Thorpe, David (2007) Science and its applications in The Theory of Moral Sentiments. In: Cockfield, Geoff and Firth, Ann and Laurent, John, (eds.) New perspectives on Adam Smith's The Theory of moral sentiments. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, Cheltenham, United Kingdom, pp. 124-140. ISBN 978 1 84542 480 0
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While Adam Smith's 'The Theory of Moral Sentiments' was primarily a work on moral philosophy, there are a number of references in it to scientific and engineering principles. As well as having an education in the classics, Smith also had a good knowledge of the principles of science and mathematics, including Newtonian physics. He also appears to have known some of the prominent scientists and engineers of his day. In this book, he uses systems and mechanical principles to explain matters like society, government, commerce and the way in which we think. This approach has allowed him to explain a number of basic concepts in less abstract and less philosophical language that was common in contemporary works in moral philosophy, and also lends to his argument a practical base. It is contended that the ethical principles of the type expounded in Smith's work have influenced the subsequent development of ethics in the engineering profession.
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