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  • Cited by 6
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    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Holler, Manfred J. and Leroch, Martin A. 2010. Jury on stage: a common law play. European Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 30, Issue. 2, p. 89.

    Brady, Emily 2011. Adam Smith's ‘Sympathetic Imagination’ and the Aesthetic Appreciation of Environment. Journal of Scottish Philosophy, Vol. 9, Issue. 1, p. 95.

    Harvey-Phillips, M. B. 2011. On Adam Smith’s Digression Appended to his Chapter on Bounties inThe Wealth of Nations: A Window onto his Approach to Political Economy. History of Economics Review, Vol. 53, Issue. 1, p. 10.

    Hanley, Ryan Patrick 2015. Adam Smith on the ‘Natural Principles of Religion’. Journal of Scottish Philosophy, Vol. 13, Issue. 1, p. 37.

    Sagar, Paul 2017. Beyond sympathy: Smith’s rejection of Hume’s moral theory. British Journal for the History of Philosophy, Vol. 25, Issue. 4, p. 681.

    Thomas, Alex M. 2018. Adam Smith on the Philosophy and Provision of Education. Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics, Vol. 30, Issue. 1, p. 105.

  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: August 2006

1 - Imagination: Morals, Science, and Arts


Adam Smith's thought is known to us primarily through his Theory of Moral Sentiments and Wealth of Nations. We also possess a number of posthumously published essays on the history of science and the arts, as well as several sets of student notes of his lectures on jurisprudence and on belles lettres and rhetoric (none was authorized or reviewed by Smith). Smith conceived of himself as constructing a comprehensive system; what we have are parts of that system. The fragmentary character of the corpus, and the absence of a treatise on “the theory of the imagination,” mean that Smith's theory of the imagination must be woven together from a number of passages, of which fortunately there are quite a few. The imagination is a continuous and important theme throughout his work and would likely have been an important theme in the work he did not live to complete. In this claim about the imagination's crucial role in human life and cognition, Smith was not (and did not pretend to be) radically innovative; his emphasis on the imagination, and indeed on its creative capacity, unquestionably represents an appropriation of Hume.

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The Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith
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