Adam Smith's Concept of Sympathy in the Meaning of Ethical Education

Philosophy and Culture 36 (6):91-103 (2009)

Adam Smith in his important book "moral emotion theory" , the words "compassion" the recognition of the concept as the basis of social behavior, and our moral judgments an important indicator. Smith followed his teacher Hatch Johnson ideas, agree on the morality of our moral choices important impact, especially compassion in our moral behavior is an important influence. However, in the development of ethics in the past, the emphasis on standardized cognitive system, far better than for the discussion of moral sentiments. Therefore, this article from Smith's sympathetic point of view, to explore strengthening the moral sentiments and moral education for the solution to our current problem is a practical way? This paper is divided into three parts so the study: first, to explore why the current issue of moral education? Second, Smith discusses how that "sympathy" concept; Finally, think about the concept of compassion-based morality, whether a better solution to the current moral dilemma? In his important work, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith saw the concept of sympathy as the foundation of identity in terms of social behaviors and also an important index of moral judgment. During the development of ethics in the past, the cognitive system of norms was more important than the discussion about moral sentiments. From the perspective of Smith's concept of sympathy, this article is meant to explore whether reinforcing moral sentiments is a more viable way to solve the problems with moral education nowadays. Therefore, the inquiry proceeds along three parts: first, whether the moral ideas applied to inquire into the problems with moral education could better resolve the current moral dilemma; second, stating how Smith explained the concept of "sympathy;" and finally, contemplating if the moral ideas founded on the concept of sympathy could better resolve the current moral dilemma
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