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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Some Personal Reflections on Ayn Rand

by George H. Smith on Apr 1, 2016

Smith discusses some good and bad influences that Ayn Rand’s ideas had on his own intellectual development.

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Ayn Rand on Aristotle

by George H. Smith on Mar 4, 2016

Smith examines some of Rand’s claims about the beneficial influence of Aristotle’s ideas on the course of Western civilization.

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On the Influence of Ideas

by George H. Smith on Feb 26, 2016

Smith discusses the issue of whether we should hold a philosopher responsible for the beliefs of those followers who agree with him.

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Some Reflections on the History of Philosophy

by George H. Smith on Feb 19, 2016

Smith explains the views of Kant and Hegel on the history of philosophy, and explores whether moral judgments should be applied to the realm of ideas.

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Ayn Rand and the History of Philosophy

by George H. Smith on Feb 12, 2016

Smith discusses whether we should hold a philosopher responsible for how other philosophers use his or her ideas.

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John Locke: Money and Private Property

by George H. Smith on Nov 20, 2015

Smith explains the significance, for Locke, of the increased productivity caused by labor, and the relationship between money and property.