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The Scottish Tradition in Economics and the Role of Common Sense in Adam Smith's Thought


  • Flavio Comim


This essay examines the notion of a 'Scottish Tradition' and the role of common sense in Adam Smith's thought. It is a contribution to the contemporary literature on the 'Scottish Approach' and on the historical investigation of Adam Smith's intellectual background. It argues that a notion of common sense was behind Smith's view of science and that it may provide an epistemological foundation for the Scottish Tradition. The essay attempts to show how the notion of common sense may be seen as a way of emphasising the role of reason and judgement in the conceptualisation of phenomena with pragmatic and aesthetic content.

Suggested Citation

  • Flavio Comim, 2002. "The Scottish Tradition in Economics and the Role of Common Sense in Adam Smith's Thought," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 91-114.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:14:y:2002:i:1:p:91-114 DOI: 10.1080/09538250120102787

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. A. L. Macfie, 1955. "The Scottish Tradition In Economic Thought," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 2(1), pages 81-103, February.
    2. Dow, Sheila C, 1990. "Beyond Dualism," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 143-157, June.
    3. Dow, Sheila C, 1987. "The Scottish Political Economy Tradition," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 34(4), pages 335-348, November.
    4. Skinner, Andrew S, 1972. "Adam Smith: Philosophy and Science," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 29(3), pages 307-319, November.
    5. Skinner, Andrew Stewart, 1996. "A System of Social Science: Papers Relating to Adam Smith," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780198233343, June.
    6. Dow, Alexander & Dow, Sheila & Hutton, Alan, 1997. "The Scottish Political Economy Tradition and Modern Economics," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 44(4), pages 368-383, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Miguel A. Duran, 2007. "Mathematical Needs and Economic Interpretations," Contributions to Political Economy, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(1), pages 1-16.
    2. Nuno Ornelas Martins, 2012. "Mathematics, Science and the Cambridge Tradition," Economic Thought, World Economics Association, vol. 1(2), pages 1-2, December.

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