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Adam Smith on Morality and Self-Interest

In Christoph Luetge (ed.), Handbook of the Philosophical Foundations of Business Ethics. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. pp. 281--296 (2013)

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  1. What Adam Smith Really Thought Should Not Matter.Thomas R. Wells - 2019 - Business Ethics Journal Review 7 (7):40-46.
    Hühn and Dierksmeier argue that a better understanding of Adam Smith’s work would improve business ethics research and education. I worry that their approach encourages two scholarly sins. First, anachronistic historiography in which we distort Smith’s ideas by making him answer questions about contemporary debates in CSR theory. Second, treating him as a prophet by assuming that finding out what Smith would have thought about it is the right way to answer such questions.
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  • Adam Smith’s Bourgeois Virtues in Competition.Thomas Wells & Johan Graafland - 2012 - Business Ethics Quarterly 22 (2):319-350.
    Whether or not capitalism is compatible with ethics is a long standing dispute. We take up an approach to virtue ethics inspired by Adam Smith and consider how market competition influences the virtues most associated with modern commercial society. Up to a point, competition nurtures and supports such virtues as prudence, temperance, civility, industriousness and honesty. But there are also various mechanisms by which competition can have deleterious effects on the institutions and incentives necessary for sustaining even these most commercially (...)
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  • Reasoning About Development: Essays on Amartya Sen's Capability Approach.Thomas R. Wells - 2013 - Dissertation, Erasmus University Rotterdam
    Over the last 30 years the Indian philosopher-economist Amartya Sen has developed an original normative approach to the evaluation of individual and social well-being. The foundational concern of this ‘capability approach’ is the real freedom of individuals to achieve the kind of lives they have reason to value. This freedom is analysed in terms of an individual’s ‘capability’ to achieve combinations of such intrinsically valuable ‘beings and doings’ (‘functionings’) as being sufficiently nourished and freely expressing one’s political views. In this (...)
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  • Simulation, Self-Extinction, and Philosophy in the Service of Human Civilization.Jeffrey White - 2016 - AI and Society 31 (2):171-190.
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