The article also provides a discussion on the manner in which people judge the impropriety of other men’s affections by their dissonance or concord with their own affections. The article argues that the judgement of mankind is subject and less apt to be perverted by the wrong systems. Mankind affection or sentiment from which an action proceeds and where the virtue depends upon is based on two different relations. First the relations and the motive which gave the occasion and the effects of the occasion. The suitability or unsuitability of the actions determines whether an individual feels affection or sentiments for such actions.
The other factor that affects the concerns of people to agree or disagree with an action or something is set of virtues with such people. The article recognizes two different sets of virtues, which are soft and gentle, amiable virtues, the virtues of candid condescension, which make people feel great. The other set of virtues is that, which causes an awful feeling such as virtues of self denial, command, self government lowering people’s dignity and honor. The amiable virtues comprise a good degree of sensibility based on intellectual and good morals bringing the aspect of something great or beautiful. The human feelings of sentiments or affection towards an action or something form the basis of merit or demerit, gratitude and resentment and reward or a punishment over such actions. However, human nature's passions and approval of different actions are based on the impartiality of the heart.
An impartial heart causes spectators to sympathize with them and entirely agrees with their stand. People’s authority and influences are highly dependent on their conscience. However people are not supposed to enforce their own preferences on other people as it seems contempt and indignation of mankind. In addition, unjust preferences provide the basis upon which people defraud others. Human sentiments and affections are also highly dependent on self deceit and the use of general rules. Self deceit forms the basis upon which people pervert the rectitude of their own judgement in regard to their impropriety of their conduct. Examination of individual conduct is based on partiality and impartiality in which an independent spectator would view such conduct.
The general rules of morality justly regarded as the rules of deity also determine the sentiments and affections of the people. Acting in accordance to the dictates of the general rules of morality promotes happiness enabling people to pursue their affections. Therefore, the author of this article has various factors that determine the sentiments and affections of people, which are based on individual judgement and situations.
Analysis of the Reading
This article provides succinct descriptions as regards to the circumstances that elicit human sentiments and feelings. In this respect, the author posits that humans are passionate and they try to identify with other humans in the event that the other individual is in pain or misery. While this seems the exact situation in the world, the article does not consider the fact that, those actions that cause pain and sorrowful feelings emanate from other human beings. Essentially, the writer should specify, the context and the relationships that have to exist for one individual to sympathize with another suffering individual. The massive killings, robbery, kidnapping and all sorts of actions that are hazardous to the livelihood of human beings emanate from fellow human beings. It is most probable that the individuals who cause the chaos that hurt other individuals lack compassion towards human beings, and instead rejoice after seeing other people suffer. For instance, the terror attacks that have been experienced in the various parts of the world are the results of actions by individuals who lack sympathy towards their target.
The article also argues that the impartiality of heart in an individual influences their passion or approval of an action. In this regard, those individuals who are impartial at heart elicit sympathy for the spectators, who also take a similar stand concerning the appropriateness of an action. This is logically coherent with the situation in the world. In reality, those people who depict the characteristics of impartiality are regarded highly in all the situations. More significantly, the impartial individual does not incline towards condemning or supporting the actions of others without considering their motive and the impact to the recipient. It is then that spectators feel the need to identify with the individual, which translates to sympathetic feelings in the event that the impartial individual becomes a victim of an offense.
Another significant argument provided in the article relates to the level of respect or sentiments reciprocated to an individual from another. In support of this argument, the author provides the analogy of neighboring countries. In the event that a superior to decide on the disputes between the countries does not exist, one nation’s level of respect relies on the level of respect shown by the other country. Essentially, this is the real situation even among people. When a person feels that they are respected by another person, there is a tendency of reciprocating to a similar level of respect. It is difficult for one individual to genuinely show respect to an individual who despises them. It may be possible for the individual treated with contempt to show respect to the perpetrator through coercion. This is where the victim fears further negative implications in case the other individual notes elements of disrespect. This situation exists where individuals are divided by class. The person considered as superior or in authority is usually the one who fails to show respect for the individuals categorized as the juniors. However, mutual respect for both parties is indispensable for creating an environment conducive for a healthy coexistence.
- Are sentiments and feelings inherent in all human beings or do there exists people whom the feelings and sentiments cannot be invoked?
- What are the factors that affect the development of feelings and sentiments as regards to misery of another individual?
- Why is it that some people engage in actions that they know will ultimately inflict pain and misery to other people?
Smith, Adam. "Theory of Moral Sentiments." Moral Sentiments selection (n.d.): 1-49. Document.