Introduction to Ethics: Including a Critical Survey of Moral Systems, Tr. from the French of Jouffroy, Volume 1

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J. Munroe, 1845 - Ethics
 

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Page 197 - On the very same question, the human mind in successive ages passes from one opinion to another, and never attaches itself firmly to any. This mutability of human opinion is displayed in the history of every nation. That which we call the life of a nation is nothing more than the perpetual transformations of its ideas upon the most important subjects. This mutability, however, goes yet further; it reaches to individuals as well as to nations, and the human race : however short life may be, — however...
Page 99 - I assume interest or duty as the measure, then desire becomes nothing, and duty or interest seems all in all. It depends, then, wholly upon the measure of comparison which I adopt, whether this or the other motive is strongest; which proves that there is no common measure of comparison to be applied at all times to these different kinds of motives, when we would estimate their relative force. Thus, in truth, in almost every case, to say that we...
Page 200 - God, yet they defer from day to day, from week to week, from month to month, from year to year, the practice of these duties.
Page 99 - I perceive, then, that, strictly speaking, there is a possibility of comparing together the relative force of different motives originating from duty, and of different motives suggested by self-interest, or, finally, of different desires striving within me at a given moment. But between a desire on the one hand, and a conception of interest or of duty on the other, where, I ask, can you find a standard of comparison? If I assume passion as the measure, then, evidently, passion will appear the stronger...
Page 149 - Same principles, it appears that the world is eternal, and that the idea of creation is chimerical ; for that which at any time did not exist, could never have begun to exist, and there can be nothing beside the being who is one and infinite. Perhaps, from this one might be led to suppose that, therefore, the universe is God, and that God is only the universe. This opinion Spinoza earnestly repels. The universe, he says, is not God, but only the necessary modes of being of his attributes. God is...
Page 100 - I, who am not free, — who, whatever resolution I have taken, have yet been fatally determined to take it by the strongest motive, — I feel that I am responsible for this resolution ; and others, too, regard me as responsible ; so that, according as I have been impelled to this or that act, do I believe myself to have merit or demerit, and pass sentence on myself as reasonable...
Page 220 - ... in the memory, reason applies to this series of analogous observations the a priori principle, that the laws of nature are constant ; and, at once, what was true through observation in only twenty, thirty, or forty observed cases, becomes, by the application of this principle, a general law, as true of other cases not observed as of those which observation has ascertained. From the results of observation, and solely by the application to these results of a conception of reason, the mind arrives...
Page 220 - And now another faculty begins to act, which works up these materials, and deduces from them our ulterior knowledge. This faculty is reasoning; and we must distinguish between reasoning by induction and by deduction ; for reasoning has two modes of proceeding. This is the process of reasoning by induction : when several particular cases, which are analogous, have been ascertained by observation, and stored in the memory, reason applies to this series of analogous observations the a priori principle,...
Page 261 - Gentlemen, arose that social structure which the three last centuries have sapped the foundations of, and which the revolution finally overthrew ? It arose from the solutions which Christianity had given of the great problems of human interest. These solutions, unlike those proposed by the wise of our time, were not negative in character; and hence the results to which they led in art, religion, and politics were positive; institutions and laws proceeded from them; organizations and forms of government,...
Page 43 - ... others appears to us as sacred as our own ; or, in other words, equally an element of that which alone is venerable in itself — order. Thus the idea of obligation attaches itself at one and the same time to the attainment of our own and others' good. And we see no longer any difference between the duty of accomplishing our own good, and of aiding other beings to accomplish theirs ; both are parts of absolute good ; and since this is obligatory in itself, it impresses the character of lawfulness...

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