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History of Scottish Economic Thought (Routledge History of Economic Thought)

History of Scottish Economic Thought (Routledge History of Economic Thought)

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Modern economics has at its foundation scholarly contributions from many prominent Scottish thinkers. The History of Scottish Economic Thought examines the roots of this great tradition, places in perspective a selection of authors and assesses their contribution over three centuries in the light of a distinctive Scottish approach to economics. Scottish Enlightenment thought more widely is an established area of research interest. This volume offers new scholarship on key Enlightenment figures; but the emphasis is on the approach to economic thought which developed in that period and continued through to the twentieth century.

Smith and Hume may be key figures, but other less familiar authors are also of substantial interest as economic thinkers, and include a murderer, a revolutionary, a medical practitioner and a novelist (John Law, Sir James Stuart, John Rae and Shield Nicholson, respectively). Also included in the volume are discussions of Francis Hutchison, James Mill, J. R. McCullough, Thomas Chalmers and William Smart.

The nature of the advances made in this historical development is also highly relevant to modern methodological discussion in economics. The Scottish approach identifies principles of human nature from detailed observation and historical study, but as these principles are manifested in different ways in different contexts there is little scope for laws of economic behavior. The principles, together with a combination of inductive and deductive methods, help us to derive theory suited to particular contexts, with attention paid to the historical, political, social and moral aspects of each context.