The Theory of Moral Sentiments (Cambridge Texts in the by Adam Smith

By Adam Smith

Adam Smith's significant paintings of 1759 develops the basis for a basic process of morals, and is a textual content of important significance within the heritage of ethical and political idea. throughout the concept of sympathy and the psychological build of an neutral spectator, Smith formulated hugely unique theories of moral sense, ethical judgment and the virtues. This quantity bargains a brand new version of the textual content with worthy notes for the coed reader, and a considerable advent that establishes the paintings in its philosophical and ancient context.

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The anguish which humanity feels, therefore, at the sight of such an object, cannot be the reflection of any sentiment of the sufferer. The compassion of the spectator must arise altogether from the consideration of what he himself would feel if he was reduced to the same unhappy situation, and, what perhaps is impossible, was at the same time able to regard it with his present reason and judgment.  What are the pangs of a mother, when she hears the moanings of her infant that during the agony of disease cannot express what it feels?

It is miserable, we think, to be deprived of the light of the sun; to be shut out from life and conversation; to be laid in the cold grave, a prey to corruption and the reptiles of the earth; to be no more thought of in this world, but to be obliterated, in a little time, from the affections, and almost from the memory, of their dearest friends and relations. Surely, we imagine, we can never feel too much for those who have suffered so dreadful a calamity. The tribute of our fellow-feeling seems doubly due to them now, when they are in danger of being forgot by every body; and, by the vain honours which we pay to their memory, we endeavour, for our own misery, artificially to keep alive our melancholy remembrance of their misfortune.

Of the propriety of action and ordinary. The amiable virtues consist in that degree of sensibility which surprises by its exquisite and unexpected delicacy and tenderness. The awful and respectable, in that degree of self-command which astonishes by its amazing superiority over the most ungovernable passions of human nature.  There is, in this respect, a considerable difference between virtue and mere propriety; between those qualities and actions which deserve to be admired and celebrated, and those which simply deserve to be approved of.

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