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The Enlightenment of Sympathy – Justice and the Moral Sentiments in the Eighteenth Century and Today - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Enlightenment of Sympathy: Justice and the Moral Sentiments in the Eighteenth Century and Today

Michael L. Frazer


Although known as “the age of reason,” the eighteenth century was actually an era in which many leading moral and political philosophers placed equal emphasis on feeling. While Enlightenment rationalists such as Immanuel Kant separated reflective reason from the unreflective mental faculties which must obey its commands, their sentimentalist contemporaries such as David Hume, Adam Smith, and J. G. Herder did not. Instead, they saw moral and political reflection as the proper work of the mind as a whole. Without emotion, imagination and the imaginative sharing of emotion then known as “sympathy ... More

Keywords: David Hume, Adam Smith, Immanuel Kant, Johannn Gottfried von Herder, moral sentiments, justice, political psychology, reason, emotion, empathy

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2010 Print ISBN-13: 9780195390667
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195390667.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Michael L. Frazer, author
Harvard University
Author Webpage