Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Adam Smith’s Impartial Spectator: Autonomy and Extended Selves

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Abstract

I argue that Adam Smith’s impartial spectator synthesizes the process through which we form our moral community, our identities, and our characters. It reminds us of our deeply social nature, and of the possibility of building a society of autonomous individuals who can transcend themselves and flourish through affective communication. The impartial spectator guards our uniqueness and makes us part of a shared world.