Chapter VI: The Ideal.

§ 129.

II. The consideration of this other question belongs properly to the second topic, which was reserved above for discussion—namely the topic of mixed goods. Mixed goods were defined above as things, which, though positively good as wholes, nevertheless contain, as essential elements, something intrinsically evil or ugly. And there certainly seem to be such goods. But for the proper consideration of them, it is necessary to take into account a new distinction—the distinction just expressed as being between the value which a thing possesses as a whole, and that which it possesses on the whole. (§ 129 ¶ 1)

When mixed goods were defined as things positively good as wholes, the expression was ambiguous. It is meant that they were positively good on the whole; but it must now be observed that the value which a thing possesses on the whole may be said to be equivalent to the sum of the value which it possesses as a whole, together with the intrinsic values which may belong to any of its parts. In fact, by the value which a thing possesses as a whole, there may be meant two quite distinct things. There may be meant either (1) That value which arises solely from the combination of two or more things; or else (2) The total value formed by the addition to (1) of any intrinsic value which may belong to the things combined. The meaning of the distinction may perhaps be most easily seen by considering the supposed case of vindictive punishment. If it is true that the combined existence of two evils may yet constitute a less evil than would be constituted by the existence of either singly, it is plain that this can only be because there arises from the combination a positive good which is greater than the difference between the sum of the two evils and the demerit of either singly: this positive good would then be the value of the whole, as a whole, in sense (1). Yet if this value be not so great a good as the sum of the two evils is an evil, it is plain that the value of the whole state of things will be a positive evil; and this value is the value of the whole, as a whole, in sense (2). Whatever view may be taken with regard to the particular case of vindictive punishment, it is plain that we have here two distinct things, with regard to either of which a separate question may be asked in the case of every organic unity. The first of these two things may be expressed as the difference between the value of the whole thing and the sum of the value of its parts. And it is plain that where the parts have little or no intrinsic value (as in our first class of goods, §§ 114, 115), this difference will be nearly or absolutely identical with the value of the whole thing. The distinction, therefore, only becomes important in the case of wholes, of which one or more parts have a great intrinsic value, positive or negative. The first of these cases, that of a whole, in which one part has a great positive value, is exemplified in our 2nd and 3rd classes of great unmixed goods (§§ 120, 122); and similarly the Summum Bonum is a whole of which many parts have a great positive value. Such cases, it may be observed, are also very frequent and very important objects of Aesthetic judgment; since the essential distinction between the classical and the romantic styles consists in the fact that the former aims at obtaining the greatest possible value for the whole, as a whole, in sense (1), whereas the latter sacrifices this in order to obtain the greatest possible value for some part, which is itself an organic unity. It follows that we cannot declare either style to be necessarily superior, since an equally good result on the whole, or as a whole in sense (2), may be obtained by either method; but the distinctively aesthetic temperament seems to be characterised by a tendency to prefer a good result obtained by the classical, to an equally good result obtained by the romantic method. (§ 129 ¶ 2)