Sunday, March 23, 2008

Added to the reading list

From the new issue of the European Journal of Political Theory:

"Modern Natural Law Meets the Market: The Case of Adam Smith"
Amit Ron

Philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries who worked within the tradition of modern natural law became interested in political economy in part as they attempted to reconcile two conflicting images of economic activity. On the one hand, from the legal point of view economic activity was understood as a morally neutral and benign activity that could be regulated by simple and clear rules of justice. On the other hand, it was seen as a realm of political struggle, manipulation, deceit and the exercise of hidden forms of domination. This article examines the legal and moral contexts of Adam Smith's excursion into political economy by interpreting the roles played by these two images of the market in the theory of value articulated in book I of The Wealth of Nations.

"Commerce and Corruption: Rousseau's Diagnosis and Adam Smith's Cure"
Ryan Patrick Hanley

Modern commercial society has been criticized for attenuating virtue and inhibiting the ethical self-realization of its participants. But Adam Smith, a founding father of liberal commercial modernity, anticipated precisely this critique and took specific measures to circumvent it. This article presents these measures via an analysis of his response to the critique of liberal commercial modernity set forth by Rousseau. It principally argues that Smith's distinctions of the love of praise from the love of praiseworthiness, and the love of glory from the love of virtue, were elements of a normative moral education that sought to elevate civilized man's corrupted self-love, and thereby recover within modern commercial society a respect for ethical nobility.

"Locke, Waldron and the Moral Status of 'Crooks'"
Rebecca Kingston

This article provides an assessment of Jeremy Waldron's arguments (in God, Locke and Equality and his subsequent 'Response to Critics') that Locke provides us with a compelling version of liberal equality. A close examination of the case of the criminally convicted in The Second Treatise shows how Locke's commitment to the principle of equality is compromised. This is revealed in part through recourse to contextualist considerations. This leads to the suggestion that Waldron's principled rejection of contextualist approaches to the history of political ideas can lead to a distorted understanding. It also suggests a need for a more thorough consideration of how a substantive principle of moral equality should apply in the field of criminal justice and in liberal democracy more generally.