Adam Smith On The Criteria By Which We Judge

“The sen­ti­ment or af­fec­tion of the heart from which any ac­tion pro­ceeds, and upon which its whole vir­tue or vice must ul­ti­mately de­pend, may be con­sidered un­der two dif­fer­ent as­pects, or in two dif­fer­ent re­la­tions; first, in re­la­tion to the cause which ex­cites it, or the motive which gives oc­ca­sion to it; and secondly, in re­la­tion to the end which it pro­poses, or the ef­fect which it tends to pro­duce.”

I would argue that Smith is claiming here that we judge the actions of others based not only on the consequences of an act, but also based on the reason for the act.

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