In The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Adam Smith explores the influence of commercial society on the moral character of individuals. Industry builds character, he argues, but it can also corrupt it. It is therefore very important to educate the “moral sentiments” and encourage sympathy especially in young people whose characters are still malleable. Vanity, Smith argues, is closely linked to the sentiment of sympathy and can be used as a stepping-stone to virtue. This chapter uses Smith’s remarks on vanity as a perspective on contemporary business ethics education. In properly engaging and redirecting vanity, education can help students become impartial spectators. Seeing a promise in a character trait most people consider a vice, Smith offers a refreshing view relevant to business ethics education today.
Slegers, R. (2013), "Revaluating Vanity: Adam Smith as Moral Exemplar for Business Education", Moral Saints and Moral Exemplars (Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 27-39. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1529-2096(2013)0000010006Download as .RIS
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