College of Liberal Arts

Political Theory Scholar Discusses "Adam Smith and Nationalism"

Friday Oct 29, 2010 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM | Mezes Hall, room 1.306


The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas presents a talk by Dr. Richard Boyd, associate professor of government at Georgetown University, titled "Adam Smith and Nationalism."

Well before the emergence of the “Adam Smith problem,” scholars have been preoccupied with themes of sympathy, benevolence, and sociability in Smith’s writings. Although these sociable elements of human nature undoubtedly play a major role in Smith’s moral psychology, much less attention has been focused on how these very same elements of sympathy, identification, and fellow-feeling can lead to conflict and dissension. The flip-side of a benign sympathy for friends, allies, and co-nationals, Smith wisely recognizes, may be antipathy toward strangers or aliens. Building upon Smith's insights into the appeal of nationalism and moral partiality, Dr. Boyd will argue for Smith's relevance to contemporary discussions of nationalism.

Dr. Boyd teaches social and political theory and the history of political thought. He is author of "Uncivil Society: The Perils of Pluralism and the Making of Modern Liberalism," and co-editor of "Tocqueville and the Frontiers of Democracy." He has published more than 30 journal articles and book chapters on various thinkers and themes in liberal political theory.

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