (OES 140.18; italics added)

272  Erik W. Matson As we see in Hume, Smith here asserts that the mind maintains belief in the existence of objects no matter the system of philosophy put forth and despite its inability to prove that they, in fact, do exist. The mind is so strongly disposed or conditioned to such belief that when a contrary interpretation on the senses is put forth, as Hume notes, “people imagine they can almost refute it from their feeling and experience, and that their very senses contradict [such] philosophy” (T 1.4.2.13; italics added). Smith also says that the suggestion of external existence and the connection between objects and perception seems to be naturally implanted in the mind for survival: “Those sensations [of touch] appear to have been given us for the preservation of our own bodies” (OES 167.86). He reiterates that the reliance on sensory experience is predicated by the belief in the external and independent existence of bodies: “Before we can feel those sensations, the pressure of the external body which excites them must necessarily suggest, not only some conception, but the most distinct conviction of its own external and independent existence” (OES 167.84). Smith takes on the second key natural belief in Hume, the belief in causal connections. This has been emphasized by Skinner (1974) and Raphael (1979), among others. The Humean perspective on causation appears to be central to Smith’s account in HA. In Hume, belief in a causal connection arises when the mind consistently observes a conjunction of objects, such that the idea of one deterministically transitions the mind to the idea of the other. Hume refers to this mental transition in terms of the impression of necessary connection. The truth of any causal claims hangs in part on the rationally unverifiable idea that experience continues forward uniformly. That we might attain true knowability of any causal relation, even on the presupposition that experience proceeds uniformly, is moreover doubtful to Hume given the limited nature of an individual experience set. But belief in causation proceeds instinctively – experience is all but indiscernible without the belief in causation. As Hume says, “[The belief in causation] . . . ’tis impossible for men in their hearts really to doubt of” (T 1.3.3.1). Smith quite explicitly outlines Hume’s understanding of causation in HA. When two objects, however unlike, have often been observed to follow each other, and have constantly presented themselves to the senses in that order, they come to be so connected together in the fancy, that the idea of the one seems, of its own accord, to call up and introduce that of the other. If the objects are still observed to succeed each other as before, this connection, or, as it has been called, this association of their ideas, becomes stricter and stricter, and the habit of the imagination to pass from the conception of the one to that of the other, grows more and more rivetted and confirmed. (HA 2.7) Smith also affirms his Humean understanding of causation in OES: By the frequency and uniformity of this experience, by the custom and habit of thought which that frequency and uniformity necessarily occasion, the

Adam Smith’s Humean attitude towards science  273 Internal Sensation, and the External Cause of that Sensation, come in our conception to be so strictly connected, that in our ordinary and careless way of thinking, we are apt to consider them as almost one and the same. (OES 141.21; italics added) In HA, Smith talks about particular and propositional causal relations that are imposed upon experience to soothe the imagination (HA 2.12). The mind is so drawn to the belief in causal dependence – that is, to the belief that things have causes and that such causes operate uniformly over time – that it imagines secret and “invisible chains” of connection between discordant observations. It even goes so far as to invoke “invisible hands” to sustain its interpretive commitment to regularity: Fire burns, and water refreshes; heavy bodies descend, and lighter substances fly upwards, by the necessity of their own nature; nor was the invisible hand of Jupiter ever apprehended to be employed in those matters. But thunder and lightning, storms and sunshine, those more irregular events, were ascribed to his favour, or his anger. (HA 3.2)7 Smith recognizes, of course, that as society becomes more civilized and stable, men are less prone to fall back upon religious explanations of irregular phenomena.8 But the psychology of inquiry remains the same: “That some chain subsists betwixt all her seemingly disjointed phaenomena, they [civilized men] are necessarily led to conceive. . .” (HA 3.3, italics added).

5. Smith’s reasons for skepticism As noted in the introduction, Smith’s program in HA can be seen in three parts. The first is his account of the sentimental operation of the mind as pertains to science or philosophy. His account is implicitly laden with a Humean understanding of natural belief. The second part of his program is a presentation of reasons for skepticism towards scientific interpretation and conclusions, given his understanding that the mind is, as Charles Griswold puts it, “guided by various nonphilosophical sources, including natural impulses, laws, customs, knowledge of the arts, and feelings, by how things ‘appear’” (1999, p. 164). As in Hume, the skepticism that manifests in Smith is non-dogmatic, directed towards the status of various conclusions of the understanding rather than the principles by which the understanding proceeds. Smith’s skepticism seems to concern the manner in which one uses one’s interpretations in light of his view of how they are derived. Smith presents implicit cases or reasons for skepticism in HA and his other writings. I here mention three: Smith’s generally Humean position on belief leads him to speak in terms of probability – matters of experience can at best give us probable knowledge, not demonstrative knowledge. Smith avoids the language of realism, at least at the outset of HA. Smith shows a sensitivity to confirmation and status quo biases, which might lock one into an inferior interpretation; such

274  Erik W. Matson sensitivity is borne out over the course of HA and is illustrated by the history of astronomy and the sociology of the acceptance of Newton’s Copernicanism. In OES, Smith uses the language of probability in reference to the status of systems of explanation on multiple occasions. He speaks of the “probable foundations” of philosophical doctrines; he speaks of “this great probability . . . still further confirmed by the computations of Sir Isaac Newton” (OES 147.41). He moreover, in a Humean vein, emphasizes explanation in terms of intermediate causes: “how those intermediate causes by different motions and vibrations which they may be supposed to excite on our organs, produce those different Sensations . . . no philosopher has yet attempted to explain to us” (OES 148.42). Such understanding translates into Smith’s wariness of simple sensory experience in HA, where he remarks upon the potential prejudices of the senses (HA 4.38). Our inability to discover final causes, coupled with the propositional nature of our frame of belief formation, renders explanations to be at best probable. In Hume’s words, “all knowledge resolves itself into probability, and becomes at last of the same nature with that evidence, which we employ in common life” (T 1.4.1.4). Smith demonstrates his reluctance to talk in terms of realism. He rather adopts language of convention and functionality. He sees inquiry is conventional in that different systems of philosophy have long-lasting inertia, e.g., the lasting inertia of Ptolemaic astronomy. Smith explicitly commits his program in HA to the avoidance of realist explanations; he instead expresses intent to treat systems of scientific explanation according to their various epistemic virtues and functionality: Let us examine, therefore, all the different systems of nature, which, in these western parts of the world . . . have successively been adopted by the learned and ingenious; without regarding their absurdity or probability, their agreement or inconsistency with truth and reality, let us consider them only in that particular point of view which belongs to our subject; and content ourselves with inquiring how far each of them was fitted to sooth the imagination, and to render the theatre of nature a more coherent spectacle. (HA 2.12; italics added) In the early sections of HA, Smith’s general understanding of the psychology of inquiry underscores some skeptical sensibilities. He expresses skepticism about knowledge within particular interpretive conventions, acknowledging issues of confirmatory bias and path dependence. The mind is apt, like the naturalist examining fossils, to shoe-horn particular observations into an ongoing set of interpretations rather than recognize such interpretations are perhaps flawed: Whatever, in short, occurs to us we are fond of referring to some species or class of things, with all of which it has a nearly exact resemblance; and though we often know no more about them than about it, yet we are apt to fancy that by being able to do so, we show ourselves to be better acquainted with it, and to have a more thorough insight into its nature. (HA 2.3; italics added)

Adam Smith’s Humean attitude towards science  275 In his moral theory, Smith recognizes a related tendency of the mind to view its own conduct with partiality in matters of judgment: “So partial are the views of mankind with regard to the propriety of their own conduct, both at the time of action and after it; and so difficult is it for them to view it in the light in which any indifferent spectator would consider it” (TMS III.4.5). If conduct is expanded to include interpretation and the practice of intellectual virtues, the problem of partiality can be understood as extending to science. Smith’s thinking on these matters spirals up into his sociological conception of science. He even goes as far as to refer to systems in terms of “fashion.” In OES, he says that established systems of philosophy are merely “the [systems] that [are] most in fashion, and most approved of by the greater part of the philosophers of Europe” (OES 140.18). He says at HA 4.15 that the System of Solid Spheres “seems never to have had the vogue.” By Smith’s reckoning, again, a particular system of philosophy rises to acceptance, not primarily based on an assessment of its correspondence with reality, but on the ease in which the mind can enter into its chains of reasoning and the associated aesthetic estimation of its merit. Inquiry is a historical endeavor, often capable of being recast into more coherent, more aesthetically appealing terms that resonate with common understanding. Although every age in history tends towards the supposition that its outlook is constitutive of truth in a final and definitive sense, history reveals that this is not so.

6. Smith’s slide towards realism There is a gradual progression in Smith’s talk throughout HA that seems to be at odds or at least in tension with the first three sections of the essay. Smith begins in Sections 1–3 of HA by sketching something like a Humean naturalist position, where science moves forward upon the presuppositions of natural belief, as canvassed above. In light of this sketch, he implicitly presents reasons for skepticism and then explicitly commits to treat systems of astronomy not by their consistency with “truth or reality,” but by their intellectual virtues and practicality (see HA 2.12). Against his intentions, Smith proceeds to slide into an apparently realist attitude regarding Newtonian Copernicanism. He suggests that the Newtonian system has been proved (HA 4.73). He praises both the epistemic value of Newton’s system and its correspondence to reality: “It [Newton’s system] is every where the most precise and particular that can be imagined, and ascertains the time, the place, the quantity, the duration of each individual phaenomenon, to be exactly such as, by observation, they have been determined to be” (HA 4.67). Smith’s surprising attitude towards Newtonian Copernicanism – surprising, again, in light of the first few sections of the essay – is key to understanding his program. In Sections 1–3 of HA, Smith develops a Humean-style naturalist attitude towards science and interpretation more generally. Upon embarking on a consideration of various systems of astronomy he progressively slides into the language of realism, against his resolve at HA 2.12. His slide, I believe, constitutes a rhetorical demonstration of the character and force of the mind’s natural drift to belief in established interpretations as actually explaining the way things

276  Erik W. Matson are. Smith illustrates the psychological instability of skepticism and the instinctive tendency to slide into belief. The mind seems to slide into a sort of final attitude concerning its interpretations, regardless of its initial intentions. Smith’s overarching message in HA might be formulated like this: If a slide towards a perspective of realism and a natural dissolution of skepticism occurs even in an explicit examination of the principles and psychology of science, then such a slide and dissolution certainly characterizes science more generally. Consider the full title of the essay: “The Principles Which Lead and Direct Philosophical Enquiries; Illustrated by the History of Astronomy.” HA is an illustration of the character of philosophy by way of historical examination, not a treatment of any system of thought or scientific explanation in particular. As Smith’s editors, Joseph Black and James Hutton, point out, HA “must be viewed, not as a History or Account of Sir Isaac Newton’s Astronomy, but chiefly as an additional illustration of those Principles in the Human Mind which Mr. Smith has pointed out to be the universal motives of Philosophical Researches” (in Smith 1982a, p. 105). Smith articulates this purpose at the outset: “It is the design of this Essay to consider particularly the nature and causes of each of these sentiments, whose influence is of far wider extent than we should be apt upon a careless view to imagine” (HA Intro.7; italics added). The first three sections of HA develop Smith’s conception of the sentimental operation of the mind and of the nature of science. Section 1 treats the sentiment of surprise, Section 2 treats the sentiment of wonder and the effect of novelty, and Section 3 treats the universal operation of these sentiments on the mind in history. Section 3, though historical in nature, is an important piece of Smith’s account in that it highlights the unchanging nature of the sentimental principles of inquiry. Although character and substance of scientific explanations change over time, i.e., from religious to secular, the psychology of scientific investigation does not (HA 3.3). The fourth and final section of HA comprises the majority of the essay. As the essay is an examination of the principles of philosophy, the final section must be understood in service to that larger end. The final section should be understood as sitting beneath the first three sections. The history of astronomy as illustrated in Section 4 should be conceived of as fully subservient to Smith’s larger investigation of the nature of inquiry. Section 4 is peculiar, as previously mentioned, in that Smith evinces more realism-talk as the section unfolds. He doesn’t immediately depart from his attitude at the outset of HA. He initially uses historical examples to develop his analysis of inquiry in a way much consistent with Sections 1–3. For example, he discusses the role of sentiment in the assent of any philosophical system (HA 4.6). He discusses how the ease with which the imagination can enter into an explanation facilitates its widespread acceptance (HA 4.9). He discusses the role of epistemic virtue in theory, e.g., concerning the Copernican system (HA 4.33). But he seems to depart from his originally expressed attitude in a number of places. The general narrative of the section, coupled with Smith’s own attitude concerning Newton at the end of the essay, conveys an idea of historical progression towards discovering the way things are. Such an idea of science progressing

Adam Smith’s Humean attitude towards science  277 in a linear fashion towards truth is generally in tension with the nature of scientific revolutions. Smith hints at such tension when he foreshadows what becomes his own apparent attitude towards Newton: The first systems, in the same manner, are always the most complex, and a particular connecting chain, or principle, is generally thought necessary to unite every two seemingly disjointed appearances: but it often happens, that one great connecting principle is afterwards found to be sufficient to bind together all the discordant phaenomena that occur in a whole species of things. (HA 4.19) His outlook concerning Newton goes further at HA 4.67. He observes that Newton’s system accommodates “all the constant irregularities which astronomers had ever observed in their motions” (HA 4.67). Newton “[joined] together the movements of the Planets by so familiar a principle of connection, which completely removed all the difficulties the imagination had hitherto felt in attending to them” (HA 4.67). The principle which Newton discovered was, of course, gravity. Smith indicates that not only did Newton show that gravity might be a universal connecting principle, but that “he endeavoured next to prove that it really was so” (HA 4.67). Smith appears to think that Newton succeeded in his proof. The success was demonstrated by the correspondence of Newton’s system with observations and its predictive power (HA 4.72, 4.74, 4.75). The closing two sentences of the essay show Smith admitting that he, despite his best intentions, couldn’t avoid truth-talk regarding Newton’s system: And even we, while we have been endeavouring to represent all philosophical systems as mere inventions of the imagination, to connect together the otherwise disjointed and discordant phaenomena of nature, have insensibly been drawn in, to make use of language expressing the connecting principles of this one, as if they were the real chains which Nature makes use of to bind together her several operations. Can we wonder then, that it should have gained the general and complete approbation of mankind, and that it should be considered, not as an attempt to connect in the imagination the phaenomena of the Heavens, but as the greatest discovery that was ever made by man, the discovery of an immense chain of the most important and sublime truths, all closely connected together, by one capital fact, of the reality of which we have daily experience. (HA 4.76) Schliesser (2005) says that in this passage Smith “addresses considerations about the psychological compulsion to speak the language of truth” (p. 719). Berry (2006, p. 124) says that the passage is a kind of self-chiding for inconsistency. I agree that the final passage in HA is indeed a demonstration of the ineluctable nature of truth-talk. But I think, more significantly, that this passage captures the

278  Erik W. Matson essence of the entire program of HA. Smith’s history of astronomy and his treatment of each system should be viewed in service to his exploration and illustration of the principles of philosophical inquiry. Under such a consideration, his treatment of Newton is best understood as an illustration of how the mind proceeds in its inquiry despite the non-foundational nature of its very faculties of inquiry and consequent potential for cognitive or skeptical barriers. Smith shows the deeprootedness of the mind’s involuntary reliance on an unverifiable general frame of belief formation and its tendency to view deepest-to-date interpretations as final. He commits himself to belief in a kind of ironic contradiction of his treatment of the early thinkers in astronomy. An additional peculiarity in HA 4.76 comes when Smith says that we “have insensibly been drawn in, to make use of language expressing the connecting principles of this one” (italics added). He means here that he is using Newtonian language of gravity to explain the mind’s involuntary slide to realism. His use of the language of Newton’s system to explain something unknown, i.e., the psychology of inquiry, hearkens back to HA 2.12 where he speaks of thinkers’ shoe-horning unknowns into their ongoing interpretative frameworks. There is implicitly a gentle reminder here about skepticism. By expressing his explanation in the familiar language of gravity he reemphasizes the open-endedness of science and philosophical inquiry. It is as if he is admitting that he is just like the artists who “naturally [explain] things to themselves by principles . . . familiar to themselves” (HA 2.12). The familiar principle of gravity becomes “the great hinge upon which every thing [turns]” (HA 2.12). I do not mean to say here that Smith disregarded Newton. He had great admiration for and appreciation of Newton’s system and understood the improvements that Newtonian science offered, perhaps even more so than did Hume.9 Yet HA is designed to playfully showcase our tendency to view deepest-to-date interpretations as final, despite our best intentions otherwise.

5. Finishing with surprise Smith begins HA by analyzing the sentiment of surprise. A surprising observation can “disjoint the whole frame of the imagination” (HA 1.1). It leads one to reconsider ongoing interpretations. Smith’s conclusion in HA, especially the last lines at HA 4.76, can perhaps be seen as intended to induce surprise in readers. The surprise lies in Smith’s admission of his slide to realism, despite his express intentions otherwise, and the reader’s realization that he has unwittingly gone along with this slide. HA is designed to pull the reader into Smith’s progression of thought and induce surprise by sparking self-reflection at its conclusion. The fact that HA is book-ended by surprise fits Smith’s program of emphasizing the open-endedness of inquiry. Surprise, by Smith’s understanding, should push us to broaden our interpretations, to “enlarge the precincts,” as it were, of our views (HA 2.5). Smith is gently prodding the reader to broaden their interpretation of his program in HA and reflect upon its implications for our ongoing attitudes and interpretations in inquiry.

Adam Smith’s Humean attitude towards science  279

Notes 1 Abbreviations: References to “History of Astronomy” are to Smith (1982, pp. 33–105), hereafter cited in the text as “HA,” followed by section and paragraph number. E.g., (HA 2.12) means HA section 2 paragraph 12. References to “Of the External Senses” are to Smith (1982, pp. 135–68), hereafter cited in the text as “OES,” followed by page and paragraph number. References to The Theory of Moral Sentiments are to Smith (1982b), hereafter cited in the text as “TMS,” followed by part, section, chapter, and paragraph number. References to the Treatise are to Hume (2000a), hereafter cited in the text at “T”, followed by book, part, section, and paragraph number. References to the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding are to Hume (2000b), hereafter cited in the text as “EHU”, followed by section and paragraph number. References omitting paragraph numbers refer to whole sections. 2 Ryan Hanley (2010) has recently explored the influence of Humean naturalism in Smith’s moral philosophy in TMS. 3 Cf. Strawson (1985, pp. 11–21); for a general overview on naturalism in Hume, see Mounce (1999). 4 For a recent analysis of the dynamics beneath the surface in Book 1 of the Treatise, see Merrill (2015). 5 Wonder figures into interpretation of different sorts and is an important sentiment in Smith’s epistemology and moral philosophy (e.g., TMS I.ii.2.3, I.iii.1.13, IV.2.8, VII.iii.3.10). 6 On different senses of reason in Hume, see Winters (1979). 7 For an analysis of this invisible hand passage as it relates to those in TMS and WN, see Macfie (1971). 8 Smith here seems to follow Hume’s general line of argument expressed in “Of the Rise and Progress of the Arts and Sciences” (Hume 1994, pp. 111–137). 9 This point has been argued in Schliesser (2005; 2010).

References Berry, Christopher J. 2006. “Smith and Science.” In The Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith, edited by Knud Haakonssen. New York: Cambridge University Press. Cremaschi, Sergio. 1989. “Adam Smith: Skeptical Newtonianism, Disenchanted Republicanism, and the Birth of Social Science.” In Knowledge and Politics: Case Studies in the Relationship between Epistemology and Political Philosophy, edited by Marcelo Dascal and Ora Gruengard, 83–110. Griswold, Charles L. 1999. Adam Smith and the Virtues of Enlightenment. New York: Cambridge University Press. ———. 2006. “Imagination: Morals, Science, and Arts.” In The Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith, edited by Knud Haakonssen. New York: Cambridge University Press. Hanley, Ryan Patrick. 2010. “Skepticism and Naturalism in Smith.” The Adam Smith Review 5: 199–212. Hume, David. 1994. Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary. Edited by Eugene F. Miller. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund. ———. 2000a. A Treatise of Human Nature. Edited by David F. Norton and Mary J. Norton. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ———. 2000b. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Edited by Tom L. Beauchamp. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Kemp Smith, Norman. 2005. The Philosophy of David Hume: A Critical Study of Its Origins and Central Doctrines. 2nd ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

280  Erik W. Matson Kim, Kwangsu. 2012. “Adam Smith’s ‘History of Astronomy’ and View of Science.” Cambridge Journal of Economics 36: 799–820. Macfie, Alec. 1971. “The Invisible Hand of Jupiter.” Journal of the History of Ideas 32 (4): 595–99. Merrill, Thomas W. 2015. Hume and the Politics of Enlightenment. New York: Cambridge University Press. Mounce, H.O. 1999. Hume’s Naturalism. New York: Routledge. Raphael, D.D. 1979. “Adam Smith: Philosophy, Science, and Social Science.” In Philosophers of the Enlightenment, edited by S.C. Brown. London: Harvester Press. Schliesser, Eric. 2005. “Wonder in the Face of Scientific Revolution: Adam Smith on Newton’s ‘Proof’ of Copernicanism.” British Journal for the History of Philosophy 13 (4): 697–732. ———. 2010. “Copernican Revolutions Revisited in Adam Smith by Way of David Hume.” Revista Empresa y Humanismo 8: 213–48. Skinner, Andrew S. 1974. “Adam Smith: Science and the Role of the Imagination.” In Hume and the Enlightenment, edited by W.B. Todd. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Smith, Adam. 1982a. Essays on Philosophical Subjects. Edited by W.P.D. Wightman and J.C. Bryce. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund. ———. 1982b. The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Edited by D.D. Raphael and A.L. Macfie. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund. Strawson, P.F. 1985. Skepticism and Naturalism: Some Varieties. New York: Columbia University Press. Thomson, Herbert F. 1965. “Adam Smith’s Philosophy of Science.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 79 (2): 212–33. Winters, Barbara. 1979. “Hume on Reason.” Hume Studies 5 (1): 20–35.

Thomas Robert Malthus and his unrealized edition of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations Taro Hisamatsu

I Introduction In July 1805, Thomas Robert Malthus (1766–1834) was appointed Professor of General History, Politics, Commerce and Finance – later Professor of Political Economy – at East India College, in Hertford, England. He used Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations as his textbook for teaching economics. Malthus planned his own edition of Smith’s The Wealth of Nations at least twice but never completed the work. Instead, William Playfair (1759–1823) in 1805 and David Buchanan (1779–1848) in 1814 published editions of the book. This paper re-examines Malthus’s unrealized project and the related negotiations between him and the publishing houses using the following materials:1   (1) Malthus’s letter to Cadell and Davies, dated 16 December 1804 (James 1979: 165–6);  (2) Malthus’s letter to Cadell and Davies, dated 17 December 1804 (James 1979: 166);   (3) Malthus’s letter to Jeffrey, dated 18 August 1812 (Hashimoto 1990: 353–4);   (4) Malthus’s letter to Cadell and Davies, dated 28 August 1812 (James 1979: 245–6);   (5) Malthus’s letter to Cadell and Davies, dated 3 September 1812 (Besterman 1938: 163–4);   (6) Malthus’s letter to Horner, dated 10 November 1813 (Ricardo 1951–73 VI: 159);   (7) Jeffrey’s letter to Malthus, dated 12 May 1814 (Pullen and Parry 1997: 117–9);   (8) Davies’s letter to Murray, dated 23 May 1814 (Besterman 1938: xv);   (9) Whishaw’s letter to Horner, dated 28 October 1814 (Ricardo 1951–73 VI: 159); (10) Mill’s letter to Ricardo, dated 24 November 1814 (Ricardo 1951–73 VI: 156–9); (11) Ricardo’s letter to Malthus, dated 13 January 1815 (Ricardo 1951–73 VI: 169–71). James (1979), Mizuta (1985), Pullen (1989) and Tribe (2002) also referred to the subject of this paper. None of these scholars, however, considered Malthus’s

282  Taro Hisamatsu letter to Francis Jeffrey (1773–1826) dated 18 August 1812 (Ltr. 3),2 which included previously unacknowledged information. Neither Hasegawa (1989), who introduced the letter, nor Hashimoto (1990), who published it, gave sufficient consideration to its subject. The re-examination of this subject cannot be neglected, because David Ricardo (1772–1823), the foremost authority on economics of Malthus’s day,3 earnestly hoped for the publication of Malthus’s edition (Ltr. 11) and, if Malthus’s project had been successful, it would have contributed to the academic study of economics. Malthus had a far greater understanding of Smith’s writings and political economy in general than either Prayfair or Buchanan (Tribe 2002: 32). The professional economic version of The Wealth of Nations must have been eagerly expected by other economists besides Ricardo. Not only would Malthus’s edition, if published, have been useful for his own teaching and for his students, but also teaching with this work as a textbook, including his interpretation might have influenced the progress of university study of economics that was on the point of being established in England. This paper is organized as follows. Section II follows the first contact between Malthus and a publishing firm regarding the publication of a new edition of The Wealth of Nations. Section III examines the process of negotiation between Malthus and the firm. Section IV discusses the possibility that his edition, if published, would have had an impact on the leading economists of his time and could have contributed to the academic study of economics in the nineteenth century. One usually does not bring hypotheses into history, but these considerations are of assistance in reconsidering Malthus’s view on taxation and his role in institutionalizing the subject of economics in university and college study. Section V provides concluding remarks.

II Malthus and the publishing firm of Cadell and Davies In 1776, the first edition of Smith’s The Wealth of Nations was published by Strahan and Cadell. Its copyright expired in 1804.4 Ten editions of the work were printed in copyright by Cadell and Davies, in succession to the original publishers. The firm planned to publish a new edition within a year of the expiry of the copyright, ‘establishing a continuity with the ten editions produced in copyright while also extending the edition in a manner intended to confirm its status as the standard text’ (Tribe 2002: 30). Cadell and Davies then approached the successful author of The Principle of Population, Malthus, who had plans to edit The Wealth of Nations himself. On 12 April 1804, Malthus married Harriet Eckersall. Soon after the wedding, he became aware that his wife had conceived, and he was unable to devote his attention to his plan to edit The Wealth of Nations. Cadell and Davies resorted to William Playfair, who ‘lived as a jobbing writer’ after unsuccessful business ventures; he participated in the storming of the Bastille, later criticizing the French Revolution (Tribe 2002: 32). The draft notes of the Playfair edition were sent from the publishers to Malthus for an assessment of their eligibility for publication.

Thomas Robert Malthus and Wealth of Nations  283 Malthus, however, having been ‘very particularly engaged’ at that time, was ‘not . . . able to give it the attention’ that it needed (Ltr. 1). Malthus, having ‘looked over the packet’ sent by Cadell and Davies, wrote a letter from Bath, where he was staying due to Harriet’s pregnancy, on 16 December 1804: ‘Some of the notes appear to have merit, others not, and some of the most important points are not discussed at all’ (Ltr. 1). Malthus was even less favourable to the Playfair edition, adding a few minor comments: In the advertisement, the last paragraph and the manner in which the French economists are spoken of do not give a favourable impression.5 The style is not very correct, and is written without punctuation; but such little errors may be easily amended. The Author of the original work is always called Mr. Smith; but Adam Smith, Dr. Smith, or Smith are all preferable. (Ltr. 1) The merits of the Playfair edition were judged unfavourably by Malthus: It is difficult however to pass any fair judgement upon the work as a whole; because the supplementary chapters evidently contain the discussion of those subjects[,] which the writer thinks of the greatest consequence, and none of these supplementary chapters are sent. With regard to myself[,] I can have no manner of objection to your publishing this edition before mine, as it would give me more time, which the more I think on the subject the more I feel is necessary, in order to produce an edition that would have any thing like the effect of giving you a new copyright. I had much rather that you would rely on the advice of any other friend respecting the eligibility of publishing the edition now offered, than on mine . . . . (Ltr. 1) Note one of the reasons why he had ‘not had leisure to read the manuscript very attentively’ (Ltr. 1). He wrote: ‘I have been in a state of considerable anxiety about Mrs. Malthus, who was brought to bed this morning before her time, but is now happily pretty well’ (Ltr. 1). It was about eight months after Malthus’s marriage to Harriet that their first child, Henry, was born in Bath, though it was not until 16 April 1805 that his baptism took place at Claverton (James 1979: 165). Malthus never endeavoured to use contraception. It is not surprising that his actions matched his words. Malthus was 38 when he married Harriet, who was 27. In the 1803 edition of his The Principle of Population, published before the wedding, Malthus wrote that ‘if [women] could look forward with just confidence to marriage at 28 or 30, I fully believe, that, if the matter were left to their free choice, they would clearly prefer waiting till this period, to the being involved in all the cares of a large family at 25’. In a later edition, Malthus altered from ‘28 or 30’ to ‘27 or 28’ (Malthus 1986 III: 477). On 17 December 1804, Malthus, despite his unfavourable judgment of the Playfair edition, hastily sent an additional letter to Cadell and Davies:

284  Taro Hisamatsu I have just recollected that I ought to have given you a line to say that I yesterday booked your parcel by the mail, which left Bath at 5 o[’]clock. Do not be prejudiced against the Edition by any thing that I have said. I really think that some of the notes are of value. (Ltr. 2) This letter is evidence that Malthus hoped to keep open the business relationship as well as to publish with them in the future. In 1805, Playfair’s three-volume edition of The Wealth of Nations duly came forth from Cadell and Davies, and Malthus’s 1804 project did not advance further. It is, however, interesting that the original publishers of the work, Cadell and Davies, approached Malthus, who had developed a criticism of Smith in his The Principle of Population, to ask him to edit it. This application from the publishers is confirmed by his letter to Jeffrey dated 18 August 1812: ‘I once had thoughts of publishing a new edition of Adam Smith in consequence of an application from Cadell and Davies some six or seven years ago’ (Ltr. 3). As it is unlikely that the publishers asked for a new version soon after the publication of the Playfair edition, the ‘application’ must have been more than seven years previous and the words ‘some six or seven years ago’ appeared to be based on a hazy recollection. In any event, Malthus, in fact, had hoped to realize his project since 1804: ‘for how many years he kept in mind a scheme for his own annotated edition of Adam Smith’ (James 1979: 166). Unfortunately, he was not able to accomplish it.

III Malthus’s second project and related negotiations Malthus’s first project for an edition of The Wealth of Nations, as already seen, was not realized. He wrote: ‘I gave it up however entirely at that time, though it still now and then crossed my thoughts’ (Ltr. 3). During the summer of 1812, probably at the end of July,6 while Malthus stayed ‘at Claverton House near Bath’ he ‘had a visit from an Edinburgh bookseller by name Mr Thompson [Thomson] of Hunter Square who again mentioned a new edition’ of The Wealth of Nations to him (Ltr. 3). John Thomson ran a bookseller and stationery warehouse in Hunter Square, Edinburgh.7 Thomson first ‘had applied to Dugald [Stewart (1753–1828)]’ whose edition of Smith’s works included a biography already published in 1810 by Cadell and Davies.8 Stewart ‘had declined, and named [Malthus] as the most proper person’ (Ltr. 3). Thomson, following Stewart’s recommendation, visited Malthus and ‘first mentioned’ an offer of ‘1000₤’ to create a new edition of The Wealth of Nations (Ltr. 3). Malthus, in turn, told Thomson that he ‘had had formerly some little negotiation with Cadell and Davies on the subject’ and then Thomson asked Malthus if he ‘thought of a larger sum’ (Ltr. 3). Malthus answered that he ‘probably should not be induced to undertake it for less than [₤]1500[,] which [Thomson] offered immediately in such a manner as if he would not have hesitated at 2000₤’ (Ltr. 3). According to Malthus, ‘fifteen hundred or two thousand pounds ought not to be neglected by a family man’ (Ltr. 3). In fact, ₤1500 ‘was three times Malthus’s

Thomas Robert Malthus and Wealth of Nations  285 generous East India College salary’ (Tribe 2002: 31). Malthus did not doubt at all that Thomson would be ‘willing to give 1500₤’ (Ltr. 3). Despite ‘the handsome offer of the Edinburgh bookseller [Thomson]’ (Ltr. 4), Malthus still said that he ‘could not give’ Thomson ‘a definitive answer’ till Malthus ‘had talked with’ Cadell and Davies, who ‘were the original proprietors of the work’ (Ltr. 3). Malthus then promised to inform Thomson of his determination after he had consulted his ‘friends’ – Jeffrey in Edinburgh and John Whishaw (1764–1840) in London – and spoke to Cadell and Davies (Ltr. 3). Thereafter, Malthus ‘called’ at the publishing house of Cadell and Davies on his way ‘through Town from the neighbourhood [Claverton] of Bath’ to talk to them about the subject and ‘not finding’ them at home, ‘left the communication with Mr Whishaw’ (Ltr. 5). ‘Whishaw the other day saw Davies for [Malthus], who had not had any communication with Cadell’ (Ltr. 3). Whishaw informed Davies of ‘the proposal, which [Malthus] had received from [the bookseller Thomson of] Edinburgh’ (Ltr. 4), but Davies had ‘seemed hardly inclined to come up to the terms of Mr Thomson’ (Ltr. 3). Therefore, Malthus was ‘disposed to enter into a negotiation with Mr Thompson [sic]’ if he heard from Jeffrey that Thomson was ‘a respectable person’ (Ltr. 3). What Malthus planned was ‘an edition with some short notes at the foot of the page; and an additional volume of longer notes and dissertations, much upon the plan of the French edition by Garnier’ (Ltr. 3).9 Germain Garnier’s French edition of The Wealth of Nations (Recherches sur la Nature et les Causes de la Richesse des Nations) appeared in 1802, together with his essay on Smith’s doctrines in comparison with that of the Physiocrats. Malthus had bought a copy of the Garnier translation when he was in Paris in 1802 (James 1979: 245).10 Garnier’s essay was translated from French into English soon after publication and was added to the various editions of The Wealth of Nations appearing in English-speaking countries. In 1812, after the Playfair edition, Cadell and Davies published a three-volume edition containing the English translation of Garnier’s essay, in addition to a brief biography of Smith by an anonymous writer (James 1979: 245). Malthus’s idea was thus not original. This style had been widely adopted by many publishing firms. The terms that Malthus demanded in further negotiation with Thomson were an exorbitant fee of ‘1500₤’ plus ‘some interest in the future editions after the first’, or a more exorbitant fee of ‘2000₤’ without any interest in subsequent editions (Ltr. 3). However, Malthus thought that he ‘could not answer for the finishing of it in less than two years’ (Ltr. 3). He asked Jeffrey ‘to make a bargain’ using ‘these materials’ for him with Thomson: [O]r if it is a task[,] which you don’t chuse to undertake, pray let me know at any rate as soon as you can the character of Mr Thomson. Write immediately, because if I do not hear from you, I shall conclude you are not in Edinburgh and must then write to Mr Thomson without knowing whether he is a proper person to enter into an agreement with or not. (Ltr. 3)

286  Taro Hisamatsu Malthus had waited for a formal answer from Cadell and Davies, as well as Jeffrey’s reply. Having not received any response for ‘ten days’ after Whishaw had negotiated with Cadell and Davies on Malthus’s behalf, Malthus ‘naturally considered [their] silence as an indication of [their] indifference towards the subject of [his] communication’ and wrote to Cadell and Davies on 28 August: I have ever since of course considered both myself and you as entirely freed from any kind of engagement to each other, either express or implied . . .  [W]hen I began to balance whether I should resume my former plan, or publish a volume of original essays . . . I had in consequence rather inclined most to the original essays, and I have no hesitation in saying that it was the handsome offer of the Edinburgh bookseller [Thomson] . . . that declined me in favour of a new edition of Adam Smith, thinking that I could put the substance of the essays that I had projected in an additional volume of notes and dissertations. I am sorry that the new edition should be brought forward by strangers, but cannot consider myself in any degree to blame . . . I must beg to decline all further correspondence on the subject. (Ltr. 4) Malthus, although he had waited for six days, had ‘not yet heard of the result’ of Jeffrey’s communication of his proposal with Thomson, and at length he made up his mind, writing ‘so soon’ to Cadell and Davies on 3 September 1812: I most decidedly wished to give you the preference in any engagement I might form for notes to Adam Smith both on account of your being the original publishers of the work, and on account of what formerly passed between us on the subject . . . (Ltr. 5) Although Malthus knew that Cadell and Davies had not accepted even Thomson’s terms of a payment of ₤1500, he still expected, strangely, that they would accept ‘the proposal[,] which [he] made to the gentleman [Thomson] at Edinburgh, through [Malthus’s] friend Mr Jeffrey’: that is, ‘the offer of 1500₤ with the addition of an interest in the subsequent editions, or without such interest 2000₤’ (Ltr. 5). Also, he promised Cadell and Davies to finish a new edition consisting of ‘foot notes [sic] where only short remarks were required, [with] an additional volume of longer notes and dissertations . . . in about two years’ (Ltr. 5), although he, in the negotiation with Thomson, said that he could not finish it within two years. It is probable that the completion within two years might be a necessary condition of the publishers. He expected to engage with Cadell and Davies ‘upon these terms’ (Ltr. 5) and again waited for a favourable answer. Since we do not have any further correspondence between Malthus and the publishers, we cannot learn about the further development of this negotiation. We can, however, learn that Malthus did not give up the plan of editing The Wealth of Nations for at least following years.

Thomas Robert Malthus and Wealth of Nations  287 As early as November 1813, Malthus saw ‘the advertisement’ of Buchanan’s new edition, which was about to be brought out by other publishers and, in a state of despondency, wrote to Horner: [T]he new Edition of Adam Smith . . . is to be sure precisely upon the same plan as that which I had projected, and if it is done tolerably well the author must anticipate me in some points. Under these circumstances I am not sure whether it may not be necessary for me to change my plan and to publish only a volume of essays instead of a new edition of Smith. I suppose I had better however wait to see what sort of work it is, before I finally make my determination. The circumstance on the whole is rather unfortunate. (Ltr. 6) Malthus seemed to still believe in the feasibility of his project. This can be determined from the letter that Jeffrey, one of Malthus’s closest friends, wrote to him on 12 May 1814: ‘What is your Edition of Smith doing?’ (Ltr. 7). If Malthus had indeed given it up, he would surely have let his close friends know of his intentions. On the other hand, it seems that Cadell and Davies decided to wash their hands of the negotiation with Malthus – as Ltr. 8, below, shows. They had an opportunity to talk with the well-known publisher John Murray about the intended publication of the Buchanan edition. These two publishing firms were competitors with each other, but there were ‘friendly relations’ between them (Besterman 1938: xv). Davies wrote to Murray on 23 May 1814: Mr Cadell, as well as myself, is fully sensible of your handsome and very friendly conduct towards us, relative to Buchanan’s Edition of Smith’s The Wealth of Nations; and we beg that you will put us and our interests out of the question, when forming your determination on the subject of that publication. (Ltr. 8) In late October of the year, according to Whisaw, ‘Malthus . . . seem[ed] to have relinquished his plan of editing Adam Smith (in consequence of being forestalled by Buchanan); and seem[ed] disposed to publish a volume or two of essays on distinct branches of political economy’ (Ltr. 9). The following month, Buchanan’s four-volume edition, including his essay on ‘Observations on the Subjects Treated of in Dr Smith’s Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations’, was published jointly by the Edinburgh publishers Oliphant, Waugh and Innes and the London publisher, Murray – the introduction written by Buchanan was dated on 14 September 1814. James Mill (1773–1836) asked Ricardo about Malthus’s proposed edition in his letter dated 24 November of the same year: ‘What is Mr. Malthus doing with his notes on Adam Smith? I see Buchanan[’]s book is out’ (Ltr. 10). If Whishaw’s evidence is credible, Malthus had already abandoned the project at the time. However, Malthus’s closest friend Ricardo wrote to him on 13 January 1815:

288  Taro Hisamatsu I am pleased to learn that you are busy writing with a view to immediate publication. The public pay a most flattering attention to any thing from your pen . . . I hope your notes on Adam Smith are in great forwardness, and that they will soon follow the smaller publications[,] which you are now preparing. I expect that they will not only be very useful in giving correct notations to the public, but also in calling the attention of those, who are well informed in the science of political economy, to many points[,] which have hitherto escaped their consideration. (Ltr. 11) Malthus’s two ‘smaller publications’ The Nature and Progress of Rent (Malthus 1986 VII: 111–45) and The Importation of Foreign Corn (Malthus 1986 VII: 147–74), appeared on 3 and 10 February 1815, respectively (Ricardo 1951–73 IV: 5). However, in spite of Ricardo’s great expectations for the publication of Malthus’s edition of The Wealth of Nations, it was never shown to the public.

IV Malthus’s unrealized edition, Ricardo and the academic study of economics In November 1816, Ricardo finished the manuscript of the taxation chapters in his new book entitled ‘On the Principle of Political Economy, and Taxation’ and sent it to James Mill for reading. The manuscript included Smith on taxation and Buchanan’s comments on it. Ricardo asked Mill’s advice ‘about noticing . . . Buchanan’, writing: ‘Buchanan amidst some important errors has some very judicious comments on Adam Smith’s text; if I notice him at all it is right I should point out the merit of those remarks’ (Ricardo 1951–73 VII: 100–1). Ricardo conditionally acknowledged the merits of Buchanan’s work, but Mill, a disciple of Ricardo, did not agree with his master: In noticing the errors of Buchanan, credit should be given him where he has seen the truth. But you are not at all called upon to go out of your way, to mention the cases in which he has avoided error. In the places where you criticize A[dam] S[mith], if he criticizes him in the same way, then you should allow him what credit he deserves. In regard to all these parts, when you do not think it necessary to notice A. Smith, neither would I notice the comment, right or wrong, of Mr. Buchanan. Mr. B[uchanan] appears to me a very feeble reasoner, and not likely to do the science much good. (Ricardo 1951–73 VII: 108)11 In spite of Mill’s advice, Ricardo allowed the notes on Buchanan to remain in the published text. Most of his references to Buchanan appeared in the chapters on taxation. Like Mill, John Ramsay McCulloch (1789–1864), another disciple of Ricardo, also did not agree with Ricardo’s notes on Buchanan. When Ricardo was about to revise the second edition of his text, McCulloch suggested: ‘It occurs to me that you might with advantage limit the number of your references

Thomas Robert Malthus and Wealth of Nations  289 to Mr Buchanan – His work never attracted the smallest attention, neither, in my humble opinion, did it deserve more than it has met with’ (Ricardo 1951–73 VII: 353). McCulloch’s suggestion was also disregarded.12 Neither Mill nor McCulloch ever acknowledged any merits of the Buchanan edition. Ricardo did not adopt his disciples’ suggestions, but neither did he hold Buchanan in high esteem. The merits of Buchanan’s work acknowledged by Ricardo, as we mentioned above, were only conditional and most of his references were made when he criticized Buchanan on Smith (Ricardo 1951–73 I: 216–21, 251–4, 314–6, 355–6, 370, 382).13 Considering Ricardo’s eager expectation of the publication of Malthus’s edition, we can suppose that Ricardo would have referred to it rather than the Buchanan edition. Ricardo’s text has more than ten chapters on taxation, but there is no chapter on it in Malthus’s Principles of Political Economy. Ricardo, who was aware of the contents of Malthus’s book before its publication, wrote to Trower: I am sorry to find that Malthus, whose work I believe is now actually in the press, has left off, without treating on the subject of taxation . . . I cannot but regret that Malthus has not given us his thoughts on this part of the subject. I hope he will immediately after publishing his volume seriously set about it. (Ricardo 1951–73 VIII: 132–3) However, Malthus was neither indifferent to the subject of taxation nor unable to write about it. In 1830 he ‘gave his class a series of questions on Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations’ and Jonathan Duncan Inverarity (1812–82), one of his students, ‘wrote the questions on sheets interleaved in his copy of the Wealth of Nations’ (Pullen 1981: 794). Inverarity’s lecture notes are called the Inverarity Manuscript and contain 564 entries in interrogative forms. It should be noted that more than 14 percent of them were in relation to taxation.14 According to Pullen (1981: 800), this fact ‘indicates that Malthus was very much concerned about taxation and wished his students to have a detailed understanding of its problems’. In the Inverarity Manuscript, we can find, in particular, an entry as follows: ‘In what case might a tax on the wages of labour not occasion a proportionable rise of them?’ (Hashimoto 1988: 90). In his lectures Malthus thus shed light on the effect of wage taxation on wage rates, the discussion of which constituted one of Ricardo’s strongest criticisms of Buchanan. Buchanan denied Smith’s ‘proposition’ that ‘a tax on the wages of labour would raise the price of labour’ (Ricardo 1951–73 I: 216), but Ricardo ‘fully agree[d]’ with Smith on this point (Ricardo 1951–73 I: 222). After reading Ricardo’s manuscript, Mill also made the severe comment that Ricardo has ‘not taken any notice of the extreme badness of’ Buchanan’s ‘reasoning . . . to prove that wages would not rise, in consequence of a tax’ (Ricardo 1951–73 VII: 108). Bonar (1929: 210) guesses that the Inverarity Manuscript contained Malthus’s notes, which were scheduled to be appended to his edition of The Wealth of Nations. Hashimoto (1988: 23) also states that ‘what would have been the contents’ of Malthus’s edition of The Wealth of Nations ‘had it been published

290  Taro Hisamatsu could be in a way guessed from’ the Inverarity Manuscript (and Malthus’s 1808 examination papers). This is no more than a matter of conjecture, but it is highly probable that Malthus’s annotated edition of The Wealth of Nations, if it had been successfully published, would have contained the contents of his lectures at the College and could have had an impact on the conquest of early nineteenth-century economics by Ricardo. We shall discuss the possible role of Malthus’s unrealized edition in the academic study of economics. The Wealth of Nations was thought to be the most useful textbook for teaching economics, even when Ricardo’s economics were creating their greatest sensation, until it was replaced by John Stuart Mill’s Principles of Political Economy (Mill [1848] 1965). Ricardo’s Principles was not suitable as a student textbook. Mallet, a contemporary of Ricardo, said that ‘it is a great drawback on Ricardo’s work that it is almost a sealed Book to all but men capable of pursuing abstract reasoning by a strict and mathematical analysis’ (Mallet [1823–37] 1921: 224). George Pryme (1781–1868), the first lecturer in political economy at Cambridge, delivered a ‘course of lectures, which were avowedly aimed to expound The Wealth of Nations’, following Dugald Stewart’s course of political economy at Edinburgh (Kubo 2013: 63). The main contents of his lectures included not only Smithian discussions of wealth but also the theory of population, which had been a serious focus since the early nineteenth century (Kubo 2013: 75–82). He did not completely favour the theory of population presented by ‘Mr Malthus, author of the celebrated work on Population’ (Pryme 1870: 66),15 but the theory was so indispensable for his lectures that he recommended that his audience read Malthus’s Principle of Population (Pryme [1816] 1987: 198). This allows us to surmise that if Malthus, whom Stewart recommended as the best editor for Smith, had succeeded in the publication of his annotated edition, this would have helped Pryme’s teaching at Cambridge.16 Even after the publication of Mill’s Principles, The Wealth of Nations was still used as a textbook by economists. William Stanley Jevons (1835–82) used the McCulloch edition and later the Buchanan edition in his lectures on economics at Owens College, Manchester.17 It appears, however that he was not satisfied with either edition as a teaching text. In 1877, he approached Macmillan with a proposal to publish his annotated edition of The Wealth of Nations, ‘which might well be accepted by any lecturer on pol. econ. as a safe basis for his course’ (Black 1977 IV: 219). He also wrote to Herbert Somerton Foxwell (1849–1936), whose assistance was required by him in this project (Black 1977 V: 81–2) that ‘Ricardo & Cairnes can always be introduced but I have lately been reading Malthus’ Principles of Political Economy & can recommend it to you as a book not sufficiently estimated as far as I can see’ (Black 1977 IV: 143).18 Unfortunately Jevons’s work, like Malthus’s, was not completed. We may guess that if Malthus had completed his project, his annotated edition would have been used as more reliable basis for Jevons’s lectures. During his time – from 1805 to 1834 – at the East India College, Malthus continued to use The Wealth of Nations as a student textbook rather than his own Principles of Political Economy (Hashimoto 1988: 20). Pullen (1981: 800) argues that Malthus

Thomas Robert Malthus and Wealth of Nations  291 ‘apparently believed that a thorough grounding in the ideas of Adam Smith was an essential part of an education in political economy’. Malthus’s thoughts and theories attracted the attention of the economists who were involved in institutionalizing the subject of political economy at universities and colleges in England.

V Concluding remarks The above considerations can be summarized as follows. After his 1802 purchase of the Garnier translation, Malthus planned to edit The Wealth of Nations, based on the style of Garnier, which comprises footnotes to the original work plus an additional volume of longer notes and essays. In 1804, Cadell and Davies, the original publishers of the work, approached Malthus for the publication of his planned edition. At that time, however, he did not have enough leisure to undertake it, caring for his pregnant wife. Playfair instead took on the work and his draft notes were sent from the publishers to Malthus to assess their eligibility for publication. Despite Malthus’s unfavourable judgment, the Playfair edition was duly brought out in 1805. Malthus kept his plan in mind. In July 1812, during his stay at Claverton, Malthus was visited by the Edinburgh bookseller Thomson to discuss his edition of The Wealth of Nations. Thomson’s offer consisted of a payment of ₤1500 for the provision of an annotated edition of The Wealth of Nations. Malthus, however, did not give Thomson a definite answer, because he hoped to sign a contract with Cadell and Davies. Malthus asked his friend Wishaw to negotiate with Cadell and Davies, using Thomson’s handsome offer as a bargaining chip. However, they were unwilling to draw up a contract for Malthus under the same terms as Thomson offered. Malthus was thus inclined to accept Thomson’s offer, which he did through his friend Jeffrey. While Malthus had not yet received the reply from Jeffery, he directly wrote to Cadell and Davies a letter showing an intention to renegotiate with them. However, there is no further evidence to show that an agreement was reached between Malthus and either firm. We only know that Malthus’s edition was not published by any firm, although he never gave up his project, at least until the publication of the Buchanan edition, whereupon and as a result of it, according to Whishaw, he relinquished it. Whishaw’s evidence for Malthus’s relinquishment of his plan has been taken at face value by modern historians of economic thought such as Mizuta (1985: 14), Pullen (1989: xxvii) and Tribe (2002: 32). However, we cannot neglect Mizuta’s further suggestion that since Cadell and Davies were unwilling to pay the exorbitant fee of ₤1500 that Malthus demanded, they did not sign a contract with him (Mizuta 1985: 14). This conjecture is, it seems to be, in some degree confirmed by Mizuta’s unknown material (Ltr. 3), which notes that it appears that Cadell and Davies were ‘hardly inclined to come up to the terms of Mr Thomson’.19 The material in Ltr. 3 clarifies other facts, which could not have been known by writers who have treated the subject of Malthus’s unrealized project. James (1979) was not able to identify ‘the gentleman at Edinburgh’ as Thomson. Mizuta (1985: 13) guessed that the gentlemen was the Edinburgh bookseller Archibald Constable (1774–1827).

292  Taro Hisamatsu This material also clarifies that it was Dugald Stewart who recommended Malthus as the most proper editor of Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. This is valuable material that allows us to identify a link between Malthus and Stewart concerning Smith’s book. Malthus was the first person in Britain to obtain the title of professor of political economy and Stewart was the first in Britain to deliver lectures on the subject. The former used Smith’s The Wealth of Nations as textbook in his lectures at the college and the latter, following Smith’s approach in his book, delivered a series of lectures at the university. The lectures on political economy delivered by Pryme, the first lecturer on the subject at Cambridge, was modelled on Stewart’s course and included not only the science of wealth developed in Smith’s The Wealth of Nations but also the matter of population, to which economists’ attention had turned by the publication of Malthus’s work. We believe that Malthus’s annotated edition, if it had been published, would have been welcomed by the economists who were involved in the institutionalization of political economy in academia. On the other hand, as can be presumed from the contents of Malthus’s examination papers and the lecture notes of one of his students, there is a strong possibility that his unrealized annotated edition was would include notes on taxation. The absence of the subject of taxation in Malthus’s Principles of Political Economy disappointed Ricardo, who sincerely hoped that Malthus would publish a different work dealing with the subject. Malthus was Ricardo’s greatest rival in economic discussions and was better thought of by Ricardo than any other contemporary economist.20 Malthus’s incomplete work was a great loss to the world of nineteenth-century economics.

Acknowledgment This text was presented at the Malthus conference on ‘A Ceremony to Commemorate the 250th Anniversary of the Birth’ (Fukuoka, Japan, 15 March 2016). I would like to thank the participants of this conference, Gilbert Faccarello, Claudia Sunna, and Susumu Takenaga as well as two anonymous referees for their very beneficial comments. I am also grateful to Marcelo Fukushima for his very helpful comments and suggestions.

Notes 1 The negotiations between Malthus and the publishing houses have been reconstructed mainly by letters 1–5. Manuscript letter 3 is possessed by the Library of Fukuyama University. I would like to thank the Library staff, who allowed me to photograph the manuscript letter. I note that there are trivial mistakes in the version of this letter published by Hashimoto. For the latest in research on Malthus’s correspondence, see Pullen (2016). 2 Hereafter the above letters shall be referred to as ‘Ltr.’ 3 According to John Maynard Keynes (1883–1946), ‘Ricardo conquered England as completely as the Holy Inquisition conquered Spain’ (1973 [1936]: 32). However, it is Malthus who Keynes most admires: ‘If only Malthus, instead of Ricardo, had been the

Thomas Robert Malthus and Wealth of Nations  293 parent stem from which nineteenth-century economics proceeded, what a much wiser and richer place the world would be to-day!’ (Keynes 1972 [1933]: 101). 4 Tribe (2002: 27) notes: ‘Copyright under the Act of 1709–10 lasted 28 years from the publication of a work’. 5 Tribe (2002: 31) argues that ‘Malthus’s one substantive criticism, concerning Playfair’s treatment of the Physiocrats, is a fair and significant one, for this relates to one of the more bizarre features of Playfair’s colourful “Life of Dr. Adam Smith”; so it seems likely that Malthus had been sent this item and some of the draft notes at least’. 6 Malthus wrote to Cadell and Davies, 3 September 1812: ‘I did in consequence postpone giving an answer to the proposal made to me for six weeks’ (Ltr. 5). The ‘proposal’ here was, in the whole context, made to Malthus by Thomson. 7 See ‘Scottish Book Trade Index’ in the website of National Library of Scotland (http:// www.nls.uk/catalogues/scottish-book-trade-index). 8 Dugald Stewart (1753–1828) ‘praised the “practical utility” of the Wealth of Nations, an approach he aimed to emulate, in part through his separate course on political economy delivered at the University of Edinburgh from 1800 to 1808’ (Spencer 2004: 1164). 9 Malthus later wrote of Germain Garnier (1754–1821) in a letter to Ricardo dated 28 August 1820: ‘Garnier the Translator of Adam Smith attacked you violently, though it appeared to me that he agreed with you in many essential points, perhaps without knowing it. He thinks of publishing a new edition of Adam Smith with a volume of notes to refute all the modern writers who have differed from him’ (Ricardo 1951–73 VIII: 224–5). Ricardo wrote to Trower on 14 December 1822: ‘M. Garnier, the translator of Adam Smith, had completed an additional volume of notes for a new edition of Smith’s work when he died. This new edition has just been published, and I had an opportunity[,] while in Paris, of seeing the additional volume, and of reading the lengthened remarks[,] which he makes on my opinions. M Garnier is in every instance opposed to me when I attack his favorite author’ (Ricardo 1951–73 IX: 244–5). 10 Tribe (2002: 31) guesses that ‘[p]erhaps he had formed it much earlier than 1804, since . . . he bought a copy of the Garnier translation during his visit to Paris in 1802’. 11 Robert Torrens (1780–1864), a contemporary economist, wrote a letter to Francis Place (1771–1854) dated from Edinburgh, on 30 September 1818: ‘I have been this instant introduced to Buchanan who edited Adam Smith. We entered upon [Political] Economy instantly. He admits as far as I can learn in a short conversation none of Ricardo[’]s doctrines. He admires Malthus highly. McCulloch does not’ (Ricardo 1951–73 VII: 316). 12 McCulloch published his edition of The Wealth of Nations five years after Ricardo died. It became the ‘most well-known nineteenth century edition’ (Tribe 2002: 37), but his own theories of economics did not receive a higher assessment than Malthus’s, not only among his contemporaries but also later economists. 13 As for the discussions, in which Ricardo conditionally agreed with Buchanan, see Ricardo (1951–73 I: 106, 398–400). 14 We also can find that there are no fewer than 10 questions that refer to ‘tax(es)’ or ‘taxation’ in Malthus’s 1808 examination papers, which contain 24 questions on political economy. The Inverarity Manuscript and the examination papers have been published by Hashimoto (1988). 15 In 1805 Pryme met Malthus. 16 In 1825, the banker Henry Drummond (1786–1860), who was inspired by Malthus’s teaching of economics at the East India College, endowed a chair of political economy at Oxford (Levy 1970: 294). ‘This was a major step forward in the teaching of economics at Oxford’ (Worth 2004: 343). Nassau William Senior (1790–1864), who was the first Drummond Professor, did not use The Wealth of Nations as the basis for his lectures, but prepared his own texts, including Two Lectures on Population, delivered in the Easter term of 1828, in which he criticized Malthus’s principle of population (Senior 1829).

294  Taro Hisamatsu 17 Jevons used Mill’s Principles as well as Smith’s Wealth of Nations in his lecture, but reluctantly so. In his 1875 lecture, he said: ‘I don’t wish to take Mill as a standard text book’ (Black 1977 VI: 3). 18 In the ‘preface to the second edition’ of The Theory of Political Economy, Jevons (1879: li) stated that ‘Malthus and Senior . . . had a far better comprehension of the true doctrines’ of political economy than Ricardo and J. S. Mill. 19 As for the subject of negotiation with Thomson, the following guesses are the best we can do: Malthus may not have entered into a contract with Thomson because he may have been informed by Jeffrey that Thomson was not the proper person to share publication with, or Thomson would not make a contract with Malthus due to more rigid conditions. If any further materials come to light, the facts will become clearer. 20 Malthus and Ricardo differed on questions of economics – for example, on value (price) determination, on Say’s law of the market, on corn trade, and so on. Malthus stressed the demand–supply theory of price, but Ricardo mainly argued the labour theory of value. Ricardo rejected the possibility of general glut on the basis of Say’s law, but Malthus was directly opposed. With respect to the corn trade, Malthus proposed a protectionist view, whereas Ricardo supported the free importation of agricultural products – Hollander (1992; 1997), however, insists on ‘Malthus’s abandonment of agricultural protectionism’ in the 1820s. For detailed discussion of the correspondence between Malthus and Ricardo, see Hollander (1997: 70–94, 114–72, 994–1002). In spite of their many differences of opinion, Malthus ‘loved Ricardo more than anyone else outside his own family’ (James 1979: 249) and Ricardo wrote: ‘Mr. Malthus is a very intimate friend of mine and a more candid or better man nowhere exists’ (Ricardo 1951–73 VIII: 101). The last letter that Ricardo wrote to Malthus contains this: ‘And now my dear Malthus I have done. Like other disputants after much discussion we each retain our own opinions. These discussions however never influence our friendship; I should not like you more than I do if you agreed in opinion with me’ (Ricardo 1951–73 IX: 382). Ten days after Malthus received this letter, his closest friend died.

References Besterman, T. (ed.) (1938) The Publishing Firm of Cadell & Davies, Select Correspondence and Accounts 1793–1836, London: Oxford University Press. Black, R. D. C. (ed.) (1977) Papers and Correspondence of William Stanley Jevons, Vols IV–VI, London: Macmillan. Bonar, J. (1929) ‘Ricardo on Malthus’, The Economic Journal, 39 (154): 210–8. Hasegawa, T. (1989) ‘A General Explanation of the Collection of the Four Great Classical Economists’ Works’, Sanzo; Library Announcement, Fukuyama University, Special Issue: 19–26. (In Japanese) Hashimoto, H. (1988) ‘Malthus & The Wealth of Nations: His Examination Papers & Inverarity Manuscript’, KSU Economic and Business Review, 15: 19–95. Hashimoto, H. (1990) ‘Three Unpublished Letters of T. R. Malthus in Japan’, History of Political Economy, 22 (2): 353–8. Hollander, S. (1992) ‘Malthus’s Abandonment of Agricultural Protectionism: A Discovery in the History of Economic Thought’, The American Economic Review, 82 (3): 650–9. Hollander, S. (1997). The Economics of Thomas Robert Malthus, Toronto: University of Toronto Press. James, P. (1979) Population Malthus: His Life and Times, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Thomas Robert Malthus and Wealth of Nations  295 Jevons, W. S. (1879) Theory of Political Economy, second edition, London: Macmillan. Keynes, J. M. (1972) [1933] Essays in Biography. In The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes, Vol. X, London: Macmillan. Keynes, J. M. (1973) [1936] The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. In The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes, Vol. VII, London: Macmillan. Kubo, S. (2013) ‘George Pryme, Dugald Stewart, and Political Economy at Cambridge’, History of Political Economy, 45 (1): 61–97. Levy, S. L. (1970) Nassau William Senior, 1790–1864: Critical Essayist, Classical Economist and Adviser of Governments, Newton Abbot: David & Charles. Mallet, J. L. (1921) [1823–37] ‘Diaries: From Mr. J. L. Mallet’s Diaries’. In Political Economy Club, Founded in London, 1821, Vol. VI, London: Macmillan. Malthus, T. R. (1986) The Works of Thomas Robert Malthus, 8 vols, (eds.) E. A. Wrigley and D. Souden, London: Pickering. Mill, J. S. (1965) [1848] Principles of Political Economy, with Some of Their Applications to Social Philosophy. In Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, 2 vols, (ed.) J. M. Robson, Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Mizuta, H. (1985) Shisoshi no Mori no Shokei de (At a Path across the Forest of the History of Ideas), Yokohama: Akiyamashobo. (In Japanese) Pryme, G. (1987) [1816] ‘A Syllabus of a Course of Lectures on the Principles of Political Economy’. In G. F. Langer, The Coming of Age of Political Economy, 1815–1825, New York: Greenwood Press, 195–208. Pryme, G. (1870) Autobiographic Recollections of George Pryme, (ed.) [A. Bayne], Cambridge: Deighton. Pullen, J. M. (1981) ‘Notes from Malthus: The Inverarity Manuscript’, History of Political Economy, 13 (4): 794–811. Pullen, J. M. (1989) ‘Introduction to the Variorum Edition’ of T. R. Malthus Principles of Political Economy, (ed.) J. M. Pullen, Vol. I, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pullen, J. M. (2016) ‘The Other Correspondence of T. R. Malthus: A Preliminary List and Selected Commentary’, History of Political Economy, 48 (1): 65–110. Pullen, J. M. and T. H. Parry (eds.) (1997) T. R. Malthus: The Unpublished Papers in the Collection of Kanto Gakuen University, Vol. I, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ricardo, D. (1951–73) The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo, (eds.) P. Sraffa and M. H. Dobb, 11 vols, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Senior, N. W. (1829) Two Lectures on Population, Delivered before the University of Oxford in Easter Term, 1828; To which is Added, a Correspondence between the Author and the Rev. T. R. Malthus, London: Saunders and Otley. Smith, A. (1776) An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 2 vols, London: Strahan and Cadell. Smith, A. (1802) Recherches sur la Nature et les Causes de la Richesse des Nations, Traduction Nouvelle, avec des Notes et Observations, (trans.) G. Garnier, 5 vols, Paris: Agasse. Smith, A. (1805) An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, the Eleven edition, with Notes, Supplementary chapters, and a Life of Dr. Smith, (ed.) W. Playfair, 3 vols, London: Cadell and Davies. Smith, A. (1811–2) The Works of Adam Smith, with an Account of His Life and Writings, (ed.) D. Stewart, 5 vols, Edinburgh: Cadell, Davies, et al. Smith, A. (1814) An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, with Notes and an Additional Volume (Observations on the Subjects Treated of in Dr Smith’s

296  Taro Hisamatsu Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations), (ed.) D. Buchanan, 4 vols, Edinburgh: Oliphant, Waugh and Innes; London: Murray. Spencer, M. (2004) ‘Stewart, Dugald (1753–1828)’. In The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists, (ed.) D. Rutherford, Vol. 2, Bristol: Thoemmes Continuum, 1162–5. Tribe, K. (2002) ‘Adam Smith in English: From Playfair to Cannan’. In A Critical Bibliography of Adam Smith, (eds.) K. Tribe and H. Mizuta, London: Pickering and Chatto. Worth, T. (2004) ‘Drummond, Henry (1786–1860)’. In The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists, (ed.) D. Rutherford, Vol. 1, Bristol: Thoemmes Continuum, 342–4.

Adam Smith’s Newtonian ideals Toni Vogel Carey

‘The study of human nature’ was clearly the pursuit in which Adam Smith was ‘formed to excel’. But as his first biographer Dugald Stewart also tells us (1980, 270–1), his favourite subjects at the University of Glasgow were science and mathematics. And according to a more recent biographer Ian Ross (2010, 52), these studies included a course in natural philosophy as ‘improved by Sir Isaac Newton’. While still a student, now at Oxford (Balliol, 1740–46), Smith began writing The Principles which lead and direct Philosophical Enquiries; illustrated by the History of Astronomy (1980; hereafter AST). Its final section on Newton has been definitively dated between 1749 and 1757 (AST Intro. 7), although he probably continued to tinker with it (Phillipson 2010, 283).1 Writing to his friend David Hume in 1773, he referred to AST as a fragment of both a ‘juvenile’ and a ‘great work’ (1977, no.137: 168), and it was among the few manuscripts he did not have committed to the flames before his death. His literary co-executors, who brought it to posthumous publication in 1795, were the chemist Joseph Black and the geologist James Hutton – important men of science with whom Smith had a long, ‘intimate’ friendship (Stewart 1980, 332), and with whom he launched the Oyster Club in Edinburgh, famous for its dinner conversations (Phillipson 2010, 259). Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments (1976a; hereafter TMS), first published in 1759, secured his reputation. His Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1976b; hereafter WN), published in 1776, made him a fixed star in the intellectual firmament. AST ranks third in importance, and is a more obscure work. But that said, it led D.D. Raphael (1985, 107), co-editor of TMS, to consider Smith ‘one of the originators of the history and philosophy of science’. W.P.D. Wightman, who edited AST, gave a similar assessment (1975, 47). The editors of WN open their General Introduction with a section titled ‘Scope and Method’ (1–5), in which they credit AST with providing the methodological foundation not just for WN, but also for TMS and Smith’s Lectures on Jurisprudence (1978; hereafter LJ). We can understand, then, why Joseph Schumpeter (1954, 182) considered some knowledge of AST necessary for ‘an adequate idea of Smith’s intellectual stature’. People often refer to AST as the ‘Astronomy’ essay. But its full title shows that astronomy is really a subordinate topic, intended to ‘illustrate’ the principles – the

298  Toni Vogel Carey motives and methods – of science (natural philosophy). And it is the methods that will concern us here. I say ‘methods’ for a reason. AST is usually considered the sole repository of Smith’s scientific method. But that would mean his understanding of Newton remained fundamentally unchanged over the course of his entire working life. I find this implausible, and on closer examination, unsustainable. As I will try to show, Smith’s methodology grew in sophistication over time, making WN and the sixth edition of TMS, the last published during his lifetime, more deeply Newtonian than they otherwise would have been. Raphael (1975; 2007) showed the need to take into account the thirty-year development of TMS (1759–90), calling the sixth edition ‘virtually a new book’ (1975, 85).2 My purpose here, analogously, is to trace the evolution of Smith’s scientific method over an even longer time period.

1. Three forms of Newtonianism Smith proclaimed Newton’s principle of gravitation ‘the greatest discovery that ever was made by man’ (AST 105). And by now enough has been written about Smith’s commitment to Newton that some may assume little more needs to be said.3 However, those in the ‘Chicago school’ of economics who see Smith as ‘a forerunner of general equilibrium theory’ think they understand the nature of his Newtonianism, even though Leonidas Montes points out (2004, 157) that the term ‘equilibrium’ appears only once in WN (489); and the Newton expert I.B. Cohen says (1994, 61) ‘there is no equilibrium’ in Newton’s system either. On the other hand, in some ways Milton Friedman, a founder of the Chicago school, shows a better grasp of Newton’s scientific method than some in eighteenth-century Scotland, where the Principia was understood remarkably early and well.4 Thomas Reid, for example, Smith’s successor in the chair of moral philosophy at Glasgow, claimed that Newton’s four Rules of Reasoning in the Principia merely ‘reduced principles laid down by Bacon into three or four axioms’. He held so rigorously, in fact, to Newton’s dictum hypotheses non fingo that he accused Newton himself of being ‘misled by analogy and the love of simplicity’ (Reid 1880, 1: 436, 207). Montes also points out (2006a, 252) that aside from the Essays on Philosophical Subjects, particularly AST, Smith makes few direct references to Newton: one in TMS, one in LJ, none at all in WN. How well, then, he asks (2013, 47) did Smith really understand Newtonian science? According to Cohen, his understanding was ‘perfectly correct up to a point; it was merely incomplete’. That is because in construing the ‘natural price’ as ‘the central price to which the prices of all commodities are continually gravitating’ (WN 75), Smith fails to take into account that all bodies gravitate toward one another (1994, 65; ital. orig.). Cohen adds, though, that any adaptation of natural science to the social sciences will involve ‘some degree of distortion’. Consequently, discrepancies between Smith’s theory and Newton’s may simply go to show that economics is not physics. Smith’s use of the term

Adam Smith’s Newtonian ideals  299 ‘gravitation’, in other words, is metaphorical – not strictly Newtonian, but a form of ‘Newtonianism’ (ibid. 66–8).5 Montes (2006a, 248) considers Newton’s methodology ‘much more complex and subtle than commonly thought’. And much the same could be said about Smith’s. I think we can distinguish three forms of Newtonianism in his work: (1) the familiar one emphasized in AST, that many seemingly unrelated phenomena can be subsumed under a single principle (Sections 2–3); (2) the idea emphasized in recent work by Montes and Eric Schliesser, that science is an indefinitely open-ended process of discovery and correction, progressing toward a complete knowledge of reality (Section 4); (3) a method that has received little attention from Smith scholars, although it is so familiar that when I mentioned it in the previous paragraph, I doubt that it triggered any ‘wonder’ or ‘surprise’. This form of Newtonianism is the most abstract of the three, so I leave it for last, and give it the most attention (Sections 5–8). In the final section (9), I will say how I think these three forms are related in Smith’s work.

2. The ‘hinge’ form of Newtonianism Smith characterizes natural philosophy in AST (45) as ‘the science of the connecting principles of nature’, and hammers that idea home more than thirty times in this work alone. His reasons for considering Newtonian gravitation the greatest discovery in history are 1) that its parts are ‘more strictly connected together than those of any other system’; and 2) that these ‘parts’ (the revolution of planets, the tides, the fall of an apple) had formerly seemed entirely unrelated phenomena. As he explains in the Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, written during the same time period as AST (Smith 1983, Intro. 7; hereafter LRBL): We may lay down certain principles known or proved in the beginning, from whence we account for the severall Phenomena, connecting all together by the same Chain . . . which we may call the Newtonian method, is undoubtedly the most Philosophical, and in every science, whether of Moralls or Naturall Philosophy, etc., is vastly more ingenious and for that reason more engaging . . . It gives us a pleasure to see the phaenomena which we reckoned the most unaccountable all deduced from some principle (commonly a wellknown one) and all united in one chain. (LRBL 145–6) Francis Hutcheson, Smith’s mentor at the University of Glasgow, may have directly sparked his lifelong quest ‘to correlate things which often are not on the surface connected’, to quote A.O. Lovejoy’s description of the field of history of ideas (1936, 21, which he pioneered two centuries later). Here is Hutcheson on the ‘multiplicity of natural desires’:

300  Toni Vogel Carey This complex view . . . must at first make human nature appear a strange chaos, or a confused combination of jarring principles, until we can discover . . . some natural connexion or order among them, some governing principles naturally fitted to regulate all the rest. To discover this is the main business of Moral Philosophy.6 And here is Smith in AST (45–6): Philosophy, by representing the invisible chains which bind together all these disjointed objects, endeavours to introduce order in this chaos of jarring and discordant appearances, to allay this tumult of the imagination, and restore it . . . to that tone of tranquility and composure . . . most suitable to its nature. Similarly, Hume, Smith’s other early mentor, expressed the aim, in the Introduction to his Treatise of Human Nature (1978, xvii), of ‘explaining all effects from the simplest and fewest causes’. He urged Smith to make more of the agreeableness of sympathy in TMS, which he called the ‘hinge’ of the work (Smith 1977, 43). The term ‘great hinge’ also appears in AST (47). And whether or not there is a direct connection between Smith’s use and Hume’s, I will call this the ‘hinge’ form of Newtonianism. To be sure, there were some in Smith’s day who agreed that sympathy is the hinge of TMS, but did not think it should be. Stewart (sounding like his mentor Reid) remarked that Smith had been seduced by ‘an excessive love of simplicity’ to take sympathy, ‘a very subordinate principle’, for the central criterion that ‘distinguishes right from wrong’ (quoted in Reeder 1997, 121). But this was a distinctly minority view. James Wodrow, who attended Smith’s lectures, took TMS to be ‘founded on sympathy, a very ingenious attempt to account for the principal phenomena in the moral world from this one general principle, like that of Gravity in the natural world’ (quoted in TMS, Intro. 3). And the received word is still that TMS ‘begins with the principle of sympathy . . . and interprets all moral phenomena by means of this familiar idea’ (Brandt 2006, 144).7

3. Simplicity and sentiment The appeal of the ‘hinge’ form of Newtonianism is its explanatory parsimony, something that traditionally has been highly prized in philosophy and theoretical science.8 It entered the scholastic canon with ‘Ockham’s Razor’,9 and the canon of modern science with Newton’s first Rule of Reasoning in the Principia (1995, 320): We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain the appearances. To this purpose the philosophers say that Nature does nothing in vain, and more is in vain when less will serve; for Nature is pleased with simplicity, and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes.10

Adam Smith’s Newtonian ideals  301 WN is chock-full of facts.11 But according to Dugald Stewart (1980, 296), Smith valued ‘the progress that is most simple’ over that ‘most agreeable to fact’; for facts may be due to fleeting ‘accidents . . . not likely again to occur’. Going even further, Smith considered science ‘one of those arts which address themselves to the imagination’, and set out to study its history from ‘that particular point of view’ (AST 46).12 Imagination, in fact, may be as central to his philosophy of science as to his moral philosophy. And the same can be said for sentiment. Scientific inquiry for Smith begins with feelings of wonder and surprise at startling occurrences (an eclipse, a clap of thunder) for which no scientific explanation has been discovered. And it may end similarly. Smith praises the Copernican system not only for freeing astronomy ‘from the embarrassment of Epicycles’, but also for the ‘novelty’ and ‘unexpectedness’ with which it does so (AST 74).13 Finally, Smith valued beauty as well as simplicity over ‘truth and reality’. Let us examine, therefore, all the different systems of nature . . . and without regarding their absurdity or probability, their agreement or inconsistency with truth and reality, let us consider them only in that particular point of view which belongs to our subject, and content ourselves with inquiring how far each of them was fitted to sooth the imagination, and to render the theatre of nature a more coherent, and therefore a more magnificent spectacle, than otherwise it would have appeared to be. (AST 46) This philosophy was not without precedent. According to Leonardo Olschki (1943, 359), ‘the principal aim of the new methods of science’ in the seventeenth century was ‘to restore the philosophical harmony of the human mind by means of a few well tuned fundamental principles’. But that said, it goes against the entire modern history of inductive science – from Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum to Hume’s ‘constant conjunction’ to John Stuart Mill’s inductivism, and a century and more of positivism, from Auguste Comte to A.J. Ayer. There are a couple of passages, not in AST but in TMS (319, 159, early), where Smith does sound rather Baconian, saying that we form ‘general maxims’ like moral rules ‘from experience and induction’. I think what he has in mind here, though, is less the rote application of Baconian induction than Knut Haakonssen’s description of it (1981, 61) as ‘the unintended outcome of a multitude of individual instances of natural moral evaluation’. Then too, Haakonssen points out (ibid. 79–80), Smith would have considered such everyday thinking a far cry from the simplicity and beauty to be found at the highest level of science. He posits a four-stage theory of scientific evolution, analogous to his four-stage theory of economic development in LJ (14–16) – from hunting to shepherding to agriculture to commerce. At the most primitive level what passes for explanation is mere superstition, an appeal to demons, or ‘the invisible hand of Jupiter’ (AST 49). At the second stage, which he identifies with Aristotle, explanation is natural, not supernatural. The problem is that Aristotelian

302  Toni Vogel Carey essentialism treats each kind of thing as isolated from every other kind. Smith identifies the third stage with Descartes, because even if his system contains not ‘a word of truth’ (LRBL 146), he was ‘the first who attempted to ascertain . . . wherein this invisible chain consisted, and to afford the imagination a train of intermediate events’ (AST 96, 92). The fourth stage, of course, belonged to Newton.

4. ‘An ongoing research project’ However, Scottish thinkers did not rule out what Stewart (1829, 2: 240) called a ‘still happier system in time to come’. Smith hinted at the potential for future scientific improvement in referring to ‘that summit of perfection to which it is at present supposed to have arrived’ (AST 46). Adam Ferguson put it more straightforwardly: ‘As Newton did not acquiesce in what was observed by Kepler and Galileo, no more have successive astronomers restricted their view to what Newton has demonstrated’ (1973, 1:194). That brings me to a second form of Newtonianism, brought to light by Montes and Schliesser. The ‘real nature of . . . Smith’s Newtonianism’, although it has ‘gone relatively unnoticed’, is his ‘method of approximation to reality’ – an ‘evolving process of discovery’ that continues indefinitely, without end (Montes 2013, 37, 41).14 Schliesser refers to it as ‘an ongoing research project’, saying that for Smith ‘theory is a research tool that allows for a potentially open-ended process of successive approximation’ (2005a, 726). Montes and Schliesser trace this form of Newtonianism to three sources: a) the ‘Author’s Preface to the Reader’ in the Principia (1995, 4), where Newton expresses the hope that ‘the principles set down here will shed some light on either this mode of philosophizing or some truer one’ (Montes 2006a, 249–51; Schliesser 2013, 57); b) Newton’s fourth Rule of Reasoning, added in the third (1726) edition of the Principia (Schliesser 2005b, 42; Montes 2013, 40):15 In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions collected by general induction from phenomena as accurately or very nearly true, notwithstanding any contrary hypotheses that may be imagined, till such time as other phenomena occur by which they may either be made more accurate or liable to exceptions (Newton 1995, 321); c) a passage at the end of Query 28 in Newton’s Opticks: ‘And though every true Step made in this Philosophy brings us not immediately to the Knowledge of the first Cause, yet it brings us nearer to it, and on that account is to be highly valued’ (Montes 2013, 41). Given that the ‘hinge’ form of Newtonianism is the only form Smith emphasizes, one can be forgiven for thinking it is the only form he had in mind. To their credit, Montes and Schliesser have shown that this is too simplistic. But I think it is an exaggeration to say that this variety of Newtonianism captures ‘the Newtonian

Adam Smith’s Newtonian ideals  303 elements in Smith’ (Schliesser 2005b, 33; Montes 2006b, 109). Surely the ‘hinge’ form, which dominates AST and is a recurrent theme elsewhere (TMS 299, early; WN 21; 768–9, LRBL 145–6), is as Newtonian as the form they emphasize. When Thomas Pownall described WN in 1776 as ‘INSTITUTE OF THE PRINCIPIA of those laws of motion by which the operations of the community are directed and regulated’ (Smith 1977, Appendix A, 354; ital. orig.), he surely meant more than just that Smith considered science an indefinitely ongoing process. Montes acknowledges (2006b, 112) that Newton was understood in ‘radically different ways’, which makes it ‘difficult to identify a unified Newtonian tradition in the moral sciences’.16 Robert Schofield (1978, 189) gives a whole ‘taxonomy’ of ‘ways’, in fact, including a Baconian Newtonianism, a Cartesian Newtonianism and a Leibnizean Newtonianism, not to mention ‘at least two varieties of Newtonian Newtonianism’. The Opticks is much closer than the Principia to being inductive in the Baconian sense. But during his long presidency of the Royal Society of London (1703–27), Newton identified himself exclusively with the Principia (Feingold 2001). And here too Smith followed in Newton’s footsteps. He owned two editions of the Opticks (Bonar 1932, 122), but to my knowledge, he never mentions Newton’s other great book.

5. The method of idealization I turn now to the third form of Newtonianism that I identify in Smith’s work. This form is more familiar than the second, and in some ways almost as familiar as the first. But it has received little attention in the literature; so we have work to do to catch up with Smith himself, who mastered this method and made sophisticated use of it in WN and the 1790 edition of TMS. It appears prominently and early in WN (75) with Smith’s description of the ‘natural price’ as ‘the central price, to which the prices of all commodities are continually gravitating’; and ‘whatever may be the obstacles which hinder them from settling in this center of repose . . . they are constantly tending toward it’. He defines the ‘natural price’, in turn, as the price that would obtain under conditions of ‘perfect liberty’ (77).17 And shortly before the famous invisible hand passage in WN (456) he describes the ‘home’ market as ‘the center, if I may say so, round which the capitals of the inhabitants of every country are continually circulating, and towards which they are always tending’ (455). Commentators usually do not go much beyond noting that Smith emulates Newton in using the term ‘gravitating’. What gets missed is the larger point that the method of WN 75 is not the familiar ‘hinge’ method of AST. It involves a more sophisticated, mathematical concept of connectivity that Newton inherited from Galileo, who died in 1642, the year of Newton’s birth. This is how Galileo describes the method underlying his law of falling bodies in his final work, Two New Sciences (1638): If we find in fact that movables of different weight differ less and less in speed as they are situated in more and more yielding mediums: and that

304  Toni Vogel Carey finally, despite extreme differences in weight, their diversity of speed in the most tenuous medium of all (though not void) is found to be very small and almost unobservable, then it seems to me that we may believe, by a highly probable guess, that in the void all speeds would be entirely equal. (Galileo 1974, 76) That is, we track a continuum of observables to a point only a small inductive leap (‘a highly probable guess’) from its ideal limit. That method of ‘idealization’, Werner Heisenberg says, enabled Galileo to obtain ‘a simple mathematical law, and this was the beginning of modern exact science’.18 Edmund Husserl too singles out Galileo’s ‘great invention of idealization’, his ‘measuring guided by idealities’ as the concept that ‘first made physics possible’ (1970, 36–37, 49).19 Newton himself – a man hardly known for generosity in crediting others (Feingold 2001) – cites Galileo many times in the Principia (1995, 25, 52, 179, 181, 204, 208, 268, 270, 288), not least for his law of falling bodies (204). Smith owned Galileo’s works (Bonar 1932, 72), and evidently had studied them by the time he completed AST, since he praises Galileo’s method there of combining ‘reason and experience’. In fact, he goes out of his way to call Kepler a ‘great genius, but without the taste, or the order and method of Galileo’ (AST 83–4).

6. From Socrates to Smith The method Galileo bequeathed to Newton, however, did not originate entirely with him. In a scientific context, it goes back to Archimedes (c.287–c.212), whose name Galileo said he never mentioned without ‘a feeling of awe’ (1960, 67). Aristotle, who was still being taught almost exclusively in the mid-seventeenth century, had defined science as the study of what happens ‘always’ or ‘for the most part’ (Metaphysics 1027a20). Galileo, by contrast, looked to what happens in the ideal case, and so never (Carey 2012). In a moral context, the method of idealization is even older, dating back at least to Plato’s Republic (c.380). ‘If we discover what justice is’, Socrates asks (V.472b–d), ‘are we to demand that the just man shall . . . conform in every way to the ideal?’ No, he says, it will ‘suffice’ if he ‘approximates to it as nearly as possible and partakes of it more than others’. So too, Smith says in TMS (22, 1st) that trading places in the imagination falls short of a perfect copy, in degree and even in kind. Still, while it does not produce ‘unisons’, it does produce ‘concords, and this is all that is wanted or required’. And surprisingly, Newton too is very forgiving. Even in the austere Principia he remarks (1995, 93) that ‘it will be sufficient if [the] angle is found by a rude calculus in numbers near the truth’. While TMS is ‘predominantly Stoic’ (10), Smith was sharply critical of the Stoics for holding that all who fall ‘in the smallest degree short’ of perfection’ are ‘equally miserable’ (TMS 290, 6th). This is much like the argument he directs at Mandeville, whose philosophy he detested, for considering ‘every

Adam Smith’s Newtonian ideals  305 passion as wholly vicious, which is so in any degree’ (TMS 312, early). What makes these errors so serious is that they preclude the possibility of progress and improvement, a running theme of Smith’s philosophy, and of the Scottish Enlightenment generally. According to Jerry Evensky (2015, 12, n.20), Smith uses the term ‘progress’ more than 100 times in WN alone. As he emphasizes there, ‘The desire of bettering our condition . . . comes with us from the womb, and never leaves us till we go into the grave’ (341). Indeed, ‘the principle from which publick and national, as well as private opulence is originally derived’, is ‘the uniform, constant, and uninterrupted effort of every man to better his condition’ (343).20 Progress, betterment and improvement are ongoing processes that carry no promise of an ‘end-state’ of perfection. ‘Men conceive perfection’, to quote Adam Ferguson (2012, 152), but they ‘are capable only of improvement’. The function of a vision of perfection, he says, is to provide ‘a light to direct their progress’. Ferguson makes elegant use of the method of idealization in comparing moral progress to a curve in geometry ‘in continual approach to a straight line, which it never can reach’ (1973, 1: 184–5). Thus, the concept of approximation to an ideal limit was expertly applied, not only by Smith, but by Scottish Enlightenment figures more generally. In the first edition of TMS (77), Smith remarks that he is not ‘examining upon what principles a perfect being would approve of the punishment of bad actions, but upon what principles so weak and imperfect a creature as man actually and in fact approves of it’. Yet even here, sounding much like Socrates, he presents ‘two different standards’: ‘complete propriety and perfection’, and the ‘degree of proximity or distance from this complete perfection which the actions of the greater part of men commonly arrive at’. We consider blameworthy what ‘falls short of that ordinary degree of proper beneficence which experience teaches us to expect of every body’, and praiseworthy what ‘goes beyond it’ (26, 80). In the sixth edition Smith repeats these two standards, ‘ideal perfection’ and ‘the degree of approximation to this ideal which is commonly attained in the world’. But now he takes no interest in the level ‘commonly’ attained. Now his eye is on ‘the work of a divine artist, which can never be equaled’ (247). Only ‘inferior’ artists are ever ‘perfectly satisfied’ with their own work, he says. And why? Because they measure it against the work of ‘other artists’, rather than by the standard of ‘ideal perfection’ (248). The editors of TMS suggest in their very last comment (Appendix II, 401) that in saying he had approached ‘as nearly to the idea of a perfectly wise and virtuous man, as perhaps the nature of human frailty will permit’, Smith’s eulogy to Hume ‘deliberately imitated the last sentence of Plato’s Phaedo’. As we know, Smith commented later that this brief tribute had brought him ‘ten times more abuse than the very violent attack I had made upon the whole commercial system of Great Britain’ (1977, #208, 251). And according to Ross (2010, 358), what caused this ‘storm of protest’ in Scotland was precisely Smith’s ‘linking of Hume to Socrates’ in this way.

306  Toni Vogel Carey

7. Quesnay If Smith incorporated Galilean-Newtonian idealization in WN, and in the sixth edition of TMS, how and when did he acquire this second form of Newtonianism? I think we can go some distance in answering this question. According to the editors of TMS (23), LJ and the ‘early draft’ of WN show that Smith had ‘gone a considerable way in his economic thinking by the time he left Scotland for France in 1764’. The editors of WN (19) say, somewhat differently, that Smith gives ‘two types of account . . . one represented by the state of his knowledge when he left Glasgow . . . the other by the WN itself’. Either way, a highpoint of his trip was his time spent with Quesnay and his Physiocratic disciples in 1766, which Ross refers to as an ‘apprenticeship’ for Smith (2010, 228).21 To be sure, they had their differences. Smith rejected Quesnay’s ‘bias towards agriculture and against industry and trade’ (ibid. xxvii). And more importantly for our purposes, he roundly rejected Quesnay’s insistence not merely on aspiring to perfect liberty, but on achieving this ideal. They could agree that ‘the establishment of perfect justice, perfect liberty, and of perfect equality is the very simple secret which most effectually secures the highest degree of prosperity’ (WN 669). But Smith was no idealist. ‘If a nation could not prosper without the enjoyment of perfect liberty and perfect justice’, he declared (674), ‘there is not in the world a nation which could ever have prospered’. He liked nothing better than ‘the beauty of a systematical arrangement of different observations connected by a few common principles’ (768–9). But he had no use for the ‘man of system’, who insists on the complete realization of his utopian vision (TMS 234, 6th). And yet, ‘with all its imperfections’, Smith considered Quesnay’s system – and note his choice of words here – ‘perhaps the nearest approximation to the truth that has yet been published upon the subject of political oeconomy’ (WN 678).22 In fact, according to Stewart (1980, 304), Smith ‘(as he told me himself)’ even intended to dedicate WN to Quesnay.23 Of course, that Smith adopted the method of successive approximation does not mean he considered one ideal as good as another – perfect equilibrium, for instance, or perfectly rational agents engaged in perfectly self-interested competition. The Encyclopédie baldly declared that ‘reason is to the philosophe what faith is to the Christian’ (12: 509; quoted in Himmelfarb 2004, 152). But the Scottish thinkers considered Nature wiser than Reason, and placed more trust in common sense and ‘sub-rational’ faculties like sentiment and intuition (Bryson 1945, 56; Carey 2011).24 To the extent that they followed the French, it was not for Cartesian rationalism, but more nearly for a modified form of ‘laissez-faire’ associated with Quesnay.25 A big concern in the seventeenth century had been that matters of fact do not afford the level of certainty found in logic and mathematics. That seemed to yield only two bad alternatives: ‘the absolute doubt of the skeptics, and the dogmatic certainty of the scholastics’ (Daston 1988, 57). But a Third Way was provided by the Bernoullis in Switzerland: the concept of probability, consisting of a continuum of degrees from zero to one – ‘a graduated spectrum of

Adam Smith’s Newtonian ideals  307 belief, ranging from total ignorance or uncertainty to firm conviction or “moral” certainty’ (ibid. 14). In AST (61) Smith had adopted ‘repose and tranquillity of the imagination’ as ‘the ultimate end of philosophy’. But the science of probability provided a less subjective alternative; and in WN we find phrases like ‘a degree of probability that approaches almost to certainty’ (257), a continuum that, like Galileo’s, posits an ‘ideal’ to which we can approximate ever more closely. Dugald Stewart would later go on to connect the dots between probability, moral certainty, and the ‘hinge’ form of Newtonianism: The probability of a hypothesis increases in proportion to the number of phenomena for which it accounts, and to the simplicity of the theo