Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Is Adam Smith’s Impartial Spectator Selfless?

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Abstract

For Adam Smith the impartial spectator is a universal mechanism which we use to develop moral judgment. Smith’s description of the man who achieves the most self-command and man who achieves the most humanity shows how the impartial spectator is not an abstract entity independent of an individual, but rather is an integral part of each individual. Talking about a selfless impartial spectator is therefore meaningless.