Research Page

Adam Smith's Pluralism:
Rationality, Education and the Moral Sentiments

(c) 2013

On MacIntyre

(c) 2003

On Adam Smith

(c) 2000

Click on the books for more information.

Why Radio
Why? Radio Archives, The blog of the Institute for Philosophy in Public LIfe

My Research Interest and Current Projects:

My research revolves around the intersection of the history of philosophy and contemporary political theory. My main interest is in theories of diversity and justice, with special attention to education and otherness, human rationality, and the roles of emotion in moral judgment. I hope to create a general theory of human understanding in the midst of difference that internalizes respect above and beyond a minimalist conception of human or political rights. Specifically, I am working on a restructuring of contemporary liberalism: one built on the moral psychology and political economy of Adam Smith. I reject the Kantian foundation that supports most contemporary liberal theory and hope to show that Smith’s work can bridge the false dichotomy assumed by the liberalism-versus-communitarianism approach to political philosophy.

 I am currently working on a multi-book project articulating the above liberal theory. Over the course of the three volumes I will offers, first, an interpretation of Adam Smith’s work as a theory of pluralism and rationality (volume one, Adam Smith’s Pluralism, forthcoming Fall 2013, from Yale University Press) and, second, a new liberal theory built on that foundation (volume two) complete with a theory of political participation (volume three). In the process, I connect Smith's theory with contemporary debates in argumentation theory, philosophy of education, literacy studies, pluralism, and neutrality. Some of this work has already been published in journals and proceedings.

In addition to my scholarly work, I am committed to the ideal of the public philosopher -- the citizen who contributes to a critical and intellectual dialogue with the intent of cultivating democracy and encouraging participation from people in all areas of life. I will therefore continue to publish in popular venues such as newspapers and public radio, and speak at panels on current events. I have found that these are wonderful places to explore themes in my work and they helps me experiment with ideas that eventually make their way into my more academic work.


For an overview of my research and other activities, visit


















Most of the text files found on this page are in PDF format.
 They require Adobe Acrobat Reader to be accessed.
To download your free copy, click here or on the Adobe Acrobat icon.

Articles about me and my work
(Click on the images or links to read)

A profile about WHY? Radio

or read it online.

Another profile about the radio show

Click on the above to read (in PDF form) an article about Why? from the UND Alumni Review, Winter 2009

A profile about my views
on public philosophy

Click on the above image to read a story about the relevance of philosophy to everyday life. From UND Dimensions magazine, Spring 2009.

A profile of me and the new Institute for Philosophy in Public Life

Click on the above image to read a news story about me and the new institute that appeared in the UND student Newspaper: The Dakota Student


A biographical profile

Click on the above image to read a profile on me from my undergraduate alma mater, State University of New York, Plattsburgh, from their Fall 2007 alumni magazine.
You can also download it as a PDF


A research profile

Click on the above image to read a profile on my research from UND Discovery, the university research magazine. It was published in their Winter 2007-2008 issue.
You can also download it as a PDF


Work in Public Philosophy

Hear me portray Adam Smith on public radio's The Thomas Jefferson Hour:

Download File - 24.2 MB
Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)

Here and see me on video and audio at the Institute for Philosophy in Public Life Digital Archives

The Institute for Philosophy in Public Life is an organization devoted to the task of bring philosophy out of the classroom and into the general community. Our motto is "Because there is no ivory tower." Check out our homepage and explore what we have to offer.


Opinion Pieces

These columns represent my own political opinions and analyses. They are an attempt to influence the reader or listener.  Since this page is visited by my students, it is essential to mention that although I certainly do hope to persuade you, you will never be graded based on your agreement or disagreement with my opinions.


Opening comments for Gun Control Debate against Sandra Froman, former NRA President
University of North Dakota School of Law
March 28, 2013


What Are Free Markets For?
Or, what should we think about before we think about voting?
Prairie Polis
The blog of the North Dakota Humanities Council)
April, 2008
Link to essay on Prairie Polis

 "What is Moral Education? "
The Undercurrent
June, 2006

 "Faculty Q&A:
Abramoff Scandal Underscores Ethics Crisis
 in American Politics. "
An Interview
UND Website
January 13, 2006

 "Religion and Politics "
An interview.
Grand Forks Herald
December 12, 2004

 "Editorial Attacked Irresponsibly "
A defense of the UND law school and their clinic.
Grand Forks Herald, September 5, 2003


An Interview About Medical Ethics
NDPR,  "Hear It Now "
July 17, 2003. Audio (offsite link) 

 "Commentary on Pat Robertson and the Supreme Court "
 NDPR,  "Hear It Now ", July 28, 2003
Audio (offsite link)

 "Obituary for John Rawls "
 NDPR,  "Hear It Now ", December, 2003

 "George Bush's Binoculars "
 NDPR,  "Hear It Now ", December, 2003

 "Democrats Must Stop Apologizing for Liberal Beliefs "
Grand Forks Herald, November 13, 2002


 "A Jewish New Yorker's Reflection on the Terrorist Acts in New York "
Guest Sermon, B’nai Israel Synagogue, Grand Forks, North Dakota, Rosh Hashanah, 5726, (September 17, 2001)


Professional Philosophical Publications

Books and Edited Volumes

Adam Smith’s Pluralism: Rationality, Education, and the Moral Sentiments. New Haven: Yale University Press, forthcoming.

Guest Editor, On Second Thought (“The Philosophy Issue”), North Dakota Humanities Council (March, 2010).

Guest Editor, “Symposium on Adam Smith and Education” The Adam Smith Review, No. 3 (2007): 49 – 158.

On MacIntyre (Wadsworth Philosophers Series). Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2003.

- Persian translation by Kaveh Behbahani (Iran: Koochak Publishers, forthcoming.)

On Adam Smith (Wadsworth Philosophers Series). Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2001.

Guest Editor, Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines. Special Issue: Political Philosophy and Critical Thinking. Montclair: Institute for Critical Thinking, vol. 18, no. 1 (Autumn, 1998).

Editor, Academic Inquiry: in Progress. Vienna: Institute for Human Sciences (Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen), 1995.

Doctoral Dissertation: Adam Smith and the Problem of Neutrality in Contemporary Liberal Theory. PDF (file has different pagination than the hardbound version)


Articles and Book Chapters:

“Overlapping Consensus or Marketplace of Religions: Adam Smith on Rawls and vice versa,” Philosophia (Special Issue on Religion and Public Reason),40:2 (2012): 223-236.. PDF

“MacIntyre and the Tradition of Islam: Preface to the Persian Edition,” On MacIntyre, Persian translation (Iran: Ney Publishing Company, forthcoming).

“Philosophy and its Public,” On Second Thought (“The Philosophy Issue”), North Dakota Humanities Council, (June, 2010), pp. 2 – 9. PDF or Read Online

“The Two Adams: Ferguson and Smith on Sympathy and Sentiment,” in Adam Ferguson: A Reassessment, Philosophy, Politics and Society edited by Eugene Heath and Vincenze Merolle (London: Pickering & Chatto Publishers, LTD, 2009.): 89 - 106.

“Adam Smith,” entry for the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Posted at

“Adam Smith’s Ad Hominem: Eighteenth Century Insight on the role of Character in Argument,” Proceedings of the Sixth Conference of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation (Amsterdam: Sic Sat, 2007): 1461 – 1466. PDF

“Adam Smith’s Philosophy of Education,” The Adam Smith Review, No. 3 (2007): 51 – 74. PDF.

“On the Meaning of the Term ‘Progressive’: A Philosophical Investigation,” The William Mitchell Law Review 33:1 (2006), 1-50. PDF

“Sympathy, Difference, and Education: Social Unity in the Work of Adam Smith,” Economics and Philosophy, Vol. 22, No. 1 (April 2006): 79 – 111. PDF

“Is Money All There Is? Other Aspects of Life in Adam Smith’s Free Market” North Dakota Humanities Council Larry Remele Fellowship Tabloid (4 pages with essay and interview), 2005.

“A Response to Lauren Brubaker”, The Adam Smith Review, No. 1 (2004), 194 – 196.

“Aliens, Traitors, and Elitists: University Values and the Faculty,” Thought and Action, Vol. 19 No. 2 (Summer 2004), 95 - 106. PDF

“Neutrality, Pluralism, and Education: Civic education as learning about the other,” Studies in Philosophy and Education, Vol. 23, No. 4 (July 2004), 235 – 263. PDF

“Emotion, Context and Rhetoric: Adam Smith's Informal Argumentation,” Proceedings of the Fifth Conference of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation, Amsterdam: Sic Sat, 2003, 1065 – 1070. PDF

“Three Conversations: Teaching Plato in Introduction to Philosophy,” Teaching Philosophy, Vol. 26 No. 1 (March 2003), 3 – 20. PDF

“Religion and Justice in the work of Adam Smith,” Kontroversen, Zeitschrift für Philosophie, Wissenschaft und Gesselschaft, Issue 9 (2000).

“Guest Editor’s Introduction: Critical Thinking and the Tradition of Political Philosophy — An Historical Overview,” Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines vol. 18, no. 1 (Autumn, 1998), 4 - 21. PDF.

“Critical Thinking and the Moral Sentiments: Adam Smith's Moral Psychology and Contemporary Debate in Critical Thinking and Informal Logic,” Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines vol. 16, no. 3 (Spring 1997), 78 - 91.

“Three Types of Critical Thinking About Religion,” Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines vol. 15, no. 3 (Spring 1996), 79 - 88.PDF

“Separating the Inseparable: MacIntyre on Rawls' Public Reason in a Political Conception of Justice,” Academic Inquiry: in Progress. Vienna: Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, 1995, 16 - 38.

“A Computer Generation of Community and Freedom: A Reply to David Applefield,” Fin de Siècle vol. I, no. 1 (September 1995), 62 - 65.

Translator (German to English), Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen: Newsletter 47. Vienna: Institute for Human Sciences (Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen), October/December 1994.

“Self-Correction, Hidden Assumptions and Cultural Pluralism,” Bulletin of the International Council for Philosophical Inquiry with Children (December 1994).



"Review: Iris Marion Young: Responsibility for Justice" in Plurilogue, forthcoming.

"Review: Jan Horst Keppler: Adam Smith and the Economy of Passions" in Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, forthcoming.

"Review: Ian Ross: Life of Adam Smith, second edition," Philosophy in Review, forthcoming.

"Review: Dwight Furrow: Reviving the Left: The Need to Restore Liberal Values in America," in Teaching Philosophy 34:4 (December 2011): 456-460. PDF

"Review: Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life" in Journal of the History of Philosophy, 49 (4):499-501. PDF

"Review essay: Adam Smith: The Rhetoric of Propriety by Stephen J. McKenna; Adam Smith's Moral Philosophy: A Historical and Contemporary Perspective on Markets, Law, Ethics, and Culture by Jerry Evensky; and The Adam Smith Problem: Reconciling Human Nature and Society in the Theory of Moral Sentiments and Wealth of Nations by Dogan Göçmen," Journal for Eighteenth Century Studies, 34:3 (September 2011): 403-408. PDF

"Review: The Philosophy of Adam Smith: Essays Commemorating the 250th Anniversary of The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Edited by Vivienne Brown and Samuel Fleischacker" in Eighteenth Century Studies 25 (Spring 2011): 40 – 41

“Review: Nir Eisikovitz: Sympathizing with the Enemy: Reconciliation, Transitional Justice, Negotiation,” Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, (March 2011):

“Review Essay: D.D. Raphael: The Impartial Spectator: Adam Smith’s Moral Philosophy," Economics and Philosophy 24:1 (March 2008): 129 - 137.

“The Wealth of Nations and the Morality of Opulence (Review Essay of Jerry Evansky’s Adam Smith’s Moral Philosophy: A Historical and Contemporary Perspective on Markets, Law, Ethics, and Culture)” Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology 25-A (2007): 61- 69. PDF

“Review: Leonidas Montes: Adam Smith in Context: A Critical Reassessment of Some Central Components of His Thought,” The British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 13:1 (2005), 179 – 183.

“Review: James W. Otteson’s ‘Adam Smith’s Marketplace of Life,” Mind Vol. 113, No. 449 (January 2004), 202 – 207. PDF

“Review: Knud Haakonssen’s ‘Adam Smith’s Theory Of Moral Sentiments’,” Journal of Scottish Philosophy, Vol. 1 No. 2 (Autumn 2003), 181 – 184. PDF


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Selected Lectures

"Is the Free Market Dead?"
Comments to Students for a Democratic Society
Panel Discussion
November, 13, 2008

 "Forcing the Iraqis to be Free:
Comments on the Question: 'Can Democracy be Imposed by an External Military Force?'”
Panel Discussion
March 8, 2007

 "Homosexuality and Faith "
Comments at the Sacred Spaces, Safe Places
Panel Discussion
October, 2006

On Hate Speech and the Politically Correct:
Comments to Students at the University of North Dakota School of Law
Comments during a panel discussion on hate speech
sponsored by the University of North Dakota
School of Law
January 27, 2006

Ethics in Research: A Primer
A PowerPoint Presentation from the UND Graduate Research Assistant Orientation, given at the beginning of each academic year to new GRAs.
Power Point Presentation

The Invisible Hand of Rationality: On the Intersection of Adam Smith and Alasdair MacIntyre
Plenary lecture for the 31st Conference on Value Inquiry, April 10 - 12, 2003

 "Comments to the Law Women's Caucus "
 "Where Are We Now? Post 9-11 Perspectives on Legal Issues, Immigration, Impact on Stereotypes, and Religion, " panel at the  University of North Dakota School of Law, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2002.

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