By W. H. Newton-Smith
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The imagination's work is partly explained by him in terms of notions of the beautiful, proportional, harmonious. Surprisingly, he ascribes to the love of beauty a pervasive role in human life. Yet in spite of its apparently Platonic hue, Smith's strikingly aesthetic view of the world announces a deep break with classical philosophy, as we will see in the concluding chapter. Concerning the nature of "philosophy," its ability to grasp "the world," and the imagination, Smith may even seem to be a postEnlightenment thinker.
Smith is a resource for our reflections on modernity, but that is not the same thing as a solution. Although he does not use the term "the Enlightenment," I do believe that he encapsulates both Enlightenment claims and a profound appre37 Much valuable work remains to be done, such as a comprehensive discussion of Smith's relation to Hume that builds on K. Haakonssen's work. The step to Smith is a logical one for anyone working on Hume. Further philosophical study of Smith's relation to Hutcheson and other figures in the Scottish Enlightenment down through Reid would be very welcome, along the lines recently worked out by S.
It is this "theory" - presumably the account of the "general principles" of natural jurisprudence - that seems to be missing, as distinguished from the "history," at least part of which is provided in The Wealth of Nations. Perhaps the draft of this "great work" was among the documents burned about the time of his death. The * 'Advertisement'' to the sixth edition of The Theory of Moral Sentiments implies that political economy, the task of The Wealth of Na57 As the Advertisement formed part of the sixth edition, published in the year of Smith's death, and as Smith had declared his intention to produce the system of natural jurisprudence in the first edition, it seems that he had the general shape of his system in mind more or less from the start of his publishing career - and probably earlier, given the origins of TMS, WN, and other writings in his lectures, and the early origin of some of the essays on language and on the "aesthetics" of inquiry (now collected in EPS).
A Companion to the Philosophy of Science by W. H. Newton-Smith