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Abstract

The paper will discuss the theological foundation to Smith's writings. Teleology, final causes and divine design were initially seen as central to understanding Smith's writings. Over time, this view fell out of fashion. In the period after World War II, with the rise of positivism, commentators tended to overlook or downplay this interpretation. In the last decade, or so, teleology has started to be restored to its former position as an essential element in understanding Smith. After spelling out Smith's teleology and his view of final causes, divine design and the ends of nature, we try to explain the Panglossian nature of the 'new theistic view' of Smith. While our view differs somewhat, we agree with the essence of the 'new view' claim: a theological view exists in Smith which underpins his moral and economic theories.

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