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Adam SmithSystematic Philosopher and Public Thinker$
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Eric Schliesser

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190690120

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190690120.001.0001

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(p.333) 14 Religion
Adam Smith

Eric Schliesser

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses two important aspects of Adam Smith’s philosophy of religion. First it treats Smith’s analysis of the relationship between morality and theology. Second while treating Smith as a deist, it focuses on Smith’s political views on religion. It argues that Smith (anticipating Kant) wishes to make religion subordinate to morality. In addition, Smith advocates disestablishment of religion. Smith’s political analysis of religion emphasizes that religions can play a positive role in socializing and monitoring the urban poor. In addition, most of his institutional reforms of religion are designed to prevent the destabilization of public life by religious faction and Christian theology.

Keywords:   Adam Smith, religion, theology, morality, disestablishment

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