Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Absent-minded Mr. Adam Smith

Portrait of Adam Smith
Adam Smith was remarkably sharp as a professor and a philosopher of economics, politics, and morality, but in his day-to-day life he was often absent-minded. Lady Mary Coke, a high society hostess, entertained both David Hume and Adam Smith when they were in London in 1767. In her journal, she describes a breakfast with Adam Smith:
"I said many things in his [Adam Smith’s] praise, but added that he was the most Absent Man that ever was ... as he was going to breakfast, and, falling into discourse, Mr Smith took a piece of bread and butter, which, after he had rolled round and round, he put into the teapot and pour'd the water upon it; some time after he poured it into a cup, and when he had tasted it, he said it was the worst tea he had ever met with." ~ (The Letters and Journals of Lady Mary Coke)
I think that Smith's intellectual life was so hyperactive that he often lost touch with his physical environment.

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