Front Page Titles (by Subject) PART I. - Social Statics
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
PART I. - Herbert Spencer, Social Statics 
Social Statics: or, The Conditions essential to Happiness specified, and the First of them Developed, (London: John Chapman, 1851).
About Liberty Fund:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
definition of morality.
There does not seem to exist any settled idea as to what a Moral Philosophy properly embraces. Moralists have either omitted to prelude their inquiries by any strict definition of the work to be done, or a definition of a very loose and indiscriminating character has been framed. Instead of confining themselves to the discovery and application of certain essential principles of right conduct, they have attempted to give rules for all possible actions, under all possible circumstances. Properly understood the subject matter for investigation lies within comparatively narrow limits; but, overlooking these, they have entered upon a multitude of questions which we shall shortly find to be quite beyond their province.
As already said (p. 15) the moral law must be the law of the perfect man—the law in obedience to which perfection consists. There are but two propositions for us to choose between. It may either be asserted that morality is a code of rules for the behaviour of man as he is—a code which recognises existing defects of character, and allows for them; or otherwise that it is a code of rules for the regulation of conduct amongst men as they should be. Of the first alternative we must say, that any proposed system of morals which recognises existing defects, and countenances acts made needful by them, stands self-condemned; seeing that, by the hypothesis, acts thus excused are not the best conceivable; that is are not perfectly right—not perfectly moral, and therefore a morality which permits them, is, in so far as it does this, not a morality at all. To escape from this contradiction is impossible, save by adopting the other alternative; namely, that the moral law ignoring all vicious conditions, defects, and incapacities, prescribes the conduct of an ideal humanity. Pure and absolute rectitude can alone be its subject matter. Its object must be to determine the relationships in which men ought to stand to each other—to point out the principles of action in a normal society. By successive propositions it must aim to give a systematic statement of those conditions under which human beings may harmoniously combine; and to this end it requires as its postulate, that those human beings be perfect. Or we may term it the science of social life; a science that, in common with all other sciences, assumes perfection in the elements with which it deals.
Treating therefore as it does on the abstract principles of right conduct, and the deductions to be made from these, a system of pure ethics cannot recognise evil, or any of those conditions which evil generates. It entirely ignores wrong, injustice, or crime, and gives no information as to what must be done when they have been committed. It knows no such thing as an infraction of the laws, for it is merely a statement of what the laws are. It simply says, such and such are the principles on which men should act; and when these are broken it can do nothing but say that they are broken. If asked what ought any one to do when another has knocked him down, it will not tell; it can only answer that an assault is a trespass against the law, and gives rise to a wrong relationship. It is silent as to the manner in which we should behave to a thief; all the information it affords is, that theft is a disturbance of social equilibrium. We may learn from it that debt implies an infraction of the moral code; but whether the debtor should or should not be imprisoned, cannot be decided by it. To all questions which presuppose some antecedent unlawful action, such as—Should a barrister defend any one whom be believes to be guilty? Ought a man to break an oath which he has taken to do something wrong? Is it proper to publish the misconduct of our fellows? the perfect law can give no reply, because it does not recognise the premises. In seeking to settle such points on purely ethical principles, moralists have attempted impossibilities. As well might they have tried to solve mathematically a series of problems respecting crooked lines and broken-backed curves, or to deduce from the theorems of mechanics the proper method of setting to work a dislocated machine. No conclusions can lay claim to absolute truth, but such as depend upon truths that are themselves absolute. Before there can be exactness in an inference, there must be exactness in the antecedent propositions. A geometrician requires that the straight lines with which he deals shall be veritably straight; and that his circles, and ellipses, and parabolas shall agree with precise definitions—shall perfectly and invariably answer to specified equations. If you put to him a question in which these conditions are not complied with, he tells you that it cannot be answered. So likewise is it with the philosophical moralist. He treats solely of the straight man. He determines the properties of the straight man; describes how the straight man comports himself; shows in what relationship he stands to other straight men; shows how a community of straight men is constituted. Any deviation from strict rectitude he is obliged wholly to ignore. It cannot be admitted into his premises without vitiating all his conclusions. A problem in which a crooked man forms one of the elements is insoluble by him. He may state what he thinks about it—may give an approximate solution; but anything more is impossible. His decision is no longer scientific and authoritative, but is now merely an opinion.
Or perhaps the point may be most conveniently enforced, by using the science of the animal man, to illustrate that of the moral man. Physiology is defined as a classified statement of the phenomena of bodily life. It treats of the functions of our several organs in their normal states. It explains the relationships in which the members stand to each other—what are their respective duties—how such duties are performed, and why they are necessary. It exhibits the mutual dependence of the vital actions; points out how these are maintained in due balance, and describes the condition of things constituting perfect health. Disease it does not even recognise, and can therefore solve no questions concerning it. To the inquiry—What is the cause of fever? or, what is the best remedy for a cold? it gives no answer. Such matters are out of its sphere. Could it reply it would be no longer Physiology, but Pathology, or Therapeutics. Just so it is with a true morality, which might properly enough be called—Moral Physiology. Its office is simply to expound the principles of moral health. Like its analogue, it has nothing to do with morbid actions and deranged functions. It deals only with the laws of a normal humanity, and cannot recognise a wrong, a depraved, or a disordered condition.
Hence it appears, that in treating of two such matters as the right of property, and the impropriety of duelling, as parts of the same science, moralists have confounded together subjects that are essentially distinct. The question—What are the right principles of human conduct? is one thing; the question—What must be done when those principles have been broken through? is another, and widely-different thing. Whether this last admits of any solution—whether it is possible to develope scientifically a Moral Pathology and a Moral Therapeutics seems very doubtful. Be this as it may, however, it is very clear that a system of pure Ethics is independent of these. And it will be considered so throughout the ensuing investigations.
the evanescence of evil.
All evil results from the non-adaptation of constitution to conditions. This is true of everything that lives. Does a shrub dwindle in poor soil, or become sickly when deprived of light, or die outright if removed to a cold climate? it is because the harmony between its organization and its circumstances has been destroyed. Those experiences of the farmyard and the menagerie which show that pain, disease, and death, are entailed upon animals by certain kinds of treatment, may all be generalised under the same law. Every suffering incident to the human body, from a headache up to a fatal illness—from a burn or a sprain, to accidental loss of life, is similarly traceable to the having placed that body in a situation for which its powers did not fit it. Nor is the expression confined in its application to physical evil; it comprehends moral evil also. Is the kindhearted man distressed by the sight of misery? is the bachelor unhappy because his means will not permit him to marry? does the mother mourn over her lost child? does the emigrant lament leaving his fatherland? are some made uncomfortable by having to pass their lives in distasteful occupations, and others from having no occupation at all? the explanation is still the same. No matter what the special nature of the evil, it is invariably referable to the one generic cause—want of congruity between the faculties and their spheres of action.
Equally true is it that evil perpetually tends to disappear. In virtue of an essential principle of life, this non-adaptation of an organism to its conditions is ever being rectified; and modification of one or both, continues until the adaptation is complete. Whatever possesses vitality, from the elementary cell up to man himself, inclusive, obeys this law. We see it illustrated in the acclimatization of plants, in the altered habits of domesticated animals, in the varying characteristics of our own race. Accustomed to the brief arctic summer, the Siberian herbs and shrubs spring up, flower, and ripen their seeds, in the space of a few weeks. If exposed to the rigour of northern winters, animals of the temperate zone get thicker coats, and become white. The greyhound which, when first transported to the high plateaus of the Andes, fails in the chase from want of breath, acquires, in the course of generations, a more efficient pair of lungs. Cattle which in their wild state gave milk but for short periods, now give it almost continuously. Ambling is a pace not natural to the horse; yet there are American breeds that now take to it without training.
Man exhibits just the same adaptability. He alters in colour according to temperature—lives here upon rice, and there upon whale oil—gets larger digestive organs if he habitually eats innutritious food—acquires the power of long fasting if his mode of life is irregular, and loses it when the supply of food is certain—becomes fleet and agile in the wilderness and inert in the city—attains acute vision, hearing, and scent, when his habits of life call for them, and gets these senses blunted when they are less needful. That such changes are towards fitness for surrounding circumstances no one can question. When he sees that the dweller in marshes lives in an atmosphere which is certain death to a stranger—when he sees that the Hindoo can lie down and sleep under a tropical sun, whilst his white master with closed blinds, and water sprinklings, and punkah, can hardly get a doze—when he sees that the Greenlander and the Neapolitan subsist comfortably on their respective foods—blubber and macaroni, but would be made miserable by an interchange of them—when he sees that in other cases there is still this fitness to diet, to climate, and to modes of life, even the most sceptical must admit that some law of adaptation is at work. Nay, indeed, if he interprets facts aright, he will find that the action of such a law, is traceable down to the minutest ramifications of individual experience. In the drunkard who needs an increasing quantity of spirits to intoxicate him, and in the opium eater, who has to keep taking a larger dose to produce the usual effect, he may mark how the system gradually acquires power to resist what is noxious. Those who smoke, who take snuff, or who habitually use medicines, can furnish like illustrations. Nor in fact, is there any permanent change of bodily state or capability, which is not to be accounted for on the same principle.
This universal law of physical modification, is the law of mental modification also. The multitudinous differences of capacity and disposition that have in course of time grown up between the Indian, African, Mongolian and Caucasian races, and between the various subdivisions of them, must all be ascribed to the acquirement in each case of fitness for surrounding circumstances. Those strong contrasts between the characters of nations and of times awhile since exemplified (p. 34) admit of no other conceivable explanation. Why all this divergence from the one common original type? If adaptation of constitution to conditions is not the cause, what is the cause?
There are none, however, who can with anything like consistency combat this doctrine; for all use arguments that presuppose its truth. Even those to whose prejudices the theory of man’s indefinite adaptability is most opposed, are continually betraying their involuntary belief in it. They do this when they attribute differences of national character to differences in social customs and arrangements: and again when they comment on the force of habit: and again when they discuss the probable influence of a proposed measure upon public morality: and again when they recommend practice as a means of acquiring increased aptitude: and again when they describe certain pursuits as elevating and others as degrading: and again when they talk of getting used to anything: and again when they advocate certain systems of mental discipline—when they teach that virtuous conduct eventually becomes pleasurable, and when they warn against the power of a long-encouraged vice.
In fact, if we consider the question closely, no other arrangement of things can be imagined. For we must adopt one of three propositions. We must either affirm that the human being is wholly unaltered by the influences that are brought to bear upon him—his circumstances as we call them; or that he perpetually tends to become more and more unfitted to those circumstances; or that he tends to become fitted to them. If the first is true, then all schemes of education, of government, of social reform—all instrumentalities by which it is proposed to act upon man, are utterly useless, seeing that he cannot be acted upon at all. If the second is true, then the way to make a man virtuous is to accustom him to vicious practices, and vice versâ. Both of which propositions being absurd, we are compelled to admit the remaining one.
Keeping in mind then the two facts, that all evil results from the non-adaptation of constitution to conditions; and that where this non-adaptation exists it is continually being diminished by the changing of constitution to suit conditions, we shall be prepared for comprehending the present position of the human race.
By the increase of population the state of existence we call social has been necessitated. Men living in this state suffer under numerous evils. By the hypothesis it follows that their characters are not completely adapted to such a state.
In what respect are they not so adapted? what is the special qualification which the social state requires?
It requires that each individual shall have such desires only, as may be fully satisfied without trenching upon the ability of other individuals to obtain like satisfaction. If the desires of each are not thus limited, then either all must have certain of their desires ungratified; or some must get gratification for them at the corresponding expense of others. Both of which alternatives necessitating pain, imply non-adaptation.
But why is not man adapted to the social state?
Simply because he yet partially retains the characteristics that adapted him for an antecedent state. The respects in which he is not fitted to society are the respects in which he is fitted for his original predatory life. His primitive circumstances required that he should sacrifice the welfare of other beings to his own; his present circumstances require that he should not do so; and in as far as his old attribute still clings to him, in so far is he unfit for the social state. All sins of men against each other, from the cannibalism of the Carrib to the crimes and venalities that we see around us; the felonies that fill our prisons, the trickeries of trade, the quarrelings of nation with nation, and of class with class, the corruptness of institutions, the jealousies of caste, and the scandal of drawing-rooms, have their causes comprehended under this generalization.
Concerning the present position of the human race, we must therefore say, that man needed one moral constitution to fit him for his original state; that he needs another to fit him for his present state; and that he has been, is, and will long continue to be, in process of adaptation. By the term civilization we signify the adaptation that has already taken place. The changes that constitute progress are the successive steps of the transition. And the belief in human perfectibility, merely amounts to the belief, that in virtue of this process, man will eventually become completely suited to his mode of life.
If there be any conclusiveness in the foregoing arguments, such a faith is well founded. As commonly supported by evidence drawn from history, it cannot be considered indisputable. The inference that as advancement has been hitherto the rule, it will be the rule henceforth, may be called a plausible speculation. But when it is shown that this advancement is due to the working of a universal law; and that in virtue of that law it must continue until the state we call perfection is reached, then the advent of such a state is removed out of the region of probability into that of certainty. If any one demurs to this, let him point out the error. Here are the several steps of the argument.
All imperfection is unfitness to the conditions of existence.
This unfitness must consist either in having a faculty or faculties in excess; or in having a faculty or faculties deficient; or in both.
A faculty in excess, is one which the conditions of existence do not afford full exercise to; and a faculty that is deficient, is one from which the conditions of existence demand more than it can perform.
But it is an essential principle of life that a faculty to which circumstances do not allow full exercise diminishes; and that a faculty on which circumstances make excessive demands increases.
And so long as this excess and this deficiency continue, there must continue decrease on the one hand, and growth on the other.
Finally all excess and all deficiency must disappear; that is, all unfitness must disappear; that is, all imperfection must disappear.
Thus the ultimate development of the ideal man is logically certain—as certain as any conclusion in which we place the most implicit faith; for instance, that all men will die. For why do we infer that all men will die? Simply because, in an immense number of past experiences, death has uniformly occurred. Similarly then as the experiences of all people in all times—experiences that are embodied in maxims, proverbs, and moral precepts, and that are illustrated in biographies and histories, go to prove that organs, faculties, powers, capacities, or whatever else we call them, grow by use and diminish from disuse, it is inferred that they will continue to do so. And if this inference is unquestionable, then is the one above deduced from it—that humanity must in the end become completely adapted to its conditions—unquestionable also.
Progress, therefore, is not an accident, but a necessity. Instead of civilization being artificial, it is a part of nature; all of a piece with the development of the embryo or the unfolding of a flower. The modifications mankind have undergone, and are still undergoing, result from a law underlying the whole organic creation; and provided the human race continues, and the constitution of things remains the same, those modifications must end in completeness. As surely as the tree becomes bulky when it stands alone, and slender if one of a group; as surely as the same creature assumes the different forms of cart-horse and race-horse, according as its habits demand strength or speed; as surely as a blacksmith’s arm grows large, and the skin of a labourer’s hand thick; as surely as the eye tends to become long-sighted in the sailor, and short-sighted in the student; as surely as the blind attain a more delicate sense of touch; as surely as a clerk acquires rapidity in writing and calculation; as surely as the musician learns to detect an error of a semitone amidst what seems to others a very babel of sounds; as surely as a passion grows by indulgence and diminishes when restrained; as surely as a disregarded conscience becomes inert, and one that is obeyed active; as surely as there is any efficacy in educational culture, or any meaning in such terms as habit, custom, practice;—so surely must the human faculties be moulded into complete fitness for the social state; so surely must the things we call evil and immorality disappear; so surely must man become perfect.
the divine idea, and the conditions of its realization.
If, instead of proposing it as the rule of human conduct, Bentham had simply assumed “greatest happiness” to be the creative purpose, his position would have been tenable enough. Almost all men do in one way or other assert the same. There have indeed been times when such a faith was far from universal. Had the proposition been made before Simeon Stylites on the top of his column, he would very likely have demurred to it. Probably the Flagellants of the thirteenth century may have thought otherwise. And even now it is possible that the Fakeers of India hold a contrary opinion. But, whilst it may be true that a savage asceticism attributes to the Deity a barbarity equal to its own, and conceives him as delighting in human sacrifices; whilst it may be true that amongst ourselves the same notion yet lingers, under the form of occasional fasts and penances; still there are few if any amongst civilized people who do not agree that human well-being is in accordance with the Divine will. The doctrine is taught by all our religious teachers; it is assumed by every writer on morality: we may therefore safely consider it as an admitted truth.
It is one thing, however, to hold that greatest happiness is the creative purpose, and a quite different thing to hold that greatest happiness should be the immediate aim of man. It has been the fatal error of the expediency-philosophers to confound these positions. They have not observed that the truth has two sides, a Divine side and a human side; and that it matters much to us which we look at. Greatest Happiness and Morality, are the face and obverse of the same fact; what is written on the one surface is beyond our interpretation: what is written on the other we may read easily enough.
Or dropping metaphor, and speaking in philosophical language, we may say that it is for us to ascertain the conditions by conforming to which this greatest happiness may be attained. Not to put trust in guesses: not to do this or that, because we think it will be beneficial: but to find out what really is the line of conduct that leads to the desired end. For unquestionably there must be in the nature of things some definite and fixed pre-requisites to success. Man is a visible, tangible entity, having properties. In the circumstances that surround him there are certain unchanging necessities. Life is dependent upon the fulfilment of specific functions; and happiness is a particular kind of life. Surely then if we would know how, in the midst of these appointed circumstances, the being Man must live, so as to achieve the result—greatest happiness, we ought first to determine what the essential conditions are. If we solve the problem, it can only be by consulting these and submitting ourselves to them. To suppose that we may, in ignorance or disregard of them, succeed by some hap-hazard speculation, is sheer folly. Only in one way can the desideratum be reached. What that one way is must depend upon the fundamental necessities of our position. And if we would discover it, our first step must be to ascertain those necessities.
At the head of them stands this unalterable fact—the social state. In the pre-ordained course of things, men have multiplied until they are constrained to live more or less in presence of each other. That, as being needful for the support of the greatest sum of life, such a condition is preliminary to the production of the greatest sum of happiness, seems highly probable. Be that as it may, however, we find this state established; are henceforth to continue in it; and must therefore set it down as one of those necessities which our rules for the achievement of the greatest happiness must recognise and conform to.
In this social state the ‘sphere of activity of each individual being limited by the spheres of activity of other individuals, it follows that the men who are to realize this greatest sum of happiness, must be men of whom each can obtain complete happiness within his own sphere of activity, without diminishing the spheres of activity required for the acquisition of happiness by others. For manifestly, if each or any of them cannot receive complete happiness without lessening the spheres of activity of one or more of the rest, he must either himself come short of complete happiness, or must make one or more do so; and hence under such circumstances, the sum total of happiness cannot be as great as is conceivable, or cannot be greatest happiness. Here then is the first of those fixed conditions to the obtainment of greatest happiness, necessitated by the social state. It is the fulfilment of this condition which we express by the word justice.
To this all-essential pre-requisite there is a supplementary one of kindred nature. We find that without trenching upon each other’s spheres of activity, men may yet behave to one another in such a way as to produce painful emotions. And if any have feelings that lead them to do this, it is clear that the total amount of happiness is not so great as it would be were they devoid of those feelings. Hence, to compass greatest happiness, the human constitution must be such as that each man may perfectly fulfil his own nature, not only without diminishing other men’s spheres of activity, but without giving unhappiness to other men in any direct or indirect way. This condition, as we shall by-and-by see, needs to be kept quite distinct from the foregoing one. The observance of it may be called negative beneficience.
Yet another requirement is there by fulfilment of which the happiness flowing from compliance with the foregoing ones is indefinitely multiplied. Let a race of beings be so constituted as that each individual may be able to obtain full satisfaction for all his desires, without deducting from the satisfaction obtainable by other individuals, and we have a state of things in which the amount of isolated happiness is the greatest conceivable. But let these beings be so constituted as that each, in addition to the pleasurable emotions personally received by him, can sympathetically participate in the pleasurable emotions of all others, and the sum-total of happiness becomes largely increased. Hence, to the primary requisite that each shall be able to get complete happiness without diminishing the happiness of the rest, we must now add the secondary one that each shall be capable of receiving happiness from the happiness of the rest. Compliance with this requisite implies positive beneficence.
Lastly there must go to the production of the greatest happiness the further condition, that, whilst duly regardful of the preceding limitations, each individual shall perform all those acts required to fill up the measure of his own private happiness.
These then are necessities. They are not matters of opinion, but matters of unalterable fact. Denial of them is impossible, for nothing else can be stated but what is self-contradictory. Without any alternative, beings who are to realize the Divine Idea must be thus constituted. Before greatest happiness can be brought about, every man must answer to these definitions; and all approach to greatest happiness, presupposes an approach towards conformity with them. Schemes of government and culture which ignore them, cannot but be essentially absurd. Everything must be good or bad, right or wrong, in virtue of its accordance or discordance with them. We have no need to perplex ourselves with investigations into the expediency of every measure, by trying to trace out its ultimate results in all their infinite ramifications—a task which it is folly to attempt. Our course is to inquire concerning such measure, whether or not it fully recognises these fundamental necessities, and to be sure that it must be proper or improper accordingly. Our whole code of duty is comprehended in the endeavour to live up to these necessities. If we find pleasure in doing this, it is well; if not, our aim must be to acquire that pleasure. Greatest happiness is obtained only when conformity to them is spontaneous; seeing that the restraint of desires inciting to trespass implies pain, or deduction from greatest happiness. Hence it is for us to habituate ourselves to fulfil these requirements as fast as we can. The social state is a necessity. The conditions of greatest happiness under that state are fixed. Our characters are the only things not fixed. They, then, must be moulded into fitness for the conditions. And all moral teaching and discipline, must have for its object, to hasten this process.
Objection may be taken to the foregoing classification of the conditions needful to greatest happiness, as being in some degree artificial. It will perhaps be said that the distinction between justice and beneficence cannot be maintained, for that the two graduate into each other imperceptibly. Some may argue that it is not allowable to assume any essential difference between right conduct towards others and right conduct towards self, seeing that what are generally considered purely private actions, do eventually affect others to such a degree, as to render them public actions; as witness the collateral effects of drunkenness or suicide. Others again may contend that all morality should be classed as private; because with the rightly-constituted or moral man, correct conduct to others is merely incidental upon the fulfilment of his own nature.
In each of these allegations there is much truth; and it is not to be denied that under a final analysis, all such distinctions as those above made must disappear. But it should be borne in mind that similar criticisms may be passed upon all classifications whatever. It might after the same fashion be argued that we ought not to separate the laws of heat from those of mechanics, because fire when applied to water generates mechanical force. On like grounds Optics ought to be identified with Chemistry; seeing that in the photographic process, light becomes a chemical agent. Considering that muscles contract when stimulated by a galvanic current, we ought to treat of Physiology and Electricity as forming one science. Nor should we even distinguish between vegetable and animal life; for these are found to have a common root, and it is hardly possible to say of the lowest organisms which division they belong to. So that unless such objectors are prepared to say that Botany and Zoology should be regarded as one, and that all lines of demarcation between the physical sciences should be abolished, they must in consistency tolerate an analogous classification in moral science; and must admit that whilst this is in a certain sense artificial, it may be an essential preliminary to anything like systematic investigation. The same finite power of comprehension which compels us to deal with natural phenomena by separating them into groups and studying each group by itself, may also compel us to separate those actions which place a man in direct relationship with his fellows, from others which do not so place him; although it may be true that such a separation cannot be strictly maintained. And even in dealing with one of these sections—in developing the principles of right conduct to others, it may be further necessary to distinguish, as above, the primary and most imperative principle, from the secondary and less imperative one; notwithstanding that these have a common root.
The realization of the Divine Idea being reduced to the fulfilment of certain conditions, it becomes the office of a scientific morality, to make a detailed statement of the mode in which life must be regulated so as to conform to them. On each of these axiomatic truths it must be possible to build a series of theorems immediately bearing upon our daily conduct; or, inverting the thought—every act stands in a certain relationship to these truths, and it must be possible in some way or other to solve the problem, whether that relationship is one of accordance or discordance. When such a series of theorems has been elaborated, and solutions have been given to such a series of problems, the task of the moralist is accomplished.
Each of these axioms, however, may have its own set of consequences separately deduced, or indeed, as already hinted, must have them so deduced. Their respective developments constitute independent departments of moral science, requiring to be dealt with in the order of their natural sequence. For the present, therefore, our attention will be confined to the first and most essential of them. Individual or private morality, as distinguished from social or public morality, is not to be entered upon in the following pages. Neither will there be found in them any statement of that class of moral obligations above comprehended under the terms positive and negative beneficencea . It is with the several inferences to be drawn from that primary condition to greatest happiness, the observance of which is vaguely signified by the word justice, that we have now to deal. Our work will be to unfold that condition into a system of equity; to mark out those limits put to each man’s proper sphere of activity, by the like spheres of other men; to delineate the relationships that are necessitated by a recognition of those limits; or—in other words—to develop the principles of Social Statics.
[a]These other divisions of the subject may be taken up on a future occasion, should circumstances favour.