Ulrich Beck's best selling Risk Society established risk on the sociological agenda. It brought together a wide range of issues centering on environmental, health and personal risk, provided a rallying ground for researchers and activists in a variety of social movements and acted as a reference point for state and local policies in risk management. The Risk Society and Beyond charts the progress of Beck's ideas and traces their evolution. It demonstrates why the issues raised by Beck (...) reverberate widely throughout social theory and covers the new risks that Beck did not foresee, associated with the emergence of new technologies, genetic and cybernetic. The book is unique because it offers both an introduction to the main arguments in Risk Society and develops a range of critical discussions of aspects of this and other works of Beck. (shrink)
In these essays, we are concerned with virtue in journalism and the media but are mindful of the tension between the commercial foundations of publishing and broadcasting, on the one hand, and journalism's democratic obligations on the other. Adam outlines, first, a moral vision of journalism focusing on individualistic concepts of authorship and craft. Next, Craft attempts to bridge individual and organizational concerns by examining the obligations of organizations to the individuals working within them. Finally, Cohen discusses the importance (...) of resisting the powerful corporate logic that pervades the news media in the United States and calls on journalists to be courageous. (shrink)
Third World Citizens and the Information Technology Revolution Content Type Journal Article Category Review Pages 515-522 DOI 10.1558/jcr.v11i4.515 Authors Nicolas Adam, Centre d’études sur l’intégration et la mondialisation (CEIM), Université du Québec à Montréal, 400, rue Sainte-Catherine Est, Pavillon Hubert-Aquin, 1er étage, bureau A-1560, Montréal (Québec) H2L 2C5 Canada Journal Journal of Critical Realism Online ISSN 1572-5138 Print ISSN 1476-7430 Journal Volume Volume 11 Journal Issue Volume 11, Number 4 / 2012.
Adam Smith’s account of sympathy or ‘fellow feeling’ has recently become exceedingly popular. It has been used as an antecedent of the concept of simulation: understanding, or attributing mental states to, other people by means of simulating them. It has also been singled out as the first correct account of empathy. Finally, to make things even more complicated, some of Smith’s examples for sympathy or ‘fellow feeling’ have been used as the earliest expression of emotional contagion. The aim of (...) the paper is to suggest a new interpretation of Smith’s concept of sympathy and point out that on this interpretation some of the contemporary uses of this concept, as a precursor of simulation and empathy, are misleading. My main claim is that Smith's concept of sympathy, unlike simulation and empathy, does not imply any correspondence between the mental states of the sympathizer and of the person she is sympathizing with. (shrink)
O presente artigo objetiva estudar o conceito de “fato da razão”, tendo como norte a intervenção de Beck no cenário da filosofia transcendental, mais especificamente sua abordagem de base kantiana, para em continuação explorarmos o potencial do conceito supramencionado desde as contribuições de Guido de Almeida e Loparic.
Adam Smith’s lasting fame certainly does not come from his work on language. He published very little on this topic and he is not usually mentioned in standard histories of linguistics or the philosophy of language. His most elaborate publication on the subject is a 1761 monograph on the origin and development of languages (FoL). Smith’s monograph joins a long list of speculative work on this then fashionable topic (cf. Hewes 1975, 1996). The fact that he later included it (...) as an appendix to his successful.. (shrink)
This paper foregrounds one argument in Rawls’s work that is crucial to his case for one, determinate, form of political economy: a property-owning democracy. Section one traces the evolution of this idea from the seminal work of Cambridge economist James Meade; section two demonstrates how a commitment to a property-owning democracy flows from Rawls’s own principles; section three focuses on Rawls’s striking critique of orthodox welfare state capitalism. This all sets the stage for an argument, presented in section four, from (...) the complexity of economic interactions to the strategy of making markets fair in the only feasible way that they can be made fair, namely, by “patterning” their effects. Section five concludes by asking whether any scheme of this general type is a realistic form of utopianism for a society such as ours. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Adam Smith is usually thought to argue that the result of everyone pursuing their own interests will be the maximization of the interests of society. The invisible hand of the free market will transform the individual''s pursuit of gain into the general utility of society. This is the invisible hand argument.Many people, although Smith did not, draw a moral corollary from this argument, and use it to defend the moral acceptability of pursuing one''s own self-interest.
This paper presents a theoretical elaboration of the ethical framework of classical capitalism as formulated by Adam Smith in reaction to the dominant mercantilism of his day. It is seen that Smith's project was profoundly ethical and designed to emancipate the consumer from a producer and state dominated economy. Over time, however, the various dysfunctions of a capitalist economy — e.g., concentration of wealth, market power — became manifest and the utilitarian ethical basis of the system eroded. Contemporary capitalism, (...) dominated as it is by large corporations, entrenched political interests and persistent social pathologies, bears little resemblance to the system which Smith envisioned would serve the common man. Most critiques of capitalism are launched from a Marxian-based perspective. We find, however, that by illustrating the wide gap between the reality of contemporary capitalism and the model of amoral political economy developed by Smith, the father of capitalism proves to be the most trenchant critic of the current order. (shrink)
For more than 10 years, Ulrich Beck has dominated discussion of risk issues in the social sciences. We argue that Beck's criticisms of the theory and practise of risk analysis are groundless. His understanding of what risk is is badly flawed. His attempt to identify risk and risk perception fails. He misunderstands and distorts the use of probability in risk analysis. His comments about the insurance industry show that he does not understand some of the basics of that (...) industry. And his assertions about the wrongness of allowing acceptable levels of exposure to toxic chemicals do not stand up to scrutiny. Key Words: Beck risk analysis risk perception probability insurance. (shrink)
The essay is framed by conflict between Christianity and Darwinian science over the history of the world and the nature of human personhood. Evolutionary science narrates a long prehuman geological and biological history filled with vast amounts, kinds, and distributions of apparently random brutal and pointless suffering. It also strongly suggests that the first modern humans were morally primitive. This science seems to discredit Christianity's common meta-narrative of the Fall, understood as a story of Paradise Lost. The author contends that (...) this Augustinian story and its character of Adam as endowed with superhuman gifts, and yet as so fragile as to fall, as claimed, is implausible, at any rate, even apart from science. He proposes that Christians consider adopting a Supralapsarian metaphysics of divine purpose supported by the intuitions of Irenaeus, who depicted the first human beings as comparable to innocent, but morally undeveloped children. In this approach the existence of evils is part of the divine plan to "defeat" them in and through the Incarnation, Atonement, and Resurrection of Christ. Putting an "Irenaean Adam" in place of the "Augustinian" counterpart may not remove conflict with science completely, but at least reduces it, and leads to a Christian narrative that is more plausible, in the light of science. (shrink)
Both Adam Smith and Herbert spencer, albeit in quite different ways, have been enormously influential in what we today take to be philosophies of modern capitalism. Surprisingly it is Spencer, not Smith, who is the individualist, perhaps an egoist, and supports a "night watchman" theory of the state. Smith's concept of political economy is a notion that needs to be revisited, and Spencer's theory of democratic workplace management offers a refreshing twist on contemporary libertarianism.
As J. Baird Callicott has argued, Adam Smith's moral theory is a philosophical ancestor of recent work in environmental ethics. However, Smith's "all important emotion of sympathy" (Callicott, 2001, p. 209) seems incapable of extension to entities that lack emotions with which one can sympathize. Drawing on the distinctive account of sympathy developed in Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, as well as his account of anthropomorphizing nature in "History of Astronomy and Physics," I show that sympathy with non-sentient nature (...) is possible within a Smithian ethics. This provides the possibility of extending sympathy, and thereby benevolence and justice, to nature. (shrink)
D. D. Raphael examines the moral philosophy of Adam Smith (1723-90), best known for his famous work on economics, The Wealth of Nations, and shows that his thought still has much to offer philosophers today. Raphael gives particular attention to Smith's original theory of conscience, with its emphasis on the role of 'sympathy' (shared feelings).
In this paper I revisit Adam Smith’s treatment of Copernicanism and Newtonianism in his essay, “The History of Astronomy” (hereafter: “Astronomy”), in light of a surprisingly ignored context: David Hume. This remark will strike most scholars of Adam Smith as unfounded—David Hume’s philosophy is often invoked as a source of Smith’s approach in the “Astronomy” or as its target. Yet, Hume’s occasional remarks on Copernicanism nor his treatment of the history of science in the History of England (1754-62, (...) but revised throughout Hume’s life) have not been carefully analyzed in light of the “Astronomy.” In the first five sections of this paper I offer a detailed analysis of all of Hume’s remarks on the Copernican system in his oeuvre. I show that David Hume believed that Copernicus achieved a “revolution” in philosophy. Moreover, I argue that Hume increasingly treats Galileo as the hero of the Copernican revolution. In doing so, Hume appears surprisingly blind to the importance of post-Galilean natural philosophy, especially the (dynamical) arguments that Huygens and Newton provided for the rotation of the Earth. In the last section of the paper, I argue that Adam Smith does show appreciation of dynamic views. I show that Smith and the mature Hume agree on the importance of Galileo, even describing his method in strikingly similar language, but that they evaluate the evidence differently in light of two conflicting commitments: i) Hume is committed to the “true philosophy”—-a certain kind of scepticism which Smith does not share; ii) Hume never seems to have assimilated the way Newton changed the evidential standards within science. (shrink)
Adam Smith was a philosopher before he ever wrote about economics, yet until now there has never been a philosophical commentary on the Wealth of Nations . Samuel Fleischacker suggests that Smith's vastly influential treatise on economics can be better understood if placed in the light of his epistemology, philosophy of science, and moral theory. He lays out the relevance of these aspects of Smith's thought to specific themes in the Wealth of Nations , arguing, among other things, that (...) Smith regards social science as an extension of common sense rather than as a discipline to be approached mathematically, that he has moral as well as pragmatic reasons for approving of capitalism, and that he has an unusually strong belief in human equality that leads him to anticipate, if not quite endorse, the modern doctrine of distributive justice. Fleischacker also places Smith's views in relation to the work of his contemporaries, especially his teacher Francis Hutcheson and friend David Hume, and draws out consequences of Smith's thought for present-day political and philosophical debates. The Companion is divided into five general sections, which can be read independently of one another. It contains an index that points to commentary on specific passages in Wealth of Nations . Written in an approachable style befitting Smith's own clear yet finely honed rhetoric, it is intended for professional philosophers and political economists as well as those coming to Smith for the first time. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
When Adam Smith published his celebrated writings on economics and moral philosophy he famously referred to the operation of an invisible hand. Adam Smith's Political Philosophy makes visible the invisible hand by examining its significance in Smith's political philosophy and relating it to similar concepts used by other philosophers, revealing a distinctive approach to social theory that stresses the significance of the unintended consequences of human action. This book introduces greater conceptual clarity to the discussion of the invisible (...) hand and the related concept of unintended order in the work of Smith and in political theory more generally. By examining the application of spontaneous order ideas in the work of Smith, Hume, Hayek and Popper, Adam Smith's Political Philosophy traces similarities in approach and from these builds a conceptual, composite model of an invisible hand argument. While setting out a clear model of the idea of spontaneous order the book also builds the case for using the idea of spontaneous order as an explanatory social theory, with chapters on its application in the fields of science, moral philosophy, law and government. (shrink)
As J. Baird Callicott has argued, Adam Smith’s moral theory is a philosophical ancestor of recent work in environmental ethics. However, Smith’s “all important emotion of sympathy” (Callicott 2001: 209) seems incapable of extension to entities that lack emotions with which one can sympathize. Drawing on the distinctive account of sympathy developed in Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments , as well as his account of anthropomorphizing nature in “History of Astronomy and Physics,” I show that sympathy with non-sentient nature (...) is possible within a Smithian ethics. This provides the possibility of extending sympathy, and thereby benevolence and justice, to nature. (shrink)
Frans de Waal’s view that empathy is at the basis of morality directly seems to build on Darwin, who considered sympathy as the crucial instinct. Yet when we look closer, their understanding of the central social instinct differs considerably. De Waal sees our deeply ingrained tendency to sympathize (or rather: empathize) with others as the good side of our morally dualistic nature. For Darwin, sympathizing was not the whole story of the workings of sympathy ; the (selfish) need to receive (...) sympathy played just as central a role in the complex roads from sympathy to morality. Darwin’s understanding of sympathy stems from Adam Smith, who argued that the presence of morally impure motives should not be a reason for cynicism about morality. I suggest that De Waal’s approach could benefit from a more thorough alignment with the analysis of the workings of sympathy in the work of Darwin and Adam Smith. (shrink)
One of the more striking aspects of Adam Smith's moral theory is the degree to which it depends on and appeals to aesthetic norms. By considering what Smith says about judgments of propriety – the foundational type of judgment in his system – and by tying what he says in The Theory of Moral Sentiments to certain of his other writings, I argue that Smith ultimately defends an aesthetic morality. Among the challenges that any aesthetic morality faces is that (...) it seems to entail moral relativism. This problem is magnified by Smith's reliance on the judgments of the impartial spectator, which also seems to make his theory more vulnerable to a Euthyphro-type objection. I suggest that Smith can potentially get around these problems, given his presumption of aesthetic naturalism. While there is certainly some variation in our aesthetic judgments, Smith claims that we naturally find certain actions and sentiments odious, while others we find agreeable. The reason, he argues, is that any society that judged otherwise would not survive. (shrink)
Adam Smith's ethics have long been thought to be much closer to the Stoic school than to any other school of the ancient world. Recent scholarship however has focused on the fact that Smith also appears to be quite close to Aristotle. I shall attend to Smith's deployment of a version of the doctrine of the mean, shall show that it is quite close to Aristotle's, shall demonstrate that in its detailed application it is seriously at odds with Stoic (...) teaching on the passions, and particularly with their teachings on anger, and shall conclude that on a central issue of ethics Smith is a good deal closer to Aristotelian than to Stoic thinking. (shrink)
Combining the methods of the modern philosopher with those of the historian of ideas, Knud Haakonssen presents an interpretation of the philosophy of law which Adam Smith developed out of - and partly in response to - David Hume's theory of justice. While acknowledging that the influences on Smith were many and various, Dr Haakonssen suggests that the decisive philosophical one was Hume's analysis of justice in A Treatise of Human Nature and the second Enquiry. He therefore begins with (...) a thorough investigation of Hume, from which he goes on to show the philosophical originality of Smith's new form of natural jurisprudence. At the same time, he provides an over all reading of Smith's social and political thought, demonstrating clearly the exact links between the moral theory of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, the Lectures on Jurisprudence, and the sociohistorical theory of The Wealth of Nations. This is the first full analysis of Adam Smith's jurisprudence; it emphasizes its normative and critical function, and relates this to the psychological, sociological, and histroical aspects which hitherto have attracted most attention. Dr Haakonssen is critical of both purely descriptivist and utilitarian interpretations of Smith's moral and political philosophy, and demonstrates the implausibility of regarding Smith's view of history as pseudo-economic or 'materialist'. (shrink)
In The Theory of Moral Sentiments (TMS) Adam Smith draws on the Stoic idea of a Providence that uses everything for the good of the whole. The process is often painful, so the Stoic ethic insisted on conscious cooperation. Stoic ideas contributed to the rise of science and enjoyed wide popularity in Smith’s England. Smith was more influenced by the Stoicism of his professors than by the Epicureanism of Hume. In TMS, Marcus Aurelius’s “helmsman” becomes the “impartial spectator,” who (...) judges actions in terms of the way they are seen by others. This is the key to justice, without which society collapses. Business school students should be taught that Smith’s “invisible hand” is best understood as a universal rationality that uses just actions for the benefit of the whole. (shrink)
The invisible hand image is at the centre of contemporary debates about capacities of markets, on which discussion of many other topics in business ethics rests. However, its meaning in Adam Smith’s writings remains obscure, particularly the religious associations that were obvious to early readers. He drew on Isaac Newton’s theories of divine action and providence, mediated through the moderate Calvinism of the eighteenth century Scottish circles in which he moved. I argue within the context of Smith’s general providential (...) account of markets, the invisible hand operates restrain inequality and capital flight, thereby stabilizing the market system. Such an understanding of the invisible hand raises questions for contemporary religious and secular discussions of the capacities of markets in the wake of the global financial crisis. (shrink)
This article points out the challenges to current models for media ethics that arise from the private ownership of public media, and it proposes a new model that integrates Adam Smith's free-market theory and his system of moral reasoning. The model creates moral obligations to maintain the integrity of a system for anyone who profits from it. This model renews an appeal for the contemporary notion of transparency and is built on an analogy between the system of the free (...) market for creating wealth and the system of the free press for producing reliable market information. (shrink)
Motivation crowding out can lead to a reduction of ‘higher’ virtues, such as altruism or public spirit, in market contexts. This article discusses the role of virtue in the moral and economic theory of Adam Smith. It argues that because Smith’s account of commercial society is based on ‘lower’ virtue, ‘higher’ virtue has a precarious place in it; this phenomenon is structurally similar to motivation crowding out. The article analyzes and systematizes the ways in which Smith builds on ‘contrivances (...) of nature’ in order to solve the problems of limited self-command and limited knowledge. As recent research has shown, a clear separation of different social spheres can help to reduce the risk of motivation crowding out and preserve a place for ‘higher virtue’ in commercial society. The conclusion reflects on the performative power of economics, arguing that the one-sided focus on models of ‘economic man’ should be embedded in a larger context. (shrink)
Adam Smith was born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, in 1723 (Source on Smith's life: E G West, Adam Smith ). He entered Glasgow University in 1737, aged 14. This university still followed some practices of the medieval universities, for example in admitting students at age 14. Its professors still took fees directly from students: that had been the original practice in medieval universities, but in more famous universities rich people had endowed colleges within the university, which paid lecturers' salaries. (...) The Glasgow timetable was still medieval. The main lecture took place at 7.30 am in the cold and dark, at 11 the students were quizzed on the mornings lecture, at 12 there was a lecture on an optional topic. This was the typical student's day in the thirteenth century. But the curriculum was modern: besides philosophy (the main medieval subject) students took Greek and Mathematics. The philosophy was modern. At Glasgow Adam Smith studied under Francis Hutcheson (see extracts from his works in Raphael British Moralists vol.1, p.261ff.)). Hutchison taught in English (not Latin) and was a vivid lecturer. Moral philosophy, or ethics, was a flourishing subject at the time. The main division was between two schools of 'intuitionists' (as they would now be called). To remind you: Ethics is concerned with what is good and bad, better and worse, in human conduct - in the ends we seek, in the actions in which we seek our ends. Intuitionism is the doctrine that in the last analysis we simply 'see' that some way of acting is good or right, or the opposite: that basic ethical assessments cannot be justified by argument, and do not need to be. 'See' of course is a metaphor. Many 18C moral philosophers held that it is reason that 'sees' what is good and right. Hutchison said that it is a moral sense: not reason, and not the bodily senses of vision, hearing etc., but something more like a bodily sense than like reason. On Hutchison's analysis, ethical judgement is a specific kind of emotional reaction to a comtemplated act.. (shrink)
The version of the invisible hand argument in Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments differs in important respects from the version in The Wealth of Nations. Both are different, in turn, from the version invoked by Milton Friedman in Free to Choose. However, all three have a common structure. Attention to this structure can help sharpen our sense of their essential thrust by highlighting the questions (about the nature of economic motivation, the structure of markets, and conceptions of the (...) public interest) to which answers of certain kinds would have to be available for any of the versions to succeed. (shrink)
This paper explores the significance of Adam Smith's ideas for defending non-cognitivist theories of aesthetic appreciation of nature. Objections to non-cognitivism argue that the exercise of emotion and imagination in aesthetic judgement potentially sentimentalizes and trivializes nature. I argue that although directed at moral judgement, Smith's views also find a place in addressing this problem. First, sympathetic imagination may afford a deeper and more sensitive type of aesthetic engagement. Second, in taking up the position of the impartial spectator, aesthetic (...) judgements may originate in a type of self-regulated response where we stand outside ourselves to check those overly humanizing tendencies which might lead to a failure in appreciating nature as nature. (shrink)
Adam Smith's name has become synonymous with free market economics. Recent scholarship has given us a richer, more nuanced figure, steeped in the intricacies of enlightenment social and political philosophy. Adam Smith's Discourse develops this literature and gives it a radical new dimension. The first book on Adam Smith to deal with recent debates in literary theory, this interdisciplinary work examines Smith's major texts and places them within the context of enlightenment thought. It considers Smith's major (...) writings--the Lectures on Jurisprudence and On Rhetoric and Belles Letters as well as The Theory of Moral Sentiments and The Wealth of Nations --and places each within its own discursive context and with reference to its stylistic and rhetorical features. Adam Smith's Discourse debunks the view of Smith as a dogmatic free-marketeer. In its place, the book offers a portrait of a more skeptical, philosophical andpolitically focused figure. It shows that Smith's enthusiasm for the transition to a society based on trade and manufacturing was tinged with a more dispassionate recognition of the losses as well as the benefits derived from commercial society. (shrink)
Though Adam Smith believed that the spontaneous forces of the market set prices at the most productive level, he doubted that market forces price wages as fairly as the prices of other commodities. In fact, various observations by Smith suggest that the market tends to undervalue wages almost as naturally as it naturalizes the prices of most commodities under nonmonopolistic conditions. Those observations imply the germ of a capitalist theory of exploitation.
Although Adam Smith is best known as the founder of scientific economics and an early proponent of the modern market economy, political economy is only one part of his comprehensive intellectual system. Consisting of a theory of mind and its functions in language, arts, science and social intercourse, Smith's system was a towering contribution to the Scottish Enlightenment. This Companion provides an up-to-date examination of all aspects of Smith's thought. Collectively, the essays take into account his multiple contexts--Scottish, British, (...) European, Atlantic, biographical, institutional, political and philosophical. (shrink)
In the POL167 course materials there is an essay 'Free enterprise and its critics' , which I suggest you read. It is not about Adam Smith particularly, but about the theory which he proposed and others developed.
This paper attempts to relax the tension between Adam Smith's claim that sympathy involves an evaluative act of imaginative projection and his claim that sympathy involves a non-evaluative act of imaginative identification. The first section locates the tension specifically in the two different ways Smith depicts the stance adopted by the sympathizer. The second section argues that we can relax this tension by finding an important role for a non-evaluative stance in Smith's normative account of moral evaluation. This solution (...) protects the continuity in Smith's account of sympathy (cf. Griswold 1999: 99–103). Because of the particular way in which it renders intelligible the relationship between the evaluative and non-evaluative stances, this solution also emphasizes the importance that respect for the agent's conscience has in Smith's conception of an ideal moral judge (cf. Darwall 2004; 2006). The third section investigates a possible systematic basis for Smith's normative commitment to respectful moral judgment. (shrink)
The old Das Adam Smith Problem is no longer tenable. Few today believe that Smith postulates two contradictory principles of human action: one in the Wealth of Nations and another in the Theory of Moral Sentiments . Nevertheless, an Adam Smith problem of sorts endures: there is still no widely agreed version of what it is that links these two texts, aside from their common author; no widely agreed version of how, if at all, Smith's postulation of self-interest (...) as the organising principle of economic activity fits in with his wider moral-ethical concerns. We argue that the enduring Adam Smith problem may be solved by recourse to a realist perspective that recognises the different levels of social reality to which Smith refers in his discourse. Essential to Smith, we try to show, is the action-theoretic distinction between motive and capacity; between a typology of empirical human acts, on the one hand—self-love and benevolence in Smiths terminology—and the (non-empirical) condition of possibility of all human action—what Smith calls the sympathetic principle—on the other. (shrink)
This essay will postulate that Adam Smith's view of society was formulated out of historical influences far broader than generally conceded by many commentators in economic thought. Smith's basic behavioral concepts of sympathy and self-interest are significant contributions to economic thought as are his philosophy of human nature being based on liberty and freedom and not simply the creation of wealth. The vectors of influence that converged on Adam Smith were of varied and even contradictory natures. Yet the (...) result of this collision of philosophical forces was clearly an event of significance in the history of philosophical and economic thought. (shrink)
How does the mind attribute external causes to internal sensory experiences? Adam Smith addresses this question in his little known essay ‘Of the External Senses.’ I closely examine Smith's various formulations of this problem and then argue for an interpretation of his solution: that inborn perceptual mechanisms automatically generate external attributions of internal experiences. I conclude by speculating that these mechanisms are best understood to operate by simulating tactile environments.
AdamSmith argued in The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments that in order to create an effective and productive capitalist system, individuals must pursue interests of both the self and society. Despite this assertion, modern economic theory has become tightly focused on the pursuit of economic self-interests at the expense of other, higher order motives. This paper will argue that the tendency to employ such an egocentric strategy often generates externalities and inequalities that serve (...) to detract from the greater welfare of society. However, by tempering these economic self-interests with non-economically motivated considerations, this paper will suggest that individuals may create tremendous benefits to society, precisely as Smith outlined more than two centuries ago. In defense of this assertion, this paper will review an array of theoretical arguments and empirical findings that suggest that today''s entrepreneurs are not only seeking to satisfy both selfish and ethical motivations, but in so doing they are also contributing substantially to the overall welfare of society through job creation, wealth redistribution, and a lack of discrimination. As such, it appears that spirit and impact of the capitalist system that Smith envisioned is being realized through entrepreneurship. (shrink)
In a contribution to this journal Amos Witzum has challenged a common interpretation of Adam Smith's theory of justice, according to which Smith ‘employed a concept of justice – in the tradition of natural laws theories – whereby rights are related to guarding what is one's own rather than to what is one's due’ (Witzum, 1997, p. 242). Witzum claims that not only does Smith's conception of justice include one's due, and hence, distributional considerations, but the right to one's (...) own ‘stems from the right to what is one's due’ (p. 244). Furthermore, he asserts that ‘as all members of society own their natural faculties, which presumably were given to them to enable them to survive, the fruits of their labour up to subsistence level belong to them by virtue of their ownership of their own faculties’ (p. 259). This leads him to the conclusion that property acquisition gives rise to a duty, on the part of property holders, to ‘distribute subsistence’ and that when wages fall below the subsistence level, the rights of workers have been violated ‘in exactly the same sense that taking an acquired asset away from its owner constitutes a violation of justice’ (p. 244). (shrink)
In this article, I examine Adam Smith's theory of the ways individuals in society bridge social and biological difference. In doing so, I emphasize the divisive effects of gender, race, and class to see if Smith's account of social unity can overcome such fractious forces. My discussion uses the metaphor of “proximity” to mean both physical and psychological distance between moral actors and spectators. I suggest that education – both formal and informal in means – can assist moral judgment (...) by helping agents minimize the effects of proximity, and, ultimately, learn commonality where difference may otherwise seem overwhelming. This article uses the methods of the history of philosophy in order to examine an issue within contemporary discourse. While I seek to offer an authentic reading of Smith representative of his eighteenth-century perspective, I do so with an eye towards determining the extent to which Smith anticipated central issues in modern multiculturalism. (Published Online April 18 2006) Footnotes1 I would like to thank Luc Bovens, Kim Donehower, David Levy, Elizabeth Sund, and Leah M. McClimans, for their help on previous drafts of this article. (shrink)
This paper proposes that the particular moral point of view embodied in Adam Smith's ethics, which ultimately follows a model based on the determination of justice, enables him to introduce impartiality as a measure for every virtue, and to posit the equal dignity of all human beings as the justification of his ethics. This moral viewpoint, which I here call the `sympathetic-impartial perspective', is naturally learned by human beings in the course of socialization through the ongoing interaction between the (...) innate impulse to sympathize and practically-informed reason. Moreover, this particular perspective creates a bridge between Smith's moral and political theories, shedding new light upon the moral foundations of his `system of natural liberty'. (shrink)
This paper aims to do two things. First, it describes the place that Adam Smith actually occupies in current research occurring at the boundaries of new interdisciplinary social-science fields such as evolutionary anthropology, evolutionary psychology, neuro-economics and behavioral economics. Second, it suggests a way in which Smith's place in the debates with which these subjects are concerned may be more properly defined and conceptualized. Specifically, the paper focuses on the controversial new theory of strong reciprocity, and on the reputation (...) effects that its critics think that theory neglects. (shrink)
Where exactly should we place Adam Smith in the cannon of classical liberalism? Smith's advocacy of free market economics and defence of religious liberty in The Wealth of Nations suffice for including him somewhere in that tradition.1 The nature and extent of Smith's liberalism, however, remain up for debate. One recent trend has been to characterise Smith as a proponent of social liberalism. This includes those like Stephen Darwall, Samuel Fleischacker and Charles Griswold, who have drawn attention to a (...) kind of descriptive moral egalitarianism in Smith.2 Humans, Smith seems to hold, are naturally disposed to valuing one another under a conception of equality. But that is not all these scholars suggest. They have also hinted at something more contentious ? the idea that, according to Smith, we value one another in a way resonant with contemporary notions of human dignity, conceived as the inherent value of persons grounding certain rights to, or restrictions on, treatment by others.3 In saying so, these scholars have hit upon something remarkable. However, I also think their arguments in this respect are both indirect and incomplete. Consequently, the full import of Smith's view remains obscure. This essay aims to bring some clarity. 1I intend this historically. I grant there are good reasons to be sceptical about the ultimate fate of liberty in capitalist society (e.g. Marxist reasons and reasons based on various postmodern critiques of enlightenment ideology). Also, the designation ?free market? should be understood loosely, as most scholars now agree it is a mistake to identify Smith with thoroughgoing laissez-faire economics. 2Darwall, S., ?Sympathetic Liberalism: Recent Work on Adam Smith?, Philosophy Fleischacker, S., A Third Concept of Liberty (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999) and On Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004); and Griswold, C., Adam Smith and the Virtues of Enlightenment (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999). Other major commentators holding some version of this view might include Raphael, D. D. The Impartial Spectator (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007) and Vivienne Brown, Adam Smith's Discourse: Canonicity, Commerce and Conscience (London: Routledge, 1994). 3See e.g. Fleischacker (2004), 205; Darwall at 142, 156 and Griswold at 235?239. However, one must read Fleischacker carefully, for he also uses the adjectival ?dignified? to express Smith's concern with what is ?honourable? or ?respectable? about persons, which use does not obviously match up with the notion of inherent value (see e.g. p. 207). Darwall's argument includes by far the most explicit discussion of ?dignity? as I've defined it. But as Darwall's article is ostensibly a book review (albeit a substantive one that addresses three books at once, including Griswold's), it cannot be called a direct inquiry. Griswold never explicitly puts his interpretation in terms of ?dignity?, but that is clearly what he is after. Thus Darwall also reads him that way. (shrink)
Swedish naturalist Carl von Linné (1707–1778) became known during his lifetime as a "second Adam" because of his taxonomic endeavors. The significance of this epithet was that in Genesis Adam was reported to have named the beasts—an episode that was usually interpreted to mean that Adam possessed a scientific knowledge of nature and a perfect taxonomy. Linnaeus's soubriquet exemplifies the way in which the Genesis narratives of creation were used in the early modern period to give religious (...) legitimacy to scientific activities and to taxonomy in particular. Allusions to Adam's work in the Garden of Eden thus became a way of investing the vocation of the naturalist with religious significance. (shrink)
The creation story in Genesis speaks of humankind being given dominion over nature. Does this support the view that nature has solely instrumental value, and is of worth only insofar as it serves the necessities and conveniences of the human species? Does dominion amount to unfettered domination here? An interpretation of the story is advanced employing procedures of practical criticism. Three central images are focussed on: Adam's being given dominion over the other creatures, his naming of them, and his (...) being made in God's likeness. It is argued that these images, in their qualification and enrichment of each other, develop the idea that animals are of worth independently of their usefulness to us. Other key parts of the Bible, that at first may seem to promote unfettered domination, are shown to be more properly read as supporting an animal-benign religious ethics. (shrink)
This article leverages insights from the body of Adam Smith’s work, including two lesser-known manuscripts—the Theory of Moral Sentiments and Lectures in Jurisprudence —to help answer the question as to how companies should morally prioritize corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and stakeholder claims. Smith makes philosophical distinctions between justice and beneficence and perfect and imperfect rights, and we leverage those distinctions to speak to contemporary CSR and stakeholder management theories. We address the often-neglected question as to how far a (...) company should be expected to go in pursuit of CSR initiatives and we offer a fresh perspective as to the role of business in relation to stakeholders and to society as a whole. Smith’s moral insights help us to propose a practical framework of legitimacy in stakeholder claims that can help managers select appropriate and responsible CSR activities. (shrink)
The question of environmental responsibility is addressed through comparisons between Hannah Arendt’s and Ulrich Beck’s accounts of the emergent and globally threatening risks associated with acting into nature. Both theorists have been extraordinarily influential in their respective fields but their insights, pointing toward the politicization of nature through human intervention, are rarely brought into conjunction. Important differences stem from Beck’s treatment of risks as systemic and unavoidable side effects of late modernity. Arendt, however, retains a more restrictive anthropogenic (...) view of political action which, while recognizing its unpredictable consequences for human (and nonhuman) others, includes a direct link between individually initiated acts and the taking of ethical responsibility. This latter account best explains the ethical motivations behind much environmental activism. (shrink)
An ill-informed reading of AdamFerguson's epitaph has given me an idea for securing posthumous recognition. Consider philosophers in the year 2201 who read my epitaph: ‘Here lies Roy Sorensen who will be long remembered for his paradoxes’. If these future scholars remember me, then well and good. If they do not remember me, my epitaph will appear to be rendered false by their failure to recall me. Suppose the poignancy of this self-defeat leads my epitaph to be (...) widely repeated. I thereby acquire ignominy as the forgotten philosopher. But wait! Eventually someone will notice that no one can remember that Roy Sorensen is forgotten. For if someone did remember that Roy Sorensen is forgotten, then he would be forgotten—not remembered. After all, memory implies truth. Thus the self-defeating aspect of my epitaph is itself self-defeating! The happy ending is that my epitaph becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy by a curious kind of double-negation. (shrink)
To simplify the relation between desire and morality, and between personal and moral good, we can imagine a world of only two people; let us call them Adam and Eve, for the sake of tradition. This gives us two types of personal good: good for Adam and good for Eve. What is good for Adam (or Eve) is what tends to realise his or her desires in general, and, where desires conflict, realises the desires that are stronger (...) in the long-term. A benevolent and omniscient observer - let's call him Snake out of perversity - could therefore draw up two plans of action, one which is good for Adam and one which is good for Eve. However, at this point, Snake must choose sides, since obviously these goods are not always compatible. It is here that Snake must evolve into a moral being, since he must find a way to choose between good-for-Adam and good-for-Eve in order to produce a general good (even though we have not really decided what the general good might involve yet). (shrink)
Nicholas Phillipson’s biography of Adam Smith was published just forty-five days before the second edition of Ian Simpson Ross’s definitive biography The Life of Adam Smith (Oxford, 2010).The contrast is telling. Ross’s is a book for scholars with ubiquitous in-text references to recent scholarship. Phillipson’s is a narrative intellectual biography for a wider audience that relegates recent work to the bibliography. Ross is reticent to make claims about Smith’s motivations, but Phillipson thrives on it. Ross is usually explicit (...) when he takes positions on controversial issues, but Phillipson’s interpretations dominate the text. In short, it is easier to see how Ross’s work fits into contemporary debate, but it is .. (shrink)
In launching modern economics, Adam Smith paved the way for laissez-faire capitalism, Marxism, and contemporary social science. This book scrutinizes Smith's disparagement of politics and religion to illuminate the subtlety of his rhetoric, the depth of his thought, and the ultimate shortcomings of his project. The author analyzes Smith's ideas on government, justice, human psychology, and international relations, stressing Smith's efforts to elevate wealth at the expense of citizenship and to replace normative political philosophy with historical theorizing and empirical (...) modeling that emphasize economic causes. The book also provides the most comprehensive interpretation available of Smith's views on religion, examining the discrepancies between The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments. The concluding chapter appraises the demise of communism in light of the Marxian emancipation of economics from politics and religion. (shrink)
Abstract In the Theory of Moral Sentiments, AdamSmith observed that we live in a fundamentally conflictual world. Although he held that we are creatures who sympathize, he also observed that our sympathy seems to be constrained by geographical limits. Accordingly, traditional theories of cosmopolitanism were implausible; yet, as a moral philosopher, Smith attempted to reconcile his bleak description of the world with his eagerness for international peace. Smith believed that commercial intercourse among self?interested nations (...) would emulate sympathy on a global scale, balancing national wealth and international peace without a coercive apparatus to enforce compliance with international law. (shrink)
James Otteson’s Adam Smith’s Marketplace of Life is the latest instalment in a wave of new scholarship signalling a renewed interest in Adam Smith. These works share several characteristics. First, they present Smith as a philosopher and not an economist. Second, they take seriously The Theory of Moral Senti- ments (TMS), Smith’s first book, by suggesting that his moral theory holds..
Third-party decision-makers, or spectators, have emerged as a useful empirical tool in modern social science research on moral motivation. Spectators of a sort also serve a central role in Adam Smith's moral theory. This paper compares these two types of spectatorship with respect to their goals, methodologies, visions of human nature and emphasis on moral rules. I find important similarities and differences and conclude that this comparison suggests significant opportunities for philosophical ethics to inform empirical and theoretical research on (...) moral preferences and vice versa. (shrink)
By giving sympathy a central role, Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) can be regarded as one of the ‘enlightened’ moral theories of the Enlightenment, insofar as it widened the scope of moral consideration beyond the traditionally restricted boundary of human beings. This, although the author himself does not seem to have been aware of this fact. In this paper, I want to focus on two aspects which I think lead to this conclusion. First, by making sentience the (...) requisite to be taken into moral consideration, nonhuman animals in Smith’s moral theory can count as moral patients towards whom we should exercise the virtue of beneficence (if not justice). Secondly, Smith’s idea of morality as working in concentric circles –generating more stringent duties towards those closer to us– could explain and perhaps also justify our caring for some nonhuman animals, especially pets. (shrink)
?The Principles of the Pure Type Theory? is a translation of Leon Chwistek's 1922 paper ?Zasady czystej teorii typów?. It summarizes Chwistek's results from a series of studies of the logic of Whitehead and Russell's Principia Mathematica which were published between 1912 and 1924. Chwistek's main argument involves a criticism of the axiom of reducibility. Moreover, ?The Principles of the Pure Type Theory? is a source for Chwistek's views on an issue in Whitehead and Russell's ?no-class theory of classes? involving (...) the notion of ?scope? (shrink)
The connection between AdamSmith and Alasdair MacIntyre is not evident at first glance. In fact, those who know MacIntyre’s work might bristle at the association. MacIntyre is inherently anticapitalist. He believes that moral people ought to reject the modern state and large-scale corporations.1 He also rejects what he terms the enlightenment project, claiming not only that it failed but that it was doomed to do so.2 Furthermore, MacIntyre’s perspectivalism seems to run counter to any “impartial spectator” theory (...) such as Smith’s; tradition-bound rationality necessarily assumes partiality.3 In short, MacIntyre regards himself as an opponent of the liberal tradition, that intellectual lineage which is most closely associated with Smith, and, although he rejects association with communitarianism, he holds a similar place in contemporary philosophy. He is liberalism’s critic, not its reformer. But ethics makes strange bedfellows. MacIntyre’s theory of rationality, I contend, provides a useful and important complement to Smith’s moral psychology. It allows for the intermingling of emotion and reason that is so important for Smith’s work.4 It creates a structure for bridging Smith’s individuals and the communities of which they are a part. In essence, I argue, MacIntyre’s work allows us to better understand Smith’s jump from deliberation on the individual level to the development of cultural standards and norms. I conclude that Smith’s emphasis on the individual results in an incomplete theory of communal rationality, and that MacIntyre’s emphasis on tradition leaves out a foundation of individual agency. The two theories, however complement each other well. As a bit of preparation, it is worth mentioning that both thinkers, and Smith, in particular, are often portrayed inaccurately. Smith is not the self-interest focused libertarian that he is made out to be. He is, instead a sophisticated moral theorist whose first book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments was celebrated and influential in its time.. (shrink)
Adam Smith is not an environmentalist, but he articulated an ethical theory that is increasingly recognized as a fruitful source of environmental ethics. In the context of this theory, Smith illustrates in a particularly valuable way the role that anthropocentric, utilitarian metastandards can play in defending nonanthropocentric, nonutilitarian ethical standpoints. There are four roles that an anthropocentricmetastandard can play in defending an ecocentric ethical standpoint such as Aldo Leopold’s land ethic. First, this metastandard helps reconcile ecocentrism with theodicy, either (...) of the religious sort—showing that God is good—or of the evolutionary sort—showing that ecocentrism is consistent with human ethical dispositions as evolved through a process of natural selection. Second, using anthropocentrism as a metastandard helps reconcile our moral interest in human welfare with a thoroughly ecocentric standpoint. Third, defending ecocentrism by appeal to an anthropocentric metastandard provides a way of swaying die-hard anthropocentrists to adopt a more ecocentric perspective without showing disrespect to nature in the process. Finally, the systematic quasi-ecological connection between ecocentrism as an ethical standard and anthropocentrism as a metastandard has a beauty of its own that can provide additional motive to adhere to ecocentric ethical norms. (shrink)
Throughout his career Adam Ferguson made a series of conservative political pronouncements on contemporary events.This paper treats these pronouncements as having a solid basis in his social theory and examines his place in the conceptual development of the tradition of British conservatism.It examines Ferguson's distinction between two forms of human knowledge: book learning of abstract science acquired from formal education and capacity acquired from practical experience in real affairs. Ferguson's empiricism leads to a series of sustained warnings against the (...) danger of excessive abstraction to the pursuit of science and these concerns are extended into the social and political realm as he cautions against reliance on abstract philosophy and defends the superiority of practical politicians. (shrink)
Adam Smith and the Classics analyses the influence of classical culture---the work of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and the Stoics---on Adam Smith's thought. Vivenza bases her arguments on elements of Smith's work that can be shown to be precise reflections of passages from the classical authors, and on Smith's own acknowledgements that he was so influenced. The bulk of the classical nuances occur in Smith's moral and natural philosophy, but Vivenza also shows that the classics had some impact on (...) his economic thought. -/- The book represents a complete survey of all Adam Smith's writings, and is organized by arguments: natural philosophy, moral philosophy, jurisprudence, topics of economic interest, and literature. A further chapter discusses the very recent consensus among a number of scholars that Smith's writings display strong elements of Stoicism. -/- Adam Smith and the Classics is a significant book, since it shows just how strong an impression the classical training had on the intellectual elite of the eighteenth century. So much so that the classics have left their mark on the scholarship and writings of the time. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that, in his Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith conflates two different meanings of ?self-command?, which is particularly puzzling because of the central role of this virtue in his theory. The first is the matrix of rational action, the one described in Part III of the TMS and learned in ?the great school of self-command?. The second is the particular moral virtue of self-command. Distinguishing between these two meanings allows us, on the one hand, (...) to solve some apparent paradoxes of the text; and, on the other, to identify various features of both the practical reason and deontological ethical traditions that are present in Smith's sentimentalism, enriching his phenomenological account of moral actions. (shrink)
This essay inquires into the need for and power of role models, and suggests some answers. The example it employs to study the issue is the contemporary Jewish feminist “role model,” Lilith, first wife of Adam. Various and opposite forms of the Lilith-and-Adam myth through the ages are given, including new contributions from a Lilith anthology in preparation by the author and others. Those needs of women and men that the mythical “role model” is constructed to satisfy are (...) suggested. (shrink)
This study analyses the influence that Adam Smith's philosophy had on his Wealth of Nations, and reveals the unity in Smith's extensive system of morals, politics, and economics. It concludes that Smith was motivated by a political ideal, which was moral liberalism.
Taking the title of his book from Isaiah Berlin's famous essay distinguishing a negative concept of liberty connoting lack of interference by others from a positive concept involving participation in the political realm, Samuel Fleischacker explores a third definition of liberty that lies between the first two. In Fleischacker's view, Kant and Adam Smith think of liberty as a matter of acting on our capacity for judgment, thereby differing both from those who tie it to the satisfaction of our (...) desires and those who translate it as action in accordance with reason or "will." Integrating the thought of Kant and Smith, and developing his own stand through readings of the Critique of Judgment and The Wealth of Nations, Fleischacker shows how different acting on one's best judgment is from acting on one's desires--how, in particular, good judgment, as opposed to mere desire, can flourish only in favorable social and political conditions. At the same time, exercising judgment is something every individual must do for him- or herself, hence not something that philosophers and politicians who reason better than the rest of us can do in our stead. For this reason advocates of a liberty based on judgment are likely to be more concerned than are libertarians to make sure that government provides people with conditions for the use of their liberty--for example, excellent standards of education, health care, and unemployment insurance--while at the same time promoting a less paternalistic view of government than most of the movements associated for the past thirty years with the political left. (shrink)
The problem : commerce and corruption -- Smith's defense of commercial society -- What is corruption? : political and psychological perspectives -- Smith on corruption : from the citizen to the human being -- The solution : moral philosophy -- Liberal individualism and virtue ethics -- Social science vs. moral philosophy -- Types of moral philosophy : natural jurisprudence vs. ethics -- Types of ethics : utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics -- Virtue ethics : modern, ancient, and Smithean -- Interlude (...) : the what and the how of TMS VI -- The what : Sith's "practical system of morality" -- The how : rhetoric, audience, and the methods of practical ethics -- The how : the ascent of self-love in three stages -- Prudence or commercial virtue -- The challenge : from praise to prudence -- Educating the vain : fathers and sons -- Self-interest rightly understood -- The advantages and disadvantages of prudence -- Magnanimity or classical virtue -- The problems of prudence and the therapy of magnanimity -- Up from individualism : desert, praiseworthiness, conscience -- Modernity, antiquity, and magnanimity -- The dangers of magnanimity -- Beneficence or christian virtue -- Between care and caritas -- Benevolence and beneficence and the human telos -- The character and purposes of the wise and virtuous man -- Wisdom and virtue and Adam Smith's apology -- Epilogue: The "economy of greatness". (shrink)
Some of the most important achievements in the field of empiricist ethics were made by the School of Moral Sentiment, comprising Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, and Adam Smith. This book throws new light on their consensus theory of virtue. Hope works some of their ideas into a merit theory of rights applicable to conventional rights, defends ethical cognitivism, and analyzes pleasure.
This paper is a discussion of the ‘moralization’ of resentment in Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments. By moralization, I do not refer to the complex process by which resentment is transformed by the machinations of sympathy, but a prior change in how the ‘raw material’ of the emotion itself is presented. In just over fifty pages, not only Smith’s attitude toward the passion of resentment, but also his very conception of the term, appears to shift dramatically. What is (...) an unpleasant, unsocial and relatively amoral passion of anger in general metamorphoses into a morally and psychologically rich account of a cognitively sharpened, normatively laden attitude, an attitude that contains both the judgment that the injury done to me was unjust and wrongful, and the demand that the offender acknowledge its wrongfulness. Two very different readings of ‘Smithean resentment’ are thus available from the text. Indeed, the notion of two distinct forms of resentment – an instinctive, amoral version and a rich, rationally appraising attitude – would bring Smith into line with an earlier account of resentment, found in Bishop Joseph Butler’s Fifteen Sermons Preached at Rolls Chapel, first published in 1726. Ultimately, I argue, the differences in their theories are to Smith’s credit. It is precisely because the ‘thin’ or generic retaliatory passion described in Part I can be reconciled with the rich, normative attitude in Part II, that Smith is able to accomplish his meta-ethical goal of grounding moral judgments in naturally occurring emotions. (shrink)
Dans sa Théorie des sentiments moraux (1759), Adam Smith classe les passions en trois catégories : passions sociales, asociales, égoïstes. Cette classification résulte directement de leur capacité à susciter ou non la sympathie. Les passions sociales apparaissent ainsi comme les plus propres à susciter un écho sympathique. La question à laquelle tente de répondre l'article est de savoir pourquoi ces mêmes passions sociales sont qualifiées par A. Smith de « naturellement musicales ». L'utilisation du concept de sympathie dans le (...) domaine musical est fréquente aux XVIIème et XVIIIème siècles, mais l'hypothèse avancée ici est que le lien est plus profond chez A. Smith. La sympathie met en effet en évidence une qualité d'ordre à la fois esthétique et morale inhérente à certaines passions, leur « convenance » (propriety) par opposition aux passions « discordantes ». Ces passions, produisant une superposition d'échos sympathiques comparables aux harmoniques d'un ton fondamental, sont les plus susceptibles d'être imitées par la musique, si l'on tient compte de la théorie esthétique originale formulée par A. Smith, pour qui la beauté des arts imitatifs ne tient pas à l'illusion mais au contraire à l'écart entre l'imitation et son objet. (shrink)