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Word Count: 475
Adam Smith was born in 1723 The age of humanism and reason in other words the age of greed and corruption associated with dreadful living conditions At the age of about fifteen Smith proceeded to Glasgow University studying moral philosophy under Francis Hutcheson In 1740 he entered Balliol College Oxford but the Oxford of his time gave little if any help towards what was to be his lifework and he left 1746 In 1748 he began delivering public lectures in Edinburgh under the patronage of Lord Kames Some of these dealt with rhetoric and belles-lettres but later he took up the subject of the progress of opulence and it was then in his middle or late 20s that he first explained the economic philosophy of the obvious and simple system of natural liberty which he was later to write to the world in his Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations In 1751 Smith was appointed professor of logic at Glasgow University transferring in 1752 to the chair of moral philosophy His lectures covered the field of ethics rhetoric jurisprudence and political economy or police and revenue In 1759 he published his Theory of Moral Sentiments embodying some of his Glasgow lectures This work which established Smiths reputation in his own day is concerned with the explanation of moral approval and disapproval His capacity for smooth persuasive if rather rhetorical argument is much in evidence He bases his explanation on sympathy There has been considerable controversy as how far there is contradiction or contrast between Smiths emphasis in the Moral Sentiments on sympathy as a fundamental human motive and on the other hand the key role of self-interest in the The Wealth of Nations In the past he seems to put more emphasis on the general harmony of human motives and activities under a beneficent Providence while in the latter in spite of the general theme of the invisible hand promoting
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