Vernon Smith’s Foreward to Propriety and Prosperity: New Studies on the Philosophy of Adam Smith

Here is the opening paragraph to Vernon’s Foreward to Propriety and ProsperityI would urge anyone interested in situated cognition to read his superb Rationality in Economics: Constructivist and Ecological Forms amazingly an unknown classic to those of an externalist non-Cartesian persuasion. Also worth a read is Vernon’s memoir.


This book is a welcome addition to the resurgent scholarly and practical interest in Adam Smith’s contributions to market economics and its antecedents in the social order of human culture. In Smith, propriety concerned the rules that govern human sociability by mutual consent in local group interactions. Out of this experience were fashioned the rules of property, justice and the liberal order of political economy, and thence to economic prosperity. It is a grand narrative alive with meaning for the contemporary world in which side-by-side with markets the demand for sociability has found new expression in the social media companies. No wonder that in a seminar Kenneth Boulding could refer to Adam Smith as the first great post-Newtonian scientist.


How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness

Russ Roberts’ latest getting some high-profile press, and endorsed by some top-notch names including the redoubtable Nassim Taleb. Here is an extended interview with Reason. On this general approach to Smith see this forthcoming collection.

Adam Smith, didn’t think the pursuit of wealth was a very good idea, thought it was corrosive, thought it was bad for you, thought ambition was bad for you, thought the pursuit of fame would destroy your character and your happiness, your serenity, your tranquility.



Propriety and Prosperity: New Studies on the Philosophy of Adam Smith

Galleys have now been generated for this collection. Here is the finalized table of contents.


List of Figures

Foreword by Vernon L. Smith


List of Contributors 

List of Abbreviations

1: Introduction: Epistemology not Ideology: David F. Hardwick and Leslie Marsh

Part I: Context

2: Adam Smith as a Scottish Philosopher: Gordon Graham

3: Friendship in Commercial Society Revisited: Adam Smith on Commercial Friendship: Spyridon Tegos

4: Adam Smith and French Political Economy: Parallels and Differences: Laurent Dobuzinskis

5Adam Smith: Eighteenth-Century Polymath: Roger Frantz

Part II: Propriety

6: Indulgent Sympathy and the Impartial Spectator: Joshua Rust 

7: Adam Smith on Sensory Perception: A Sympathetic Account: Brian Glenney

8: Adam Smith on Sympathy: From Self-Interest to Empathy: Gloria Zúñiga y Postigo

9: What My Dog Can Do: On the Effect of The Wealth of Nations I.ii.2: Jack Weinstein

Part III: Prosperity

10: Metaphor Made Manifest: Taking Seriously Smith’s ‘Invisible Hand’: Eugene Heath

11: The ‘Invisible Hand’ Phenomenon in Economics: Gavin Kennedy

12: Instincts and the Invisible Order: The Possibility of Progress: Jonathan B. Wight

13: Two Invisible Hands: Family, Markets, and the Adam Smith Problem: Lauren K. Hall

14: Smith, Justice, and the Scope of the Political: Craig Smith