A right to do wrong?

Theory of Moral Sentiments

My last post on whether generous action is an enforceable moral duty leads naturally into the question of whether there can be “rights to do wrong.” To recap, Adam Smith says that being a generous, beneficent person is a good way of living that an impartial spectator approves of. If you never do good things for people, you haven’t committed […]

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Is generous action an enforceable moral duty?

Last week, I talked with the students at Merrimack Valley High School in Concord about Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments. According to Smith, you know an act is right when an impartial spectator would sympathize (or empathize) with the emotions motivating your act. Smith says that an impartial spectator will always empathize with both the kindness of someone who acts […]

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Adam Smith and the Moral Emotions

Recently I had the opportunity to give a guest lecture to Medical Ethics students at Norwich University on “Adam Smith and the Moral Emotions.” The lecture is based around Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments. I was able to film much of the discussion on a stationary cell phone. Although the picture is a bit too “close in,” the audio […]

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