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Adam Smith Lecture Series

Sandra Peart Sandra J. Peart, University of Richmond

“Analytical Egalitarianism and Race: From Adam Smith to John Stuart Mill”

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

6:30 p.m.

Special Events Center, Boise State Student Union

The 6th Adam Smith Lecture will feature Sandra Peart, dean and E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Professor in leadership studies at the University of Richmond and past president of the International Adam Smith Society.

Join us to hear Peart discus the role that analytical egalitarianism — the view that in analyzing behavior all people are to be treated as equals — played in the theories of the classical economists, including its relationship to questions of race, ethnicity, slavery, equality and immigration.

Analytical egalitarianism contrasts with the analytical hierarchialism of contemporary British literary figures such as Carlyle, Ruskin and Dickens as well as later American institutional and neoclassical economists. In investigating this contrast, Peart and Levy correct the historical myth regarding the origin of the phrase “dismal science” that Carlyle accused economics of being.

Peart, with co-author David M. Levy, wrote of a series of papers and books concerning classical economists and analytical egalitarianism, including “The Street Porter and the Philosopher: Conversations on Analytical Egalitarianism” (University of Michigan Press, 2008), “The ‘Vanity of the Philosopher’: From Equality to Hierarchy in Post-classical Economics” (University of Michigan Press, 2005), and “The Secret History of the Dismal Science. Part I. Economics, Religion and Race in the 19th Century” and related essays at Econlib.

Peart’s most recent books are “The Essential John Stuart Mill” (Frasier Institute: 2021) and two books she co-authored with David M. Levy: “Towards an Economics of Natural Equals: A Documentary History of the Early Virginia School” (Cambridge University Press, 2020) and “Escape from Democracy: The Role of Experts and the Public in Economic Policy” (Cambridge University Press, 2017). She is the author of more than 100 articles in the areas of constitutional political economy, leadership in experimental settings, ethics and economics, and the transition to modern economic thought.

Peart obtained her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Toronto in 1989. She began her career as an assistant professor of economics at the College of William and Mary and then joined the faculty at Baldwin-Wallace University. She was a visiting scholar at the Center for Study of Public Choice at George Mason University in 2004–05, and the following year, she was a fellow of the American Council on Education.

Learn more about Sandra Peart.

Adam Smith Lectures are free and open to the public.

About the Adam Smith Lecture Series

The Department of Economics established the Adam Smith Lecture Series to bring to the Boise State campus nationally and internationally recognized scholars who have deepened our understanding of and extended the work of Adam Smith.

Adam Smith, the 18th century Scottish moral philosopher, established his reputation with two works, “The Theory of Moral Sentiments” and “The Wealth of Nations,” which continue to enlighten and inform us concerning the two spheres of interaction that humans engage in: first, the intimate sphere of personal exchange typified by friendships, family, and voluntary non-market institutions such as churches and clubs; second, the impersonal sphere of market exchange, which gives occasion to the specialization and division of labor that has produced the wealth we enjoy as modern citizens of the world, in those nations that have embraced markets and the necessary underlying institutions of the rule of law and private property.

Play the videos of past lectures

Spring 2022

Bart Wilson

Bart Wilson“The Purpose of Property: Experimental Evidence on Adam Smith’s Insights”

The 5th Adam Smith Lecture featured Bart Wilson, a professor of economics and law at Chapman University. Wilson is also the Donald P. Kennedy Chair in Economics and Law and the director of the Adam Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy at Chapman University. He is a leading practitioner of experimental economics, testing economic ideas in the laboratory, and co-author with Nobel Laureate Vernon Smith of “Humanomics: Moral Sentiments and the Wealth of Nations for the Twenty-First Century” and author of “The Property Species: Mine, Yours, and the Human Mind.”

Learn more about Bart Wilson and check out the Adam Smith Institute.

Spring 2020

Maria Pia Paganelli

maria pia paganelli

Maria Pia Paganelli is one of the world’s leading scholars on Adam Smith, and in January 2020 she was elected as president of the International Adam Smith Society and is a professor of economics at Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas.

International Adam Smith Society website

Spring 2019

James Otteson

James Otteson

“Adam Smith on Justice and Social Justice”

Otteson has a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Chicago, has taught at Yeshiva University and the University of Alabama, and is currently the Thomas W. Smith Presidential Chair in Business Ethics, Professor of Economics, and Executive Director of the Eudaimonia Institute at Wake Forest University. View Otteson’s webpage.

Spring 2018

Samuel Fleischacker

Samuel Fleischacker

“Being me, being you: Adam Smith on empathy, perspective and humanity”

Samuel Fleischacker is the LAS Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Illinois-Chicago and author of “On Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations: A Philosophical Companion.” He studied at Yale University, receiving his Ph.D. in 1989. He works in moral and political philosophy, the history of philosophy, aesthetics and the philosophy of religion. Among the issues that have particularly interested him are the moral status of culture, the nature and history of liberalism, and the relationship between moral and other values (aesthetic values, religious values, political values).

Spring 2017

Vernon L. Smith

vernon smith

Moral Sentiments and the Wealth of Nations

Vernon Smith is the 2002 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences and the George L. Argyros Endowed Chair in Finance and Economics, Chapman University.

The lecture focuses on Smith’s work in experimental economics investigating the connection between our moral sentiments towards others and how that relates to both non-market cooperation oriented toward common goals and market cooperation through exchange achieving individually separate goals.