Adam Smith's Simple Theory of Moral Sentiments, Part 2, Section 1, Chatper 5: The Analysis of the Sense of Merit and Demerit

Chapter 5: The analysis of the sense of Merit and Demerit

The Sense of Merit arises from sympathy

221. Our sense of merit on a subject-person's actions comes from a direct sympathy with the subject-person's feelings and motives.

23 We cannot thoroughly enter into the beneficiary's gratitude, unless we approve of the benefactor's motives beforehand.

24 Many times, we may plainly distinguish those two emotions uniting together in our sense of the good desert of a particular character or action.

The Sense of Demerit arises from lack of sympathy

25 2. Our sense of demerit on the subject-person's action arises from a lack of sympathy or a direct antipathy to the subject-person's feelings and motives.

26 We cannot enter into the object-person's resentment unless our heart beforehand:

Likewise, the sense of merit and demerit are compounded sentiments made up of two distinct emotions:

27 Here we can plainly distinguish those two emotions uniting in our sense of demerit of an action.

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Next: Part 2, Section 1, Chapter 1: Justice and Beneficence