A Brief History of the Editions of the Theory of Moral Sentiments

Erik Matson of George Mason University in this new paper:

This essay provides a short sketch of the changes in the editions of Adam Smith’s ‘Theory of Moral Sentiments.’ I begin with a treatment of the first five editions, focusing on Smith’s responses to comments from David Hume and Gilbert Elliot and the addition of the “Languages” essay to edition 3. I then dwell on edition 6 of TMS, as it was the last thing Smith published during his lifetime and features a significant set of changes. I conclude with some comments on the arc of Smith’s development and what I take to be his shifting focus away from moral anatomy towards moral painting.


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