The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

Richard Boyd: Adam Smith and Nationalism

Lecture by Richard Boyd, Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University

Fri, October 29, 2010 | Mezes Hall, Room 1.306

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Well before the emergence of the “Adam Smith problem,” scholars have been preoccupied with themes of sympathy, benevolence, and sociability in Smith’s writings. Although these sociable elements of human nature undoubtedly play a major role in Smith’s moral psychology, much less attention has been focused on how these very same elements of sympathy, identification, and fellow-feeling can lead to conflict and dissension. The flip-side of a benign sympathy for friends, allies, and co-nationals, Smith wisely recognizes, may be antipathy toward strangers or aliens. Building upon Smith's insights into the appeal of nationalism and moral partiality, Dr. Boyd will argue for Smith's relevance to contemporary discussions of nationalism.

Richard Boyd is Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University, where he teaches social and political theory and the history of political thought. He is author of Uncivil Society: The Perils of Pluralism and the Making of Modern Liberalism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004); co-editor of Tocqueville and the Frontiers of Democracy (Cambridge UP, forthcoming 2011); and has published more than thirty journal articles and book chapters on various thinkers and themes in liberal political theory.

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