You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

The Scottish Enlightenment

4. Adam Smith

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


Having provided a broader historical context for the Enlightenment in general and the Scottish Enlightenment in particular, we now turn to one of its major figures—Adam Smith. In particular, we think about the extent to which Adam Smith deserves his reputation as a free market capitalist, looking in some detail at his major work, The Wealth of Nations.


In this course, Dr Anna Plassart (Open University) explores the Scottish Enlightenment. In the first module, we think about the Enlightenment as a whole—why it happened when it did, its principle goals and central doctrines—before moving on in the second and third modules to think about the Enlightenment in Scotland in particular. In the fourth and fifth modules, we focus on two of the major figures of Scottish Enlightenment and one of the major works—Adam Smith and ‘The Wealth of Nations’ (1776) and David Hume and ‘A Treatise of Human Nature’ (1738). A final module provides some conclusions and final thoughts for the course as whole.


Anna studied Economics and English at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and the Université de la Sorbonne. She moved to the UK for her postgraduate studies and completed an MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History (2007) and a PhD (2011) in History at Trinity College, University of Cambridge.

Between 2010 and 2015, she was a Junior Research Fellow in Modern History at Christ Church, University of Oxford. She joined the OU as a Lecturer in History in February 2015.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Plassart, A. (2018, August 15). The Scottish Enlightenment - Adam Smith [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Plassart, A. "The Scottish Enlightenment – Adam Smith." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,