By James R. Otteson
Adam Smith wrote books, one approximately economics and the opposite approximately morality. How do those books move jointly? How do markets and morality combine? James Otteson presents a accomplished exam and interpretation of Smith's ethical concept and demonstrates how his belief of morality applies to his figuring out of markets, language and different social associations. contemplating Smith's notions of normal sympathy, the neutral spectator, human nature and human moral sense, the writer addresses even if Smith thinks that ethical judgments take pleasure in a transcendent sanction.
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Extra info for Adam Smith's Marketplace of Life
12 TMS, 34–38; see also 73–74. Moral Theory: Sympathy and Impartial Spectator 27 Smith would argue that the reason such a case is so difﬁcult for us is that we imaginatively change places with both of them and discover that our sentiments would correspond with those of both of them—we thus have a correspondence with inconsistent, even antithetical sentiments, making the case difﬁcult (and likely unpleasant) to judge. In the second section of part one of TMS, Smith examines, as he puts it, the degrees of the different passions that are consistent with propriety, among which are the social and unsocial passions that we just discussed.
3 See Otteson (October 2000). Moral Theory: Sympathy and Impartial Spectator 17 Smith makes liberal use of the term “necessary,” and what he means by it—he seems in fact to mean more than one thing—will be discussed in more detail later. For now we can say that here Smith means that, for whatever reason, we ﬁnd ourselves interested in whether others are happy or not and compelled to consider their happiness when contemplating our own actions. Finally, we act out of consideration of the happiness of others merely from the pleasure we take in seeing their happiness, not from any consideration of a good that might come about for us as a result of our action—in other words, not from any consideration of utility.
He does not inquire into the nature of phenomenological qualia, and he does not explain how two independent sets of private experience can generate a sympathy. In fact, Smith develops no signiﬁcant theory of mind at all—a lack we shall have occasion to remark more than once. But Smith thus sees a close connection between feelings and actions: we judge what another’s sentiments are on the basis of his actions. Now, one might object that there is no logical connection between the two; one’s actions do not necessarily reveal one’s feelings.
Adam Smith's Marketplace of Life by James R. Otteson