David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In this paper I call attention to Adam Smith’s 'Considerations Concerning the First Formation of Languages' in order to facilitate understanding Adam Smith from a Darwinian perspective. By ‘Darwinian’ I mean a position that explains differential selection over time through natural mechanisms. First, I argue that right near the start of Wealth of Nations Smith signals that human nature has probably evolved over a very long amount of time. Second, I connect this evidence with an infamous passage on infanticide in The Theory of Moral Sentiments in order to argue that Smith is committed to group selection. Third, I argue that in Dissertation on Languages one can find building blocks for the claim that mind and language co-develop over time. More controversially I claim that in TMS there is a distinction between natural sentiments and moral sentiments. Natural sentiments are evolved (presumably through cultural selection) and moral sentiments are developed (through acculturation within society). Along the way, I argue that this distinction would have improved Darwin’s Descent of Man by blocking a move toward eugenics.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Knud Haakonssen (1981). The Science of a Legislator: The Natural Jurisprudence of David Hume and Adam Smith. Cambridge University Press.
John Laurent & Geoff Cockfield (2007). Adam Smith, Charles Darwin and the Moral Sense. In Geoff Cockfield, Ann Firth & John Laurent (eds.), New Perspectives on Adam Smith's the Theory of Moral Sentiments. E. Elgar. 141--162.
Richard Temple-Smith (2007). Adam Smith's Treatment of the Greeks in the Theory of Moral Sentiments : The Case of Aristotle. In Geoff Cockfield, Ann Firth & John Laurent (eds.), New Perspectives on Adam Smith's the Theory of Moral Sentiments. E. Elgar. 29.
Adam Smith (1948). Adam Smith's Moral and Political Philosophy. New York, Hafner Pub. Co..
James E. Alvey (2007). The 'New View' of Adam Smith and the Development of His Views Over Time. In Geoff Cockfield, Ann Firth & John Laurent (eds.), New Perspectives on Adam Smith's the Theory of Moral Sentiments. E. Elgar.
Geoff Cockfield, Ann Firth & John Laurent (eds.) (2007). New Perspectives on Adam Smith's the Theory of Moral Sentiments. Edward Elgar.
Robert Fudge (2009). Sympathy, Beauty, and Sentiment: Adam Smith's Aesthetic Morality. Journal of Scottish Philosophy 7 (2):133-146.
David Wilson & William Dixon (2011). Das Adam Smith Problem - A Critical Realist Perspective. Journal of Critical Realism 5 (2):251-272.
Vivienne Brown & Samuel Fleischacker (eds.) (2010). The Philosophy of Adam Smith: Essays Commemorating the 250th Anniversary of the Theory of Moral Sentiments. Routledge.
Added to index2009-07-30
Total downloads112 ( #12,070 of 1,679,448 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #182,904 of 1,679,448 )
How can I increase my downloads?