Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Smithian Categorical Imperative


The formulation of the Smithian Categorical Imperative is an attempt by the late Neil MacCormick in his last book, Practical Reason in Law and Morality (2008: 57-62) to combine Adam Smith’s “impartial spectator” with the Kantian “categorical imperative:”

“Enter as fully as you can into the feelings of everyone directly involved in or affected by an incident or relationship, and impartially form a maxim of judgment about what is right that all could accept if they were committed to maintaining mutual beliefs setting a common standard of approval and disapproval among themselves.”

Subsidiary Imperative:

“Act in accordance with that impartial judgment of what is right to do in respect of the given incident or relationship.”

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