Excerpt from Adam Smith's "The Theory of Moral Sentiments"

Dublin Core

Title

Excerpt from Adam Smith's "The Theory of Moral Sentiments"

Subject

Understanding others through the 18th century definition of "sympathy"

Description

In this excerpt from "The Theory of Moral Sentiments," Smith asserts that there is no way to directly understand the experience of others beside relating their experience to your proprietary experience. Smith asserts that the strength of our understanding of our counterparts depends entirely on the emotive strength of our own relevant experiences. This argument demonstrates a proto-solipsist outlook on the mind and experience which is shared in part by Descartes, though it is closer to Descartes's opinion on our understanding of the experience of others than it is to the modern solipsist outlook, which asserts that the world outside of one's self cannot be known outside of one's proprietary knowledge. Indeed, the Sentimentalist framework in which Adam Smith worked presents a toned-down version of Solipsism, though its ideas can be related to the markedly more extreme Solipsist outlook on existence.

Creator

Adam Smith

Source

Cambridge University Press

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Date

1759

Relation

Hume's "A Treatise of Human Nature"

Language

English

Identifier

The Theory of Moral Sentiments

Files

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Citation

Adam Smith, “Excerpt from Adam Smith's "The Theory of Moral Sentiments",” Enlightenmens, accessed November 29, 2022, http://enlightenmens.lmc.gatech.edu/items/show/422.

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