The Lifted Veil / Adam Smith: OUR DIAGRAM

DiagramLiftedVeilAdamSmith“Though our brother is upon the rack, as long as we ourselves are at our ease, our senses will never inform us of what he suffers. They never did, and never can, carry us beyond our own person, and it is by the imagination only that we can form any conception of what are his sensations. Neither can that faculty help us to this any other way, than by representing to us what would be our own, if we were in his case. It is the impressions of our own senses only, not those of his, which our imaginations copy. By the imagination we place ourselves in his situation, we conceive ourselves enduring all the same torments, we enter as it were into his body, and become in some measure the same person with him, and thence form some idea of his sensations, and even feel something which, though weaker in degree, is not altogether unlike them.”

Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments 1.1 (http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smMS1.html)

About Nathan Hensley

Nathan K. Hensley is Associate Professor of English at Georgetown University; he works on nineteenth-century British literature, critical theory, and the novel.
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