photograph: T. H. Green

T. H. Green

Portrait from McMaster Univ. Archive for the Hist. of Econ. Thought: Thomas Hill Green

The Prolegomena to Ethics, by T. H. Green, was first published in 1884, a year after the Green’s death in March, 1883. (The manuscript was nearly complete at the time of his death; it was prepared for publication by A. C. Bradley. For more details see the Editor’s Preface to the First Edition.) This transcription is based on the fifth edition of the Prolegomena (1906), as published in facsimile by Kraus Reprint Company (New York, 1969).

The transcription is currently very much incomplete. We have placed the parts that have been completed online in the hope that they will be useful.

Analytical Table of Contents

Prepared by A. C. Bradley

  1. Preface to the Fifth Edition. Preface to the Fifth Edition by Edward Caird, M.A., Hon. D.C.L., Master of Balliol College, Oxford
  2. Editor's Preface to the First Edition. The Editor's Preface to the First Edition by A. C. Bradley
  3. Introduction: The Idea of a Natural Science of Morals

    1. §1. The prevalent distrust of Moral Philosophy, and the substitution of Poetry for the philosophical discussion of moral problems.
    2. §2. Necessity of a scientific answer to these problems. Can this answer be given by a natural science of man?
    3. §3. Such a science, if developed on the lines of the traditional English ethics, would involve a physical theory (a) of conscience, (b) of free-will. Hume's contribution to (a).
    4. §4. Desiderata left by Hume
    5. §5. The theory of descent and evolution as supplying these desiradata
    6. §6. (b) Physical theory of what is commonly understood as free-will
    7. §7. The speculative part of Moral Philosophy being thus reduced to natural science, the preceptive part must, in consistency, be abolished, and the unmeaning idea of moral obligation accounted for.
    8. §8. The idea of such a science suggests the questions: (1) Does not the knowledge of nature imply a principle in man which is not natural? And, if so, (2) does not this principle appear also as consciousness of a moral ideal?
  4. Book I: Metaphysics of Knowledge

    1. Chapter I: The Spiritual Principle in Knowledge and in Nature

      1. § 9. The attempt to answer the first question materialistically involves a hysteron proteron. All mental functions may be materially conditioned; but the material conditions, being constituents of the world of experience, cannot originate or explain the conscious principle which makes that world possible.
      2. § 10. Why is this conclusion, which seems to be implied even in commonly accepted doctrines, not more generally acknowledged?
      3. § 11. Kant's dictum: The understanding makes nature. This may be taken to mean, first (cf. § 19), that a spiritual principle is implied in the consciousness of nature or a real world.
      4. The Spiritual Principle in Knowledge
        1. § 12. This statement is denied, because reality is supposed to be what is independent of consciousness. But, in fact, the question, Is anything real or not? means, Is it, or is it not, related as it seems to be related?
        2. § 13. The question implies, that is, the conception of reality or nature as a single and unalterable order of relations; and it has no meaning except to a consciousness possessing this conception.
        3. § 14. This conception is necessary; which does not mean that every one is aware of it, but that experience is only explicable through its action.
        4. § 15. It, or the consciousness of which it is the function, cannot be the product of experience. It is presupposed in experience, if that means consciousness of change; ...
        5. § 16. and if experience means merely a process of change, or a series of events, it can neither be nor produce the consciousness of that change or those events.
        6. § 17. Nor can this consciousness be the effect of any previous changes or events; for this supposition is either a repetition of the last, or has no meaning.
        7. § 18. Thus the consciousness through which alone nature exists for us, is neither natural nor a result of nature.
      5. The Spiritual Principle in Nature
        1. § 19. Can we say, secondly, that nature itself implies a spiritual principle?
        2. § 20. As before, this idea is resisted by the antithesis between nature, or the real, and the work of the mind. But this antithesis is self-destructive, if relations are the work of the mind and yet are the essence of reality.
        3. § 21. That it appears to be an absolute antithesis is due to a misinterpretation of the true conception of reality, as a single and unalterable system of relations.
        4. § 22. The real cannot be defined by antithesis to the unreal; for that is nothing, and even a false idea is not unreal.
        5. § 23. But a particular reality, standing in certain relations, may have relations ascribed to it in which it does not stand. It then seems to be what it is not; ...
        6. § 24. and this is discovered by its showing itself to be alterable. For what anything is really it is unalterably.
        7. § 25. This truth may, through confusion, issue in (a) sensational or (b) materialistic atomism; the reality (unalterableness) belonging to the relation between certain conditions and a certain sensation being ascribed (a) to the sensation alone, or (b) to the material conditions and, finally, to atoms alone.
        8. § 26. If nature, then, means a single and unalterable order of relations, what is implied in it as the condition of its possibility?
        9. § 27. This question is admissible only if the system of relations is essentially dependent on something else, which is not related to the system as its constituents are related to one another.
        10. § 28. This something is that which holds plurality in unity, and so constitutes relation; ...
        11. § 29. something therefore the same as, or analogous to, our intelligence.
        12. § 30. For (a) even if we admit, with Kant, that there are unknown things-in-themselves, constituting a reality beyond nature and producing feelings in us, ...
        13. § 31. still an action of intelligence is necessary, as Kant saw, to constitute an experience of related objects out of successive feelings, and so to make nature: ...
        14. § 32. and this intelligence must distinguish itself from the feelings it unites, and must have a unity correlative to the unity of the system of relations which is its object.
        15. § 33. Thus the uniform order of nature and our knowledge of that order have a common source in a spiritual principle; ...
        16. § 34. and, in this sense, the dualism of nature and knowledge must disappear.
        17. § 35. Not that our intelligence is to be regarded as a result of nature (for this were to treat as a result of nature that which makes nature possible), ...
        18. § 36. or nature as a result of our intelligence; but they are to be regarded as having a common source and as being communicated to us in inseparable correlation.
        19. § 37. Such an idealism, which interprets facts as relations and affirms the reality of nature as opposed to our transitory feelings, is the very reverse of the so-called idealism which reduces facts to feelings.
        20. § 38. But (b) can we on this view admit, with Kant, that there are things-in-themselves, constituting a reality beyond nature or phenomena; and that, while the form of phenomena is due to understanding, the matter—the affections produced by things-in-themselves—has a character independent of it.
        21. § 39. If so, there will be no universe, but two unrelated worlds, each determining the same sensation: and this conclusion would be obvious, if things-in-themselves were not confused with the material conditions of sensation.
        22. § 40. Nor can the difficulty be overcome by making the understanding a product of things-in-themselves; for this view either involves the hysteron proteron of materialism, or, at the least, qualifies the independence of things-in-themselves by some relation to the understanding they are supposed to produce.
        23. § 41. Nor does Kant escape this paralogism; for if phenomena, in respect of their matter, are effects of things-in-themselves, the latter are causes and therefore phenomena.
        24. § 42. Still it may be objected: Though it is impossible to consider sensation as an effect of things-in-themselves, it is equally impossible to consider it as a product of understanding; it forms therefore an unaccountable residuum, and in this sense dualism must hold.
        25. § 43. Objections like this arise from reflection on the process of acquiring knowledge, which seems to lead us back to a material of mere sensation, unqualified by thought.
        26. § 44. But mere sensation could not be even a beginning of conscious experience to the individual.
        27. § 45. Nor, even if it could, would this affect the question: for it cannot be an element either (1) in the world of knowable facts, or (2) in the consciousness implied in that world.
        28. § 46. (1) Not in the world of facts; for a sensation unqualified by any relation is no fact, and the minimum of such qualification, that of sequence and degree, implies thought.
        29. § 47. This can be disputed only when thought is wrongly conceived as a mere faculty of this or that individual.
        30. § 48. No doubt sensation may exist without thought in the animals and in man; but, as merely felt, it is a fact not for itself but for consciousness.
        31. § 49. (2) Not in the consciousness implied in the world of facts: for, just so far as we feel without thinking, no world of facts exists for us.
        32. § 50. Alike in the world of fact and in the consciousness implied in it, feeling and thought are inseparable; nor can we account for either as the product of the other, nor for their unity as the product of anything outside of itself.
        33. § 51. Thus the unaccountable residuum, on which the distinction of nature from things-in-themselves was based, is not to be found either in the world or in the consciousness to which the world is object.
        34. § 52. Nature, then, implies a non-natural principle, which we may call a self-distinguishing consciousness, and which cannot be subject to the relations it establishes between phenomena,—e.g. cannot be in time or space, cannot be material or moved.
        35. § 53. If it be objected that matter is a substance, not a relation, this only means that it is the correlation of change; a determination which can no more be applied to the spiritual principle than change itself.
        36. § 54. Use and necessity of the distinction between nature and spirit employed in the above discussion.
    2. Chapter II: The Relation of Man, as Intelligence, to the Spiritual Principle in Nature

      1. §55. Human experience is one the one hand an order of events, on the other a consciousness of this order. This consciousness cannot be a part of the process of nature.
      2. §56. This is concealed by the ordinary representation of knowledge as a series or succession of states of consciousness; a representation which is partially true of the process whereby knowledge grows and decays, ...
      3. §57. but not at all true of knowledge itself, which may be of events or phenomena, but cannot be itself a phenomenon or event.
      4. §58. Confusion on this point is due, in part, to the error of separating intellectual activities, as events in our mental history, from their objects or contents, and transferring the latter from consciousness to external things ...
      5. §59. The error is most easily committed in the case of Perception. Sensation being necessary to perception, the perceived object is confused with the stimulant of sensation, and thus extruded from consciousness.
      6. §60. But the stimulant of sensation is never the perceived object; and this cannot be outside consciousness.
      7. §61. And it is implicitly admitted that the perceiving consciousness is no series of phenomena, when a perception is defined as the synthesis of all the sensations we have had of the object (Lewes).
      8. §62. For this, if true, must mean, not a number of sensations revived, as sensations, on occasion of a present sensation being felt; but the synthesis of the facts that sensations have occurred with the fact that a sensation now occurs. This implies a self-distinguishing consciousness, which holds its experiences together as related facts, and therefore cannot be a series of events.
      9. §63. And, though the relations through which the perceiving consciousness determines the object are not adequate to its full nature, that nature must consist in relations, which again imply a self-distinguishing consciousness.
      10. §64. This account of perception does not imply that we can make objects at will--for we cannot make consciousness at will--but it implies that consciousness, as active even in simple perception, is not a series of phenomena: ...
      11. §65. and thus shows the existence of an eternal consciousness in man as the basis of an act which all admit that he can perform.
      12. §66. But how can the presence of this eternal principle be reconciled with the apparent fact that our consciousnessvaries and grows?
      13. §67. Our consciousness, as a function of the animal organism, does develope in time: but the consciousness which constitutes our knowledge is the eternally complete consciousness as so far realised through that organism.
      14. §68. This does not imply two minds in man, but that two conceptions are needed for the understanding of the one mind; as two conceptions are also needed for the understanding of organic life.
      15. §69. The common notions of the growth of knowledge also involve this twofold conception of it, as the gradual development in us of the consciousness of an eternal order; and as this order cannot exist apart from our consciousness of it, ...
      16. §70. an eternal consciousness must be operative in us to produce the gradual development of our knowledge.
      17. §71. Illustration of this by the process of reading, where a general consciousness that sentences have a meaning operates in the apprehension of the meaning of particular sentences.
      18. §72. The self-communication to us of the eternal consciousness can never be complete, because made in time through the series of sensuous events; but it is necessary to explain the simplest beginning, as well as the growth, of knowledge: ...
      19. §73. not that this fore-casting idea is present to us before the experience in which it realises itself, but that it operates in that experience without being reflected on at first.
    3. Chapter III: The Freedom of Man as Intelligence

      1. §74. The subject in whom such an eternal consciousness reproduces itself is, like it, a free cause.
      2. §75. It cannot be called the cause of the worldin the sense in which one phenomenon is called the cause of another; for this implies determination from without, whereas consciousness and the world from which it distinguishes itself are not external to each other, ...
      3. §76. nor can either be conceived as having a nature of its own apart from the other. But we may call it a free cause because in determining the world it is not determined by anything other than itself.
      4. §77. Nor does the epithet free take away all meaning from the word cause: for we have in knowledge the experience of such a causality in ourselves. Though man's natural life is determined like other phenomena by the eternal consciousness, as a knowing subject he is not determined by it but a reproduction of it, and therefore a free cause.
      5. §78. But does not this imply that man himself is in part a mere product of nature, and only in part free?
      6. §79. No: for (1) even the animal functions organic to knowledge cease by that fact to be merely natural.
      7. §80. And (2) man himself can mean only the self which distinguishes itself from natural relations, ...
      8. §81. and which, as consciousness of time and of successive events, cannot itself be conditioned by time or by anything in time.
      9. §82. That the eternal consciousness realises itself by means of organic functions which have a natural history, is a fact which we cannot explain, but it does not affect the freedom implied in that consciousness.
      10. §83. Nor will our conclusion be affected if we suppose that the human organism has descended from a merely animal organism, ...
      11. §84. and that the appearance of the distinctively human consciousness may have required as its condition a certain development of sensibility, which may be itself the result of a long experience on the part of beings gifted with sense but not with such consciousness.
  5. Book II: The Will

    1. Chapter I: The Freedom of the Will

      1. §85. As consciousness distinguishes itself from impressions and thus gradually becomes the apprehension of a world of knowledge, so it distinguishes itself from wants and impulses to satisfy them.
      2. §86. The conception thence arising (even if we confine our view to objects wanted for the satisfaction of the animal nature) is that of a world of practice; of something which should be, and which, unlike the object of knowledge, depends for its reality on our prior idea of it.
      3. §87. In other words, in the world of practice the determining causes are motives. And accordingly the question whether moral philosophy can be a natural science, or whether the will is free, will be the question whether motives are natural phenomena.
      4. §88. A mere want is strictly natural. But a motive involves the action of self-consciousness on the want: ...
      5. §89. and the necessity of the want to the existence of this motive does not make the motive natural, unless the self-consciousness implied in it is natural, ...
      6. §90. i.e. unless it is an event, or a series of events, or a relation between events: and it can be none of these.
      7. §91. This does not imply that the motive is in part an animal want and in part self-consciousness. The motiveis always an idea of personal good; of which idea animal want may be a condition but cannot be a part.
      8. §92. The existence of action from such motives is far more certain than that of the actions we call instinctive, and we can only represent the latter by a negation of the characteristics which we know to belong to the former.
      9. §93. This knowledge, being a knowledge of action from the inner side, can only be attained through self-reflection, guarded by constant reference to the experience of mankind embodied in language, literature, and institutions; ...
      10. §94. and, as the knowledge so gained is the presupposition of all enquiry into the history of the fact, it cannot be affected by such enquiry.
      11. §95. Self-reflection then shows that the motive is always an idea of personal good. The want that conditions it is natural; it itself, as constituted by self-consciousness, is not so; and although its moral quality depends on the concrete character of the agent, in the formation of that character also self-consciousness has been active.
      12. §96. When, for example, Esau sells his birthright, an animal want conditions his motive, but the motive itself is his idea of himself as finding his good in the satisfaction of the animal want; and if it were not so he would not so he would not hold himself responsible.
      13. §97. How does this affect the question of moral freedom? The answer is that the question of freedom is the question as to the origin of motives.
      14. §98. To say that the motive is the outcome of circumstances and character is ambiguous: for (1) the circumstances determine the motive only through the reaction of the character or self on them, and (2) the most important of them presuppose such reactions in the past; ...
      15. §99. and the character or slef, being a reproduction of the eternal self-consciousness through organic processes, cannot be determined by circumstances which it has not itself determined.
      16. §100. This does not imply that there is a mysterious entity, called the self, apart from all particular thoughts, desires, and feelings; such a self would be an unreal abstraction, but so also are the thoughts, feelings, and desires apart from the self.
      17. §101. Hence also the self in this aspect has a history in the same sense in which the self as intelligence has a history (� 66 and foll.); the possibility of this history depending on the presence of a self-consciousness which has none.
      18. §102. Thus the form in which it presents a good to itself is conditioned by past presentations; but these, like the new presentation, are time-less acts in which the self identifies itself with some desire. This identification is the motive, and the resulting act is therefore free.
      19. §103. This point is obscured when the motive is confused with a mere desire, as it commonly is by indeterminists when they assert an unmotived choice between motives, and by determinists when they hold that the act is necessarily determined by the strongest motive.
      20. §104. It is true that the act does necessarily proceed from the motive; but the motive is not one of the desires which solicit a man, but one of these as identified by the man with himself.
      21. §105. To call it strongest is misleading, because this would co-ordinate it with the mere desires; and strength has quite different meanings as applied to them and as applied to the will or character.
      22. §106. Thus the statement that the motive is the outcome of circumstances and character is compatible with with the idea of freedom, if it be understood that both circumstances and character, though conditioned only through a self-distinguishing and self-seeking consciousness.
      23. §107. But in admitting this we must guard against the misconception that the character of a man is something other than himself, which co-operates with an equally independent force of circumstances to determine his action.
      24. §108. For the character is the man, who is thus not determined except as he determines himself.
      25. §109. And, though the act is a necessary result (all results are necessary results), the agent is not a necessary, because not a natural, agent.
      26. §110. Remorse and self-reformation are intelligible on this view; which they would not be, either if action, present and past, did not proceed from self-consciousness, or if it proceeded from an unmotivated power of choice.
      27. §111. Still an objection may be raised in the form of a question, If my present depends on my past, and my future on my present, why should I try to become better?--a question arising from the confused idea that, if the act is a necessary result of the agent, the agent must be necessary, i.e. an instrument of natural forces.
      28. §112. But the question itself implies that the questioner is not this, but a self-distinguishing and self-seeking consciousness; that his future depends upon this consciousness; and that it would be absurd to try to become better unless it so depended.
      29. §113. If it be rejoined that the agent was, to start with, a mere natural result, and that all his development, even though self-consciousness is present in it, follows necessarily on that beginning; ...
      30. §114. the answer is that from such a beginning no self-consciousness could possibly be developed, for there is no identity between that beginning and it.
    2. Chapter II: Desire, Intellect, and Will

      1. § 115. If a motive is always the idea of some personal good (§ 91), how does the good will differ from the bad? To answer this question we must consider the nature of will in its relation to intellect and desire. …
      2. § 116. Is the unity implied in our speaking of certain phenomena as desires, as acts of will, and as acts of intellect, in each case merely the personification of an abstraction? …
      3. § 117. Or is it a real unity, arising from the action of a single principle in all the phenomena of each group,—or, rather, one single principle in all three groups? …
      4. Desire
        1. § 118. Desire, as involving consciousness of self and of object, is to be distinguished from instinctive impulse, which implies only feeling of self. …
        2. § 119. Feeling of self constitutes individuality in a sense in which individuality does not belong to anything soul-less; and with feeling of self goes instinctive impulse to pleasure and from pain. …
        3. § 120. But human individuality is a consciousness of self which supervenes upon animal self-feeling and transforms it: and this is the basis of desire as well as of knowledge, both of them involving consciousness of objects. …
        4. § 121. For example, the instinctive impulse to obtain food, without consciousness of an object, falls short of the desire for food, involving that consciousness: …
        5. § 122. and so does an impulse arising from the revived image of a past pleasure; for such impulse, observable in some animals, does not require consciousness of self as an object. …
        6. § 123. This—even if, as seems improbable, any animals share in it—is that which gives its character to the moral and intellectual experience of man. …
        7. § 124. It is implied (1) even in the desire for food; clearly so, if what is desired is really some ulterior object, and not less so, if what is desired is merely the pleasure of eating. …
        8. § 125. And apart from self-consciousness animal desire would have no moral character.
        9. § 126. But (2) most of our desires are for objects which are not directly dependent on animal susceptibility at all, or which, even where so dependent, are transformed by the addition of new elements derived from self-consciousness itself. …
        10. § 127. And (3) the same action of self-consciousness is farther implied in the qualification of desires by one another and by the idea of a happiness on the whole; …
        11. § 128. a qualification present even where effort seems to be concentrated on the satisfaction of a single desire …
        12. § 129. Thus there is a real unity in all our desires; only it is not Desire, but the self. But this is also the unity in all acts of intellect; how then are we to reconcile this with the obvious difference of intellect from desire?
      5. Desire and Intellect
        1. § 130. Neither is reducible to the other, and each is dependent on the other. For (1) each involves the consciousness of self and of a world as opposed, and the effort to overcome this opposition. …
        2. § 131. Desire, to the consciousness desiring, strives to remove the opposition by giving reality in the world to an object which as desired, is only ideal. …
        3. § 133. Intellect strives to reduce a material apparently alien and external to intelligibility, i.e. to make ideal an object which at first presents itself only as real. …
        4. § 133. And this unity in desire and intellect may be expressed by calling the soul, as desiring, practical thought, and the soul, as understanding, speculative thought. …
        5. § 134. (2) Further, each is necessarily accompanied by the other; for intellect would not work unless the end of its working were desired; and desire involves intellect, at least in the apprehension of the conditions on which the reality of the desired object depends. …
        6. § 135. And in some cases there is still a more complete involution of desire and intellect; an intellectual process (e.g. that of the artist) being throughout a realisation of desire, and a desired end in practical life involving intellect in its constitution. …
        7. § 136. Desire and intellect, then, are different manifestations of one self-consciousness, each involved in every complete spiritual act.
      6. Desire and Will
        1. § 137. Will seems to be distinct from desire and capable of opposing it (as well as intellect). In case of such conflict, where is the unity of self-consciousness?
        2. § 138. Even if it is true that a man desires, at the same time and in the same sense, incompatible objects, yet the conflicting desires, like the desire defeated but still felt, differ entirely from the desire with which the man identifies himself. …
        3. § 139. This latter desire is said (a) to be simply the strongest of the conflicting desires, or (b) not to be desire at all, but will …
        4. § 140. The first view is certainly incorrect: for the relation of the self to the so-called strongest desire is different in kind from its relation to the desires still conflicting. …
        5. § 141. And this is equally the case, whether the adopted desire is good and the defeated desires bad, or vice versa. …
        6. § 142. On the other hand, if we accept the second view, we must understand that will means the adoption of a desired object; and also that will acts even where it is not preceded or accompanied by any conflicting or defeated desires. …
        7. § 143. Thus, while the use of language fluctuates, the essential distinction is that between the mere solicitations of desire and the identification of the self with a desired object (§ 103 foll.) …
        8. § 144. To refuse to call this identification desire would be arbitrary; and in this sense of desire will and desire are not different nor in conflict. …
        9. § 145. But to call the will the strongest desire is to obliterate the distinction between the mere solicitations of desire and the desire which the self has identified with itself. …
        10. § 146. The former act upon the man, but in the latter the man himself acts: …
        11. § 147. and this equally whether he acts on impulse or after a conflict of desires
      7. Will and Intellect
        1. § 148. In spite of the involution of intellect and desire or will (§ 134 foll.), there is a clear distinction between the speculative and practical employments of the mind; and therefore, if the former be called thought and the latter will, these may be distinguished and even opposed. …
        2. § 149. But it is misleading to say that mere thought is not will, or that will is more than thought; whether by thought is meant speculative activity in general (for this is not an element in will but co-ordinate with it); …
        3. § 150. or (2) the otiose contemplation of an action as a possible future event (for thinking in this sense is not the thinking involved in willing); …
        4. § 151. or (3) the thought which is involved in willing (for such thought is, like the desires involved in willing, not a separable part, but only a distinguishable aspect, of will) …
        5. § 152. The desire and thought which are separable from will and from each other are antecedent conditions of will, but are not the desire and thought in will. …
        6. § 153. The will then is not some distinct part of man, separable from intellect and desire, nor a combination of them. It is simply the man himself, and only so the source of action.
  6. Book III: The Moral Ideal and Moral Progress

    1. Chapter I: Good and Moral Good

      1. §154. The distinction between the good and the bad will is the basis of Ethics. The form of all acts of will being the identification of the self with the idea of an object in which self-satisfaction is sought, the moral quality of the act depends on the nature of this object.
      2. §155. Different senses in which these statements could be accepted by a Utilitarian and by Kant. …
      3. Pleasure and Desire
        1. §156. If the difference between objects willed is a difference in respect of motive, there can be, according to strict Hedonism, no intrinsic difference between them; the moral quality of an act depends on its effects, and while these differ the motive is always the same, viz. pleasure …
        2. §157. But this theory, which offends the unsophisticated mind, owes its plausibility to a confusion …
        3. §158. For, although in all desire self-satisfaction is sought, and although in all self-satisfaction there is pleasure, it does not follow that the object desired is pleasure …
        4. §159. Not only is self-satisfaction sought in ways known to involve a sacrifice of pleasure certain never to be made good; …
        5. §160. but whatever object a man seeks self-satisfaction in,—whether he be a voluptuary or a saint or an ordinary man,—it is not the pleasure of self-satisfaction that he seeks …
        6. §161. For this presupposes direct desire for the object; and though desire for the object may be reinforced by desire for the pleasure expected in it, yet if the latter desire supersede the former it tends to defeat itself …
        7. §162. Owing to the confusion just indicated, Mill is unaware that in holding some kinds of pleasure to be intrinsically more desirable than others he gives up the first principle of Hedonism …
        8. §163. For if pleasure alone is the ultimate good or desirable, on what ground can some pleasures be described as in their quality better than others? …
        9. §164. On the ground, according to Mill, that men knowing both do prefer the former to the latter. But, if the strongest desire is always for the greatest pleasure, this only shows that the former are, for such men, quantitatively superior …
        10. §165. Mill's meaning however is not this, but that (for example) the sense of dignity is much more essential to such men's happiness than the rejected pleasures.
        11. §166. But the inconsistency of this position with Hedonism is not clearly perceived, because the desire for the sense of dignity is confused with the desire for the pleasure it may bring …
        12. §167. Whereas, in truth, to say that the desired object is essential to happiness is not to say that the desire for it is a desire for pleasure …
        13. §168. The same confusion is present in other arguments on which Mill rests the proof of Utilitarianism …
        14. §169. It is only through it that certain desires, on the reality of which he insists, can be considered desires for pleasure; e.g. the disinterested desire of virtue, and the desires of money, power, and fame. …
        15. §170. It appears therefore that Hedonism involves the denial of an intrinsic difference between the good and the bad will, and that the grounds of this denial will not bear examination. …
      4. The Intrinsic Nature of Moral Good
        1. §171. Good, then, being defined as that which satisfies desire, true good or moral good will be that which satisfies a moral agent as such. …
        2. §172. What in its fulness this true good is we cannot tell; but the idea that it is is the spring of progress towards it, and we can see in what direction it lies by this progress as so far made. …
        3. §173. The assumptions that it is, that it is present to a divine consciousness, that the idea of it has been the spring of progress hitherto and is the condition of further moral effort, …
        4. §174. rest in part on future discussions, in part on the conclusions arrived at already, that intellectual and moral activity necessarily imply the reproduction in man of an eternal consciousness which is object to itself. …
        5. §175. As being such reproduction under limitations, man is not merely determined by natural wants, but has the idea of himself as differently or more completely realised or satisfied than he is. …
        6. §176. Hence comes the search, and the vanity of the search, for satisfaction in mere pleasure or other selfish ends; hence also the differentia of moral goodness, search for satisfaction in devotion to an end absolutely desirable. …
        7. §177. And this implies the union of developed will with developed reason; i.e. the seeking for satisfaction in that which contributes to realise a true idea of the end. …
        8. §178. In this definition a certain precedence is given to reason, because (though it is also the condition of vice), as rightly developed, it has the initiative of all virtue; …
        9. §179. the good actually pursued being in most cases discrepant from, or inadequate to, the idea of true good; and this idea being the medium through which the object of actual pursuit is changed or developed. At the same time this language must not be taken to imply an unreal separation of will and reason …
    2. Chapter II: Characteristics of the Moral Ideal

      1. A. The Personal Character of the Moral Ideal
        1. § 180. If moral goodness then is devotion to the moral end or ideal, and if the idea of this end is a divine principle of improvement in man, …
        2. § 181. what is its relation to the will and reason of man? Does it realise itself in individuals, or in a society to which individuals are only means, or in Humanity?
        3. § 182. In any case in persons (personality meaning self-consciousness); for it is only because we cannot reduce this self-objectifying consciousness to anything else that we believe that a divine principle realises itself in man.
        4. § 183. But the development of our personality depends on society, and on the other hand is thereby so limited as to seem incapable of realising the ideal.
        5. § 184. Hence we suppose it to be realised in nations, or in the progress of Humanity towards a perfect society. But, while it is true that apart from the nation the individual is an abstraction, it is also true that a nation or national spirit is an abstraction unless it exists in persons.
        6. § 185. Progress of Humanity, again, can mean only progress of personal character to personal character: however we try to explain the imperfection of this progress on the earth, it must be personal.
        7. § 186. Whatever be the difficulties attending it, the idea of human progress or development, which, like any idea of development, does not rest ultimately on observation of facts and cannot be destroyed by it, involves necessary presuppositions: …
        8. § 187. (1) that the capacities gradually realised in time are eternally realised for and in the eternal mind; …
        9. § 188. (2) that the end of the process of development should be a real fulfilment of the capacities presupposed by the process. And if it be objected that our knowledge of these capacities is not such as to give us an idea of the end that would fulfil them, …
        10. § 189. we may answer that from our knowledge of them we can say (1) that their development cannot be a mere process to infinity, but must have its end in an eternal state of being; and (2) that no state of being could be such end, in which the self-conscious personality presupposed by the process was either extinguished or treated as a mere means.
        11. § 190. On the other hand, just as society implies persons regarding themselves and others as persons, so also the realisation of human personality means its realisation in a society.
        12. § 191. And although this realisation would seem to imply a difference of functions in the different members of society, it would imply in all the fulfilment of the idea of humanity, i.e. devotion to the perfection of man.
      2. B. The Formal Character of the Moral Ideal or Law
        1. § 192. Thus the idea which the good will seeks to realise is identical in form with the idea of the end as realised in the eternal mind. We have now to see how it becomes the medium through which the latter idea determines the moral development of man.
        2. § 193. It does so by presenting to us an unconditional good, and by laying on us an unconditional law of conduct.
        3. § 194. When asked what this good is, we can only answer that it is the good will or the object of the good will; which again is the will for the unconditional good (§§ 171, 172). Hedonism avoids this circle, but only because its ideal is not a moral ideal.
        4. § 195. The circle is inevitable; for in the account of an agent whose development is governed by an ideal of his perfection the good will must appear both as end and means.
        5. § 196. This ideal, in a being who has other impulses than those which draw to it, must take the form of a law or categorical imperative: but this again cannot enjoin unconditionally anything but obedience to itself.
        6. § 197. It does enjoin, however, at least all the particular duties in which progress is made towards the realisation of man; and it enjoins them unconditionally as against everything except some new application of itself.
        7. § 198. The practical value of the idea of good as a criterion will be considered later (Book iv): the present question is the historical one, how this idea can have defined itself in the formation of particular duties and virtues.
    3. Chapter III: The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideal

      1. A. Reason as Source of the Idea of a Common Good
        1. §199. The idea of the end or unconditional good is that of the self as realised. And this self is social; i.e. its good includes that of others, who are also conceived as ends in themselves.
        2. §200. This social interest is a primitive fact, and though it may have been conditioned by, it cannot have been developed from, any animal sympathy in which it is not presupposed.
        3. §201. It implies the consciousness of self and others as persons, and therefore the consciousness of a permanent well-being in which the well-being of others is included.
        4. §202. The idea of unconditional good then will express itself in some form of general social requirement, irrespective of likes and dislikes; and this is what underlies the more developed ideas both of moral and legal right.
        5. §203. In this sense Reason, as necessary to the idea of an absolute and a common good, is the parent of Law, in the wider sense of law; …
        6. §204. and must have been present in any primitive state from which our present state has been, in the strict sense, developed: …
        7. §205. for there is no identity between the developed state of man and any state which has not these characteristics. What then are the movements into which development from this germ may be analysed?
      2. B. The Formal Character of the Moral Ideal or Law
        1. §206. In the first place (cf. § 218), this development consists in the extension of the range of persons whose common good is sought. The primitive duty to a narrow circle gradually widens into a duty to man as man.
        2. §207. This duty is felt by the highest minds to be morally as binding as any legal obligation, and cannot be explained as a modification of self-interest.
        3. §208. The humanitarian idea is no unreal extension of the social obligations of man, and must, as it becomes part of recognised morality, greatly further the development of human capabilities; and that not only for the many.
        4. §209. Hastened in various ways, and especially through its expression by Stoic philosophers, Roman jurists, and Christian teachers, it is yet the natural outcome of the original idea of a common good: …
        5. §210. and is now fixed to a certain extent in law and in social requirement.
        6. §211. If we take its abstract expression in the formula suum cuique, what does this imply as to the ideals of good and hence of conduct?
        7. §212. It implies a refinement of the sense of Justice; i.e. that no one should seek the good, either of himself or of anyone else, by means which hinder the good of others, or should measure the good of different persons by different standards.
        8. §213. The recognition of this idea by Utilitarianism in the formula Every one to count as one, and no one as more than one, has been the main source both of its beneficence and of its unpopularity.
        9. §214. The formula is however inferior to Kant’s maxim, Treat humanity always as an end; since, strictly interpreted in accordance with Hedonistic principles, it could only command equality of treatment in case that equality led to greater total pleasure.
        10. §215. This idea of justice, and of a duty to man as man, is at once a priori, as an intuition of conscience, and a posteriori, as a result of social progress embodied in institutions.
        11. §216. For the extension of the range of duty to the whole of humanity is the work of the same reason which is implied in the most elementary idea of common good, and the immanent action of which has overcome and utilised the opposition raised to it by selfishness; …
        12. §217. Reason being the beginning and end of the process, and its action without the individual and within him being only different aspects of the operation of one and the same principle.
    4. Chapter IV: The Development of the Moral Ideal—Continued

      1. C. The Determination of the Idea of Common Good
        1. §218. In the second place, moral progress is not only the widening of the range of persons whose common good is sought, but the gradual determination of the content of the idea of good.
      2. Pleasure and Common Good
        1. §219. Owing to the presence of reason in man, the self is distinguished from particular desires, and their satisfaction is accompanied or followed by the idea of something that would give full and lasting satisfaction.
        2. §220. And this idea of a good on the whole, by relation to which the value of a particular satisfaction is estimated, is involved in all moral judgment.
        3. §221. It is supposed, on the ground that all desire is for pleasure, to be the idea of a greatest sum of pleasures. But if all desire is for pleasure, it rather follows that a sum of pleasures cannot be desired, since it is not a pleasure and can only be conceived, not felt or imagined: ...
        4. §222. so tjat, if a sum of pleasures is, as a matter of fact, desired, this fact only shows that there is in man a desire wholly different from the desire forp pleasure, viz. a desire for the satisfaction of the permanent self.
        5. §223. But can the good which satisfies the self be the sum of pleasures? No; for the good is conceived as at least relatively permanent.
        6. §224. If, nevertheless, many persons affirm that their idea of this good is the idea of a sum of pleasures, the reason is that the desire for objects which will yield satisfaction is misinterpreted as desire for pleasure, whence the conclusion is drawn that good on the whole must be a number of pleasures.
        7. §225. And even when the misinterpretation is rejected and a disinterested desire for the good of others is asserted, this is supposed to be a desire for their pleasure.
        8. §226. Such a view however requires us to suppose two co-ordinate principles of moral action and judgment, viz. Reasonable Self-Love and Benevolence; and this result can be avoided only by reducing Benevolence to Self-Love, or by showing that the object of Self-Love is not a sum of pleasures.
        9. §227. That the second alternative is the truth is seen when we consider that a sum of pleasures cannot be enjoyed, and that each successive enjoyment of pleasure brings us no nearer to the good pursued.
        10. §228. And, though it is true that a man might think of his good or happiness (not indeed as a sum of pleasures, but) as a continuous enjoyable existence, still what men really do pursue is not this, but a well-being consisting in the attainment of desired objects.
        11. §229. Such an ideal and permanent object, and probably the most generally prevalent one, is the welfare of a family: and the desire for this is absolutely different from the desire for pleasure.
        12. §230. Whether or no the true good was at first identified with family well-being, it must have had the two characteristics of inspiring an interest and of being permanent like the self it has to satisfy.
        13. §231. And the well-being of a family, which is identified by a man with his own well-being and outlasts his life, has these characteristics.
        14. §232. Thus the true good is, and in its earliest form was, a social good, in the idea of which a man does not distinguish his own good from that of others.
        15. §233. Even if it were conceived as a succession of pleasures, desire for it would still not be reducible to desire for an imagined pleasure (§ 222); and, on the other hand, the Self-Love and Benevolence which would, on this supposition, each be directed to pleasures, would remain co-ordinate, not identical.
        16. §234. But in reality the good which a man seeks for himself is not a succession of pleasures, but objects which, when realised, are permanent contributions to a social good which thus satisfies the permanent self.
        17. §235. And this obviously involves the permanent good of others: so that, though a man may also seek his own pleasure, or, again, their pleasure, his idea of the true good is not an idea of pleasure, and in it there is no distinction of self and others.
        18. §236. The happiness he seeks for them is the same as that he seeks for himself, viz. the satisfaction of an interest in objects.
        19. §237. If he nevertheless supposed that he sought pleasures for others, this mistake, though probably of no great practical moment, would still be a mistake.
        20. §238. And this would be seen if the questions were considered, (1) whether he values the pleasures he supposes himself to seek for others by their quantity alone, and (2) whether what he seeks for others is not some permanent good such as is not to be found in experiences of pleasure.
        21. §239. This permanent good may be conceived in very different forms according to circumstances, but in any of its forms it consists not in pleasures, but in a realisation of a good common to self and others.
      3. Virtue as Common Good
        1. §240. There is a common basis in the lowest forms of interest in the continued being of the family, and in the highest form of interest in social well-being; and the latter developes out of the former.
        2. §241. For the former already involves the idea of a good which consists in the development of the capacities of persons; and this idea, acting unconsciously, gradually creates institutions and modes of life, reflection upon which shows what these capacities really are.
        3. §242. In the early stages of this progress the social good may appear to be conceived merely as material well-being; but reflection would show that this was not its whole content, and that the interest in it was really an interest in persons capable of a like interest, i.e. an interest in virtue.
        4. §243. At some time such reflection has arisen, and with it a conscious interest in virtue; as is shown by the distinction made in the earliest literature between the possession of external goods and merit, or goods of the soul.
        5. §244. The progress from this beginning to the conviction that the only true good is to be good is complementary to the process described above (§§ 206-217); for the only good that is really common is the good will.
        6. §245. And if the idea of the community of good for all men has even now little influence, the reason is that we identify the good too little with good character and too much with good things.
    5. Chapter V: The Development of the Moral Ideal—Continued

      1. D. The Greek and the Modern Conceptions of Virtue
        1. §246. Thus progress with regard to the standard and practice of virtue means the gradual recognition that the true end consists not in external goods, nor even in the virtues as means to these, but in the virtues as ends in themselves: …
        2. §247. the recognition, that is, that the true end is the good will, which is to be conceived not merely as determined by the idea of moral law, but as active in the various endeavours to promote human development
        3. §248. Out of the earliest conception of virtue as valour in the struggle for common good grows the more complete Greek idea of it as including any eminent faculty,but the estimation of it has always been governed by an interest in man himself, not in what happens to him.
        4. §249. At a certain stage of reflection arises an effort to discover a unity in thevirtues and the various aspects of the good; and this effort, as is clear in the case of Socrates and his successors (to whom we owe our chief moral categories), has a great practical importance.
        5. §250. By such reflection the reason which had been active in social development became aware of its achievement, and so produced not merely an ethical theory but a higher order of virtue.
        6. §251. For the idea of virtue as one and conscious is equivalent to the idea of thegood will or of purity of heart; …
        7. §252. and this is what Plato and Aristotle require, when they insist that the condition and unity of all virtue lie in the conscious direction of the will to the human good.
        8. §253. That good was to them not pleasure but the exercise of the virtues themselves. In this respect their definition of the good is final; and if they could only imperfectly define the content of the idea, that defect is due mainly to the nature of morality itself.
        9. §254. The good was defined, to the extent then possible, by the actual pursuit of it in the recognised virtues; …
        10. §255. and the philosophers still further defined it, and also raised and purified the idea of it, by making men realise that these virtues were different expressions of one principle.
        11. §256. Thus we inherit from the Greek philosophers both the principle of morality and the general articulation of that principle.
        12. §257. Only our idea of the end has become fuller, because the endis more fully realised; and accordingly the standards of virtue, though identical in principle, are more comprehensive in their demands. This will appear if we examine the ideas of Fortitude and Temperance.
        13. §258. Fortitude seems at first sight to have changed its character since Aristotle’s time. For, with the recognition of human capacities in all and not merely in a few, …
        14. §259. Fortitude has come to involve, not merely the self-devotion of the citizen-soldier to his state, but self-devotion to the service of others, even of those whom the Greeks would have regarded as ignoble and useless.
        15. §260. But the principle of unlimited endurance for the highest social cause known remains the same, and the motive is neither more nor less pure.
        16. §261. Temperance and Self-denial were limited by Aristotle to the pleasures of animal appetite.
        17. §262. But the principle on which these pleasures were to be controlled or renounced was the same as in our wider virtue of self-denial, even when most ascetically conceived.
        18. §263. The motive of temperance was interest in something wider and higher than these pleasures, this higher object being to the Greek his state.
        19. §264. To us also the higher object is the state or some other association; but the requirements of this virtue, as of fortitude, have become much more various and comprehensive.
        20. §265. Accordingly, if we dismiss, as mistaken, the idea that the pleasures in question ought to be rejected because they are not distinctively human, …
        21. §266. just as further improvement now must depend mainly on a further improvement in social conditions, and especially in the position of women.
        22. §268. Further, (2) the range of the actions which issue from temperance, as conceived by Aristotle, is far more limited than that of the actions in which self-denial, as now conceived, is shown.
        23. §269. For in the highest forms of self-denial the pleasures renounced are not those of animal appetite, but the higher pleasures; …
        24. §270. the call for such sacrifice arising from that enfranchisement of all men which implies a claim of all upon each, necessarily unrecognised by Aristotle.
        25. §271. Thus, here again, progress is due to the greater comprehensiveness of the idea of social good; and, while the good will is the same in the Greek and the modern ideals, it demands now a new and larger self-denial.
        26. §272. It may be objected that this change is not a progress but a retrogression, because it involves a larger renunciation of pleasures not mischievous but valuable.
        27. §273. But the renunciation, though not in itself desirable, does, when considered in its reality and in relation to society as a whole, imply a fuller realisation of human nature.
        28. §274. For the realisation described in the Greek ideal, and apparently so much fuller than any attainable by the self-denying Christian, was possible only to a few, and to them only through the exclusion of others: …
        29. §275. whereas the end sought by the modern ideal character is sought for all, and the activities called out by the pursuit of it are correspondingly wider; and of this advance the larger renunciation of pleasures seems to be a condition.
        30. §276. Further, while the more developed state of man certainly implies a corresponding pleasure, it is doubtful whether it implies a greater amount of pleasure than the less developed, and whether even the perfection of man may not involve a large renunciation of possible pleasure.
        31. §277. In any case it can hardly be held that the self-denying man obtains, because he follows his strongest desires, more pleasure than he forgoes; nor is it at all clear even that his self-denial increases the aggregate of human pleasures.
        32. §278. So that the superiority must be claimed for the modern ideal, not on Hedonistic grounds, but on those given in §§ 273-275.
        33. §279. To sum up: the Platonic or Aristotelian conception of virtue is final in so far as it defines the good as goodness; but as a concrete ideal it was conditioned by the moral progress then achieved, and is therefore necessarily inadequate; …
        34. §280. since the idea of human brotherhood leads to social requirements then unrecognised.
        35. §281. On the other hand, the social development to which this idea is due was in part the result of the Greek conception of the good as something in essence universal: for no good except goodness is really this.
        36. §282. It is an illusion to suppose that the desires of different men for pleasure would, if left to themselves, produce the greatest possible general pleasure or a social union.
        37. §283. On the contrary, interest in the common good, in some of its various forms, is necessary to produce that good, and to neutralise or render useful other desires and interests.
        38. §284. Now the good, as defined by the Greek philosophers, was in principle a universal good (though they did not so imagine it), and thus their work prepared the way for the idea of human brotherhood.
        39. §285. For it provided the intellectual medium through which men, influenced by Christian enthusiasm and by the results of Roman conquest, could definitely conceive goodness as realised in the members of a universal society.
        40. §286. Ideal virtue, then, being defined as self-devoted activity to the perfection of man, this perfection itself may be defined as a life of such activity on the part of all persons.
        41. §287. Nor is the objection valid that self-devotion, as implying an impeded activity, cannot be an element in ultimate good, but must belong only to the effort to attain that good.
        42. §288. For though the perfection of man would mean such a realisation of human possibilities as we cannot imagine, it must still find its principle in the same devoted will which is manifested in all effort to attain it.
        43. §289. It may however be objected, (1) that our definition of virtue does not cover artistic and scientific excellence, and therefore leaves their value unexplained; …
        44. §290. (2) that it does not help us to decide what ought to be done, and whether we are doing it. With this second objection we have now to deal.
  7. Book IV: The Application of Moral Philosophy to the Guidance of Conduct

    1. Chapter I: The Practical Value of the Moral Ideal

      1. § 291. The question, Ought an action to be done? may refer (1) to its effects, (2) to its motive. The latter question is the wider, as it includes the former.
      2. § 292. The answers to either question must be regulated by one and the same principle. According to Utilitarianism, relation to pleasure must be the standard for both effects and motive; but the goodness of the act depends on the effects alone.
      3. § 293. According to our theory, the act cannot be in the full sense good, unless the motive is good: but we may estimate it apart from the motive, and we must do so when (as is commonly the case with the acts of others) the motive is unknown to us.
      4. § 294. Thus this theory differs from Utilitarianism in holding (1) that the effect to be considered is contribution not to pleasure but to the perfection of man, (2) that this effect by itself cannot make the act in the full sense good.
      5. § 295. Indeed, but for our imperfect knowledge, we should see that in all cases the character of the effects really represents accurately that of the motive.
      6. § 296. But since for practical purposes enquiry into motive is restricted to acts of our own, whether past or future, the question is, Can such enquiry give truer knowledge of what we ought to do, or a better disposition to do it?
      7. § 297. The habit of such enquiry is conscientiousness: and, admitting that self-devotion need not imply this habit, and that, in a sense, a man may be over-conscientious,
      8. § 298. it remains true that the comparison of our actions with an ideal of goodness is the spring of moral progress, social as well as individual
      9. § 299. For there is a real identity between such self-scrutiny as to motives, and the reformer’s comparison of what is actual with a social ideal; the social ideal of the reformer being at the same time the idea of himself promoting it.
      10. § 300. But, it may be said, the effect in this case is a new kind of action, whereas the acts of the conscientious man probably do not differ outwardly from those of the ordinary dutiful citizens.
      11. § 301. The latter statement is however not entirely true: for conventional morality, being the result of the past working of an ideal consciousness, will not yield its highest meaning except to a spirit like that which produced it.
      12. § 302. And, apart from this, such a spirit has an intrinsic value, which (unlike zeal for social reform) would remain even if the human end were as fully realised as is possible to finite beings.
      13. § 303. And under present conditions the difference between the social reformer and the saint is one, not of will or principle, but of circumstances and gifts.
      14. § 304. But, if conscientiousness has thus an intrinsic value, can we further say that this enquiry into one’s own motives may (§ 296) give a truer knowledge of what we ought to do and a better disposition to do it?
      15. § 305. It is clear that mere honesty in such enquiry will not ensure a correct judgment as to the effects, and that, if the effects are bad, the state of mind, or motive, from which the act proceeded cannot have been ideally good.
      16. § 306. But the function of conscience is not to estimate the precise value of an act (which is, strictly speaking, impossible to us), but to maintain moral aspiration; and this it can do without exhaustive inquiry into the consequences of conduct.
      17. § 307. And thus conscientiousness, though it does not itself instruct us what to do, suggests the search for new instruction and enjoins te acting upon it when found.
      18. § 308. For the ideal, in the conscientious mind, is not a mere definition, but an active idea, constantly applying itself to fresh circumstances.
      19. § 309. And thus it is the creator of existing moral practice, and, in its various forms, the condition of all further progress.
    2. Chapter II: The Practical Value of a Theory of the Moral Ideal

      1. § 310. As the presence of the moral ideal in the character cannot always avert perplexity, we may ask, Can philosophy, i.e. a theory of the moral ideal, render any service in such cases?
      2. § 311. It can render a service, though mainly of a negative kind; either by delivering us from the perplexity which arises from the conflict of rules or institutions believed to have an absolute authority, or by counteracting inadequate moral theories which may give an excuse for a rebellion of the lower nature.
      3. § 312. For the dangers arising from inadequate theories, and from the necessarily partial character of the theory of any particular time, can be met only by the further pursuit of philosophy itself.
      4. § 313. It is not indeed the function of philosophy to give directions (1) as to the ordinary duties which form the great mass of morality; …
      5. § 314. or to remove perplexity (2) regarding the exact circumstances or effects of an action, or (3) due in reality to a concealed egoistic motive.
      6. § 315. But where, as in the case of Jeannie Deans, the perplexity is due to a conflict between conscience and a really noble impulse, we may ask whether our theory of the good could give any help.
      7. § 316. It could not if the conflicting claims were described in the abstract: but in a particular case the philosopher might press the question, whether the good impulse did not imply a shrinking from a higher but more painful good.
      8. § 317. Really howeer in such a case the philosopher’s judgment would, like other men’s, consist in a more intuitive application of the ideal; and philosophy can only be of use in preparing for such junctures by sustaining the ideal through an explanation of the imaginative forms in which practical ideas express themselves, and which alone affect us decisively in an emergency.
      9. § 318. For such forms must be theoretically inadequate to spiritual realities, and are therefore easily supposed to represent no spiritual reality.
      10. § 319. And against this mere scepticism, where it attacks those creations of the religious imagination which are ethically adequate, philosophy has a theoretical work to do, which yields a practical result, …
      11. § 320. by preventing the doubt which may arise in a moment of emergency, whether the demand of conscience, coming in an imaginative form, is not illusory.
      12. § 321. There remain the cases of true perplexity of conscience, in which equal authorities seem to conflict, and conscience seems to be divided against itself.
      13. § 322. For these philosophy may prepare the mind by showing how the opposed dicta of conscience, though both products of the idea of unconditional good, are not of necessity unconditionally valid.
      14. § 323. The content of the obligation they assert is blended with the imagination of some authority imposing it: whereas, in fact, no really external authority can impose a duty.
      15. § 324. Thus, though there cannot really be more than one duty in a given set of circumstances, there may be conflicting demands of different authorities, both regarded as absolute.
      16. § 325. In such cases it is certainly not for philosophy simply to destroy men’s reverence for these authorities by pointing out that they are external; …
      17. § 326. but rather to show that their commands are at once interpreted and limited by the idea of absolute good of which they are partial expressions.
      18. § 327. This practical service will best be rendered, if philosophy restricts itself to its theoretical and proper function of understanding the end or ideal, and its relation to external authorities and to conscience.
      19. § 328. Such enlightenment however, to be of practical value, presupposes a well-formed habitual morality.
    3. Chapter III: The Practical Value of a Hedonistic Moral Philosophy

      1. § 329. The moral theory which has been of most public service in modern Europe is Utilitarianism.
      2. § 330. Objections to its appeal to expediency are, in the main, ill-founded; and though such an appeal may cover an egoistic motive or be superficial, this is also true of appeals to principle.
      3. § 331. The healthful influence of Utilitarianism has arisen from its giving a wider and more impartial range to the deisre to do good, not from its stimulating that desire, …
      4. § 332. nor, again, from its definition of good as pleasure: for in the public causes where it has furthered progress, the important question has been, not as to the nature of ultimate good, but as to the number of persons whose good is to be sought.
      5. § 333. At the same time the question may be raised, whether this definition of good, if logically carried out, would not destroy the practical value of Utilitarianism and do harm.
      6. § 334. Probably most Utilitarians, even if strict Hedonists, would not hold that private conduct either is or should be usually directed by a calculation of consequences in the way of pleasure.
      7. § 335. On the other hand, such calculation has been becoming much more common, and is undertaken with a direct view to the guidance of life.
      8. § 336. Rejecting the idea that Hedonism in this way directly promotes immorality, our question will be whether it may not put speculative impediments in the way of moral progress.
      9. § 337. Its prevalence may be ascribed (apart from theoretical mistakes) to the necessary indefiniteness of the account of the good as human perfection, and the apparent clearness of its definition as pleasure.
      10. § 338. But in reality, while either theory may suffice for the ordinary cases where no theory is needed, in the few remaining cases Hedonism is intrinsically unavailable.
      11. § 339. If, for example, a man thinks of acting against inclination or social expectation for the sake of increasing the total of pleasure, how can he assure himself of this result?
      12. § 340. Any one who puts such a question must face a preliminary difficulty. For, if action must follow the strongest desire, and this is necessarily of what seems the greatest pleasure, it follows that the aggregate of pleasures at any time enjoyed must be the greatest that could be obtained for that given time through action.
      13. § 341. But, if so, we cannot say that a man ought to have acted as he did not. And even where we seem able to say that a different course, if it had been possible, would have produced more pleasure to him, …
      14. § 342. such a judgment cannot be generalised; and any prediction of the kind will be subject to an indefinite number of exceptions due to the character or circumstances of individuals.
      15. § 343. Again, if it be maintained that a course of action, if generally pursued, would tend to diminish pleasure, this has no bearing on the question whether, as pursued here and now, it will diminish the pleasure of the agent: …
      16. § 344. and if he is told to consider the total of human pleasure, it seems impossible to decide, in the case supposed, whether this will be augmented or diminished by the act.
      17. § 345. Nor can the reformer even hope that by his labours and sacrifices the sum of pleasure necessarily obtained in the future will be greater than that necessarily obtained now: for, though he may hope that such increase may happen, he cannot logically suppose that he has any initiative in the matter.
      18. § 346. And this speculative conclusion, even if merely suspected, must tend to weaken the good will, or devotion to duty.
      19. § 347. For how can the phraseology of duty be explained, when nothing can be done except from desire for pleasure or aversion to pain?
      20. § 348. A duty must be explained to mean, ultimately, an act pleasing to others, whose pleasure may produce results pleasant to the agent; and conscience must be explained as the result of association and heredity.
      21. § 349. By this theory we may avoid some of the perplexities discussed above; …
      22. § 350. but (as an illustration will show) the difficulty of explaining the moral initiative of the individual, and the danger of weakening it, are still involved.
      23. § 351. And this danger might become real, if the Hedonistic criterion came to be widely used by men who did not, like the leaders of Utilitarianism, give a higher interpretation of their theory in reference to great schemes of social reform
    4. Chapter IV: The Practical Value of Utilitarianism Compared with that of the Theory of the Good as Human Perfection

      1. § 352. The theory of the good as human perfection accounts for the moral initiative, but can it give any guidance as to the direction that initiative ought to take? Can it, that is, beside stimulating conscientiousness, help to decide whether a new course of action (§ 339) will further the human end?
      2. § 353. Though we cannot form a positive or detailed conception of what human perfection would be, there is no difficulty, at this stage of human progress, in conceiving an idea of a state nearer to perfection than the existing state.
      3. § 354. Hence though the idea of human perfection cannot enable us to calculate the effects of any institution or action, it supplies a measure of value for these effects in their relation to the production of personal excellence.
      4. § 355. To this it may be objected that in almost all cases a Utilitarian could accept this criterion (though not as ultimate), and that in the few remaining cases it is of no avail.
      5. § 356. The first part of the objection may be, on the whole, admitted, if the Utilitarian theory is separated from the Hedonistic theory of motives, and maintains only that the ultimate good and criterion is the greatest sum of pleasure to all human or sentient beings. What then can be said in favour of such a theory?
      6. The Good as Greatest Pleasure
        1. § 357. If the idea that the only possible motive is pleasure is abandoned, and it is held that in the actions most esteemed the motive is not pleasure, why is the ultimate good and criterion held to be pleasure?
        2. § 358. Probably mainly because this criterion is supposed to be definite and intelligible, since every one knows what pleasure is, and in a certain sense can compare a larger sum of pleasure with a smaller, and a larger sum of human or sentient beings with a smaller.
        3. § 359. But the Chief Good, according to the theory, is the greatest possible sum of pleasures. This strictly taken is a phrase without meaning, and cannot be used as a criterion for approval and disapproval of motives and actions.
        4. § 360. Are we to suppose then that the Chief Good contemplated by the theory is a state of general enjoyable existence?
        5. § 361. Such a conception, though not untrue, would be less definite than ours, which does not define the Chief Good by the single and undistinctive quality of pleasantness.
        6. § 362. Further, while such practical guidance as this criterion seems to afford depends on the assumption that conventional morality is to be followed, that morality owes its existence to efforts not conventional; and how could the criterion have directed men to these?
        7. § 363. On the other hand, the conception of the good as human perfection does help us to interpret this conventional morality, and thus to see the direction in which we should sometimes go beyond it.
      7. Mr. Sidgwick's view of Ultimate Good
        1. § 364. According to our theory the human perfection identified with ultimate good is a state of desirable consciousness, though not simply a state of pleasure; and pleasure is anticipated in the attainment of the desired end, though it is not the end desired.
        2. § 365. According to Mr. Sidgwick’s theory, on the other hand, desirable consciousness is the same as pleasure, and his Universalistic Hedonism (differing from the older Utilitarianism) seems to rest on the position that reason pronounces ultimate good to be desirable consciousness or pleasure, and, further, universal pleasure.
        3. § 366. But desirable, when it is distinguished from desired, seems to be equivalent to reasonably to be desired; and, if so, the doctrine will be that reason pronounces ultimate good to be the kind of consciousness it is reasonable to seek.
        4. § 367. And this circular statement is true, in so far as it expresses the fact that, as reason gives the idea of the end, that end must at any rate be something that will satisfy reason.
        5. § 368. The tautology is avoided where the end is defined as pleasure of all sentient beings; but then what ground is there for thinking that this end would satisfy reason?
        6. § 369. Pleasure is defined as desirable consciousness: but the end which a rational being seeks for himself, if desirable (not desired) consciousness, cannot be pleasure.
        7. § 370. And, as we have seen, the rational soul, in seeking an end, must seek its own realisation, and thus involves that it must seek also a like realisation of others.
        8. § 371. The perfection of man then, or ultimate good, will be a desirable conscious life, pleasant but not pursued as pleasure.
      8. § 372. We return to the comparison of the theories as possible sources of guidance in the exceptional cases where philosophy may be appealed to.
      9. § 373. In these cases it appears that Universalistic Hedonism would give no answer, and would thus leave to inclination the question of a painful departure from custom.
      10. § 374. For, ex hypothesi, the Hedonistic criterion supposed to be represented by conventional morality fails us; and how can the effects of the action on universal pleasure be theoretically estimated?
      11. § 375. In reality recourse is always had to some such ideal as that of human perfection. Can this then yield any guidance?
      12. § 376. It can at least say that the loss of pleasure involved in the painful departure from custom is morally indifferent, whereas the will so exerted is not only a means to further good but itself a realisation of good; …
      13. § 377. and that the further good which calls for the sacrifice is a bettering of man, identical in principle with that which is involved in the sacrifice.
      14. § 378. With Universalistic Hedonism, the presumption must be against the sacrifice: for it would always involve the loss of a certain pleasure in the present for the sake of an uncertain gain of pleasure in the future.
      15. § 379. On the other theory the presumption is in favour of the sacrifice; and for the particular case the criterion, though not by itself decisive, is more definite and easier to apply.
      16. § 380. For it is harder to say whether a particular course of action will increase universal pleasure—all other effects being desirable only as a means to this—than to say whether it will promote human excellence; …
      17. § 381. this being conceived as a common good, and the mode in which the individual can most fully contribute to it depending on circumstances and on his special aptitude.
      18. § 382. Our conclusion then is that, in the few cases where there is need or time to apply to philosophy for guidance, the theory of goodness as an end in itself is more available and less dangerous than Universalistic Hedonism.