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Copyright © 2006 Journal of the History of Philosophy, Inc. This article first appeared in Journal of the History of Philosophy 44.1 (2006), 47-63. Reprinted with permission by The Johns Hopkins University Press.

DOI: 10.1353/hph.2006.0004


Adam Smith criticizes David Hume's account of the origin of and continuing adherence to the rule of law for being not sufficiently Humean. Hume explained that adherence to the rule of law originated in the self-interest to restrain self-interest. According to Smith, Hume does not pay enough attention to the passions of resentment and admiration, which have their source in the imagination. Smith offers a more naturalistic and evolutionary account of the psychological preconditions of the establishment and morality of justice than Hume had. Smith severs the intimate connection that Hobbes and Hume made between justice and property.




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