Lecture: Samuel Fleischacker, “Empathy and Perspective: A Smithian Conception of Humanity”

Where: University of Melbourne, Australia

When: August 4th, 2015

Registration here.

Further Info:

This talk explores Adam Smith’s conception of empathy (roughly, what he called “sympathy”), and its connection, for him, with our understanding of our selves. I begin with a comparison between Smith and David Hume on sympathy, move to the role of perspective-taking in Smith’s discussion of the subject, then look at the degree to which empathy, and perspective-taking, figure in our construction of our identity, for Smith. I conclude by suggesting that Smith introduces a new conception of humanity by way of his view of empathy.

Samuel Fleischacker is Professor of Philosophy and Director of Jewish Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His publications include The Ethics of Culture (Cornell, 1994), A Third Concept of Liberty: Judgment and Freedom in Kant and Adam Smith (Princeton, 1999), On Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations: A Philosophical Companion (Princeton, 2003), A Short History of Distributive Justice (Harvard, 2004), Divine Teaching and the Way of the World (Oxford, 2011), What Is Enlightenment? The Legacy of a Kantian Question (Routledge, 2013), and The Good and the Good Book(Oxford, 2015). Professor Fleischacker has been a Fellow of the University Center for Human Values at Princeton and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford.

Posted in the Early Modern Philosophy Calendar


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