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Peer Review and the Development of the Impartial Spectator


  • Craig Smith


The impartial spectator is one of the central concepts of Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments. This paper examines the origins of the impartial spectator in Smith’s response to a criticism leveled by certain of his peers at the first edition of TMS. It argues that many of the key aspects and functions of the impartial spectator can best be understood as Smith’s attempt to deal with Gilbert Elliot’s charge that his theory collapses into moral conventionalism.

Suggested Citation

  • Craig Smith, 2016. "Peer Review and the Development of the Impartial Spectator," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 13(2), pages 324–329-3, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:13:y:2016:i:2:p:324-329

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    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


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