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The Theory of Moral Sentiments
Adam Smith
(1759)

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Teoria dei sentimenti morali The Theory of Moral Sentiments
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1. Dalla prima pubblicazione della Teoria dei sentimenti morali, che risale all’inizio dell’anno 1759, mi sono venute in mente alcune correzioni e molte spiegazioni delle dottrine in essa contenute. Ma le varie occupazioni in cui i diversi accidenti della mia vita mi hanno necessariamente coinvolto mi hanno finora impedito di rivedere quest’opera con la cura e l’attenzione che da sempre mi proponevo. Il lettore troverà le principali variazioni che ho operato in questa nuova edizione nell’ultimo capitolo della terza sezione della Parte prima, e nei quattro capitoli della Parte terza. La Parte sesta, così come è presente in questa nuova edizione, è del tutto nuova. Nella parte settima, ho raccolto la maggior parte dei principali passi sulla filosofia stoica, che nelle precedenti edizioni erano sparsi in diverse parti dell’opera. Contemporaneamente, ho cercato di spiegare in modo più esaustivo, e di esaminare più chiaramente, alcune delle dottrine di quella famosa setta. Nella quarta e nell’ultima edizione della stessa Parte, ho raggruppato alcune osservazioni aggiuntive sul dovere e il principio di veracità. Inoltre, in altre parti dell’opera, sono presenti altre variazioni e correzioni di non molta importanza.

2. Nell’ultimo paragrafo della prima edizione della presente opera, dicevo che avrei cercato in un altro trattato di dare un resoconto dei principi generali del diritto e del governo, e dei diversi rivoluzionari mutamenti che essi hanno subito nelle varie età e periodi della società, non solo per quel che riguarda la giustizia, ma per quel che riguarda l’amministrazione civile (police), le finanze e l’esercito, e qualsiasi altra cosa sia oggetto del diritto. Nella Ricerca sulla natura e le cause della ricchezza delle nazioni ho in parte mantenuto questa promessa, almeno per quel che riguarda l’amministrazione civile (police), le finanze e l’esercito. Ciò che resta, la teoria della giurisprudenza, che progetto da tempo, è un’opera che finora non ho intrapreso perché impedito dalle medesime occupazioni che non mi avevano consentito finora di rivedere l’opera presente. Per quanto sia consapevole che la mia età molto avanzata non mi lasci molte prospettive di riuscire a eseguire quest’opera in modo per me soddisfacente, tuttavia, dal momento che non ho abbandonato del tutto il progetto, e dal momento che voglio continuare a sentirmi obbligato a fare tutto quello che posso, ho lasciato che il paragrafo restasse così com’era quando fu pubblicato più di trent’anni fa, quando non nutrivo alcun dubbio sulla possibilità di eseguire tutto quello che vi era annunciato.




Since the first publication of THE THEORY OF MORAL SENTIMENTS, which was so long ago as the beginning of the year 1759, several corrections, and a good many illustrations of the doctrines contained in it, have occurred to me. But the various occupations in which the different accidents of my life necessarily involved me, have till now prevented me from revising this work with the care and attention which I always intended. The reader will find the principal alterations which I have made in this New Edition, in the last Chapter of the third Section of Part First; and in the four first Chapters of Part Third. Part Sixth, as it stands in this New Edition, is altogether new. In Part Seventh, I have brought together the greater part of the different passages concerning the Stoical Philosophy, which, in the former Editions, had been scattered about in different parts of the work. I have likewise endeavoured to explain more fully, and examine more distinctly, some of the doctrines of that famous sect. In the fourth and last Section of the same Part, I have thrown together a few additional observations concerning the duty and principle of veracity. There are, besides, in other parts of the work, a few other alterations and corrections of no great moment.

In the last paragraph of the first Edition of the present work, I said, that I should in another discourse endeavour to give an account of the general principles of law and government, and of the different revolutions which they had undergone in the different ages and periods of society; not only in what concerns justice, but in what concerns police, revenue, and arms, and whatever else is the object of law. In the Enquiry concerning the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, I have partly executed this promise; at least so far as concerns police, revenue, and arms. What remains, the theory of jurisprudence, which I have long projected, I have hitherto been hindered from executing, by the same occupations which had till now prevented me from revising the present work. Though my very advanced age leaves me, I acknowledge, very little expectation of ever being able to execute this great work to my own satisfaction; yet, as I have not altogether abandoned the design, and as I wish still to continue under the obligation of doing what I can, I have allowed the paragraph to remain as it was published more than thirty years ago, when I entertained no doubt of being able to execute every thing which it announced.





  • moment: A moment is a second or a very short time.
  • moment: A moment is a second or a very short time.
  • promise: To promise is to say you will do something for sure.
  • project: A project is a type of work that you do for school ora job.
  • ever: Ever means at any time.
  • several: Several is more than two but not many.
  • concern: Concern is a feeling of worry.
  • expect: If you expect something to happen, you believe it will happen.
  • continue: To continue something is to keep doing it.
  • wise: To be wise is to use experience and intelligence to make good choices.
  • allow: To allow something to happen means to let it happen.
  • announce: To announce something is to make it known.
  • beside: When someone or something is beside you, they are next to you.
  • famous: If someone or something is famous, they are known to many people.
  • theory: A theory is an idea about how something works.
  • prevent: To prevent something is to stop it from happening.
  • still: Still is used when you say that a situation keeps going on.
  • throw: To throw something is to use your hand to make it go through the air.
  • far: If something is far, it is not close.
  • remain: To remain somewhere is to stay there.
  • thin: If someone or something is thin, they are not fat.
  • contain: To contain something is to have it inside.
  • correct: To be correct is to be right.
  • owe: To owe is to have to pay or give back something received from another.
  • exam: An exam is a test.
  • yet: Yet is used to say something has not happened up to now.
  • publish: To publish a book is to get it printed and ready to sell.
  • else: If you talk about something else, you talk about something different.
  • doubt: Doubt is a feeling of not being sure.
  • entertain: To entertain someone is to do something that they enjoy.
  • enter: To enter a place is to go into it.
  • leave: To leave means to go away from someone or something.
  • various: If something is various, there are many types of it.
  • occur: To occur means to happen.
  • advance: To advance is to go forward.
  • course: A course is a class in school.
  • event: An event is something that happens, especially something important.
  • passage: A passage is a long area with walls that goes from one place to another.
  • public: If something is public, it is meant for everyone to use.
  • involve: To involve means to be actively taking part in something.
  • period: A period is an amount of time when something happens.
  • sign: A sign is a notice giving information, directions, a warning, etc.
  • attention: Attention is the notice, thought, or consideration of someone.
  • society: Society is people and the way that they live.
  • examine: To examine something is to look at it carefully.
  • band: A band is a group of people who play music.
  • own: To own something means to have it. That thing belongs to you.
  • knowledge: Knowledge is information that you have about something.
  • different: Different describes someone or something that is not the same as others.

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