Probability is the Very Guide of Life

Bishop Butler’s quote “Probability is the Very Guide of Life” (Joseph Butler, The Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature (Charlottesville: Ibis, n.d.), is one that I invoke from time to time in the most unlikeliest of contexts. (The other Butler quote I invoke from time to time in “identity talk” is “Everything is what it is, and not another thing.” Fifteen Sermons, Preface § 39). I confess that I haven’t read much Butler but if, like me, you appreciate a subtle mind, David E. White provides the best overview of the Bishop’s life and work.

Butler expressed distaste for Oxford’s intellectual conventions while a student at Oriel College; he preferred the newer styles of thought, especially those of John Locke, the 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury and Francis Hutcheson, leading David Hume to characterize Butler as one of those “who have begun to put the science of man on a new footing, and have engaged the attention, and excited the curiosity of the public. — David White

Butler, a respected clergyman and philosopher himself, influenced some of the greatest English-speaking thinkers of his time, including David Hume, Thomas Reid, and Adam Smith. The Analogy of Religion is a work of apologetics, directed at a deist audience. Butler hopes to convince the many deist scholars and public figures of his day that returning to Christian orthodoxy is indeed rational. As he proceeds, he provides more and more evidence for orthodoxy over deism, arguing that a personal rather than a detached God is more likely to exist. Butler did not seek to embellish his language with flowery phrases, and his prose is very straightforward. — Christian Classics Ethereal Library

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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.

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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.

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List of Figures

Foreword by Vernon L. Smith

Acknowledgements

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

Frontispiece

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CFP: Cosmos + Taxis

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The interdisciplinary journal Cosmos + Taxis is issuing a call for papers for its second conference on spontaneous orders, to be held at the Rochester Institute of Technology from May 8 to May 9, 2015.

Both days will feature morning and afternoon sessions and informal lunches and dinners. The theme of the conference is “Spontaneous Order in Economic and Political Thought from Smith to Hayek and Beyond.”

We are looking for papers that explore spontaneous orders or complexity theory in the history of political and/or economic thought, including but not limited to work on thinkers such as Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Herbert Simon, Michael Polanyi, and, of course, Friedrich Hayek. More contemporary work that builds on these traditions is also welcome.

Papers that are selected for presentation will be considered for inclusion in Cosmos + Taxis, an open-source peer-reviewed journal.

Participants will be provided with lodging and meals while in Rochester, NY and may apply for additional travel assistance, depending on funding availability and need. The deadline for abstract submission is October 1, 2015.

The abstract must be an extended one of between 500 and 600 words, not including an optional list of up to 10 key literature references. The abstracts will be reviewed by a multidisciplinary panel. Due to the interactive format of the conference, we will select between 12 and 14 of the proposed papers for inclusion in the final program. Final versions of accepted papers are due April 1, 2015. All accepted papers are allotted 45 minutes of program time.

Extended abstracts and papers should be submitted by email as a Word document to David.Andersson@nottingham.edu.cn.

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

Now that the ms has been shipped off to the publisher here is the finalized lineup:

Foreword — Vernon Smith

Adam Smith as a Scottish Philosopher — Gordon Graham

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

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

Adam Smith: 18th Century Polymath — Roger Frantz

 One Adam Smith — David Brat

Indulgent Sympathy and the Impartial Spectator — Joshua Rust

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

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

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

Metaphor Made Manifest: Taking Seriously Smith’s “Invisible Hand” — Eugene Heath

The ‘Invisible Hand’ Phenomenon in Philosophy and Economics — Gavin Kennedy

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

The Spontaneous Order and the Family — Lauren K. Hall

Smith, Justice and the Scope of the Political — Craig Smith

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