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Adam Smith's Impartial Spectator: Autonomy and Extended Selves


  • Jimena Hurtado


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jimena Hurtado, 2016. "Adam Smith's Impartial Spectator: Autonomy and Extended Selves," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 13(2), pages 298–305-2, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:13:y:2016:i:2:p:298-305

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Maria Pia Paganelli, 2015. "Recent Engagements with Adam Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 47(3), pages 363-394, September.
    2. Maria Pia Paganelli, 2015. "Recent Engagements with Adam Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment," Center for the History of Political Economy Working Paper Series 2015-6, Center for the History of Political Economy.
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    More about this item


    Adam Smith; Theory of Moral Sentiments; impartial spectator; philosophy;

    JEL classification:

    • B12 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Classical (includes Adam Smith)
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values


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