By Jacqueline Hudson,2014-10-06 13:01
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Cambridge Summer School ISS TERM?

    Course: SSOA 09 A history of British political thought: from 1651 to the present

    Course director: Graham McCann

    Essay question: What is the significance of moral sentiments for Adam Smith’s

    defence of indiveidual liberty?

    Outline of this essay:

    Part 1

     Historical backgroundfrom traditional value to commercial society value Human beings moral sentiments VS. Gods will

    Part 2

     Human nature, sympathy and impartial spectator

     The prominent role individual liberty played in the above three qualities as

    well as in the progress of formulation of a new society moral sentiments Part 3

     Social and moral equilibria

     The importance of individual liberty to achieve this equilibria

    Part 4

     Conclusion: the significance of moral sentiments for Adam Smiths defence

    of individual liberty

    Part 5


    The Significance of Moral Sentiments for Adam Smith’s Defence

    of Individual Liberty

    Adam Smith was born in 1723 and died in 1790. During his life time, the world was changing very fast especialy when the Industrial Revolution firstly took place in Britain in 1760s. A new commercial society was coming into being. The traditional value including religious beliefs and moral sentiments couldnot work well with the new economy and developing society any longer. New theory was required by the time. During the Age of Enlightment, Deism became prominent in European countries especially after Isaac Newton announced his discoveries in his 1687 publication of the

    . Adam Smith was a Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica

    traditional Christian in his early ages because of the influence from his father who belonged to the moderate wing of the Church of Scotland. But when he went to Oxford, he rejected Christianity and it is generally believed that he returned to Scotland as a deist. Though there are still some debates on Smiths religious belief, one

    thing can be confirmed is that he believed that Gods will was not as

    important as individuals will in developing the new

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