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Adam Smith and the Reasoning Behind his Thoughts on the Wealth of Nations

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The power of reasoning allows limitless inquiry into the nature of all things. Adam Smith an “enlightened” thinker utilizes reasoning to examine the wealth of nations, but in acting on this reasoning is he forcing his own sentiments into his argument, or is the reasoning creating the sentiments? Smith offers an exposition for his vision of a laissez faire economy, that is, capitalism in the modern sense. In a wider scope, Smith's account reveals his views on the nature of the human condition, and not a single theme is surveyed without an observation being made upon human tendencies and decisions. Arguably, these observations are shaped by his own sentiments.
Smith makes about three claims about human nature. Primarily, Smith assumes that self-interest is inherent in all human beings. One particular point stands out when Smith states the human “will be more likely to prevail if he can interest others’ self-love in his favor, and show them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them.” Later, Smith depends on this “self-love” to ground his arguments on the steady base of human nature. Significantly less obvious, the “faculties of reason and speech” play a critical part in Smith’s treatment of human behavior. Although he never openly lists these “faculties” as essential to human nature, his argument relies on this assumption. This reliance on assumption is demonstrative of Smith’s relationship between reason and sentiment. Whereas, he uses reasoning to form sentiment, yet much of his sentiments stem from broad assumptions.
The step from having some goods and needing others to trading with those who have the needed goods and want the overabundant ones cannot be understood or warranted without the pre...


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...niversality of human nature. While attempting to prove his theories, Smith relies upon observations that are undoubtly biased due to human nature. These sentiments that Smith explains are based on observational assumptions.
Adam Smith often called the “founder of modern economics,” utilizes his observational assumptions to construct his own rationale for society, economics, and human nature. His observations are based on sentiments regarding issues that are far ranging. Within the Wealth of Nations Smith makes claims regarding human nature, such as “self-love” is inherent, the faculties of reason and speech, and the nature of humans to “truck and barter.” Smith examines the notion of a free market economy that is based upon reason rather than belief. This poignant observation on human nature has its bias and facts, with regards to Smith’s examination of society.


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