The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy, Volumes 1-2

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Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009 - 430 pages
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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: them, without a secret remorse of conscience. But this remorse may be borne with: and if the sinner choose to bear with it, for the sake of the pleasure or the profit which he expects from his wickedness; or finds the pleasure of the sin to exceed the remorse of conscience, of which he alone is the judge, and concerning which, when lie feels them both together, he can hardly be mistaken, the moral instinct man, so far as I can understand, has nothing more to offer. For if he allege that these instincts are so many indications of the will of God, and consequently presages of what we are to look for hereafter; this, I answer, is to resort to a rule and a motive ulterior to the instincts themseves, and at which rule and motive we shall by and by arrive by a surer road: ?I say surer, so long as there remains a controversy whether there be any instinctive maxims at all; or any difficulty in ascertaining what maxims are instinctive. This celebrated question therefore becomes in our system a question of pure curiosity; and as such, we dismiss it to the determination of those who are more inquisitive, thin we are concerned to be, about the natural history and constitution of the human species. CHAPTER VI. HUMAN HAPPINESS. The word happy is a relative term: that is, when we call a man happy, we mean that he is happier than some others, with whom we compare him; than the generality of others; or than he himself was in some other situation: ?thus, speaking of one who has just compassed the object of a long pursuit, Now, we say, he is happy; and in a like comparative sense, compared, that is, with the general lot of mankind, we call a man happy who possesses health and competency. In strictness, any condition may be denominated happy, in which the amount or aggregate of ...

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