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Adam Smith and RousseauEthics, Politics, Economics$
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Maria Pia Paganelli, Dennis C. Rasmussen, and Craig Smith

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474422857

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474422857.001.0001

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Pursuing Sympathy without Vanity: Interpreting Smith’s Critique of Rousseau through Smith’s Critique of Mandeville

Pursuing Sympathy without Vanity: Interpreting Smith’s Critique of Rousseau through Smith’s Critique of Mandeville

Chapter:
(p.109) 6 Pursuing Sympathy without Vanity: Interpreting Smith’s Critique of Rousseau through Smith’s Critique of Mandeville
Source:
Adam Smith and Rousseau
Author(s):

John McHugh

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474422857.003.0006

This chapter tries to reconstruct Smith’s philosophical attitude towards Rousseau almost solely on the basis of the TMS passages on Mandeville. The first section fleshes out the position on human nature and human sociality that Smith attributes to both Mandeville and Rousseau. The second section explicates Smith’s explicit response to Mandeville’s version of this position. The third sections attempts to reconstruct a Smithian response to Rousseau on the basis of this response to Mandeville. Invoking Smith’s sympathy-based account of approval, the chapter argues that his disagreement with Rousseau can be understood as centering on the very nature of our concern with winning sympathy from others. The chapter concludes that we should understand the sincere love of virtue, to which Smith appeals in response to Mandeville’s reduction of such motives to vanity, in terms of a non-egocentric way of loving sympathy that Smith would charge Rousseau with overlooking.

Keywords:   Smith, Mandeville, Rousseau, sympathy, virtue, approval, vanity

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