Political Theory

The Moral and Political Economy of Freedom: Kames and Smith


Lord Kames (Henry Home) and Adam Smith were two of the most important figures of the Scottish Enlightenment. Both offer moral psychologies that defy the simple categorization of being simply selfish or selfless. Kames is known for arguing against the selfish system of Bernard Mandeville. While following Kames, Smith offers his own response to Mandevillian psychology. The readings for this conference were drawn from the Liberty Fund editions of Kames’s Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion and Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments.


From Liberty Fund

The Theory of Moral Sentiments

by By Adam Smith
Edited by D. D. Raphael and A. L. Macfie

The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith’s first and in his own mind most important work, outlines his view of proper conduct and the institutions and sentiments that make men virtuous. Here he develops his doctrine of the impartial spectator, whose hypothetical disinterested judgment we must use to distinguish right from…

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Additional Readings

Home, Henry and Lord Kames. Natural Law and Enlightenment Classics: Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion. Edited by Mary Catherine Moran and Knud Haakonssen. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005.