Before we discuss the main features of Adam Smith’s approach to moral philosophy (sympathy or fellow-feeling, the imaginary impartial spectator, and virtue), I want to share with you two quotes by David Hume: one about the limited role of reason in matters of morality; the other on Hume’s famous “is-ought” distinction, i.e. the notion that facts and values are two different domains. In many ways, Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments can be seen as an extended reply to Hume. (An in-depth survey of Hume’s moral philosophy can be found here.)
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