Nassau William Senior was an important British economist who contributed to theories of utility, political economy, and value.
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.
The Philosophic Radicals, including Jeremy Bentham, were British reformers generally supporting Benthian utilitarianism and democratic change.
Franz Oppenheimer, a German sociologist, wrote a comprehensive explanation of the history of the state as a history of conquest.
Bernard Mandeville’s controversial essays and allegories raised questions about justice and socially or morally virtuous actions.
The Third Earl of Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper was a statesman and philosopher with an interest in individualism and the natural harmony of interests.
Francis Hutcheson’s philosophy addressed moral obligations as they related to personal liberties, virtue, and rights.
Thomas Hodgskin was a British political and economic theorist affiliated most with individualist anarchism, though his writings were vivid and original.
Herbert Spencer was a major influence on 19th century liberalism. His work on evolutionary theory and social order made him one of the first sociologists.
Social Darwinism applied the idea of “survival of the fittest” to society to poor ends. However, its intellectual founders did not share those views.
Existentialist philosophy focuses on the individual. Its moral implications, while sometimes criticized, can also have uses for libertarian thought.
Praxeology, as popularized by Ludwig von Mises, is an interdisciplinary approach to social questions that abstracts and thus universally explains human action.
In this entry, George H. Smith addresses the idea of conscience in western thought and the importance of liberty of conscience to be maintained.
Methodological individualism is the methodological framework wherein individuals are seen as the agents of actions and values that form social phenomena.
Mercantilism was the belief that wealth of nations was based on the amount of money held by the nation, through high internal protections and a focus on exports.
Freedom of thought includes the notion that religion and personal value systems should be unregulated, and that expressing all values must be permitted.
A notable early economist, Richard Cantillon is influential for his theories on the self-regulating market, entrepreneurship, and prices.
The physiocrats were French laissez-faire economists in the late 18th century who based their policies and writings on natural reason and science.
Thomas Aquinas was a philosopher who greatly influenced Catholic thought and promoted law not as a way to regulate morality, but to allow human choice.