The Methods of Ethics

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Macmillan, 1874 - History - 473 pages

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Page 364 - The only proof capable of being given that an object is visible, is that people actually see it. The only proof that a sound is audible, is that people hear it : and so of the other sources of our experience. In like manner, I apprehend, the sole evidence it is possible to produce that anything is desirable, is that people do actually desire it.
Page 107 - Let it be allowed, though virtue or moral rectitude does indeed consist in affection to and pursuit of what is right and good, as such ; yet, that when we sit down in a cool hour, we can neither justify to ourselves this or any other pursuit, till we are convinced that it will be for our happiness, or at least not contrary to it.
Page 365 - No reason can be given why the general happiness is desirable, except that each person, so far as he believes it to be attainable, desires his own happiness.
Page 67 - on the occasion of every act he exercises every human being is led to pursue that line of conduct which, according to his view of the case, taken by him at the moment, will be in the highest degree contributory to his own greatest happiness.
Page 101 - would consider it rational to aim at the production of beauty in external nature, apart from any possible contemplation of it by human beings.
Page 439 - The Utilitarian must repudiate altogether that temper of rebellion against the established morality, as something purely external and conventional, into which the reflective mind is always apt to fall when it is first convinced that its rules are not intrinsically reasonable.
Page 44 - Affections belong specially to himself, while Reason is a common faculty in all men ; we consider our Reason as being ourselves, rather than our Desires and Affections. We speak of Desire, Love, Anger, as mastering us, or of ourselves as controlling them. If we decide to prefer some remote and abstract good to immediate...
Page 47 - The belief that events are determinately related to the state of things immediately preceding them, is now held by all competent thinkers in respect of all kinds of occurrences except Human Volitions. It has steadily grown both intensively and extensively, both in clearness and certainty of conviction, and in universality of application, as the human mind has developed and human experience has been systematized and enlarged. Step by step, in successive departments of fact, conflicting modes of thought...
Page 30 - I believe that these sources of evidence, impartially consulted, will declare that desiring a thing and finding it pleasant, aversion to it and thinking of it as painful, are phenomena entirely inseparable or rather two parts of the same phenomenon; in strictness of language, two different modes of naming the same psychological fact...
Page 41 - April, 1872, p. 671), remarks: "To sum up, in contravention of the doctrine that our conscious active impulses are always directed towards the production of agreeable sensations in ourselves, I would maintain that we find everywhere in consciousness extraregarding impulse, directed towards something that is not pleasure; that in many cases the impulse is so far incompatible with the self-regarding that the two do not easily co-exist in the same moment of consciousness.

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