2.1 — David Hume and Adam Smith the Philosopher — Class Content

Meeting Dates

Tuesday, September 20, 2022


Today we discuss Hume and begin Smith.


Required Readings:

  • David Hume, Political Discourses, and Adam Smith (but not WON yet) in Reader

If You Hadn’t Yet:

  • Start Ch.4 “Adam Smith” in Landreth & Colander
  • Start Ch.2 “Adam Smith” in Blaug

Questions to Help Your Reading

  • Is David Hume a mercantilist, a Classical economist, or some mix? (Your textbooks seem to disagree!)
  • What do Hume and Smith mean by “sentiments?”
  • How does Hume approach money? In what ways is his quantity theory of money similar to, and different from, John Locke’s?
  • What is Hume’s “price-specie flow mechanism”? How does this connect with a gold standard (or similar commodity-based money)?
  • How does Hume criticize mercantilism?
  • According to Hume, where does interest come from, and how are interest rates determined? Is it based on the money supply, as some mercantilists supposed?


Below, you can find the slides in two formats. Clicking the image will bring you to the html version of the slides in a new tab. The lower button will allow you to download a PDF version of the slides.


You can type h to see a special list of viewing options, and type o for an outline view of all the slides.

I suggest printing the slides beforehand and using them to take additional notes in class (not everything is in the slides)!


Download as PDF


Participation/Discussion Board Posts Due 8 PM Fri Sep 23

This week’s graded discussion is worth 5 points, and can be a combination of discussion in class, and/or posts on the Blackboard Discussion Board by 8 PM this Friday September 23.

Tournament Votes

The first round of the Pre-Classical division of the “Most Interesting Economist in History” tournament is live. Please post your votes in the discussion board.