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Adam Smith and RousseauEthics, Politics, Economics$
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Maria Pia Paganelli, Dennis C. Rasmussen, and Craig Smith

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474422857

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474422857.001.0001

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Being and Appearing: Self-falsification, Exchange and Freedom in Rousseau and Adam Smith

Being and Appearing: Self-falsification, Exchange and Freedom in Rousseau and Adam Smith

Chapter:
(p.185) 10 Being and Appearing: Self-falsification, Exchange and Freedom in Rousseau and Adam Smith
Source:
Adam Smith and Rousseau
Author(s):

Charles L. Griswold

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474422857.003.0010

We are familiar with the charge that commercial society reduces exchange (social and economic) to a sort of play-acting characterized by bad faith, false consciousness, and estrangement. Rousseau famously insists that the phenomenon of not appearing as who or what one really is, of living “outside” as opposed to “within” oneself, constitutes a pervasive defect of modern society especially. Remarkably, Smith’s review of the Second Discourse included translations of relevant passages. This chapter explores what Rousseau means by I will call “self-falsification.” Passages from Smith are deployed as a way of fleshing out both the strongest version of Rousseau’s claims and the tenability of Smith’s response. The debate turns in part on how one understands freedom or agency and their connection to spectatorship, role-playing, and delusion. With the help of work by Langton and others, I reflect on Smith’s notion of agential freedom in view of Rousseau’s claims.

Keywords:   self-falsification, exchange, commerce, freedom, agency, spectator, bad faith, false consciousness, self-deception, self-deceit, deception, play-acting, projection, women, Langton

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