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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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Social Laws, Part 6

by George H. Smith on Sep 5, 2014

Smith explains methodological individualism and its implications for the existence of institutions and other social phenomena.

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Social Laws, Part 5

by George H. Smith on Aug 29, 2014

Smith discusses the value of sociology and some misconceptions of methodological individualism.

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Social Laws, Part 4

by George H. Smith on Aug 22, 2014

Smith explains Herbert Spencer’s views of the scientific status of sociology, the nature of social laws, and the practical value of social science.

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Social Laws, Part 3

by George H. Smith on Aug 8, 2014

Smith explores the controversy over whether sociology qualifies as an authentic science.

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Social Laws, Part 2

by George H. Smith on Aug 1, 2014

Smith explains how the methodological monism of modern positivism differs from classical empiricism.

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Social Laws, Part 1

by George H. Smith on Jul 25, 2014

Smith explains methodological subjectivism and how it applies to the study of human action.

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Ideas, Human Action, and Social Change

by George H. Smith on Jan 3, 2014

Smith explores various ways in which ideas influence human action, and why ideas are essential to the success of libertarianism.

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John Gray and the Myth of the Ayn Rand Cult

by George H. Smith on May 31, 2019

John Gray’s discussion of Objectivism in Seven Types of Atheism, which is egregiously and inexcusably bad, relies on portraying Ayn Rand as a cult leader. 

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Some Thoughts about Writing Essays

by George H. Smith on Aug 4, 2017

With his 250th essay, Smith interrupts his series on abolitionism to offer some reflections on writing essays.

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John Gray Mischaracterizes Nietzsche’s Influence on Ayn Rand

by George H. Smith on Jun 12, 2019

Continuing his review of Gray’s Seven Types of Atheism, Smith explains how Gray greatly exaggerates Nietzsche’s influence on Rand, and he criticizes Gray’s misstatements about Rand’s notion of sacrifice.

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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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Independence Day: What is There to Celebrate?

by George H. Smith on Jul 3, 2014

The ideal of individual freedom is more than a will-o’-the-wisp. It was widely appreciated in the past and so may become widely appreciated in the future.

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What are the Human Sciences?

by George H. Smith on Nov 5, 2013

Defending freedom requires an interdisciplinary approach, so in this column George H. Smith turns to the “human sciences”—and also to a definition of science itself.