IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Is Adam Smith's Impartial Spectator Selfless?


  • Maria Pia Paganelli


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Pia Paganelli, 2016. "Is Adam Smith's Impartial Spectator Selfless?," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 13(2), pages 319–323-3, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:13:y:2016:i:2:p:319-323

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Ötsch, Walter, 2016. "Imaginative Grundlagen bei Adam Smith: Aspekte von Bildlichkeit und ihrem Verlust in der Geschichte der Ökonomie," Working Paper Series Ök-19, Cusanus Hochschule für Gesellschaftsgestaltung, Institut für Ökonomie.

    More about this item


    Adam Smith; Theory of Moral Sentiments; impartial spectator; philosophy;
    All these keywords.

    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


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:13:y:2016:i:2:p:319-323. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Jason Briggeman (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.