This paper exhaustively examines all Adam Smith’s references to “machines,” including machine metaphors or analogies, with a view to a comprehensive interpretation of the significance of the machine in his thought as a whole. By bringing together all Smith’s references to machines (and variants of that term), as well as his references to related phenomena, mechanics and engines (and variants), the totality of the various different kinds of uses of these terms assists in clarifying the meaning of each of them. However, this exercise is undertaken particularly with a view to the significance of machines in Smith’s political economy.
School of Economics, University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The author is indebted to N. Theocarakis and two anonymous referees for comment, without thereby implicating them in the final product.