Hume's and Smith's Partial Sympathies and Impartial Stances

Journal of Scottish Philosophy 5 (2):135-158 (2007)
The moral psychology of sympathy is the linchpin of the sentimentalist moral theories of both David Hume and Adam Smith. In this paper, I attempt to diagnose the critical differences between Hume's and Smith's respective accounts of sympathy in order to argue that Smithian sympathy is more properly suited to serve as a basis for impartial moral evaluations and judgments than is Humean sympathy. By way of arguing this claim, I take up the problem of overcoming sympathetic partiality in the construction of a moral point of view, acknowledged by both writers, as my primary platform. My contention is that Humean sympathy is too mechanistic to actually deliver an impartial adjudicatory perspective, and that Smithian sympathy, with its evaluative, imaginative components, succeeds where Hume's account falls short. The paper is comprised of six sections: (i) introductory remarks, (ii) a discussion of Humean sympathy, (iii) a discussion of Smithian sympathy and its distinctness, (iv) a critical analysis of Hume's attempt to correct for sympathetic partiality in the construction of the judicial spectator's general point of view, (v) a critical discussion of sympathetic partiality in Smithian sympathy & (vi) a critical analysis of Smith's construction of the impartial spectator perspective as a moral point of view.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.3366/jsp.2007.5.2.135
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,280
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
John Rawls (2009). A Theory of Justice. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Philosophy and Rhetoric. Oxford University Press 133-135.
A. Macintyre (1984). After Virtue. Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 46 (1):169-171.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

52 ( #92,221 of 1,932,501 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #149,396 of 1,932,501 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.