« AnteriorContinuar »
TABLE OF CONTENTS AND BOOKS OF REFERENCE.
CHAPTER I. Mill: Utilitarianism (1864).
Contrast with Kant. Pleasure the end. Quantity and quality of
20 ed. 1877.
S 1. Spencer. A. Descriptive—from physical, biological, psycho-
unit. Contents of the Moral Law. Sympathy. Sanction of Morality.
Ethics of Naturalism (1885); Alexander: Moral Order and Progress
Desiderata in the evolution theory.
Perception and Conscience. Objects of Moral Judgment. Springs of
action-psychological and moral order. Duty to God, to man, to self.
Theory of knowledge. Want, impulse, desire. Desire and Intellect.
UTILITARIANISM. “Kant, in the Metaphysics of Ethics , lays down an universal first principle as the origin and ground of moral obligation; it is this :- So act, that the rule on which thou actest would admit of being adopted as a law by all rational beings'. But when he begins to deduce from this precept any of the actual duties of morality, he fails, almost grotesquely, to show that there would be any contradiction, any logical (not to say physical) impossibility, in the adoption by all rational beings of the most outrageously immoral rules of conduct. All he shows is that the consequences of their universal adoption would be such as no one would choose to incur."
So run the opening' sentences of Mill's treatise on Utilitarianism. They point to an implied contrast in the views of the two writers, to a totally different standpoint. When dealing with the Practical Reason Kant alights upon a "factum" of consciousness: the moral law he regards as an indisputable fact of reason in its practical application. And just as the slightest admixture of the empirical, as a condition in a mathematical demonstration, would lower the value of the proof and do away with its universal cogency, so the slightest consideration of the pleasure or pain that might result as the consequence of any particular action would mar the worth of moral judgment, would, in fact, appeal not to the reason which is universal in man but to the sensibility of the individual, to what is ever changing in him, varying with every