Origin and Evolution of Ethics: Were Moral Laws Supernaturally Revealed, Or are They Products of Human Experience and Evolution?

Capa
Humanitarian Review Publishing House, 1910 - 161 páginas
 

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Página 71 - Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do.
Página 97 - 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 recognised as laws of conduct; and are to be conformed to, irrespective of a direct estimation of happiness or misery' Perhaps an analogy will most clearly show my meaning.
Página 146 - Hence it is manifest that we must consider the ideal man as existing in the ideal social state. On the evolution hypothesis, the two presuppose one another ; and only when they co-exist can there exist that ideal conduct which Absolute Ethics has to formulate, and which Relative Ethics has to take as the standard by which to estimate divergences from right, or degrees of wrong.
Página 81 - The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, Utility, or the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.
Página 72 - They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think: every effort we can make to throw off our subjection, will serve but to demonstrate and confirm it. In words a man may pretend to abjure their empire: but in reality he will remain subject to it all the .while. The principle of utility...
Página 142 - From the ten thousand priests of the religion of love, who are silent when the nation is moved by the religion of hate, will come no sign of assent; nor from their bishops who, far from urging the extreme precept of the master they pretend to follow, to turn the other cheek when one is smitten, vote for acting on the principle — strike lest ye be struck. Nor will any approval be felt by legislators who, after praying to be forgiven their trespasses as they forgive the trespasses of others, forthwith...
Página 128 - Power manifested throughout evolution works, then, since evolution has been, and is still, working toward the highest life, it follows that conforming to those principles by which the highest life is achieved is furthering that end. The doctrine that perfection or excellence of nature should be the object of pursuit, is in one sense true, for it tacitly recognizes that ideal form of being which the highest life implies, and to which evolution tends.
Página 146 - If so, it is a necessary implication that there exists an ideal code of conduct formulating the behaviour of the completely adapted man in the completely evolved society. Such a code is that here called Absolute Ethics as distinguished from Relative Ethics — a code the injunctions of which are alone to be considered as absolutely right in contrast with those that are relatively right or least wrong ; and which, as a system of ideal conduct, is to serve as a standard for our guidance in solving,...
Página 111 - as each one by close attention and reflection may convince himself, a natural and immediate determination to approve certain affections and actions consequent upon them ; " and since, in common with others of his time, he believes in the special creation of man, and all other beings, this " natural sense of immediate excellence " he considers as a supernaturally derived guide.
Página 146 - neither suffered vexation in themselves nor caused vexation to others."* If in modern times, influenced by theological dogmas concerning the fall and human sinfulness, and by a theory of obligation derived from the current creed, moralists have less frequently referred to an ideal, yet references are traceable. We see one in the dictum of Kant — " Act according to that maxim only, which you can wish, at the same time, to become a universal law.

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