Wealth and Virtue reassesses the remarkable contribution of the Scottish Enlightenment to the formation of modern economics and to theories of capitalism. Its unique range indicates the scope of the Scottish intellectual achievement of the eighteenth century and explores the process by which the boundaries between economic thought, jurisprudence, moral philosophy and theoretical history came to be established. Dealing not only with major figures like Hume and Smith, there are also studies of lesser known thinkers like Andrew Fletcher, Gershom Carmichael, Lord Kames and John Millar as well as of Locke in the light of eighteenth century social theory, the intellectual culture of the University of Edinburgh in the middle of the eighteenth century and of the performance of the Scottish economy on the eve of the publication of the Wealth of Nations. While the scholarly emphasis is on the rigorous historical reconstruction of both theory and context, Wealth and Virtue directly addresses itself to modern political theorists and economists and throws light on a number of major focal points of controversy in legal and political philosophy.
'All the essays in Wealth and Virtue touch on issues of central significance in understanding why some of the most profound eighteenth-century thinkers felt that greater freedom in the pursuit of commerce and profit would provide a secure foundation for the stability, prosperity and peace of mankind.' Eighteenth-Century Studies ' ... a significant contribution to our understanding of the Scottish Enlightenment.' Economic Journal 'All thirteen essays combine to make this volume an important study which will repay close reading.' Economic History Review 'This collection of thirteen essays is undoubtedly the high point, for the time being, in the revival of the study of the Scottish Enlightenment during the last fifteen years or so.' International Review of Social History 'The focus is Scotland, but the perspectives are wide, a strong Cambridge awareness from contemporary historical practice, but also a healthy willingness to question the received Scottish view, and to add to that view an English, a North-American, and in one valuable essay an Italian view.' Books in Scotland ' ... it is clear that the provocative, erudite essays in Wealth and Virtue deserve to become the new point of departure for anyone seeking to understand eighteenth-century Scottish political economy within the philosophical context from which it sprang.' Philosophical Books