This chapter discusses two features of Adam Smith’s account of virtue. First, it argues that there is a significant tension in Smith’s treatment of virtue. Sometimes Smith writes of virtue as something rare and sometimes he writes of it as something that one can expect to encounter reliable in others. Second, it analyzes Smith’s treatment of the model of moral excellence, “the wise and virtuous” person. It argues that the content of this person’s excellence reveals that this is a practiced judge of character entrusted with the wise enforcement of the law. That is to say, the core of Smith’s theory of virtue grounds the political order. However, Smith recognizes many forms of excellence.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.