Adam Smith as legal scholar

Adam Smith is mostly known as a political economist (The Wealth of Nations) or a moral philosopher (Theory of Moral Sentiments), but did you know that he was also a legal scholar? In fact, Smith was awarded a Doctorate of Law by the University of Glasgow in October of 1762, and he had lectured about law and jurisprudence during the 1762-63 academic year. (Update: Smith’s “Lectures on Jurisprudence” are available here, via AdamSmithWorks. Hat tip: Inverted Logic.)

Although Smith himself promised to write a book about the law, he never completed that work. To help fill this gap, my colleague and friend Robin Paul Malloy, a law professor at Syracuse University, recently published a book on “Law and the Invisible Hand” (the cover of which is pictured below), which explores the legal side of Adam Smith’s thought. I got to see Professor Malloy present his work at this weekend’s History of Economics Society, and I will be reviewing it here soon.

About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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5 Responses to Adam Smith as legal scholar

  1. I noticed that Adam Smith Works does have his lectures on jurisprudence.

    https://www.adamsmithworks.org/documents/digital-jurisprudence

    I would assume that this book would provide some clarity on Smith’s work. If worthwhile, I may actually purchase Malloy’s book like Smith’s legal theory is certainly an under-studied sphere of his theory.

  2. Thanks for the shout out.

  3. Pingback: Review of Chapters 1 & 2 of Malloy’s Law and the Invisible Hand: Does Adam Smith have a theory of justice? | prior probability

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