He bases his explanation, not as the third Lord Shaftesbury and Hutcheson had done, on a special "moral sense,"nor, like Hume, to any decisive extent on utility,but on sympathy. There has been considerable controversy as how far there is contradiction or contrast between Smith's emphasis in the Moral Sentiments on sympathy as a fundamental human motive, and, on the other hand, the key role of self-interest in the The Wealth of Nations... displayed 300 characters
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In the former he seems to put more emphasis on the general harmony of human motives and activities under a beneficent Providence, while in the latter, in spite of the general theme of "the invisible hand" promoting the harmony of interests, Smith finds many more occasions for pointing out cases of conflict and of the narrow selfishness of human motives... displayed next 300 characters
He attributes this both to the rich endowments of the colleges at Oxford and Cambridge, which made the income of professors independent of their ability to attract students, and to the fact that distinguished men of letters could make an even more comfortable living as ministers of the Church of England...
"In 1778 he was appointed to a post of commissioner of customs in Edinburgh, Scotland" (Chew). While the commissioner of customs, Smith lived with his mother, and, not directly connected, Smith was never married and was a bachelor until he died...
(David Hume, from Edinburgh, born twelve years before Smith, was another of those Scottish "lights" which were so prominent in this age.) At any rate Smith's interest in Hume's work brought him into conflict with the authorities at Oxford...
Human reasoning appears to be a photographic apparatus which passively apprehends the immediate facts of a situation, while sentiment acts. Feeling becomes both the judge and the capacity for judgement...
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