The Methods of Ethics

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Macmillan, 1893 - Ethics - 523 pages

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Page 177 - I conceive it to be the business of Moral Science to deduce from the laws of life and the conditions of existence what kinds of action necessarily tend to produce happiness and what kinds to produce unhappiness. Having done this, its deductions are to be recognized as laws of conduct; and are to be conformed to irrespective of a direct estimation of happiness or misery.
Page 117 - 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 417 - By Utilitarianism is here meant the ethical theory, that the conduct which, under any given circumstances, is objectively right, is that which will produce the greatest amount of happiness on the whole ; that is, taking into account all whose happiness is affected by the conduct.
Page 394 - 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. This, however, being a fact, we have not only all the proof which the case admits of, but all which it is possible to require, that happiness is a good : that each person's happiness is a good to that person, and the general happiness, therefore...
Page 183 - declares, that " a very considerable number of the facts may be brought under the following principle, namely, that states of pleasure are connected with an increase, and states of pain with an abatement, of some, or all, of the vital functions.
Page 196 - But the obligation on the side of interest really does not remain. For the natural authority of the principle of reflection is an obligation the most near and intimate, the most certain and known : whereas the contrary obligation can at the utmost appear no more than probable ; since no man can be certain in any circumstances that vice is his interest in the present world, much less can he be certain against another: and thus the certain obligation would entirely supersede and destroy the uncertain...
Page 386 - This formula is obviously unprecise in statement; for one might wish for another's co-operation in sin, and be willing to reciprocate it. Nor is it even true to say that we ought to do to others only what we think it right for them to do to us; for no one will deny that there may be differences in the circumstances — and even in the natures — of two individuals, A and B, which would make it wrong for A to treat B in the way in which it is right for B to treat A. In short the self-evident principle...
Page 175 - It should seem, that a due concern about our own interest or happiness, and a reasonable endeavour to secure and promote it, which is, I think, very much the meaning of the word, prudence...
Page 43 - By the principle of self-preference, understand that propensity in human nature, by which, 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 49 - A man who maintains throughout an epicurean mood, fixing his aim on his own pleasure, does not catch the full spirit of the chase; his eagerness never gets just the sharpness of edge which imparts to the pleasure its highest zest and flavour.

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