Adam Smith regarded The Theory of Moral Sentiments as his best work, but the main reason to read it relates to its astonishing content. Both theoretical and practical, the book cultivates our moral imaginations, assures us that ethical challenges can be overcome, encourages interaction with people whose perspectives we might be reluctant to embrace, and explains how societies come to share a moral consensus.

F. Eugene Heath is a professor of philosophy at the State University of New York, New Paltz.
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Other Independent Review articles by F. Eugene Heath
Spring 2022 Business Ethics for Better Behavior
Winter 1997/98 The Politics of Faith and the Politics of Scepticism