Love Redirected: On Adam Smith's Love of Praiseworthiness

Journal of Scottish Philosophy 15 (1):101-123 (2017)

Sveinung Sivertsen
University of Bergen
Why be moral? Why, in the language of Adam Smith, act on what you think is praiseworthy even when it does not get you praise from other people? Because, answers Smith, you love praiseworthiness. But what is this love of praiseworthiness, and where does it come from? In this article, 1) I argue that we start to love praiseworthiness when we redirect our love of praise away from other people toward the ‘impartial spectator’-aspect of ourselves, and 2) show how this fits with evidence that the rudimentary moral compass which guides us early in childhood needs correction through socialisation to develop into a mature moral conscience.
Keywords Adam Smith  love of praise  love of praiseworthiness  moral development  Impartial spectator  moral compass  infant morality
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DOI 10.3366/jsp.2017.0154
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