Addison and Smith: Freedom and Responsibility

Freedom and Responsibility in Addison and Smith

Topic

This set of readings pairs two key works of the eighteenth century––Joseph Addison’s Cato and Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments. Chief among the thematic links between the two works is stoicism, for Addison’s depiction of Cato the Younger’s final days nicely complements Smith’s treatment of “self-command,” of moral duty, of Stoicism, and of the character of virtue.

Guide to the Readings

Editions used:

See also in the Online Library of Liberty:

For additional reading see:

Session I: Character, Stoicism, and Heroism in “Cato.”

Joseph Addison, Cato: A Tragedy

Session II: Character, Stoicism, and Heroism in “Cato.”

Joseph Addison, Cato: A Tragedy

Session III: Judgment, Justice, and Beneficence

Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments

  • Part II, Section II “Of Justice and Beneficence”
  • Part III “Of the Foundations of our Judgments concerning our own Sentiments and Conduct, and of the Sense of Duty”

Session IV: : The Character of Virtue

Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments

  • Part VI “Of the Character of Virtue”

Session V: Stoicism, Happiness, and Virtue

Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments

  • Part VII “Of the Systems which make Virtue consist in Propriety”

Session VI: Virtue, Stoicism, and Human Freedom

David Hume, Essays Moral, Political, Literary