Adam Smith wrote two books, one about economics and the other about morality. His Wealth of Nations argues for a largely free-market economy, while his Theory of Moral Sentiments argues that human morality develops out of a mutual sympathy that people seek with one another. How do these books go together? How do markets and morality mix? James Otteson's 2002 book provides a comprehensive examination and interpretation of Smith's moral theory and shows how his conception of the nature of morality applies to his understanding of markets, language and other social institutions. Considering Smith's notions of natural sympathy, the impartial spectator, human nature, and human conscience the author also addresses the issue of whether Smith thinks that moral judgments enjoy a transcendent sanction. James Otteson sees Smith's theory of morality as an institution that develops unintentionally but nevertheless in an orderly way according to a market model.
Introduction; 1. Adam Smith's moral theory, part one: sympathy and the impartial spectator procedure; 2. Smith's moral theory, part two: conscience and human nature; 3. The marketplace of morality; 4. The 'Adam Smith problem'; 5. The market model and the familiarity principle: solving the 'Adam Smith problem'; 6. Justifying smithian moral standards; 7. The unintended order of human social life: Language, marketplaces, and morality; Conclusion.
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