Self-Interest Before Adam Smith: A Genealogy of Economic Science

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September 2003



Pierre Force studies the history of the concept of self-interest to understand its meaning by the time that Adam Smith used it as an axiom in The Wealth of Nations. He demonstrates that Smith, unlike many of his predecessors and contemporaries, never endorsed the idea that self-interest is the motivation behind all human action, although the "selfish hypothesis" did have a place in his doctrine. This book provides insight on classic puzzles of economic theory and is a major work from an outstanding scholar.


Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. Self-interest as a first principle; 2. Epicurean vs. stoic schemes; 3. Self-interest and reason; 4. Passions, interests and society; 5. Interested and disinterested commerce; 6. Self-interest and the public good; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.


Pierre Force received his academic training in France, where he was a fellow of the Ecole normale superieure. He took his BA (1979), doctorate (1987), and habilitation (1994) at the Sorbonne. He first came to the United States in 1984 as a lecturer at Yale University, and he joined the Columbia faculty in 1987. His field of research is seventeenth and eighteenth-century intellectual history. He is the author of Le Probleme hermeneutique chez Pascal (Paris: Vrin, 1989), Moliere ou Le Prix des choses (Paris: Nathan, 1994), and Self-Interest before Adam Smith (Cambridge University Press, 2003).

EAN: 9780521830607
ISBN: 0521830605
Untertitel: 'Ideas in Context'. New. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: September 2003
Seitenanzahl: 298 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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