Moral Agent and Impartial Spectator

Gilbert Harman

in Explaining Value

Published in print August 2000 | ISBN: 9780198238041
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597626 | DOI:
 Moral Agent and Impartial Spectator

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A standard objection to impartial spectator theories of morality is that they offer an aesthetic, critic‐centred conception of morality, and so cannot adequately account for moral motivation and the way morality presents itself to an agent. The issue arose in the eighteenth century for Hutcheson, Hume, and Smith. Smith provided an elegant account of why agents might be motivated to act in ways that impartial spectators would approve of, an account that is premised on an insightful critique of Hume's theory of sympathy.

Keywords: David Hume; impartial spectator; morality; Adam Smith; sympathy

Chapter.  6296 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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