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CHAPTER IV - George Turnbull, The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy. Vol. 1: The Principles of Moral Philosophy 
The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy. Vol. 1: The Principles of Moral Philosophy, ed. and with an Introduction by Alexander Broadie (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005).
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Another class of laws relative to our guiding principle and our moral conduct.Let us therefore proceed to examine the laws relative to our reason, moral sense, and the rule and standard of our moral conduct with which we are provided and furnished by nature.
We have already considered our constitution with regard to knowledge. But in an enquiry into human nature, it is certainly proper to take yet a further view of our frame with respect to our moral conduct and guidance; or of the powers we are endued with, to direct us in the management of our affections, and in all our actions;Our excellence consists in our having reason and a moral sense to guide our conduct. and of the rules or laws nature hath set before us for our measure and guide. Reason, as it relates to our moral conduct, may be defined to be, “Our power of making<108> a just estimate of human life, and its principal end, by connecting things past and to come with what is present; and thus of computing our true interest,What moral reason is. and discovering what is best and fittest to do in any case; or contrariwise, what is opposite to our interest, and unbecoming our natural rank and dignity.”a Now, that we have such a faculty is readily owned : nor does any one hesitate to assert, that our chief excellence above lower animals void of reflexion consists in our having it. ’Tis for this reason we assume to ourselves the name and character of moral agents. We may observe a nice, subtle and uninterrupted gradation in nature from the lowest degree of meer perceptivity to this perfection man is distinguished by, thro’ many intermediate steps gradually ascending one above another, without any chasm or void. Thus, nature is full and coherent.
It is our guiding principle, and ought to be exerted as such.But if reason be acknowledged to be a perfection or power superior in the scale of life to meer sensitive being, the consequence must be, “That reason ought to be upon the throne within us, set up and maintained by us, as the judge and ruler, from which all appetites, fancies, affections and pursuits ought to receive their commands, and to which they ought to be subject and accountable.”a This seems to need no proof. One may as reasonably ask, why we ought to open our eyes, make use of them, and take care to preserve them from all diseases and imperfections; as why, having reason, we ought to exert it, give it its proper place, and preserve it pure and untainted, and in full possession of its natural right, to guide, direct, and command all our inferior appetites and all our associations. It is as evident, that our appetites and affections are made to be guided by reason, as that reason is a<110> judging power, and as such, our distinguishing, our supreme excellence. If reason be our natural dignity, or that which constitutes us a superior rank of beings above those which have no such governing principle; it must be true, that we only maintain our natural dignity in proportion as reason presides and rules within us; and that we fall below the rank of men, in proportion as reason is weak, impotent, over-powered, and unable to act as a ruling or commanding faculty, in truth, to ask, why man is obliged to act according to his reason, or to be ruled by it, is to ask, why reason is reason. It cannot be denied, without asserting, that it is not a higher rank of life to be endowed with it, than to want it; upon which supposition, man is not one step removed in dignity or perfection above meer animals and a gradation or scale of being, are words without any meaning.
There are two things to be considered with respect to our guiding principle and our rule of conduct.But there are two things which deserve our particular attention with regard to our natural capacity and furniture for directing our conduct, or for the regulation of our appetites, desires, affections and actions. “We have a moral sense, or a sense of right and wrong. And we have a sense of interest and happiness.” Now if it shall appear, that these two senses do not contradict one another; but that they agree in pointing out to us the same course of management and action; then must it be granted,Our sense of right and wrong. that our nature is very well constituted with respect to our moral conduct.And our sense of happiness. Were these, indeed, at variance, our frame would be very unaccountable, or rather monstrous; but if virtue and interest be really the same, then is every part of our moral frame consonant to every other part of it; and so it is a good or well composed whole.That these do not disagree shall be shewn afterwards. I have used the word virtue, to express what our sense of right and wrong recommends to our choice, because it is universally so used and understood: to use that term, in that sense, is not to beg the question; or to suppose a difference between virtue and vice before we have proved it: it is no<111> more than forewarning, that we are to use virtue and vice, with these other words right and wrong in the same sense, because we think these words are very generally employed as equivalent terms. That we have a sense of virtue and vice, or of right and wrong, is now to be proved.
Our sense of right and wrong, or our moral sense.This is a question about fact, and consequently it can only be resolved in the same way, that other faculties or powers may be proved to belong to our nature. But I am apt to think, that every one shall immediately perceive, that he has a moral sense inherent in him, and really inseparable from him; if he will reflect, “Whether he is not so constituted as to be necessarily determined by his nature, to approve and disapprove certain affections and actions?”Election distinguished from approbation. For if that be owned, then are there certain affections and actions which he is necessarily determined by his nature to pronounce right, and certain affections and actions which he is necessarily determined by his nature to pronounce wrong. The question now under consideration can be no other than whether we have a determination in our nature to approve and disapprove affections and actions; and what we are thus determined to approve and disapprove.We have an approving and disapproving sense. For if there are certain affections and actions which we are constantly so determined to approve or disapprove that we cannot chuse but approve the one kind and disapprove the other; then, whatever these may be, they are with respect to us necessary objects or motives, the one kind, to approbation, and the other, to condemnation or disapprobation. Hardly will any one say, that we have no determination to approve or disapprove. “Approbation a is a simple idea known by consciousness, which can only be explained by synonimous words, or by concomitant or subsequent circumstances. Approbation of our own action, denotes or is attended with a pleasure in the contemplation of it, and in reflexion upon the affections which inclined us to it.The qualities that excite approbation or disapprobation. Approbation<112> of the action of another is pleasant, and is attended with love toward the agent. And that the qualities exciting to election, or moving to action, are different from those moving to approbation, every one upon reflexion must feel. For we often do actions which we cannot approve, and approve actions which we omit. We often desire that an agent had omitted an action which we approve, and wish he would do an action which we condemn. Approbation is often employed about the actions of others where there is no room for our election.”b But if we experience approbation and disapprobation, then must we have an approving and disapproving faculty; a determination to approve and disapprove: and there must likewise be objects to excite our approbation, and objects to move our disapprobation. So that the remaining question is, what these objects are?
Actions must be done with freedom, affection and reflexion, to excite approbation or condemnation.I. Now it is plain, that we never approve or disapprove, neither with respect to ourselves or others, but when we are sensible an action is done voluntarily, by choice, with reflexion, and without external compulsion or necessity. Thus we neither approve nor disapprove what is done by a brute, an ideot, or changeling; nor even what a rational creature does, not of itself, but when externally forced and compelled. Approbation and disapprobation always suppose their object to be matter of voluntary and free choice and affection. We neither approve nor disapprove ourselves, but when we are conscious that what we do is our own voluntary deed. And with regard to other beings, in like manner, we can neither approve nor disapprove, but when we imagine an action is performed by them with like choice, affection and freedom,<113> as when we approve or disapprove ourselves for doing or omitting. It is not merely because actions are advantageous or disadvantageous, that we approve or disapprove them; actions must be free, in order to move such sentiments and affections. If they are not, we regard them as the fall of a beam or a tile. This is too evident to be longer insisted upon.
Of these veracity, candour, benevolence, &c. excite our approbation, and their contraries our disapprobation.II. But of free actions, or actions excited to by affections, and done with reflexion, some cannot be reflected upon without approbation, nor others without dislike and condemnation. Now, what are those, which move our approbation, and by what characteristic are they distinguished from the others? It is experience that must determine this question. And therefore let any one consider,a how benevolent actions; how truth, candour, veracity, benignity, and such like dispositions, with their proper exertions in action affect us, so soon as we reflect upon them, or contemplate them: and what we think, on the other hand, of their contraries, falshood, dissimulation, treachery, instability, narrowness of mind, selfishness, malice, &c. Creatures capable of reflection, can, nay must make all the affections they experience in their breasts, and by which they are moved to action, the objects of their understanding: they must perceive them, and perceiving them there will naturally and necessarily arise in their minds a new class of affections towards these affections they feel themselves to be moved by. What then are the affections which we experience to accompany the different sorts of affections which have been just mentioned? How do they affect<114> or move us? Are they pleasant to us on reflexion and contemplation, or disagreeable, or do they no way touch or move us; but are we quite neutral and indifferent to them: or when we are agreeably affected by the one sort, and disagreeably affected by the other sort, as we certainly are, whether we will or not, when they are present to our mind, and reflected upon. Is it the same sort of pleasure or pain we perceive when we reflect upon a beautiful and useful plant or an ugly and pernicious one? One or other of these must be said. But surely it will not be affirmed, that we are quite unmoved by such contemplation, and that no affections, whether of the generous or ungenerous kind, do either excite our like or dislike, our approbation or disapprobation; for this would be to assert, that no one character is more agreeable to us than another; but that the mind is equally indifferent to all sorts of characters and tempers. Far less will it be said, that the false, deceitful, mercenary man is agreeable to us; and that the faithful, trusty, and benevolent man moves our hatred. And to say, that tho’ we are differently affected by these opposite characters, yet it is no otherwise than as we are differently affected with fruit, for instance, according as it is pleasant or disagreeable to our taste, is absurd. For however much we may like or dislike a particular sensation of taste fruit may affect us with; yet surely we do not like and dislike, approve and disapprove fruits, in the same way we like and dislike, approve and disapprove characters. Do we like or approve our generous friend in no other way than we like or dislike our dinner?
But if we are affected by such actions and characters, as have been described, agreeably or disagreeably, in a different way from the agreeable or disagreeable manner in which meats and drinks affect us; then it must follow, that we are fitted and determined by our nature to receive from the consideration of such actions and characters a particular<115> kind of agreeable or disagreeable sentiment, properly expressed by approbation and disapprobation. For this must be true, in general, that no one thing can give us pleasure or pain unless we are fitted by our make to be so affected by it. We could not, for instance, have the pleasures which the modifications of light and colours give to the eye, if we were not so framed as to perceive them and be agreeably affected by them. Now if we are determined by our nature to approve or disapprove characters, in the way that has been mentioned, we may give and ought to give, this aptitude, this determination in our nature a particular distinguishing name to denote it. Let it therefore be called a sense of the difference between actions or characters, or more shortly, a moral sense.
Whether we have a moral sense or not, is a question of fact.Let us reason about this matter as much as we will, all we can do is but to turn this question into various shapes, viz. “Whether we are not necessarily determined to approve the public affections in ourselves or others, which lead to such conduct as promotes the good of our fellow creatures, and to disapprove their opposites; and that immediately, so soon as any one of them is presented to our mind.” For the question is about a fact, a part of our constitution; about something felt and experienced within us, in consequence of our frame; and it cannot possibly be decided, but by consciousness, or by attending to our mind, in order to know how we are affected on certain occasions by certain objects. But if any matter of experience merits our attention, this does, and therefore I shall offer the following considerations about it.Arguments to prove we have it.
I. Did not affections, actions and characters, when they are contemplated by the understanding, and are thus made objects of thought and reflection, move us agreeably or disagreeably, there would be an analogy in nature wanting, which we have no reason from nature to think can be wanting.From analogy. For there is nothing<116> more certain, than that all sensible forms, so soon as they are presented to the mind, do affect it with the agreeable perception of beauty, or the disagreeable perception of deformity.For we have a sense of beauty in sensible forms. Some objects of sense do indeed so little affect us, that the perception produced by their contemplation is scarcely attended to; but every perception, as such, must be in some degree either pleasant or painful; tho’ it is only when perceptions have a considerable degree of pleasure or pain, that they considerably interest us, and we are therefore at any pains to class them, and give particular names to their effects upon us. However, setting aside that consideration, it is evident, in fact, with regard almost to all bodies or subjects of sense, that they give us either the idea of beauty or deformity according to the different disposition, measure or arrangement of their several parts. It is the same with respect to sounds; from every combination of them, there necessarily results either harmony or discord. Now, did not moral subjects affect us in like manner with the sense of beauty and deformity, as sensible species or images of bodies do,a there<117> would not be that analogy between the natural and moral world, or between the fabric of our mind with relation to sensible and to moral objects, that one is naturally led to apprehend must take place by the universal analogy of nature to itself observed throughout all its works. No object can indeed be present to the understanding or perceived by it, without affecting it in some manner as an object of the understanding, or as an intelligible species. And therefore every moral object must be fitted to affect the mind with some affection suited to it as a moral species, or an intelligible form. But not to lay any stress at all upon that abstract truth. How can we acknowledge a sense of beauty and deformity with respect to corporeal subjects, and no analogous sense with respect to mental ones? Can we allow the mind to have an eye or an ear for bodily proportions and harmonies; and yet imagine it has no eye or ear by which it can distinguish moral appearances and effects? No sense, whereby it can scan thoughts, and sentiments, and affections, or distinguish the beautiful and deformed, the harmonious and dissonant, the agreeable and disagreeable in them. Does the bodily eye afford us perceptions of pleasure and pain distinct from the sensations of touch? And has the understanding or eye of the mind, when it is employed about moral forms, no such discernment? Has it no class of pleasures and pains belonging to it, as a seeing or discerning faculty? Are all the pleasures or pains excited in or perceived by the mind, with relation to affections and sentiments, only pleasures and pains of mental touch or feeling, so to speak? Is there nothing of the agreeable and disagreeable kind resulting<118> from the contemplation of moral subjects, from their visible, i.e. intelligible proportions, shapes and textures? Is all, I say, that affects the mind with pain or pleasure of the moral kind merely analogous to our sensible pleasures conveyed by outward touch; and has it, indeed, with respect to moral objects, no class of perceptions analogous to those of the eye; none at all which properly belong to the understanding, and are excited in it by the moral species, in like manner as visible ones affect the sense of seeing? Surely it is contrary to analogy to fancy so. But if there really be any such thing as being affected by the appearances of moral subjects to the understanding as such; in language, which is, and must be originally taken from sensible objects, and their effects upon us, the perceptions conveyed to the understanding by moral forms, will very properly be called by the same names, as the analogous ones produced in us by visible forms; that is, beauty and deformity, regularity and irregularity, proportion and disproportion, &c.
From languages, for these suppose it.II. Language, not being invented by philosophers, but contrived to express common sentiments, or what every one perceives, we may be morally sure, that where universally all languages make a distinction, there is really in nature a difference. Now all languages speak of a beautiful and a deformed, a fair and foul in actions and characters, as well as of advantageousness and disadvantageousness, profitableness and hurtfulness. But all languages which use such words, suppose a moral sense, or a capacity of distinguishing actions and characters from one another, by their appearances to the understanding independently of all their other tendencies, effects or consequences. For at the same time that these words, beauty, deformity, &c. are used, there is in all languages a great variety of other words to express all that can distinguish actions and characters<119> from one another, upon supposition that they are no otherwise different than with relation to their advantageous or disadvantageous effects. Interest, convenience, good, profitable, and innumerable other such terms, and their contraries, sufficiently denote these latter differences; and therefore the words taken from visible perceptions, are quite superfluous, if there are indeed no moral differences discernible by the eye of the mind or understanding, signified by them in distinction from others. But how is it conceiveable that words absolutely superfluous, but founded upon and derived from a supposition of an analogy between visible appearances to the eye and moral appearances to the understanding, could have universally insinuated themselves into all languages, were there no such analogy in nature? Nothing correspondent to the perceptions of beauty and deformity by the eye in material subjects, in immaterial, or moral and intelligible forms to the understanding. This is hardly conceiveable.
From the fine arts, for these suppose it.III. But to go on. Oratory, poetry, painting, and all the imitative arts, prove the reality of a moral sense: they suppose it, and could not have their agreeable effects upon us, were we not endued with it. If they suppose a sublimity, a beauty, an excellence, a greatness, an irresistable amiableness, in charactersa absolutely distinct from all the consequences of actions, with regard to profit or loss, advantage or disadvantage; then do they prove a moral sense, or that there are certain actions or characters which we cannot chuse but approve, love and admire; and others which we cannot chuse but disapprove, condemn and abhor, independently<120> of all other considerations, besides their lovely orvile forms, their charming and agreeable, or disagreeable and detestable appearances to the understanding. And shall we then, rather than acknowledge such a sense in our make, give up the foundation of all those delightful arts, to which we owe such noble entertainments? Or if we should be tempted so to do, is it not the utmost length we can go, to save our being forced to own a moral sense; to say, that though there be no real amiableness or deformity in moral acts, there is an imaginary one of full force, upon which these arts work?It must be from nature. But what is this but to say, that though the thing itself cannot be allowed in nature, yet the imagination or fancy of it must be allowed to be from nature: for if there be such a fancy of full force in our nature that upon it can be raised such high admiration, warm affection, and transporting approbation by these arts; whence else can such fancy be, but from nature alone? It is easy to conceive, if the thing itself, or the imagination of it, be natural, how it comes about that nothing besides art and strong endeavour, with long practice, and much violent struggling, can overcome our natural pre-possession or prevention in favour of this moral distinction, without which poetry or oratory would in vain attempt to interest our love and approbation, or excite our aversion and dislike by characters. But if it be not from nature, art must be able to create; it must be able to do more than operate upon subjects laid to its hand; it must be able to give existence to what nature knows nothing of, or hath laid no foundation for.
The imitative arts not only prove to us, that we have public affections; and that these regularly excited and wrought up to certain proper degrees, afford us very noble entertainment in the way of passion or feeling: but they likewise prove, that characters cannot be exhibited to our view without effectually<121> moving us; without deeply concerning us in their fates and fortunes; without exciting our warmest approbation, and keenest emulation.The absurdity of supposing it is not. What else does all that is said of sublimities, greatness, beauty, dignity, and loveliness of sentiments, affections, actions, and characters mean? They are indeed words without meaning. And the effects they produce in our minds, what are they? In truth, any one who will but reflect how he is moved by a fine character in a poem, must own these arts are a demonstration, 1. That we are originally so constituted, as that from the moment we come to be tried with sensible objects, pity, love, kindness, generosity, and social affection are brought forth. But how could they be so, if they were not in our nature? Can any art educe from any subject qualities which it has not? 2. That we are so constituted, that the moment we come to be tried by rational objects, and receive unto our mind images or representations of justice, generosity, truth, magnanimity, or any other virtue, we are not able to remain indifferent toward them, but must approve and like them. And indeed it is impossible to imagine, a sensible creature so ill framed and unnatural, as that so soon as he is tried by proper objects, he should have no one good passion towards his kind: no foundation either of compassion, complacency, or kindly affection. And it is equally impossible to conceive a rational creature, coming first to be tried by moral species, or the representations of good and virtuous affections, should have no liking of them, or dislike of their contraries; but be found absolutely neutral, towards whatever is presented to them of that sort. “A soula indeed may as well be without sense as without admiration in the things of which it has any knowledge: coming<122> therefore to a capacity of seeing and admiring in the moral way, it must needs find a beauty and a deformity as well in actions, minds, and tempers, as in figures, sounds, or colours.” Let the philosophers, who are for resolving all our publick affections, and all our liking and disliking of actions and characters into certain subtle, nimble reflexions of self-love upon private interest, try whether they can thus account for the love, admiration, esteem and concern excited by a fictitious representation: but if they find the attempt vain here, must it not likewise be so in the original life, from which fictitious representation must be copied, in order to be natural? Sure there is not one nature for life, and another for fiction.
Without supposing or owning it, we must have recourse to very subtle reflexions (of which the mind is not conscious and for which it hath not time) to account for several phenomena; which is absurd.IV. But who can consider human nature, and deny that we have public affections towards the good of others; or assert that all our passions spring from self-love and desire of private advantage; and that we have no moral sense. For take away a moral sense and public desires, how very small a share of our present excitements to action would remain with us? It is owned, that the affections called public, make indeed the greater part of our employments; or, that without them we would be almost reduced to absolute indolence. But when they are said not to be really social or public affections, but modes or arts of self-love, how are they accounted for?
How are our natural affection to parents and offspring; our compassion to the distressed; our gratitude, our benevolence; or whatever, in one word, hath the appearance of social in our frame, or of affection to public good: how are they reduced to self-love, but by supposing us, when the objects, which excite these affections are represented to us, immediately to make some very cunning reflexions upon self-interest reaor private good, which<123> there is neither time for, nor are we conscious of? And can we think that to be true philosophy, or a just account of human nature, which is forced to have recourse to the supposition of many refined subtle reasonings on every occasion, in every honest farmer or peasant? That one consideration is sufficient to refute it, and to shew it to be false and unnatural. But what puts the reality of public affections in our nature, the immediate object of which is the good of others, and of a moral sense by which we are necessarily determined to approve such affections, beyond all doubt, is, that whatever motives there may be from the side of pleasure or interest, by which we may be bribed to do an action; yet we cannot possibly be bribed to approve it contrary to our inward sense: or whatever motives of fear there may be to terrify us from doing an action, yet we cannot be terrified into the approbation of the omission, if it be not really approveable.We can no more be bribed to approve an action, than to assent to a proposition. If a moral sense be owned, the reality of public affections in our nature will be acknowledged; for it is only about actions proceeding from public affections, that there is any dispute as to our determination to approve or disapprove: but if we have no moral sense, agreeably to which we must approve, and contrary to which we cannot approve or disapprove; whence comes it about, that though we may be allured, or frighted into doing an action, yet we can neither be allured nor frighted into approving or disapproving an action, no more than we can be bribed or terrified into assenting to aproposition which we perceive to be false; or into refusing our assent to a proposition which we perceive to be true. If that be the case, then approbation or disapprobation dependsa as absolutely upon the<124> appearances of actions to our minds, as assent and dissent do upon the appearances of propositions to our minds. But that it is so, every one will feel by asking himself, whether an estate can bribe him to approve any degree of villany, though it may perswade him to perpetrate it; or whether he can possibly think treachery, ingratitude, dissimulation or any such actions laudable and approveable in themselves, whatever evils may be averted by them in certain circumstances? Consequences cannot alter the moral differences of actions no more than they can alter the nature of truth and falshood. As a proposition must be true or false in itself, independently of the loss or gain the profession of the belief of it may bring; so actions must be the same in themselves with respect to their moral natures and qualities, with whatever circumstances relative to interest, the doing or not doing may be accompanied. But as truths could not be understood or assented to, had we not a faculty of distinguishing the appearances of truth from falshood; so actions could not be discerned to be morally beautiful and fit, unless we had a faculty of distinguishing the moral differences of actions.
Farther reflexions on moral sense.But all that relates to a moral sense in our nature, hath been so fully handled by several excellent writers,a that I shall only subjoin a few further reflexions upon it, with a view to such philosophers as do not deny the thing, but seem to quarrel with the name; which however will be of considerable use<125> to set our moral sense itself and its usefulness yet in a clearer light.
’Tis not worth while to dispute about a name or appellation, if the thing be owned.I. First of all, it is no great matter for the name, if the thing itself in question be acknowledged. And it certainly is by all, who acknowledge the difference between good and evil; however, they may chuse to express that difference by calling it truth, reasonableness, fitness, or by whatever other appellation. For if there is truth, fitness, or reasonableness in actions with regard to us, it is perceivable by us; and if we perceive it, we are capable of perceiving it; that is, we have the faculty requisite to perceiving it, or which enables us to perceive it. Let therefore the capacity or faculty of perceiving moral differences of actions or characters, be called reason, as it is exercised about actions and their moral differences, moral discernment, or moral conscience; we shall not dispute for any word: All we want to establish, is, that as we are capable of distinguishing truth from falsehood, so we are capable of distinguishing good and approveable actions, affections, and characters from bad and disapproveable ones: And that we are not more necessarily determined by our nature, to assent or dissent according to the appearances of things to our understanding, than we are necessarily determined by our make to approve or disapprove affections, actions, and characters, according to their appearances to our understanding.And it must be owned by all who acknowledge moral differences of actions and characters. Now as all, who own a necessary and essential difference of the moral kind between any action and its opposite, (as between gratitude, for example, and ingratitude) must own the necessary determination of our minds to approve the one, and disapprove the other, so soon as these moral differences are presented to the mind ; so every one must be obliged to acknowledge certain necessary and essential differences of actions in the moral kind, resulting necessarily from their natures,<126> according to which the mind must approve or disapprove, so soon as the images of them are represented to it; or he must say that the mind in no case approves or disapproves, but that it is quite a stranger to all such sentiments as these words express. For it is self-evident that if ever approbation and disapprobation be excited, there must be an exciting quality. It is not more true, that when there is election there is some quality exciting to it; than it is necessarily so, that wherever there is approbation, there is a ground, a reason, a motive of approbation, some quality, some appearance to the mind that excites it. As we cannot have or conceive pleasure of any kind, without affection to it, nor alternately affection, without some pleasure towards which it tends; so we cannot conceive delight in approving, without something which creates that delight or complacency; nor alternately any thing fitted to excite delight or complacency felt in approbation, and yet the mind not affected by it in that manner. But it is no uncommon thing to find philosophers asserting propositions which necessarily terminate in affirming, “There may be pleasures without affections, and affections without objects; though hardly will any one philosopher make that assertion in direct terms.” I think an excellent philosopher has reduced most of the objections against a moral sense to such conclusions.a
However it is proper, nay necessary to give this sense in our natures a distinguishing name.II. But if the determination in our nature to approve public affections and virtuous actions, and to disapprove their contraries, be acknowledged, though it is of no importance by what name that determination be expressed; yet it is certainly necessary, that some one should be given it, and fixed to it by philosophers who own the thing. If there is any reason for concluding from the pleasures of<127> harmony we receive by the ear; from the pleasures of light, and colours, and visible beauty we receive by the eye; from the pleasures of truth and knowledge we receive by the exercise of the understanding about speculative matters; or from the pleasures of affection and passion we receive by having our pathetic part agreeably moved and bestirred: If there be any reason to conclude from these perceptions that we really have the faculty of delighting in music, distinct from that of enjoying visible beauty, and both distinct from the faculty of comparing the relations of ideas, and perceiving their agreements or disagreements, and consequently of delighting in truth; and all these distinct from the capacity of receiving pleasures from our affections duly moved (as by a good tragedy for instance): There must be good reason to conclude from the manner in which we are differently affected by the moral appearances of actions and characters, when presented to our mind, either in real life, or by imitation, that we really have a faculty of discerning the moral differences of actions and characters, distinct not only from all our outward senses, but also from the capacity of perceiving the truth and falshood of propositions.
This is no less necessary than it is to give distinguishing name to our other senses and faculties.And for the same reason that it is not only a proper and distinct way of speaking in philosophy, but a necessary one, to say, we have a sense of harmony, a sense of visible beauty, a capacity of discerning truth from falshood, &c: For the same reason it must not only be a proper and distinct, but a necessary way of speaking in philosophy, to say, that we have a sense of moral beauty and fitness in affections, actions, and characters, as distinct from all these as they are from one another; provided we really are so made, that affections, actions, and characters do necessarily excite our approbation, or dislike and condemnation, according to their moral differences. If there be such a faculty or<128> determination in our nature, it ought to have its distinct name; as well as our other faculties have. We cannot treat of it distinctly no more than of any other of our powers, capacities, and affections, without having some determinate word to express it. But moral sense, moral taste, moral discernment, or moral conscience, well express it; and seem to be the properest phrases in our language, to answer to those used to signify the same determination in our nature by ancient philosophers.a
That we are determined by pleasure and pain in all our motions is true in a certain sense.III. Some philosophers seem to be excessively fond of the words pleasure and pain, and to have great satisfaction in repeating over and over again, that it is only pleasure and pain that can excite desire, or move and affect the mind. But though that proposition be very true, when pleasure and pain are taken in a large sense, comprehending all the objects which affect the mind agreeably or disagreeably; yet of what use can it be in philosophy? or, what truths can we discover by its help, till all various sorts of pleasures and pains; that is, all objects which affect the mind agreeably and disagreeably are distinguished and classed, that they may be estimated and apprized?But this general propostion is of little use in philosophy, till all our pleasures are classed and distinguished. One may as well think of carrying on philosophy distinctly without distinguishing the various pleasures of the senses from one another, because it is the mind perceives them all; and they may for that reason be all called perceptions and pleasures of sense; as think of carrying on philosophy distinctly without distinguishing not only moral pleasures from sensible ones; but the various kinds of moral ones from one another, according to their different values, degrees,<129> and natures. Pleasures of sense, pleasures of imagination, pleasures of contemplation, pleasures of sentiment, and several other classes, that might be named, are all of them but different sorts of pleasures; but because they are different sorts, they ought to be distinguished. Or till they are so, how can they be compared and have their moments determined? If any philosopher asks, “if one can elect or approve without being pleased?” I will answer, “That we cannot be pleased without being pleased.” But that election and approbation are as different perceptions or pleasures as any two he can name. If he continues to urge, “That one may say what he will, but one cannot be determined to act but by pleasure, for nothing can please without pleasing.” I answer, “Pleasure is pleasure, and nothing can be pleasure but pleasure.” But delight in a good action by approbation is as different a pleasure from delight in any advantage it may bring, as pleasure in a picture is from pleasure in music, or as both are from the pleasure of a dinner, a good picture or a fine tune may procure.And our moral sense renders us capable of a peculiar sett of them, the highest we are susceptible of, or can conceive. Our determination to approve or disapprove actions and characters, renders us capable of a sett of pleasures far superior to any which sense can afford in the most prosperous circumstances of outward enjoyment: and it likewise renders us capable of a sett of pains far more insupportable than any we can possibly have from any other quarter. For what pleasures are equal to those of self-approbation, and the conscience of having acted agreeably to the relations of things, to moral beauty and fitness, the dignity and excellency of our nature, and in concert with that amiable temper and disposition of the Author of nature, which appears throughout the whole of his works? And what pains, on the other hand, can be compared with those of a self-condemning mind? But it is our sense of agreeableness and disagreeableness in actions, and our<130> necessary determination to approveordis approve according to the moral differences of affections and actions, which alone renders us, or can render us sussceptible of these highest of pleasures or pains. They are and must be peculiar to creatures capable of reflecting upon the images of actions and characters, and of approving or disapproving, according to a natural sense of amiableness and its contrary. And in fine, for any one to say, “That he who does good and virtuous actions because he has pleasure in doing them, and an aversion or abhorrence of their contrary, as much pursues his own pleasure as any other person can be said to do, whatever he takes pleasure in; and consequently that all men are equally selfish, though nothing be more true than what the poet tells us, nec voto vivitur uno.”a This is indeed no more than telling us, that pleasure is pleasure. And we shall not scruple to grant them all they demand, provided they will but allow, First, That no man can be said to be virtuous, unless he does virtuous deeds from good affections, and with an approving sense of what he does. And therefore, Secondly, That virtue and vice suppose a determination in our nature to approve the one and to disapprove the other, both which I think have been sufficiently proved.
The caution of the ancient moralists in using the words good and evil very commendable.IV. But after all that has been granted with regard to saying, “That it is always pleasure which determines us to elect or approve;” I believe, all who acknowledge the reality of virtue, if they have attended to the importance or rather necessity of using distinct determinate terms, and keeping closely to definitions, especially in moral philosophy, in order to avoid all ambiguity and collusion; will<131> very readily approve the cautiousness of the better ancient moralists, “When they would not allow sensual gratifications, which so often come into competition with virtue and the pure solid satisfaction which virtuous consciousness alone can give, to be called by the same name of pleasure (bonum,) nor any pain to be called by the same term evil (malum) designed to signify the greatest of all evils and disorders, to avoid any steps towards the introduction of which into the mind, all other pains or evils ought to be undergone with fortitude: even the corruption of the mind by vice.” Such caution is very necessary in moral philosophy. And the reasons so often given for it by ancient philosophers, by Cicero in particular, in his reasonings against the Epicurean system, in which it was the fundamental and favourite maxim, that all our determinations to act, proceed from pleasure, Omnia initia agendi à voluptate proficiscuntur;39 is beautifully englished to us by an excellent modern philosopher, who was indeed a perfect master of all true ancient learning.a “To bring (says he) the satisfactions of the mind, and the enjoyments of reason and judgment under the denomination of pleasure is only a collusion and a plain receding from the common notion of the word. They deal not fairly with us, who in their philosophical hour admit that for pleasure, which at an ordinary time, and in the common practice of life is so little taken as such. The mathematician who labours at his problem, the bookish man who toils, the artist who endures voluntarily the greatest hardships and fatigues; none of these are said to follow pleasure. Nor<132> will the men of pleasure by any means admit them to be of their number. The satisfactions which are purely mental, and depend only on the motion of a thought, must in all likelihood be too refined for our modern Epicures, who are so taken up with pleasures of a more substantial kind. They who are full of the idea of such a sensible, solid good, can have but a slender fancy for the more spiritual and intellectual sort. But this latter they set up and magnify upon occasion, to save the ignominy which may redound to them from the former: this done, the latter may take its chance, its use is presently at an end. For it is observable, that when men of this sort have recommended the enjoyments of the mind under the title of pleasure, when they have thus dignified the word, and included in it whatever is mentally good and honest, they can afterwards suffer it contentedly to slide down again into its own genuine and vulgar sense; whence they raised it only to serve a turn. When pleasure is called in question and attacked, then reason and virtue is called on to her aid, and made principal parts of her constitution. A complicated form appears and comprehends streight all which is generous, beautiful, and honest in human life. But when the attack is over, and the objection once solved, the spectre vanishes: pleasure returns again to her former shape; she may even be pleasure still, and have as little concern with dry sober reason, as in the nature of the thing, and according to common understanding she really has. For if this reasonable sort of enjoyment be admitted into the nature of good, how is it possible to admit withal that kind of sensation, which in effect is rather opposite to this enjoyment? ’Tis certain, that in respect of the mind and its enjoyments, the eagerness and irritation<133> of mere pleasure is as disturbing, as the importunity and vexation of pain. If either throws the mind off its biass, and deprives it of the satisfaction it takes in its natural exercise and employment, the mind, in this case, must be a sufferer, as well by the one as by the other; if neither does this, there is no harm on either side.”
Hence it is that we are not only capable of computing our advantage and interest;Upon the whole, that we have a moral sense appears, because we have not only the power of examining our appetites and affections, or of computing their tendencies and effects with respect to external hurt or interest, and determining the bounds within which their gratifications must be pursued and regulated, so that none of our pleasures may be too dearly bought:
——— Nocet empta dolore voluptas.40
But we have also clear ideas of moral order, decency, fitness and unfitness in affections, actions and characters, analogous to our ideas of beauty and regularity in outward forms. For as had we not sensitive appetites and affections towards sensible objects implanted in us by nature, reason could not compare and estimate sensible pleasures; or rather, there would be no such pleasures to estimate and reason about: in like manner, without a sense of moral beauty and fitness, reason could not compare and compute the moral differences of moral objects; or rather, there would be no such objects known to us, for reason to exercise itself about.but likewise of rising higher, and taking in what is worthy and laudable in itself into the account. “It must be true in general, that without appetites, dispositions, faculties and affections suited to particular objects, no one thing could give us more pleasure than another;” and it is fully as true, “That ultimately no other reason can be given why any object pleases us, gives delight, affects us agreeably, or excites our approbation, but that we are so framed by nature; or nature hath so constituted us, and so appointed<134> things.” So that if we have ideas of moral differences in affections and actions, there must be a moral sense in our constitution; and if there be, it must be from nature; there must be the same reason to ascribe it to nature, as to attribute any other of our senses or faculties to it.
On the one hand, if there be no such sense in our make, virtue is really but an empty name; that is, the fitness or approveableness of affections, actions and characters in themselves, is an idle dream that hath no foundation; but advantage or interest is all that we have to consider or compute in our determinations. But, on the other side, if there be really a sense of beauty, fitness, or agreeableness in affections, actions and characters in themselves, independently of all other considerations, then it plainly follows that we are made, “Not merely to consider our private good, or what quantity of external safety, ease, profit, or gratification an action may bring along with it”; but to rise higher in our contemplation, and chiefly to enquire, “What is fit and becoming, agreeable, laudable and beautiful in itself ”; and thus to ask one’s heart in all consultations about actions.It is only by a moral sense we can judge or have a notion of any thing, besides mere external advantage. But is it fit, is it becoming, is it good to do so, whatever advantage may accrue from it?—Or, is it not base, to whatever dangers not doing it may expose? Shall I betray my trust, treat my friend ungratefully, forfeit my integrity, desert my country; or do any such unworthy action, even to save life itself; to gain an uninterrupted succession of sensual joys, or to avoid the most exquisite torments? Without such a sense there can be no foundation for honour and shame. But such a sense, wherever it takes place, teaches and obliges to distinguish between life itself, and the causes of living which are worthy of man; or between life and those noble enjoyments arising from a sense of virtue and merit, without which life is vilely prostituted—between<135>
——— Vitam, & propter vitam vivendi perdere causas.41
But we have a nobler relish.Now in order to be convinced that we have such a sense, let any one but ask himself, (for it is, as hath been often said, a question that depends upon inward experience) whether there be not a very wide, a total difference, between doing a good action because it is good,And therefore we have a moral sense. or from love and affection to good, and a thorow feeling of its excellence, and doing it merely because it will gain him some external advantage or pleasure. Let him take the poets catechism, and strictly examine himself and his natural sentiments by it.Else what foundation have the poet’s questions? by which if we try ourselves, our moral sense will soon speak out its real sentiments.
No man can put himself to a proper trial by examination, without feeling he has a moral sense.Let him ask his heart, whether he can approve himself; or think he will be approved by any being who hath a sense of worth and integrity, however cunning, prudent and sagacious he may be to secure his outward interests; unless he hath a heart that contemns all villany; and would not sacrifice integrity in any one indulgence to the highest pleasures<136> of sense: The “jus fasque animo sanctosque recessus mentis & incoctum generoso pectus honesto?”43 Whether he can chuse but detest all treachery, all villany, all baseness, all dishonesty, however profitable it may be in the ordinary way of sensual appetite and gratification. Whether he can represent to his mind the images of veracity, truth, honesty, benevolence, a sincere, unaffected regard to honour and virtue; and the calm regular presidence of reason and moral conscience in the heart, without approving and loving them. And whether, finally, he can conceive a greater plague than that imprecated by the satyrist’s direful curse,
Virtutem videat intabescatque relicta.44
To be satisfied of the universality of this sense, let one but try the lowest of mankind in understanding, and fairly representing to him the virtues and vices, bring forth his natural, his first sentiments about them; for he shall find that even the most illiterate have a strong moral sense. Quae enim natio non comitatem, non benignitatem, non gratum animum & beneficii memorem diligit, quae superbos, quae maleficos, quae crudeles, quae ingratos non aspernatur non odit?45
It is absurd to suppose a moral sense not to be from nature.Indeed, if these sentiments of virtue and vice common to all men, and which none can fully extirpate from their minds, are not from nature, but are the offspring of flattery upon pride, and begot by the devices of cunning politicians; we are, that is, society is much more indebted to such politics than to nature: for such sentiments are the bond, the cement which holds society together, without which nothing that is truly great or noble could subsist in human life. But how ridiculous is it to ascribe them to any thing else but nature? For how can custom, education, example, or study, give us new ideas? “They might make us see private advantage<137> in actions whose uselessness did not at first appear; or give us opinions of some tendency of actions to our detriment, by some nice deductions of reason; or by a rash prejudice, when upon the first view of the action we should have observed no such thing: but they never could have made us apprehend actions as amiable or odious, without any consideration of our own advantage.”a Let such philosophers consider, that it must be a determination previous to reason, which makes us pursue even private good as our end. No end can be intended without desire or affection, and it is nature alone can implant any appetite, any affection or determination in our nature, whether toward private good or publick good; whether toward pleasure of outward sense, or pleasure of inward approbation.Art cannot create. It is equally absurd in the natural and moral world, to suppose that art can create; it can only work upon subjects according to their original properties, and the laws of nature’s appointment, agreeably to which certain effects may be produced upon them. No art can therefore educe from our natures an affection or determination that is not originally there, no more than art can give bodies a property which they have not.
A moral sense does not suppose innate ideas.To assert a determination in our mind to receive the sentiments or simple ideas of approbation or disapprobation from actions so soon as they are presented, antecedent to any opinions of advantage or loss to redound to ourselves from them, is not to assert innate ideas, or innate knowledge; it is only to assert an aptitude or determination in our nature to be affected in a certain manner so soon as they occur to the mind. And this must be true with regard to the mind in respect of every pleasure it receives, that it is fitted by nature to receive it. But it is well worth observing, “That though we have no innate ideas, in the sense now commonly affixed to these words; yet as in the sensible kinds of objects, the <138>species, the images of bodies, colours and sounds are perpetually moving before our eyes, and actinga on our senses, even when we sleep, so in the moral and intellectual kind, the forms and images are no less active and incumbent on the mind at all seasons, and even when the real objects themselves are absent.But moral ideas are continually haunting our mind. But in these vagrant characters or pictures of manners, which the mind of necessity figures to itself, and carries still about with it, the heart cannot remain neutral, but constantly takes part with one or other: however false and corrupt it may be within itself, it finds the difference as to beauty and comeliness between one heart and another, one turn of affection, one sentiment, one behaviour from another; and accordingly, in all disinterested cases must approve in some manner what is natural and honest, and disapprove what is dishonest and corrupt.” Whether we will or not, moral ideas are always haunting and assaulting us: we must not only shun the world, but shun and avoid ourselves to get entirely rid of them. And let the most hardened, callous wretch, the most abandoned to all sense of honour, shame and integrity that ever existed say, if he dares in a serious conversation with himself approve one vice, or disapprove one virtue, however profitable the one, or disadvantageous the other may be.
Nature therefore hath not left us quite indifferent to virtue and vice.Thus then we see how we are constituted, with regard to a rule and standard of action, and that nature has not left us quite indifferent to virtue and vice,b but hath planted in us a natural sense,<139> which as often as consulted, will not fail to tell us our duty and set us right; and which, let it be opposed or born down with ever so much violence, or lulled asleep by whatever delusive arts, will often uncalled upon, tell the villain to his face he is such, and bitterly tear his guilty mind with agonizing remorse, terrible beyond expression. And who can bear the horrid pangs of a guilty, self-condemning heart, conscious of the worth and excellence of abandoned virtue, and of the baseness, the enormous baseness of every vice, whatever advantages it may bring? We had therefore good reason to say with respect to knowledge, in the first chapter, that nature hath kindly provided us with a natural sense which leads and prompts us to enquire after good, final causes in the administration of nature, and thus directs us to an enquiry the most assistant to virtuous temper, and of the most pleasing kind; and which at the same time directs us in every case, if we will but consult it, to our duty, or to what is excellent, laudable and praise-worthy in itself, independently of all computations with respect to private good, or interest. This sense is therefore justly said to be engraven on our hearts, innate, original, and universal.
But our moral sense, like all our other faculties, must depend on our own culture or care to improve it.But then such is our excellent make in general, that this rational sense or moral conscience common to all men, must, like all our other faculties, depend for its strength and improvement upon our culture; <140>a upon our care to preserve, to nourish and improve it. Such, as has been observed, is our frame in general; and therefore, though this sense can no more be produced by education, where it is wanting, than an ear for music; yet as the latter, so the former is greatly improveable by instruction and exercise: both may be rendered less delicate, nay, almost quite dead and insensible; or at least they may be considerably vitiated by wrong practice, by unnatural associations of ideas, through the influence of bad example, and other depraving methods; but both are improveable to a great pitch of perfection by proper pains, and both require cultivation to their improvement. And certainly, with regard to the latter, it is the great business of education, and the great business throughout the whole life of every one, to keep it in due exercise, to preserve it from being corrupted by bad opinions and wrong associations of ideas, or over-powered by contrary, corrupt, head-strong affections: and for this reason very often to reflect seriously upon it, as the dignity of our nature, and to recal to our mind all the motives and considerations which tend to uphold and corroborate it; to accustom ourselves to review our actions, and to pass judgments, not only upon what we have done, but upon what we ought to do in circumstances that may occur: and in fine, thus to accustom our moral sense to work and act, that it<141> may be rendered by the law of habits habitual to us, and may become larger, and more comprehensive than it can be at first; that is, abler to take in complex ideas, and so to judge of wide and extensive objects: till like a well formed ear or eye, it is capable to judge easily and readily, as well as truly, of any the most complicated piece of harmony. Now nothing is more conducive to such improvement of it, next to exercising it about examples, in judging and pronouncing sentence, (which must be the chief thing) than the philosophical consideration of its analogy to our sense of beauty in material forms, and of the connexion in both cases between beauty and utility. In this sense, and in this sense only, can the love of virtue be taught. But this leads me to enquire, how interest and virtue agree, according to the constitution and laws of our nature. For if it shall be found, that in the moral world, as well as in the natural, utility or advantage is inseparately connected with beauty; then must our frame be an excellent whole.Conclusion. “For hitherto we have found our nature to be admirably well constituted, with regard to virtue and vice, or moral conduct.”
[a ]So Cicero defines it, in the beginning of the first book of his Offices. Homo autem quod est rationis particeps, per quam consequentia cernit, causas rerum videt, earumque praegressus, & quasi antecessiones non ignorat, similitudines comparat,& rebus presentibus adjungit, atque annectit futuras: facile totius vitae cursum videt, ad eamque degendam praeparat res necessarias, &c. So de legibus, l. 1. Etenim ratio qua una praestamus beluis, per quam conjectura valemus, argumentamur, refellimus, disserimus, conficimus aliquid, concludimus—quid est divinius, quae cum adolevit, atque perfecta est, nominatur rite sapientia, &c. [Cicero, De officiis, I.iv.11: “. . . while man—because he is endowed with reason, by which he comprehends the chain of consequences, perceives the causes of things, understands the relation of cause to effect and of effect to cause, draws analogies, and connects and associates the present and the future—easily surveys the course of his whole life and makes the necessary preparations for its conduct, etc.” Cicero, De officiis, trans. Walter Miller, Loeb Classical Library (London: Heinemann; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1938). De legibus: “. . . and indeed reason, which alone raises us above the level of the beasts and enables us to draw inferences, to prove and disprove, to discuss and solve problems, and to come to conclusions” (I.x.30).“But what is more divine than reason? And reason, when it is full grown and perfected, is rightly called wisdom” (I.vii.22-23). Cicero, De re publica, De legibus, trans. Clinton Walker Keyes, Loeb Classical Library (London: Heinemann; New York: Putnam, 1928).]
[38. ]Pope, Essay on Man, I.207–32.
[a. ]Eadem ratio habet in se quiddam amplum atque magnificum ad imperandum magis quam ad parendum accommodatum. Cicero de finibus, Lib. 2. No. 14. Duplex enim est vis animorum atque naturae: una pars in appetitu posita est, quae est ορμη graece, quae hominem huc & illuc rapit: altera in ratione, quae docet & explanat quid faciendum fugiendumque sit. Ita fit ut ratio praesit; appetitus vero obtemperet, &c. Cicero de officiis, Lib. 1. No. 28 and 29. [Cicero, De finibus, II.xiv.46: “Further, reason possesses an intrinsic element of dignity and grandeur, suited rather to require obedience than to render it.” Cicero, De finibus bonorum et malorum, trans. H. Rackham, Loeb Classical Library (London: Heinemann; New York: Putnam, 1931). De officiis, I.xxviii.101: “Now we find that the essential activity of the spirit is twofold: one force is appetite (that is, ορμη, in Greek), which impels a man this way and that; the other is reason, which teaches and explains what should be done and what should be left undone. The result is that reason commands, appetite obeys, etc.”]
[a. ]See Mr. Hutcheson on the passions. [Francis Hutcheson, An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions. . . . (1728); ed. Aaron Garrett (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002), II: Illustrations upon the Moral Sense.]
[b. ]Our sense of honour and shame supposes this faculty: such affections can only spring from it: they are absolutely unaccountable on any other hypotheses, because they cannot be resolved into any other principle.
[a. ]See Cicero epist. ad Atticum, l. 14. epist. Dolabellae Coss. suo. Nihil est enim, crede mihi virtute formosius, nihil pulchrius, nihil amabilius, &c. De finibus, l. 2. Et quoniam eadem natura cupiditatem ingenuit homini veri inveniendi.—His initiis inducti; omnia vera diligimus, id est, fidelia, simplicia, constantiâ: tum vana, falsa, fallentia odimus, ut fraudem perjuriam, malitiam, injuriam, &c. [Cicero, Letters to Friends, III.326 (IX.14).4, Cicero to Dolabella; also in Letters to Atticus, III.17a: “Nothing, believe me, is more beautiful, fair, and lovable than manly virtue, etc.” Cicero, Letters to Friends, ed. and trans. D. R. Shackleton Bailey, 3 vols. (Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 2001); Letters to Atticus, trans. E. O. Winstedt, 3 vols. (London: Heinemann; New York: Putnam, 1912–18). De finibus, II.xiv.46: “Nature has also engendered in mankind the desire of contemplating truth. . . . This primary instinct leads us on to love all truth as such, that is, all that is trustworthy, simple and consistent, and to hate things insincere, false and deceptive, such as cheating, perjury, malice and injustice, etc.”]
[a. ]See Cicero’s offices, lib. 1. Nec vero illa parva naturae vis rationisque quod unum hoc animal sentit, quid sit ordo, quid sit quod deceat, in factis dictisque qui modus. Itaque eorum ipsorum quae adspectu sentiuntur, nullum aliud animal pulchritudinem, venustatem, convenientiam partium sentit; quam similitudinem natura, ratioque ab oculis ad animum transferens, multo etiam magis pulchritudinem; constantiam, ordinem in consiliis factisque conservandam putat, &c. So de finibus, lib. 2. No. 14. and de finibus, lib. 5. No. 17. Quid, in motu, & statu corporis nihilne est quod animadvertendum esse natura judicat? Quemadmodum quis ambulet, sedeat, qui ductus oris, qui vultus in quoque sit: nihilne est in rebus, quod dignum libero aut indignum esse putemus? Non odio dignos multos ducimus, qui quodam motu aut statu videntur naturae legem & modum contempsisse? Et quoniam haec deducuntur de corpore, quid est, cur non recte pulchritudo etiam ipsa propter se expetenda ducatur? Nam si pravitatem imminutionemque corporis, propter se fugiendam putamus, cur non etiam, & fortasse magis, propter se formae dignitatem sequamur—Quoniam enim natura suis omnibus partibus expleri vult hunc statum expetit, &c. See de legibus, lib. 1. numb. 19. An corporis pravitates, si erint perinsignes, habebunt aliquid offensionis, animi deformitas non habebit? Cujus turpitudo ex ipsis vitiis facillime percipi potest. Quid enim foedius avaritia, quid immanius libidine, quid contemptius timiditate, quid abjectius tarditate & stultitia dici potest, &c. [Cicero, De officiis, I.iv.14: “And it is no mean manifestation of Nature and Reason that man is the only animal that has a feeling for order, for propriety, for moderation in word and deed. And so no other animal has a sense of beauty, loveliness, harmony in the visible world; and Nature and Reason, extending the analogy of this from the world of sense to the world of spirit, find that beauty, consistency, order are far more to be maintained in thought and deed, etc.” De finibus, V.xvii.47: “Again, is there nothing in the movements and postures of the body which Nature herself judges to be of importance? A man’s mode of walking and sitting, his particular cast of features and expression—is there nothing in these things that we consider worthy or unworthy of a free man? Do we not often think people deserving of dislike, who by some movement or posture appear to have violated a law or principle of nature? And since people try to get rid of these defects of bearing, why should not even beauty have a good claim to be considered as desirable for its own sake? For if we think imperfection or mutilation of the body things to be avoided for their own sake, why should we not with equal or perhaps still greater reason pursue distinction of form for its own sake? . . . For since our nature aims at the full development of all its parts, she desires . . . that state of body, etc.” De legibus, I.xix.51: “Are bodily defects, if very conspicuous, to offend us, but not a deformity of character? And yet the baseness of this latter can easily be perceived from the very vices which result from it. For what can be thought of that is more loathsome than greed, what more inhuman than lust, what more contemptible than cowardice, what more degraded than stupidity and folly?”]
[a. ]See Aristotle’s Ars Poet. and Longinus. Archeveque de Cambray sur l’eloquence. La tragedie roulât sur deux passions: savoir la terreur, qui doivent donner les suites funestes du vice; & la compassion, qu’inspire la vertuée persecutée & patiente, &c. Dial. 1. [François de Salignac de la Mothe Fénelon, Archbishop of Cambrai, Dialogues sur l’éloquence (1718), I.19–20: “Tragedy runs on two passions; namely terror, which the dark outcome of vice must bring; and compassion, which is inspired by persecuted and long-suffering virtue.” (A.B., trans.)]
[a ]See Shaftsbury’s essay on virtue, whose words these are. [Shaftesbury, “Virtue” I.iii.1, in Characteristics, ed. Klein (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 178.]
[a. ]Nam ut vera & falsa, ut consequentia & contraria, sua sponte, non aliena judicantur: sic constans & perpetua vitae ratio, quae est virtus, itemque inconstantia, quod est vitium, sua natura probatur. Sed perturbat nos opinionum varietas, hominumque dissentio; & quia non idem contingit in sensibus, &c. Cicero de legibus. Lib. 1. No. 17. & deinceps. [Cicero, De legibus, I.xvii.45–47: “For just as truth and falsehood, the logical and illogical, are judged by themselves and not by anything else, so the steadfast and continuous use of reason in the conduct of life, which is virtue, and also inconstancy, which is vice, [are judged] by their own nature. . . . But we are confused by the variety of men’s beliefs and by their disagreements, and because this same variation is not found in the senses, etc.”]
[a. ]By Crouzaz, in his traite de beau. Hutcheson in his enquiry into the origine of beauty, and his illustrations on a moral sense. Shaftsbury in his characteristics. And Dr. Butler, Bishop of Bristol, in his admirable sermons. [Jean-Pierre de Crousaz, Traité du beau (1715); Joseph Butler, Fifteen Sermons (1726).
[a. ]Hutcheson in his illustrations on a moral sense. [Francis Hutcheson, An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions. . . . (1728), ed. Aaron Garrett (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002), II: Illustrations upon the Moral Sense.]
[a. ]Δυναμις αγαθοειδης. Sensus decori & honesti, sensus veri ac pulchri, and sometimes, sensus communis. So Juvenal, Satyr 8. and Satyr 15. See Casaubon, Salmasius, Gataker. So Horace, Satyr 3. l. 16. See Lord Shaftsbury’s Characteristics, T. 1. Essay on the freedom of wit and humour. [Δυναμις αγαθοειδης, “a sense of what’s right”; Sensus decori & honesti —“the sense of the seemly and of the honest”; sensus veri ac pulchri — “a sense of the true and of the beautiful”; Juvenal, Satires, viii.73: sensus communis — “regard for others.” Juvenal and Persius, trans. G. G. Ramsay, rev. ed., Loeb Classical Library (London: Heinemann; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1940).]
[Persius, Satires, V.52–53:
[39. ]“All origins of action start from desire.” This seems to be a paraphrase of a sentence from Cicero, De finibus, I.xii.42.
[a. ]See the Characteristics, T. 3. and see Cicero de finibus. l. 1. and l. 2. At negat Epicurus (hoc enim vestrum lumen est) qui honeste non vivat, jucunde vivere posse. Quasi ego id curem, quid ille aiat aut neget. Illud quaero, quid ei, qui in voluptate summum bonum putet, consentaneum sit dicere, &c. [Shaftesbury, “The Moralists” II.i, in Characteristics, ed. Klein, 252; Cicero, De finibus, II.xxii.70: “But Epicurus, you will tell me (for this is your strong point), denies that anyone who does not live morally can live pleasantly. As if I cared what Epicurus says or denies! What I ask is, what is it consistent for a man to say who places the Chief Good in pleasure?”]
[40. ]Horace, Epistles, I.ii.55: “Pleasure bought with pain is harmful.” Horace, Satires, Epistles and Ars poetica, trans. H. Rushton Fairclough, Loeb Classical Library (London: Heinemann; New York: Putnam, 1926).
[41. ]Juvenal, Satires, VIII.83: “to lose, for the sake of living, all that makes life worth having.”
[42. ]Horace, Epistles, I.xvi: “Whom does false honour delight, whom does lying calumny affright, save the man who is full of flaws and needs the doctor?” (39–41). “Yet this very man all his household and all his neighbours see to be foul within, though fair without, under his comely skin. If a slave were to say to me, ‘I never stole or ran away’ my reply would be, ‘You have your reward; you are not flogged.’ ‘I never killed anyone.’ ‘You’ll hang on no cross to feed crows.’ ‘I am good and honest.’ Our Sabine friend shakes his head and says, ‘No, no!’ For the wolf is wary and dreads the pit, the hawk the suspected snare, the pike the covered hook. The good hate vice because they love virtue; you will commit no crime because you dread punishment. Suppose there’s a hope of escaping detection; you will make no difference between sacred and profane” (44–54).
[43. ]Persius, Satires, II.73–74: “A heart rightly attuned towards God and man, a mind pure in its inner depth, and a soul steeped in nobleness and honour.”
[44. ]Ibid., III.38: “that he may look on virtue, and pine away because he has lost her.”
[45. ]Cicero, De legibus, I.31: “For what nation does not love friendliness, benignity, a gracious soul, and the memory of a kindly act? What nation does not despise and hate arrogant people, evildoers, cruel people and ungracious folk?” Cicero, De re publica, De legibus, trans. Clinton Walker Keyes, Loeb Classical Library (London: Heinemann; New York: Putnam, 1928).
[a. ]See Hutcheson on the passions. [This doctrine is dealt with throughout Hutcheson’s Passions, but see especially section I.]
[a. ]See Shaftsbury’s enquiry concerning virtue; whose words these are. [Shaftesbury, “Virtue” I.ii.3, in Characteristics, ed. Klein, 173.]
[b. ] Est quidem vero lex, recta ratio, naturae congruens, diffusa in omneis, constans, sempiterna, quae vocet ad officium jubendo, vetando a fraude deterreat, quae tamen neque probos frustra jubet, aut vetat, nec improbos jubendo aut vetando movet. Huic legi nec obrogari fas est, neque derogariex hac aliquid licet, neque tota abrogari potest. Nec vero, aut per senatum, aut per populum solvi hac lege possumus. Neque est quaerendus explanator, aut interpres ejus alius: nec erit alia lex Romae, alia Athenis, alia nunc, alia posthac: sed & omnes gentes, & omni tempore, una lex & sempiterna, & immortalis continebit; unusque erit communis quasi magister & imperator omnium deus ille, legis hujus inventor, disceptator, lator cui qui non parebit, ipse se fugiet, ac naturam hominis aspernabitur, atque hoc ipso luet paenas maximas etiamsi caetera supplicia, quae putantur, effugerit. Ciceronis frag. in Lactantio, Lib. VI. Cap. 8. [Lactantius, The Divine Institutes, bk. 6, ch. 8: “There is indeed a true law, right reason, congruent with nature, diffused among all, constant, lasting, which summons us to service by ordering us and deters us from deceit by prohibiting us, which however does not order or forbid worthy people in vain, nor motivates unworthy people by ordering or forbidding them. It is not right that anything of this law should be superseded, nor is it permissible that any of it should be modified. Nor indeed can we be released from it by either the senate or the people. Nor should anyone else be sought who would explain or interpret it. Nor will Rome have one law and Athens another, nor will there be one now and another later. Instead one law, everlasting and undying, will hold for all people and for all time. And one God will be as it were a common master and commander of all. He will be inventor, judge, and proposer of this law. Whoever will not submit to him will put himself to flight and will spurn his nature as a human being. He will thereby suffer the greatest penalty even if he escapes other punishments which are being considered.” (A.B., trans.)]
[a. ]See Plutarch de liberis educandis. Quod de artibus & scientiis dicere solemus, idem & de virtute pronunciandum est; scilicet ad ejus perfectionem tria concurrere oportere: naturam, rationem & assuefactionem. Natura enim si absque disciplina sit caeca est. Disciplina si a natura destituatur defecta: exercitatio, his duobus demptis imperfecta est. Et quemadmodum ad agriculturam, &c.—And therefore he adds, the moral virtues are very properly expressed in the Greek language by a word which signifies assuefactio ad virtutem.