Utility, Universality, and Impartiality in Adam Smith’s Jurisprudence

The Adam Smith Review 4:238-246 (2008)
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This paper examines how the concepts of utility, impartiality, and universality worked together to form the foundation of Adam Smith's jurisprudence. It argues that the theory of utility consistent with contemporary rational choice theory is insufficient to account for Smith's use of utility. Smith's jurisprudence relies on the impartial spectator's sympathetic judgment over whether third parties are injured, and not individuals' expected utility associated with individuals' expected gains from rendering judgments over innocence or guilt.

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S. M. Amadae
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


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