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Adam SmithSystematic Philosopher and Public Thinker$
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Eric Schliesser

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190690120

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190690120.001.0001

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The Passions, Rationality, and Reason

The Passions, Rationality, and Reason

Chapter:
(p.49) 3 The Passions, Rationality, and Reason
Source:
Adam Smith
Author(s):

Eric Schliesser

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190690120.003.0003

This chapter describes the main components of Adam Smith’s theory of the passions. It offers a detailed taxonomy of the passions. In particular, the chapter discusses four kinds of passions: the natural passions, the proto-passions, the intellectual sentiments, and the derived passions. The chapter also explains the way in which Smith thinks about rationality and the role of reason as a so-called active principle. The chapter introduces a concept, environmental rationality, to articulate what Smith means by sound judgment in a particular context. Finally, by drawing on Smith’s account of the proto-passions and his treatment of reason as an active principle, the chapter shows it is a mistake to understand Smith as a moral empiricist, as is commonly done.

Keywords:   Adam Smith, natural passions, proto-passions, intellectual sentiments, derived passions, moral empiricism, environmental rationality

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