Adam Smith's Simplified Theory of Moral Sentiments, Part 1, Section 1, Chapter 1: Chapter 1: Objects of gratitude appear to deserve reward. Objects of resentment appear to deserve punishment

Chapter 1: Objects of gratitude appear to deserve reward. Objects of resentment appear to deserve punishment

Introduction

1Merit and Demerit are another set of qualities ascribed to mankind's actions and conduct, distinct from propriety or decency. 2Sentiments may be considered under two aspects or relations:
  1. In relation to the cause which excites it
    • An action's propriety or decency depends on the suitableness of the sentiment, which creates the action, to the cause which excites it.
  2. In relation to the end which it proposes or the effect it tends to produce.
    • An action's merit depends on the beneficial or hurtful effects of the sentiments creating the action.

Chapter 1: Objects of Gratitude Deserve Reward and Objects of Resentment Deserve Punishment

3 An action must appear to deserve reward if it appears to be the proper object of that sentiment which immediately and directly prompts us to reward or do good.

 

4 Gratitude most immediately and directly prompts us to reward.

 

5 An action must appear to deserve reward if it appears to be the proper object of gratitude.

 

6 To reward is to recompense, remunerate, or return good for good received.

 

7 Besides gratitude and resentment, there are other passions which interest us in the happiness or misery of others.

But gratitude is not satisfied in this way.

 

8 Hatred and dislike grow on habitual disapprobation.

One dominated by violent hatred might find it agreeable to hear that the person he hated was killed by some accident.

But it is quite otherwise with resentment.

 

9 Therefore, gratitude and resentment are the sentiments which most immediately and directly prompt us to reward and punish.


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Next: Chapter 2: Gratitude and Resentment