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George H. Smith

George H. Smith was formerly Senior Research Fellow for the Institute for Humane Studies, a lecturer on American History for Cato Summer Seminars, and Executive Editor of Knowledge Products. Smith's fourth and most recent book, The System of Liberty, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013.

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Immanuel Kant on Property Rights

by George H. Smith on May 6, 2016

Smith discusses how Kant used his theory of property rights to justify government, and how he distinguished physical possession from rightful ownership.

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Immanuel Kant on Spontaneous Order

by George H. Smith on Jun 10, 2016

Smith explains Kant’s notion of the “unsocial sociability” of human nature, and how these antagonistic tendencies generate human progress.

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Immanuel Kant on War and Peace

by George H. Smith on Jun 20, 2016

Smith discusses some of Kant’s ideas about the moral, political, and practical aspects of perpetual peace.

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Belief and Moral Judgment

by George H. Smith on Jun 24, 2016

Should we apply moral judgments, such as “immoral,” to beliefs per se? Smith begins his discussion of this difficult problem.

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Some Basic Problems in Ethics

by George H. Smith on Jul 1, 2016

Smith explores the nature of belief, knowledge, ethics, the difference between moral and prudential decisions, and some ideas about virtue.

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Neo-Thomism and the Virtue of Reasonableness

by George H. Smith on Jul 8, 2016

Smith explains the value of Neo-Thomistic books for libertarians and Randians, and what is meant by the virtue of reasonableness.  

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Why Should I Be Moral?

by George H. Smith on Jul 15, 2016

Smith explains how questions like “Why should I be rational?” and “Why should I be moral?” involve a bait and switch tactic.

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Values and Facts

by George H. Smith on Aug 5, 2016

Smith discusses axiology (the study of value) and David Hume’s celebrated argument about “is” and “ought.”

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Do We Have a Moral Sense?

by George H. Smith on Aug 15, 2016

Smith explains some fundamental tenets of the moral sense school of ethics, especially as found in the writings of Francis Hutcheson.

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Reason and Ethics

by George H. Smith on Aug 26, 2016

Smith criticizes Hume’s claim that reason cannot motivate actions, and explains how moral sense philosophers dealt with the problem of differing moral standards.

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Back to the Ethics of Belief

by George H. Smith on Sep 16, 2016

Smith resumes his discussion of whether beliefs per se can be immoral.

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Belief and Doubt

by George H. Smith on Oct 7, 2016

Smith discusses various meanings of “belief” and “doubt.”

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The Moral Implications of Beliefs

by George H. Smith on Oct 14, 2016

Smith discusses the claim that some beliefs are immoral and the role of credibility in choosing our beliefs.

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Roaring Dinosaurs and Incorrect Beliefs

by George H. Smith on Oct 28, 2016

Smith discusses the inevitability of holding some false beliefs and what can be done to minimize this problem.

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Authorities and Fallibility

by George H. Smith on Nov 4, 2016

Smith discusses the crucial difference between science and philosophy, and how human fallibility has been used to defend skepticism.