UND Professor Weinstein to participate in discussion on Adam Smith, father of modern capitalism, in Norway

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College of Arts & Sciences


Dr. Jack Weinstein, professor of philosophy and director of the Institute for Philosophy in Public Life at the University of North Dakota, will present a research paper and participate in discussions at the Centre for the Study of Mind in Nature’s (CSMN) “Adam Smith and Virtue” Workshop at the University of Oslo, Norway on Aug. 27-28.

The CSMN is a “Norwegian Centre of Excellence” funded in part by the Research Council of Norway and hosted by the Department of Philosophy, Classics, and History of Art and Ideas at the University of Oslo. Weinstein is one of eight workshop scholar participants representing the U.S., Norway, France and Australia.

“The conference is about trying to figure out what virtue means to Smith,” explains Weinstein. “This means that it is focused on trying to figure out what it means to be a good or moral person in a free-market world.”

Adam Smith is the father of modern capitalism and the author of The Wealth of Nations, one of the most influential books in history. The conference is a place in which scholars can present works in progress and get feedback so they can improve their research.

Weinstein will be opposing the idea of “spontaneous virtues.” He will be rejecting the idea that morality is an automatic response. He argues instead that it is a product of careful deliberation.

“I am using Adam Smith’s writing to explore these questions both to interpret him correctly (he was an 18th century philosopher) and to show how he is still relevant to the contemporary world,” says Weinstein.

About Weinstein:

Weinstein is the author of three books and dozens of articles. He is the recipient of the 2007 UND Foundation/McDermott Award for Individual Excellence in Teaching. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Boston University in 1998. Weinstein teaches doctoral courses for the Department of Moral and Social Philosophy at the University of Helsinki (Finland). And has held visiting fellowships or guest professorships at The Center for Scottish Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary, Die Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, the University of Oklahoma, The State University of New York, Plattsburgh (his undergraduate alma mater), Oklahoma State University and the University of Oulu in Finland.

He is also known for his radio show “Why? Philosophical discussions for everyday life,” which can be heard on the second Sunday of each month at 5 p.m. on Prairie Public Radio. To listen via broadcast radio in North Dakota, tune to 89.3 in Grand Forks, 91.9 in Fargo, 90.5 in Bismarck and on other Prairie Public radio network stations across the state.