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PREFACE TO VOLUME I - Herbert Spencer, The Principles of Ethics, vol. 1 
The Principles of Ethics, introduction by Tibor R. Machan (Indianapolis: LibertyClassics, 1978). Vol. 1.
Part of: The Principles of Ethics, 2 vols.
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PREFACE TO VOLUME I
Misapprehensions would probably arise in the absence of explanations respecting the order in which the several parts of The Principles of Ethics have been, and are to be, published; for the production of the work, and its appearance in print, have proceeded in an unusual manner.
As explained in the original preface fixed to Part I (which is reproduced on the pages which follow), that part was written, and issued by itself in 1879, under the impression that ill health might wholly prevent me from treating the subject of ethics, if I waited till it was reached in the prescribed course of my work. More than ten years followed, partly occupied in further elaboration of The Principles of Sociology, and partly passed in a state of prostration which prevented all serious work. Along with partial recovery there came the decision to write at once the most important of the further divisions of The Principles of Ethics–Part IV: Justice. This was issued separately in June 1891. As stated in the preface to it, I proposed thereafter to write, if possible, Parts II and III, completing the first volume. This purpose has fortunately now been compassed; and Parts II and III are herewith issued in conjunction with Part I, as proposed in the original program.
One object I have in describing this irregular course of publication, is the excuse it affords for some small repetitions, and perhaps minor incongruities, which I suspect exist. The endeavor to make certain of the divisions comprehensible by themselves, has prompted inclusion in them of explanations belonging to other divisions, which publication of the work as a whole would have rendered superfluous.
There have still to be written and published the concluding parts of the second volume: Part V, “The Ethics of Social Life–Negative Beneficence”; and Part VI, “The Ethics of Social Life–Positive Beneficence.” The writing of these parts I hope to complete before ability ends: being especially anxious to do this because, in the absence of them, the divisions at present published will leave, on nearly all minds, a very erroneous impression respecting the general tone of evolutionary ethics. In its full scope, the moral system to be set forth unites sternness with kindness; but thus far attention has been drawn almost wholly to the sternness. Extreme misapprehensions and gross misstatements have hence resulted.