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Was Smith A Moral Subjectivist?

Kevin Quinn ()
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Kevin Quinn: Bowling Green State University, Ohio, USA

Economic Thought, 2019, vol. 8, issue 1, 30 - 39

Abstract: This paper challenges the commonly held view that Smith's moral theory is a subjectivist theory. Smith's test for goodness and rightness – for propriety – is not the approbation of an impartial spectator, but the warranted approbation of such a spectator. Something is right or good not because an impartial spectator would approve of it, but because such a spectator would be warranted in so approving.

Date: 2019
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