Front Page Titles (by Subject) SECTION VIII: Of the Importance of the internal Senses in Life, and the final Causes of them. - An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue
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SECTION VIII: Of the Importance of the internal Senses in Life, and the final Causes of them. - Francis Hutcheson, An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue 
An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue in Two Treatises, ed. Wolfgang Leidhold (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2004).
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Of the Importance of the internal Senses in Life, and the final Causes of them.
Importance of the internal Senses.I. The busy part of Mankind may look upon these things as airy Dreams of an inflam’d Imagination, which a wise Man should despise, who rationally pursues more solid Possessions independent on Fancy: but a little Reflection will convince us, “That the Gratifications of our internal Senses are as natural, real, and satisfying Enjoyments as any sensible Pleasure whatsoever; and that they are the chief Ends for which we commonly pursue Wealth and Power.” For how is Wealth or Power advantageous? How do they make us happy, or prove good to us? No otherwise than as they supply Gratifications to our Senses or Facultys of perceiving Pleasure. Now, are these Senses or Facultys only the External ones? No: Every body sees, that a small portion of Wealth or Power will supply more Pleasures of the external Senses than we can enjoy; we know that Scarcity often heightens these Perceptions more than A-bundance, which cloys that Appetite which is necessary to all Pleasure in Enjoyment: and hence the Poet’s Advice is perfectly just;
In short, the only use of a great Fortune, above a very small one (except in good Offices and moral Pleasures) must be to supply us with the Pleasures of Beauty, Order, and Harmony.
∥1aIt is true indeed, that ∥2bthe Enjoyment ofb∥ the ∥3cnoblestc∥ Pleasures of the internal Senses, in the Contemplation of the Works of Nature, ∥4disd∥ expos’d to every one without Expence; the Poor and the Low, may have as free ∥5eae∥ use of these Objects, in this way, as the Wealthy or Powerful. And even in Objects which may be appropriated, the Property is of little Consequence to the Enjoyment of their Beauty, which is often enjoy’d by others beside the Proprietor. But then there are other Objects of these internal Senses, which require Wealth, or Power to procure the use of them as frequently as we desire; as appears in Architecture, Musick, Gardening, Painting, Dress, Equipage, Furniture; of which we cannot have the full Enjoyment without Property. And there are some confus’d Imaginations, which often lead us to pursue Property, even in Objects where it is not necessary to the true Enjoyment of them. These are the ultimate Motives of our pursuing the greater Degrees of Wealth, where there are no generous Intentions of virtuous Actions.a∥
This is confirm’d by the constant Practice of the very Enemys to these Senses. As soon as they think they are got above the World, or extricated from the Hurrys of Avarice and Ambition; banish’d Nature will return upon them, and set them upon Pursuits of Beauty and Order in their Houses, Gardens, Dress, Table, Equipage. They are never easy without some degree of this; and were their Hearts open to our View, we should see Regularity, Decency, Beauty, as what their Wishes terminate upon, either to themselves or their Posterity; and what their Imagination is always presenting to them as the possible ∥6 Effects∥ of their Labours. Nor without this, could they ever justify their Pursuits to themselves.
There may perhaps be some Instances of human Nature perverted into a thorow Miser, who loves nothing but Money, and whose Fancy arises no higher than the cold dull Thought of Possession; but such an Instance in an Age, must not be made the Standard of Mankind against the whole Body.
If we examine the Pursuits of the Luxurious, who ∥7 in the opinion of the World is∥ wholly devoted to his Belly; we shall generally find that the far greater part of his Expence is employ’d to procure other Sensations than those of Taste; such as fine Attendants, regular Apartments, Services of Plate, and the like. ∥8 Besides∥, a large share of the Preparation must be suppos’d design’d for some sort of generous friendly Purposes, ∥9 as∥ to please Acquaintance, Strangers, Parasites. How few would be contented to enjoy the same Sensations alone, in a Cottage, or out of earthen Pitchers? To conclude this Point, however these internal Sensations may be overlook’d in our Philosophical Inquirys about the human Facultys, we shall find in Fact, “That they employ us more, and are more efficacious in Life, either to our Pleasure, or Uneasiness, than all our external Senses taken together.”
Final Cause of the internal Senses.II. As to the final Causes of this internal Sense, we need not enquire, “whether, to an almighty and all-knowing Being, there be any real Excellence in regular Forms, in acting by general Laws, in knowing by Theorems?” We seem scarce capable of answering such Questions any way; nor need we enquire, “whether other Animals may not discern Uniformity and Regularity in Objects which escape our Observation, and may not perhaps have their Senses constituted so as to perceive Beauty, from the same Foundation which we do, in Objects which our Senses are not ∥10 fit∥ to examine or compare?” We shall confine our selves to a Subject where we have some certain ∥11 Foundation∥ to go upon, and only enquire, “if we can find any Reasons worthy of the great Author of Nature, for making such a Connection between regular Objects, and the Pleasure which accompanys our Perceptions of them; or, what Reasons might possibly influence him to create the World, as it at present is, as far as we can observe, every where full of Regularity and Uniformity?”
12 Let it be here observ’d, that as far as we know ∥13 concerning∥ any of the great Bodys of the Universe, we see Forms and Motions really Beautiful to our Senses; and if we were plac’d in any Planet, the apparent Courses would still be Regular and Uniform, and consequently Beautiful to ∥14 our Sense∥. Now this gives us no small Ground to imagine, that if the Senses of their Inhabitants are in the same manner adapted to their Habitations, and the Objects occurring to their View, as ours are here, their Senses must be upon the same general Foundation with ours.
But to return to the Questions: What occurs to resolve them, may be contain’d in the following Propositions.
1. The manner of Knowledge by universal Theorems, and of Operation by universal Causes, as far as we can attain ∥15 it,∥ must be most convenient for Beings of limited Understanding and Power; since this prevents Distraction in their Understandings thro the Multiplicity of Propositions, and Toil and Weariness to their Powers of Action: and consequently their Reason, without any Sense of Beauty, must approve of such Methods when they reflect upon their apparent Advantage.
2. Those Objects of Contemplation in which there is Uniformity amidst Variety, are more distinctly and easily comprehended and retain’d, than irregular Objects; because the accurate Observation of one or two Parts often leads to the Knowledge of the Whole: Thus we can from a Pillar or two, with an intermediate Arch, and Cornice, form a distinct Idea of a whole regular Building, if we know of what Species it is, and have its Length and Breadth: From a Side and solid Angle, we have the whole regular Solid; the measuring one Side, gives the whole Square; one Radius, the whole ∥16 Circle∥; two Diameters, an Oval; one Ordinate and Abscissa, the Parabola; ∥17 and so on in more complex Figures which have any Regularity, which can be entirely determin’d and known in every Part∥ from a few Data: Whereas it must be a long Attention to a vast Multiplicity of Parts, which can ascertain or fix the Idea of any irregular Form, or give any distinct Idea of it, or make us capable of retaining it; as appears in the Forms of rude Rocks, and Pebbles, and confus’d Heaps, even when the Multitude of sensible Parts is not so great as in the regular Forms: for such irregular Objects distract the Mind with Variety, since for every sensible Part we must have a quite different Idea.
3. From ∥18 these∥ two Propositions it follows, “That Beings of limited Understanding and Power, if they act rationally for their own Interest, must chuse to operate by the simplest Means, to invent general Theorems, and to study regular Objects, if they be ∥19 as useful as∥ irregular ones; that they may avoid the endless Toil of producing each Effect by a separate Operation, of searching ∥20 out∥ each different Truth by a different Inquiry, and of imprinting the endless Variety of dissimilar Ideas in irregular Objects.”
4. But then, beside this Consideration of Interest, there does not appear to be any necessary Connection, ∥21 antecedent∥ to the Constitution of the Author of Nature, ∥22 between∥ regular Forms, Actions, Theorems, and that sudden sensible Pleasure excited in us upon observation of them, even when we do not reflect upon the Advantage mention’d in the former Proposition. And possibly, the Deity could have form’d us so as to have receiv’d ∥23 no∥ Pleasure from such ∥24 Objects∥, or connected Pleasure to those of a quite contrary Nature. We have a tolerable Presumption of this in the Beautys of various Animals; they give some small Pleasure indeed to every one who views them, but then every ∥25 one∥ seems ∥26 vastly∥ more delighted with ∥27 the peculiar Beautys of its own Species, than with those of a different one,∥ which seldom raise any desire ∥28 but among Animals of the same Species with the one admir’d∥. This makes it probable, that the Pleasure is not the necessary Result of the Form it self, otherwise it would equally affect all Apprehensions in what Species soever∥29 ; but depends upon a voluntary Constitution,∥ adapted to preserve the Regularity of the Universe, and is probably not the Effect of Necessity but Choice in the Supreme Agent, who constituted our Senses.
From the divine Goodness.5. Now from the whole we may conclude, “That supposing the Deity so kind as to connect sensible Pleasure with certain Actions or Contemplations, beside the rational Advantage perceivable in them; there is a great moral Necessity, from his Goodness, that the internal Sense of Men should be constituted as it is at present, so as to make Uniformity amidst Variety the Occasion of Pleasure.” For were it not so, but on the contrary, if irregular Objects, particular Truths, and Operations pleased us, beside the endless Toil this would involve us in, there must arise a perpetual Dissatisfaction in all rational Agents with themselves; since Reason and Interest would lead us to simple general Causes, while a contrary Sense of Beauty would make us disapprove them: Universal Theorems would appear to our Understanding the best Means of increasing our Knowledge of what might be useful; while a contrary Sense would set us on the search after ∥30 particular∥ Truths: Thought and Reflection would recommend Objects with Uniformity amidst Variety, and yet this perverse Instinct would involve us in Labyrinths of Confusion and Dissimilitude. And hence we see “how suitable it is to the sagacious Bounty which we suppose in the Deity, to constitute our internal Senses in the manner in which they are; by which Pleasure is join’d to the Contemplation of those Objects which a finite Mind can best imprint and retain the Ideas of with the least Distraction; to those Actions which are most efficacious, and fruitful in useful Effects; and to those Theorems which most enlarge our Minds.”
Reason of general Laws.31III. As to the other Question, “What Reason might influence the Deity, whom no ∥32 Diversity∥ of Operation could distract or weary, to chuse to operate by simplest Means and general Laws, and to diffuse Uniformity, Proportion and Similitude thro all the Parts of Nature which we can observe?” Perhaps there may be some real Excellence in this Manner of Operation, and in these Forms, which we know not: but this we may probably say, that since the divine Goodness, for the Reasons above mention’d, has constituted our Sense of Beauty as it is at present, the same Goodness might ∥33 determine∥ the Great Architect to adorn this ∥34 vast∥ Theatre in ∥35 a manner∥ agreeable to the Spectators, and that part which is expos’d to the Observation of Men, so as to be pleasant to them; especially if we suppose that he design’d to discover himself to them as Wise and Good, as well as Powerful: for thus he has given them greater Evidences, thro the whole Earth, of his Art, Wisdom, Design, and Bounty, than they can possibly have for the Reason, Counsel, and Good-will of their fellow-Creatures, with whom they converse, with full Persuasion of ∥36 these qualities in them, about∥ their common Affairs.
As to the Operations of the Deity by general Laws, there is ∥37 still a further Reason from a Sense∥ superior to these already consider’d, even that of Virtue, or the Beauty of Action, which is the Foundation of our greatest Happiness. For were there no general Laws fix’d in the Course of Nature, there could be no Prudence or Design in Men, no rational Expectation of Effects from Causes, no Schemes of Action projected, ∥38 or∥ any regular Execution. If then, according to the Frame of our Nature, our greatest happiness must depend upon our Actions, as it may perhaps be made appear it does, “The Universe must be govern’d, not by particular Wills, but by general Laws, upon which we can found our Expectations, and project our Schemes of Action.” ∥39aNay further, tho general Laws did ordinarily obtain, yet if the Deity usually stopp’d their ∥40bEf-fectsb∥ whenever it was necessary to prevent any particular Evils; this would effectually, ∥41cand justlyc∥ supersede all human Prudence and Care about Actions; since a superior Mind did thus relieve Men from their Charge.a∥
∥42 The End of the First Treatise.∥
∥1 TREATISE II
viz. An Inquiry Concerning the Original of our Ideas of Virtue or Moral Good.
An Inquiry Concerning Moral Good and Evil.
[* ]Hor. Lib. 2. Sat. 2. v. 20.
[i. ]Translation: “So earn your sauce with hard exercise.” Horace, Satires, Epistles, and Ars Poetica, trans. H. Rushton Fairclough, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1970), 138.
[i. ]Translation: “We discuss matters which concern us more, and of which it is harmful to be in ignorance—whether wealth or virtue makes men happy, whether self-interest or uprightness leads us to friendship, what is the nature of the good and what is its highest form.” Horace, Satires, Epistles, and Ars Poetica, trans. H. Rushton Fairclough, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1970), Satires, II.vi.72–76, p. 216.
[1.]Entire paragraph not in A (p. 89). Instruction for addition of the entire paragraph already in Alterations and Additions (p. 9).
[2.]Omitted in C (p. 94), D (p. 94).
[3.]Alterations and Additions (p. 9): greatest
[4.]C (p. 94), D (p. 94): are
[5.]Not in C (p. 94), D (p. 94).
[6.]A (p. 89): Effect
[7.]C (p. 96), D (p. 96): is imagined
[8.]A (p. 90): Beside
[9.]Omitted in C (p. 96), D (p. 96).
[10.]A (p. 91): fitted
[11.]A (p. 91): Foundations
[12.]No new paragraph in A (p. 91).
[13.]A (p. 91): of
[14.]C (p. 97), D (p. 97): us
[15.]A (p. 92): to this Manner
[16.]A (p. 93): Circle pretty nearly
[17.]C (p. 99), D (p. 99): thus also other Figures, if they have any Regularity, are in every Point determined
[18.]A (p. 93): the last
[19.]A (p. 93): but equal in Use with
[20.]Not in A (p. 94).
[21.]A (p. 94): antecedently
[22.]A (p. 94): between the
[23.]C (p. 100), D (p. 100): no immediate
[24.]D (p. 100): Object
[25.]A (p. 94): one in its own Species
[26.]C (p. 100), D (p. 100): far
[27.]A (p. 94): their peculiar Beautys, than with the Beautys of a different Species
[28.]Omitted in C (p. 100), D (p. 100). In D2, D3 [Corrigenda, p. 310] this footnote follows: *See Cic. de Nat. Deor. Lib. I. c. 27.
[29.]A (p. 94): . This present Constitution is much more
[30.]A (p. 95): singular
[31.]A (p. 96): not numbered.
[32.]A (p. 96): Diversitys
[33.]C (p. 102), D (p. 102): have determined
[34.]C (p. 102), D (p. 102): stupendous
[35.]A (p. 96): that manner which should be
[36.]A (p. 97): this in
[37.]A (p. 97): a further Reason from a Sense still
[38.]A (p. 97): nor
[39.]Not in A (p. 97). Instruction for addition already in Alterations and Additions (pp. 9–10).
[40.]Alterations and Additions (p. 10): Effect
[41.]Not in Alterations and Additions (p. 10).
[42.]Not in A (p. 97), C (p. 103), D (p. 103). Instruction for addition in Alterations and Additions (p. 10): End of the first Treatise.
[1.]Separate leaf in B with pagination 109. Entire page omitted in C and D. D (p. 105): The title “Treatise II.” is displayed on the top of the first page of the text.