David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Political Theory 33 (2):189 - 217 (2005)
In this essay the author explores the relation between sympathy and proximity in Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments. The essay proceeds in two parts. First, the author demonstrates that Smith's description of our various attachments and affections, and the inevitable conflicts among them, draws us into the rich spatial texture of sympathetic response and stimulates further inquiry into a variety of spaces in which sympathetic activity takes place. In the second part, the author explores three such spaces-the physical, the affective, and the historical/cultural-to critique the way that some contemporary moral and political theorists have appropriated Smith's account of sympathy as a tool for cosmopolitan aspirations. To what extent can Smith's sympathy model detach us from and get us beyond the partiality and particularity generated by our physical, affective, and cultural entanglements?
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