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James R. Otteson

TFAS Senior Scholar


Dr. James R. Otteson is a senior scholar at The Fund for American Studies. Until 2020, he was the Thomas W. Smith Presidential Chair in Business Ethics and executive director of the Eudaimonia Institute at Wake Forest University. In 2020, he joined the University of Notre Dame faculty as the John T. Ryan Jr. Professor of Business Ethics, the Rex and Alice A. Martin Faculty Director of the Notre Dame Deloitte Center for Ethical Leadership, and the faculty director of the business honors program. He received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame and his doctorate from the University of Chicago. He specializes in political economy, the history of economic thought, eighteenth-century moral philosophy and business ethics. He has taught previously at NYU, Yeshiva University, Georgetown University and the University of Alabama.

His books include “Adam Smith’s Marketplace of Life,” “Actual Ethics,” “Adam Smith” and “The End of Socialism.” His most recent books are “The Essential Adam Smith” and “Honorable Business: A Framework for Business in a Just and Humane Society.” His next books are “The Essential David Hume” and, with Steven McMullen, “The Ethics of Wealth Redistribution.”

He is the recipient of multiple awards for his teaching and research, including the 2007 Templeton Enterprise Award, the Aspen Institute’s 2017 “Ideas Worth Teaching Award,” the Association of Private Enterprise Education’s 2019 Distinguished Scholar Award, the Independent Institute’s 2019 Independent Excellence Prize and the Institute for Humane Studies’ 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award.