Before going on my working vacation last week, I picked up a copy of Stephen Budiansky’s new intellectual biography of Kurt Goedel, Journey to the Edge of Reason (W. W. Norton), which came out in May of this year, as well as a copy of Samuel Fleischacker’s new book about Adam Smith’s moral philosophy, Adam Smith (Routledge), which came out in mid-July.
I have already finished reading the Goedel biography, of which I will have many things to say in some future blog posts (not the least of which is the fact that Budiansky cites my paper “Goedel’s Loophole” in chapter 8 of his book!), and I have just started reading Fleischacker’s Adam Smith biography. Among the statements in Fleischacker’s book that caught my attention is this one on page 3:
“… Smith never married, nor is he known to have had so much as a single love affair.”
I respectfully beg to differ, however, for the reasons I give in my March 2021 paper “Adam Smith in Love,” the final version of which is available here (via Econ Journal Watch). Although Smith instructed his literary executors to destroy his private correspondence upon his death, a careful review of the remaining available evidence suggests that he may have had multiple loves during his lifetime — one in the Scotland of his youth with the “Lady of Fife,” another in France in 1765 or 1766 with one Madame Nicole, and yet another in Dalkeith House (pictured below) with a young aristocrat in the fall of 1767.