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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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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.

Excursions

Intellectuals and Libertarianism: F. A. Hayek

featuring George H. Smith on Oct 12, 2016

George H. Smith explores F. A. Hayek’s views on intellectuals, whom Hayek called professional secondhand dealers in ideas.

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Belief and Doubt

by George H. Smith on Oct 7, 2016

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

Excursions

Toward an Interdisciplinary Study of Liberty, Part 2

featuring George H. Smith on Oct 5, 2016

A far-ranging discussion of the meanings of key terms in libertarianism, ideology, and the crucial elements needed for an understanding of individual freedom.

Excursions

Rudolf Rocker and the Will to Power, Part 2

featuring George H. Smith on Sep 21, 2016

George H. Smith explains Rocker’s theory of why the ideas of classical liberalism were swamped by the rising tide of statism.

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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.

Excursions

Rudolf Rocker and the Will to Power, Part 1

featuring George H. Smith on Sep 14, 2016

In Nationalism and Culture, a classic history of libertarian ideas, Rudolf Rocker uses the struggle of freedom against power as his theoretical framework.

Excursions

The Lust for Power

featuring George H. Smith on Sep 7, 2016

George H. Smith explains how the insatiable desire for power and its corrupting influence have been dominant themes in libertarian theory and history.

Excursions

Value Judgments and the Human Sciences

featuring George H. Smith on Aug 31, 2016

George H. Smith examines the problem of whether the human sciences can be value-free, and if so in what sense.

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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.

Excursions

Ideas, Human Action, and Social Change

featuring George H. Smith on Aug 24, 2016

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

Excursions

State and Society, Part 3

featuring George H. Smith on Aug 17, 2016

George H. Smith, drawing from Machiavelli’s The Prince, discusses two essential ingredients of successful states.

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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.

Excursions

State and Society, Part 2

featuring George H. Smith on Aug 10, 2016

George H. Smith explains the meaning of “society” and “institution,” and he discusses the distinction between designed and undesigned institutions.

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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.”

Excursions

State and Society, Part 1

featuring George H. Smith on Aug 3, 2016

George H. Smith discusses some preliminary issues involved in the classic libertarian distinction between the spheres of “state” and “society.”