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The Life of Adam Smith$
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Ian Simpson Ross

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198288213

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198288212.001.0001

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A Respectable Auditory

A Respectable Auditory

(p.81) 6 A Respectable Auditory
The Life of Adam Smith

Ian Simpson Ross

Oxford University Press

In the aftermath of the ’45 Rising, the jurist and man of letters, Lord Kames, recruited Adam Smith to come to Edinburgh, Scotland's capital—notable for its superb views, historic buildings, and noisome streets— to deliver to young professionals, from 1748–51, freelance courses of lectures on rhetoric and criticism. Smith's course included a theory of communication, distinguishing between scientific discourse based on reason and the rhetorical kind meant to persuade by moving the passions. Another part of the course was devoted to the origin and progress of language, an example of the philosophical or natural type of history prevalent among the Scottish literati, which Smith adopted for all his works, moral, political, and literary.

Keywords:   criticism, communication, history, passions, rhetoric

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