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Article - post-print

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Third-party decision-makers, or spectators, have emerged as a useful empirical tool in modern social science research on moral motivation. Spectators of a sort also serve a central role in Adam Smith's moral theory. This paper compares these two types of spectatorship with respect to their goals, methodologies, visions of human nature and emphasis on moral rules. I find important similarities and differences and conclude that this comparison suggests significant opportunities for philosophical ethics to inform empirical and theoretical research on moral preferences and vice versa.

Publisher Statement

This is an author-manuscript of an article accepted for publication in Economics & Philosophy following peer review. The version of record: Konow, James (2012). “Adam Smith and the Modern Science of Ethics,” Economics and Philosophy, vol. 28, no. 3 (November), pp. 333-362 is available online at:

© Cambridge University Press 2012

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