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Title: Beauty as Independence Stoic Philosophy and Adam Smith
Authors: Furuya, Hiroyuki
Keywords: Adam Smith
Stoic Philosophy
Beauty
Invisible Hand
System of Natural Liberty
Issue Date: Jun-2011
Publisher: Graduate School of Economics, Kyoto University
Journal title: The Kyoto economic review
Volume: 80
Issue: 1
Start page: 70
End page: 102
Abstract: Adam Smith adopts Stoic language in order to describe beauty and virtue as valuable in themselves, independently of praise or external circumstance. Smith's concept of beauty, with an emphasis on fitness, is described in Stoic terms as an intrinsic value rather than in terms of interest or advantage. Smith reads Cicero as a quasi-Stoic but somewhat more skeptical writer, somehow immune from the rigorous moral perfectionism that Smith sees in Marcus Aurelius's Stoicism, a partiality that influenced Francis Hutcheson, who lauded Aurelius. Smith's distinctive understanding of Cicero enables him to innovate by applying Stoic language to new fields, moving from natural jurisprudence to political economy. Cicero's language in Cato Maior (An Essay on Old Age) is crucial to Smith's concept of beauty as independence and his development of a new concept of natural liberty in his own political economy. Following the Stoics, Smith thinks that the most important virtue inherent in agriculture is its "independence, " a synonym for "beauty" in Stoic language, by which he refers to farmers' capacity to envisage and implement improvements in their lands and practices on their own initiative.
DOI: 10.11179/ker.80.70
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2433/193471
Appears in Collections:Vol.80 No.1

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