What I'll be doing this semester
Borrowing a blogging idea from Brad De Long, since I enjoy it when he does it.
Political Science 613: Hume, Smith, and the Scottish Enlightenment
This is a graduate seminar on the political and moral thought of David Hume and Adam Smith, and as a secondary matter on their contemporaries and intellectual context in the Scottish Enlightenment as well as in France. It aims to convey, through close readings of primary texts, supplemental readings of secondary texts, discussion, and a research paper, both a broad understanding of the intellectual currents of the Scottish Enlightenment, and at least a moderately deep grasp of Hume and Smith. The most important themes of the course will include justice and sympathy; the theory of commercial society and its development; the relationship between private morality and public benefit; the critique of 17th-century contractarianism; and Hume’s and Smith’s contributions to political economy and political science as descriptive and explanatory disciplines.
1. January 3: Introduction
2. January 10: Locke, Hutcheson, Mandeville
John Locke, Two Treatises of Civil Government, Peter Laslett ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960 : Second Treatise chs. 2, 3, 5, 7-9, pp. 269-282, 285-302, 318-363
Francis Hutcheson, Philosophical Writings, R.S. Downie ed., London: Everyman, 1994 , pp. 155-88, 191-7
Francis Hutcheson, An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections, with Illustrations on the Moral Sense, Aaron Garrett ed., Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002 , pp. 22-9, 110-137
Francis Hutcheson, An Inquiry Into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue in Two Treatises, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2004 , pp. 85-134
Bernard Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees, vol 1, F.B. Kaye ed., Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1988 , pp. 3-57, 85-93, 107-172
3. January 17: Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws; all but Books 27-28, 30-1 but with greatest attention to Books 20-21.
Recommended: The Fable of the Troglodytes, from Montesquieu, Persian Letters
4. January 24: Hume, Treatise
5. January 31: Hume, Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals— with discussion of the Treatise continued.
February 7: Hume, Essays, essays #1-26 (recommended: the remaining ‘withdrawn’ essays)
February 14: Hume, History, selections TBA
February 28: Ferguson, Civil Society.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Discourses and Other Early Political Writings, Victor Gourevitch ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997 ; Second Discourse, pp. 114-188
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, William Payne ed., Amherst NT : Prometheus, 2003 , pp. 259-308
March 7: Smith TMS, entire
March 14: Smith TMS, discussion continued
March 21: Smith LJ
March 28: Smith WN—read as much as possible, but at least Books I, III, and IV
April 4: Smith WN, discussion continued; read the rest of the work
April 15: Special Montreal Political Theory Workshop daylong symposium on Hume and Smith, with papers by Samuel Fleischacker, Sharon Krause, Sankar Muthu, and Andrew Sabl.
Core recommended secondary reading:
Alexander Broadie, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Scottish Enlightenment
Athol Fitzgibbons, Adam Smith's System of Liberty, Wealth, and Virtue
Samuel Fleischacker, Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations: A Philosophical Companion
Charles Griswold, Adam Smith and the Virtues of Enlightenment
Knud Haakonssen, The Science of a Legislator
Knud Haakonssen, Natural Law and Moral Philosophy
Knud Haakonssen, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith
Istvan Hont, Jealousy of Trade
Istvan Hont and Michael Ignatieff, eds., Wealth and Virtue: The Shaping of Political Economy in the Scottish Enlightenment
John Stewart, Opinion and Reform in David Hume’s Political Philosophy
Science of a Legislator, Wealth and Virtue, and Philosophical Companion should be considered just shy of being required reading to finish befor the end of the semester.
Additional recommended secondary reading:
Jonathan Israel, Radical Enlightenment and Enlightenment Contested
J.G.A. Pocock, Barbarism and Religion, especially vols. 2 and 3
John Robertson, The Case For The Enlightenment
Jerome Schneewind, The Invention of Autonomy