Adam Smith on the “Wonder, Surprise, and Admiration” one feels when contemplating the physical World (1795)

Adam Smith

Found in Theory of Moral Sentiments and Essays on Philosophical Subjects (1869)

In a lecture on Astronomy, Adam Smith explores the range of feelings one feels when observing the wonders of nature and the beauties of the physical world:

We wonder at all extraordinary and uncommon objects, at all the rarer phaenomena of nature, at meteors, comets, eclipses, at singular plants and animals, and at every thing, in short, with which we have before been either little or not at all acquainted; and we still wonder, though forewarned of what we are to see.

As we continue to explore the complete works of Adam Smith in the Glasgow Edition republished by Liberty Fund, we find many unexpected gems. Here we see Smith lecturing on science to undergraduates and expressing his heartfelt admiration for the beauty of the physical world.