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Business Ethics Journal Review

Volume 3, Issue 4, 2015

Matthias Hühn
Pages 22-27

Adam Smith: 18th Century Sentimentalist or 20th Century Rationalist?

David Bevan and Patricia Werhane try to enlist Adam Smith’s support in countering the neoclassical narrative in business ethics and CSR. While I applaud their goal and also completely agree with their argument that Smith has been radically misinterpreted by the economics mainstream, I am not completely in agreement with how they argue. In short, I believe they also have uprooted Adam Smith and transformed him in parts into a 20th century philosopher. The 18th century Adam Smith would be a much more powerful advocate for ethics in business if he were accepted as the very eclectic 18th century philosopher that he was.

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