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The Core Curriculum

Memorial for Ouida by Ernest Gillick, 1909.

Sympathy or fellow-feeling is the central psychological principle of Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments.  Building on and revising David Hume’s moral theory, Smith argues that moral judgments are constituted by one’s ability to sympathize with the conduct of those persons who are the objects of our moral appraisal.  More specifically, Smith argues that we approve of the conduct of another person as right or proper just so long as we are able to sympathetically enter into her shoes, as it were, and determine that, were we in her situation, we would have done or felt the same as she.


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