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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 May 2021

A Cheerful Philosophical Life

A Cheerful Philosophical Life

(p.349) 15 A Cheerful Philosophical Life
Adam Smith

Eric Schliesser

Oxford University Press

This chapter uses Adam Smith’s obituary of David Hume, “Letter to Strahan,” published jointly with Hume’s brief autobiography, to explore the rewards and purpose of doing philosophy in a commercial society. Smith thinks that philosophers can enjoy the rewards of friendship in this life and immortality after death if they are benefactors to humanity. For Smith, friendship among equals is the most valuable goal. The argument proceeds by way of an analysis of how Hume and Smith understand magnanimity and vanity in light of the evidence surrounding Smith’s description of Hume’s deathbed scene reading of Lucian’s Dialogues of the Dead.

Keywords:   Adam Smith, David Hume, friendship, magnanimity, philosophy, immortality, vanity

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