Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Theory of Moral Sentiments (Great Books in Philosophy) Paperback – May 1, 2000
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
-Amartya Sen, from the Introduction --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Smith's first section deals with the "Propriety of Action". The very first chapter of the book is entitled "Of Sympathy". This is very telling of Smith's view of life, and his approach to how men should conduct their lives. "How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it." (p 1:1). Later Smith asserts that this "sympathy, however, cannot, in any sense, be regarded as a selfish principle." (p 2:178)
This propriety of conduct undergirds all social, political and economic activities, private and public. When Smith observes that "hatred and anger are the greatest poisons to the happiness of a good mind" (p 1:44) he is speaking not only of interpersonal relationships but of its moral extensions in the community and world.Read more ›
Smith takes our moral nature as a given. Humans are born with an innate capacity for sympathy. We identify others as like ourselves and unless otherwise provoked, do not want to hurt others. We also have an innate desire for esteem. We learn early that treating others kindly gains us admiration in the same way that we naturally admire kind people. This is the core of Smiths thesis and from here he puts examines these principles across an array of human behaviors. Why do we tell truths when we could tell undetected lies? Why would we do kindly to others even if esteem of peers is not gauranteed? Why would some die for their family members or their country?
Probably the trait Smith admires most is prudence; the art of knowing what is and is not appropriate action both in our subjective judgement and that of an imagined 'impartial spectator.' The prudent person is able and willing to put herself in the context of other people. 'Although an action seems justified to me, would others see it that way?' 'Would satisfying small desire X of mine be an obstacle to other's fulfillment of larger desires?'
It goes on from there. Smith puts these ideas well to the test going through scenario after scenario. Because of this, I would say this book should be shelved in psychology, not philosophy as it simply tries to give an account of the way we think. Thus the philosopher looking for a forcefully stated, internally consistent and completely reasoned 'moral system' will not find it in these pages.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The content is timeless, but the language (circa1759) takes some effort.Published 1 month ago by Sheila
I expected the book to be the same dimensions as (The Wealth of Nations), not larger in length and width.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This is not the whole text of The Theory of Moral Sentiments. I'm disappointed because this seemed like a good deal. This is just the first third of what I need. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Joe
This was given as a gift to my brother for Christmas. He really enjoyed the book though I have not read it myself.Published 5 months ago by S. Beyer
It is difficult to read and poorly written. It was frustrating and confusing. Distinguishing the author's writing from those he referenced was the biggest challenge. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Marie Campbell