Adam Smith's Simplified Theory of Moral Sentiments, Part 7, Section 3, Chapter 2: Reason

Chapter 2: Systems Which Make Reason the Principle of Approbation


8 Mr. Hobbes' doctrine is that:

According to him, therefore: But the existence of civil government depends on the obedience paid to the supreme magistrate.   7.3.9. By propagating these notions, Mr. Hobbes' avowed intention was to subject the consciences of men immediately to the civil, and not to the ecclesiastical powers.   7.3.10. To confute so odious a doctrine, it was necessary to prove that the mind was naturally endowed with a faculty which it used to distinguish right and wrong, antecedent to all law or positive institution.   7.3.11. Dr. Cudworth justly observed that law could not be the original source of those distinctions.   7.3.12. Since the mind had a notion of those distinctions antecedent to all law, it follows that it derived this notion from reason.   7.3.13. It is true in some respects that virtue consists in conformity to reason. Like all other general maxims, the general maxims of morality are formed from experience and induction.   7.3.14. Reason is undoubtedly the source of: But it is absurd to suppose that the first perceptions of right and wrong can be derived from reason, even from experiences on which the general rules are formed.   7.3.15. Pleasure and pain are the great objects of desire and aversion.   7.3.16. In a certain sense, reason may justly be the principle of approbation and disapprobation.
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