From Wealth to Alienation. Adam Smith in the 21th Century

May 17, 2024
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest

Splaiul Independenței 204

This event is available both online and in-person

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CFP: From Wealth to Alienation. Adam Smith in the 21th Century

May 17, 2024

Before the invention of the economy, Adam Smith was an economist. Before the birth of sociology, Adam Smith employed philosophical and political concepts to investigate the logic and regularities of a newly discovered reality: society. Before historicism, Smith examined the historicity of norms, sentiments, values, and forms of reproduction of life. Before Marxism or historical materialism, Smith fused history with economic explanations in order to make sense of the variety of arrangements in human societies.

Decades before any formal and epistemic division of the fields of knowledge into various academic disciplines mutually delineated – sociology, anthropology, history, linguistics, and so forth –, Adam Smith was addressing questions and formulating hypotheses nurtured by philosophy of history, moral philosophy, ethnography, social thought, politics, law, fiscality, international relations, aesthetics, rhetoric and literary theory. At the dawn of capitalism, Smith celebrated the possibilities of commercial society while nonetheless warily scrutinizing its alienating potential.

One of the most quoted and misquoted writers, Smith is enduringly reevaluated and reappropriated by scholars and influencers, contextually or creatively.

The conference invites philosophers, historians, economists, literary scholars, sociologists, political scientists, and not only, to revisit Smith’s writings and confront them with their posterity.

Some of the possible themes and problems to be addressed could include the following:

- Adam Smith the thinker in the philosophical and historical context of his time

- Adam Smith’s philosophical economics: influences, configurations, and reconfigurations

- ‘The Adam Smith Problem’

- Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment

- The relationship between 20th century liberalism and Adam Smith

- The relationship between Marxism and Adam Smith

- Commerce, debt, and international relations

- Colonialism in Adam Smith’s writings

- Development, ecology and Adam Smith

- History and the stadial theory of development

- Adam Smith’s moral philosophy in the context of British moral philosophy

- Recent interpretations of Adam Smith’s moral philosophy

- Aesthetics, rhetoric, and literary criticism in Adam Smith’s work

- Adam Smith’s views on education and its role in modern society

Conveners: Veronica Lazăr (Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest) Ștefan-Sebastian Maftei (Faculty of History and Philosophy, Babeș-Bolyai University), Ionuț Văduva (Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest)

Languages: English and Romanian

The conference will be hosted by the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Bucharest (Splaiul Independenței 204) and will be held in a hybrid format, both in person and online, via Zoom.

Please submit a one-page abstract by April 15 to [email protected] The allotted time for each presentation is 25 to 30 minutes. 

Extended deadline: 1st of May. 

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