Moral sentiments essay

Smith also makes the case that pleasure from mutual sympathy is not derived merely from a heightening of the original felt emotion amplified by the other person.

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As their sympathy makes them look at it, in some measure, with his eyes, so his sympathy makes him look at it, in some measure, with theirs, especially when in their presence and acting under their observation: and as the reflected passion, which he thus conceives, is much weaker than the original one, it necessarily abates the violence of what he felt before he came into their presence, before he began to recollect in what manner they would be affected by it, and to view his situation in this candid and impartial light.

Of the Principle of Self-approbation and of Self-disapprobation.

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The disposition of body which is habitual to a man in health, makes his stomach easily keep time, if I may be allowed so coarse an expression, with the one, and not with the other.

Adam Smith, an eighteenth century writer expressed his view on the very same subject of self-interest within his passages. How amiable does he appear to be, whose sympathetic heart seems to re-echo all the sentiments of those with whom he converses, who grieves for their calamities, who resents their injuries, and who rejoices at their good fortune!

We expect less sympathy from a common acquaintance than from a friend: we cannot open to the former all those little circumstances which we can unfold to the latter: we assume, therefore, more tranquillity before him, and endeavour to fix our thoughts upon those general outlines of our situation which he is willing to consider.

Fear, however, is a passion derived altogether Edition: current; Page: [29] from the imagination, which represents, with an uncertainty and fluctuation that increases our anxiety, not what we really feel, but what we may hereafter possibly suffer.

The mirth of the company, no doubt, enlivens our own mirth, and their silence, no doubt, disappoints us.

Moral sentiments essay

This is particularly the case in uncivilized cultures. These general rules determine for us the guidelines with which we can morally center ourselves in any situation. The passions, upon some occasions, may seem to be transfused from one man to another, instantaneously, and antecedent to any knowledge of what excited them in the person principally concerned. Sympathizing is pleasurable, failing to sympathize is aversive. To see the emotions of their hearts, in every respect, beat time to his own, in the violent and disagreeable passions, constitutes his sole consolation. He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. Many philosophers encourage morality, because generally it prevents and avoids harm to any society that is formed into certain groups. It is the same case here.
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Catalog Record: The theory of moral sentiments; or, An essay