Self-love in adam smith and the stoic Oikeiosis

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Some interpreters associate Smith with the Stoics. My aim in this paper is to discuss this position in relation with one principal aspect of this view, adopted by most of these authors, according to which the Smith's concept of self-love is narrowly linked to the Stoic notion of oikeiosis. I intend here to demonstrate that Smithian self-love, as seen through the lens of the Stoics themselves, is instead supportive of an Epicurean interpretation of Smith, taken from Mandeville, in spite of his Stoic narrative and his apparent rejection of the system of the author of the Fable of Bees. So it is possible to classify Smith as a 'voluntarist' in contrast to the 'realism' predominant in his time.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)191-212
Number of pages22
JournalPolis (United Kingdom)
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • classical reception
  • Epicureanism
  • Oikeiosis
  • Scottish Enlightenment
  • Self-love
  • Stoic influences
  • Stoicism

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