Date of Award

Spring 3-9-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Christie J. Hartley

Second Advisor

Eric E. Wilson

Third Advisor

Andrew Altman

Abstract

In this thesis I argue that Adam Smith is committed to moral egalitarianism, which extends to his theory of political economy. While Smith’s work is often used to justify economic inequality in society, I show that his political theory is best understood as a kind of relational egalitarianism. Using Elizabeth Anderson’s Democratic Equality as a model, I examine Smith’s commitment to equality in the space of social relationships. In particular, I argue that Smith’s focus on eliminating inequalities that cause oppression in society in conjunction with his efforts to design a political and economic system that will yield social conditions of freedom for individuals make him a relational egalitarian.

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