gether, but which have no other like- whatever of the mind can really be conness, relation, or connection. But this, templated as separable from, or as unobviously, is not the kind of association combined with, others. which connects together the different As regards the first of these two ideas which are involved in the concep- things to be defined-namely, the idea tion of gratitude to those who have done which we affirm to be simple or elementus good. What then is the associating ary-it must be clearly understood that tie? What is the link which binds them this elementary character, this incapatogether, and constitutes the particular bility of being reduced by analysis, bekind or principle of association ? It is longs to the bare sense or feeling of oblithe sense of obligation. The associating gation, and not at all, or not generally, or grouping power lies in this sense. It to the processes of thought by which is the centre round which the other per- that feeling may be guided in its exerceptions aggregate. It is the seat of that cise. The distinction is immense and force which holds them together, which obvious. The sense of rightness and of keeps them in a definite and fixed rela- wrongness is one thing; the way in tion, and gives its mental character to which we come to attach the idea of the combination as a whole.

right or wrong to the doing of certain If we examine closely the language of acts, or to the abstention from certain those who have attempted to analyze other acts, is another and a very different the moral sense, or, in other words, the thing. This is a distinction which apsense of obligation, we shall always de- plies equally to many other simple or tect the same fallacy-namely, the use elementary affections of the mind. The of words so vague that under cover of liking or disliking of certain tastes or them the idea of obligation is assumed affections of the palate is universal and as the explanation of itself. Sometimes elementary. But the particular tastes this fallacy is so transparent in the very which are the objects of liking or of forms of expression which are used, that aversion are for the most part determined we wonder how men of even ordinary by habits and education. There may be intelligence, far more men of the high- tastes which all men are so constituted est intellectual power, can have failed to as necessarily to feel disgusting ; and in see and feel the confusion of their like manner there may be certain acts thoughts. Thus, for example, we find which all men everywhere must feel to Mr. Grote expressing himself as fol- be contrary to their sense of obligation. lows : This idea of the judgment of Indeed we shall see good reason to beothers upon our conduct and feeling as lieve that this not only may be so, but agents, or the idea of our own judgment must be so. But this is a separate subas spectators in concurrence with others ject of inquiry. The distinction in prinupon our own conduct as agents, is the ciple is manifest between the sense itself main basis of what is properly called and the laws by which its particular apethical sentiment."* In this passage the plications are determined. word “judgment" can only mean moral The second of the two things to be judgment, which is an exercise of the defined-namely, the sense in which any moral sense ;

and this exercise is faculty whatever of the mind can really gravely represented as the “basis” of be regarded singly, or as uncombined with itself.

others-is a matter so important that we Two things, however, ought to be must stop to consider it with greater carefully considered and remembered in respect to this elementary character of The analogy is not complete, but only the moral sense. The first is, that we partial, between the analysis of mind and must clearly define to ourselves what the the analysis of matter. In the analysis idea is of which, and of which alone, we of matter we reach elements which can can affirm that it is elementary ; and be wholly separated from each other, so secondly, that we must define to our- that each of them can exist and can be selves as clearly, if it be possible to do handled by itself. In the analysis of so, in what sense it is that any faculty mind we are dealing with one organic

whole ; and the operation by which we Fragments on Ethical Subjects,” pp. 9, 10. break it up into separate faculties or New SERIES.-- Vol. XXXIII., No. 5




powers is an operation purely ideal, with these distinctions we can assign to since there is not one of these faculties each of them a separate faculty of the which can exist alone, or which mind. We think of these separate faculexert its special functions without the ties as being each specially apprehensive help of others. When we speak, there- of one kind of idea, or specially confore, of a moral sense or of conscience, ducting one kind of operation. Thus the we do not speak of it as a separate entity reasoning faculty works out the process any more than when we speak of reason of logical sequence, and apprehends one or of imagination. Strictly speaking, no truth as the necessary consequence of faculty of the mind is elementary in the another. Thus the faculty of reflection same sense in which the elements of passes in review the previous apprehenmatter are (supposed to be) absolutely sions of the intellect, or the fleeting sugsimple or uncombined. Perhaps there gestions of memory and of desire, looks is no faculty of the mind which presents at them in different aspects, and submits itself so distinctly and is so easily sep- them now to the tests of reasoning, and arable from others as the faculty of now to the appreciations of the moral memory. And yet memory cannot sense. Thus, again, the supreme faculty always reproduce its treasures without of will determines the subject of investian effort of the will, nor, sometimes, gation, or the direction of thought, or without many artificial expedients of the course of conduct. But although all reason to help it in retracing the old these faculties may be, and indeed must familiar lines. Neither is there any sometimes be, conceived and regarded faculty more absolutely necessary than as separate, they all more or less involve memory to the working of every other. each other; and in the great hierarchy of Without memory there could nut be any powers, the highest and noblest seem alreason, nor any reflection, nor any con- ways to be built upon the foundations of science. In this respect all the higher those which stand below. Memory is faculties of the human mind are much the indispensable servant of them all. more inseparably blended and united Reflection is ever turning the mind inin their operation than those lower ward on itself. The logical faculty is faculties which connected with ever rushing to its own conclusions as bodily sensation. These lower faculties necessary consequences of the elementare indeed also parts of one whole, are ary axioms from which it starts, and connected with a common centre, and which are to it the objects of direct can all be paralyzed when that centre is and intuitive apprehension. The moral affected. But in their ordinary activities sense is ever passing its judgments upon their spheres of action seem widely the conduct of others and of ourselves ; different, and each of them can be, and while the will is ever present to set each often is, seen in apparently solitary and and all to their proper work. And the independent action. Sight and taste proper work of every faculty is to see and touch and hearing are all very differ- some special kind of relation or some ent from each other--so separate indeed special quality in things which other that the language of the one can hardly faculties have not been formed to see. be translated into the language of the But although these qualities in things other. But when from these lower are in themselves separate and distinct, faculties, which are connected with sepa- it does not at all follow that the separate rate and visible organs of the body, and organs of the mind, by which they are which we possess in common with the severally apprehended, can ever work brutes, we ascend to the great central without each other's help. The sense of group of higher and more spiritual facul- logical necessity is clearly different from ties which are peculiar to man, we soon the sense of moral obligation. But yet find that their unity is more absolute, as reason cannot work without the help and their interdependence more visibly of memory, so neither can the moral complete. Ideally we can distinguish sense work without the help of reason. them, and we can range them in an as- And the elements which reason has to cending order. We can separate be- work on in presenting different actions tween different elements and different to the judgment of the moral sense may processes of thought, and in accordance be, and often are, of very great variety.


It is these elements, many and various mind constituted like itself. For, as no in their character, and contributed moral judgment can be formed, and no through the help and concurrence of moral perception can be felt, except by many different faculties of the mind, a moral agent, so neither can it be that men are really distinguishing and formed in respect to the conduct of any dissecting when they think they are other agent which has not, or is not asanalyzing the moral sense itself. What sumed to have, a nature like our ownthey do analyze with more or less suc- moral, rational, and free. cess is not the moral sense, but the con- And this last condition of freedom, ditions under which that sense comes to which is an essential one to the very attach its special judgments of approval idea of an agency having any moral or of condemnation to particular acts or character, will carry us a long way on to particular motives.

toward a farther definition of the subAnd this analysis of the conditions ject-matter on which the moral sense is under which the moral sense performs exercised. It is, as we have seen, huits work, although it is not the kind of man conduct. But it is not human conanalysis which it often pretends to be, duct in its mere outward manifestations, is nevertheless in the highest degree im- for the only moral element in human portant, for although the sense of obliga- conduct is its actuating motive. If any tion, or, as it is usually called, the moral human action is determined not by any sense, may be in itself simple, element- motive whatever, but simply by exterary, and incapable of reduction, it is nal or physical compulsion, then no quite possible to reach conclusions of moral element is present at all, and no the most vital interest concerning its perception of the moral sense can arise nature and its functions by examining respecting it. Freedom, therefore, in the circumstances which do actually de- the sense of exemption from such comtermine its exercise, especially those cir- pulsion, must be assumed as a condition cumstances which are necessary and uni- of human action absolutely essential to versal facts in the experience of man- its possessing any inoral character whatkind.

There can be no moral character There is, in the first place, one ques- in any action, so far as the individual tion respecting the moral sense which actor is concerned, apart from the meets us at the threshold of every in- meaning and intention of the actor. The quiry respecting it, and to which a clear very same deed may be good, or, on the and definite answer can be given. This contrary, devilishly bad, according to question is, What is the subject-matter the inspiring motive of him who does it. of the moral sense ? or, in other words, The giving of a cup of cold water to aswhat is the kind of thing of which alone suage suffering, and the giving it to proit takes any cognizance, and in which long life in order that greater suffering alone it recognizes the qualities of right may be endured, are the same outward and wrong?

deeds, but are exactly opposite in moral To this fundamental question one an- character. In like manner, the killing swer, and one answer only, can be given. of a man in battle and the killing of a The things, and the only things, of man for robbery or revenge are the which the moral sense takes cognizance same actions ; but the one may be are the actions of men. It can take no often right, while the other must be alcognizance of the actions of machines, ways wrong, because of the different nor of the actions of the inanimate forces motives which incite the deed. Illustraof nature, nor of the actions of beasts, tions of the same general truth might be except in so far as a few of these may given as infinite in variety as the varying be supposed to possess in a low and ele- circumstances and conditions of human mentary degree some of the characteris- conduct. It is a truth perfectly consisttic powers of man. Human conduct is ent with the doctrine of an independent the only subject matter in respect of morality. Every action of a voluntary which the perceptions of the moral sense agent has, and must have, its own moral arise. They are perceptions of the mind character, and yet this character may be which have no relation to anything what separate and apart from its relation to ever except to the activities of another the responsibility of the individual man


who does it. That is to say, every act because of the goodness usually attachmust be either permitted, or forbidden, ing to it. For this goodness may very or enjoined, by legitimate authority, al- probably involve the double guilt of though the man who does it may be ig- some special treachery, or some special norant of the authority or of its com- hypocrisy ; and both treachery and hyma ds. And the same proposition holds pocrisy are in the highest degree imgood if we look upon the ultimate stand- moral. It is clear that no action, howard of morality from the Utilitarian ever apparently benevolent, if done from point of view. Every act must have its some selfish or cruel motive, can be a own relation to the future. Every act good or a moral action. must be either innocent, or beneficent, It may seem, however, as if the conor hurtful in its ultimate tendencies and verse of this proposition cannot be laid results. Or, if we like to put it in down as broadly and as decidedly. another form, every act must be accord. There are deeds of cruelty in abundance ing to the harmony of nature, or at va- which have been done, ostensibly at riance with that harmony, and therefore least, and sometimes, perhaps, really an element of disorder and disturbance. from motives comparatively good, and In all these senses, therefore, we speak, yet from which an enlightened moral and we are right in speaking, of actions sense can never detach the character of as in themselves good or bad, because wickedness and wrong. These may seem we so speak of them according to our to be cases in which the motive does not own knowledge of the relation in which determine the moral character of the acthey stand to those great standards of tion, and in which our moral sense permorality, which are facts, and not mere sists in condemning the thing done in assumptions or even mere beliefs. But spite of the motive. we are quite able to separate this judg- closely the grounds on which we pass ment of the act from the judgment judgment in such cases, we shall not, I which can justly be applied to the in- ihink, find them exceptions to the rule dividual agent. As regards him, the act or law that the purpose or intention of is right or wrong, not according to our a free and voluntary agent is the only knowledge, but according to his own. thing in which any moral goodness can And this great distinction is universally exist, or to which any moral judgment recognized in the language and (however can be applied. In the first place, we unconsciously) in the thoughts of men. may justly think that the actors in such It is sanctioned, moreover, by Supreme deeds are to a large extent themselves Authority. The most solemn prayer ever responsible for the failure in knowledge, uttered upon earth was a prayer for the and for the defective moral sense which forgiveness of an act of the most enor- blind them to the evil of their conduct, mous wickedness, and the ground of the and which lead them to a wrong applipetition was specially declared to be cation of some motive which may in itthat those who committed it “knew not self be good. And in the second place, what they did.” The same principle we may have a just misgiving as to the which avails to diminish blame, avails singleness and purity of the alleged puralso to diminish or to extinguish merit. pose which is good. We know that the We may justly say of many actions that motives of men are so various and so they are good in themselves, assuming, mixed that they are not always themas we naturally do, that those who do selves conscious of that motive which such actions do them under the influence really prevails, and we may have often of the appropriate motive. But if this good reasons for our convictions that assumption fails in any particular case, bad motives unavowed have really deterwe cannot and we do not credit the ac- mined conduct for which good motives tor with the goodness of his deed. If only have been alleged. Thus, in the he has done a thing which in itself is case of religious persecution, we may be good in order to compass an evil end, sure that the lust of power and the pasthen, so far as he is concerned, the deed sion of resentment against those who reis not good, but bad. It may indeed sist its ungovernable desires, have very be worse in moral character than many often been the impelling motive, where other kinds of evil deeds, and this just nothing but the love of truth has been

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acknowledged. And this at least may be Just as every exercise of reason must be said, that in the universal judgment of founded on certain axioms which are mankind, actions which they regard as self-evident to the logical faculty, so all wrong

have not the whole of that other exercises of the mind must start wrongfulness charged against the doers from the direct perception of some rudiof them, in proportion as we really be- mentary truths. It would be strange inlieve the agents to have been guided deed if the moral faculty were any expurely and honestly by their own sense ception to this fundamental law. This of moral obligation.

faculty in its higher conditions, such as On the whole, then, we can determine we see it in the best men in the most or define with great clearness and preci-. highly civilized communities, may stand sion the field within which the moral at an incalculable distance from its earsense can alone find the possibilities of liest and simplest condition, and still exercise and that field is the conduct more from its lowest condition, such as of men-by which is meant not their we see it in the most degraded races of actions only, but the purpose, motive, mankind. But this distance has been or intention by which the doing of these reached from some starting-point, and at actions is determined. This conclusion, that starting point there must have been resting on the firm ground of observation some simple acts or dispositions to which and experience, is truthfully expressed the sense of obligation was instinctively in the well-known lines of Burns : attached. And beyond all question this

is the fact. All men do instinctively know “ The heart's aye the part aye Which makes us right or wrang."

what gives pleasure to themselves, and

therefore also what gives pleasure to And now it is possible to approach more other men. Moreover, to a very large closely to the great central question of extent, the things which gives them pleasall ethical inquiry : Are there any mo- ure are the real needs of life, and the tives which all men under all circum- acquisition or enjoyment of these is not stances recognize as good ? Are there only useful but essential to the wellany other motives which, on the con- being or even to the very existence of trary, all men under all circumstances the race. And as man is a social animal recognize as evil ? Are there any funda- by nature, with social instincts at least mental perceptions of the moral sense as innate as those of the ant or the upon which the standard of right and beaver or the bee, we may be sure that wrong is planted at the first, and round there were and are born with him all which it gathers to itself, by the help of those intuitive perceptions and desires every faculty through which the mind which are necessary to the growth and can work, higher and higher conceptions unfolding of his powers. And this we of the course of duty ?

know to be the fact, not only as a docIn dealing with this question, it is a trine founded on the unities of nature, comfort to remember that we are in pos- but as a matter of universal observation session of analogies deeply seated in the and experience. We know that without constitution and in the course of na- the moral sense man could not fulfil the ture. It is quite possible to assign to part which belongs to him in the world. intuition or to instinct the place and rank It is as necessary in the earliest stages of which really belongs to it, and to assign the family and of the tribe, as it is in the also to what is called experience the latest developments of the State and of functions which are unquestionably its the Church. It is an element without own. There is no sense or faculty of the which nothing can be done-without mind which does not gain by education which no man could trust another, and, -not one which is independent of those indeed, no man could trust himself. processes of development which result There is no bond of union among men from its contact with the external world.

the lowest and the worstBut neither is there any sense or faculty which does not involve and depend of the mind which starts unfurnished upon the sense of obligation. There is with some one or more of those intui- no kind of brotherhood or association tive perceptions with which all educa- for any purpose which could stand withtion and all development must begin. out it. As a matter of fact, therefore,


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