Chapter

Adam Smith

Alexander Broadie

in A History of Scottish Philosophy

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780748616275
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652471 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748616275.003.0008
Adam Smith

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The masterpieces of Adam Smith include The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, the latter of which is based on the principle of the division of labour. Smith deploys some examples of sympathy that fit well the Humean prescription. His discussions of propriety, impropriety, merit and demerit, and his account of the impartial spectator, are provided. The impartial spectator is the key to Smith's account of the faculty of conscience. The sentiments of surprise, wonder and admiration are basic to science on his analysis. Smith's application of the ordered triple ‘surprise/wonder/admiration’ to his moral theory, to his theory of scientific discovery and to his account of the imitative arts points to a significant degree of unity among elements that might otherwise be supposed mutually disparate.

Keywords: Adam Smith; Moral Sentiments; Wealth of Nations; sympathy; impartial spectator; surprise; wonder; admiration; moral theory

Chapter.  17426 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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