[OPE-L] adam smith's moral theory

From: Dogan Goecmen (Dogangoecmen@AOL.COM)
Date: Thu Nov 23 2006 - 02:42:53 EST

The fundamental category of Smith's ethic is not empathy but sympathy.
Empathy is a much narrower in scope. It merely involves mutual understanding.
Sympathy however implies also mutual support (solidarity). For Smith mutual
sympathy requires some sort of situational commoness. According to Smith master
and slave may understand one antoher but they do not sympathise with one another
 because their situations involve contradictory relations. This leads to what
he  calls corruption of moral relations. So according to Smith the principle
'to see  one self' as others see or likely to see' requires despite all
differences also  some sort of common interest. Sympathy as Smith explores it has
physiological  foundation but it is a sociological category and wants to say
that the basis of  social relations should be mutual sympathy or in Hegelian
terms mutual  recognition.


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