Friday, March 03, 2006

Adam Smith, Relativist

From The Theory of Moral Sentiments(1759/61/90, V:4):
Few men have so much experience and acquaintance with the different modes which have obtained in remote ages and nations, as to be thoroughly reconciled to them, or to age and country. Few men therefore are willing to allow, that custom or fashion have much influence upon their judgments concerning what is beautiful or otherwise, in the productions of any of those arts; but imagine, that all the rules, which they think ought to be observed in each of them, are founded upon reason and nature, not upon habit or prejudice. A very little attention, however, may convince them of the contrary...
Oh, the historical difference! "A very little attention"--ha!

[Cross-posted at]


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