"Vernon Smith emphasizes the Scottish Enlightenment’s close attention to how complicated people are, and how many different motives drive even their economic decisions. He wishes that more economists would read Adam Smith’s other great work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, a text which Smith revised no less than six times and regarded as his most important book.
The Scottish Enlightenment revolutionized how we think about the nature of reason itself. There is a place, Smith argues, for conscious deductive processes that establish social institutions, such as constitutions. But there is another form of rationality, which is every bit as important. It’s embodied and conveyed through time by habits, customs, and rules. We often don’t fully understand the importance of such traditions, as Edmund Burke noted, until we’ve lost them. A hallmark of Smith’s work is his study of how such knowledge helps to mold political and economic outcomes."