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PRELIMINARIES - David Fordyce, The Elements of Moral Philosophy 
The Elements of Moral Philosophy, in Three Books with a Brief Account of the Nature, Progress, and Origin of Philosophy, ed. Thomas Kennedy (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2003).
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[Μ]άλιστα ἐπιμελητήον ὅπως ἕαστος ἡμω̑ν τω̑ν ἄλλων μαθημάτων ἀμελήσας τούτου του̑ μαθήματος καὶ ζητητὴς καὶ μαθητὴς ἔσται, ἐάν ποθεν οι̑;ός τ̕ ᾐ̑ μαθει̑ν καὶ ἐξευρει̑ν, τίς αὐτον ποιήσει δυνατὸν καὶ ἐπιστήμονα, βίον καὶ χρηστὸν καὶ πονηρὸν διαγιγνώσκοντα, τὸν βελτίω ἐκ τω̑ν δυνατω̑ν ἀεὶ πανταχου̑ αἱρει̑σθαι, [καὶ] ἀναλογι ζόμενον πάντα τὰτα τὰ νυ̑ν δὴ ῥηθήντα, ξυντιθήμενα ἀλλήλοις καὶ διαιρούμενα πρὸς ἀρετὴν βίου πω̑ς ἔχει, εἰδήναι, τί κάλλος πενίᾳ ἢ πλούτῳ κραθῃν καὶ μετὰ ποίας τινὸς ψυχη̑ς ἕξεως κακὸν ἢ ἀγαθὸν ἐζεται, [καὶ τί εὐγήνειαι καὶ δυσγήνειαο καὶ ἰδιωτει̑αι καὶ ἰσχύες καὶ ἀσθήνειαι καὶ εὐμάθειαι καὶ δυσμάθειαι]* καὶ πάντα τὰ τοιαυ̑τα τω̑ν φύσει περὶ ψυχήν ὄντων καὶ τω̑ν1
Plat. de Repub. Lib. 10.
HumanKnowledge has been distributed by Philosophers into different Branches, and into more or fewer Divisions, according to the more or less extensive Views, which they have taken of the various Subjects of Human Enquiry.
Partition of KnowledgeA great Philosopher* has laid it out into three general Provinces, History, Poetry, and Philosophy; which he refers to three several Powers of the Mind, Memory, Imagination, and Reason. Memory stores up Facts, or Ideas, which are the Materials of Knowledge. Imagination ranges and combines them into different Assemblages or Pictures. Reason observes their Differences, Connections, and mutual Relations, and argues concerning them.
Philosophy in generalThe last is the proper Business of Philosophy, which has been defined, the “Knowledge of whatever exists,”2 or the “Science of Things Human and Divine.”3 According to this Definition, its Object comprehends the Universe or Whole of Things. It traces whatever can be known by Man concerning the Deity and his Works, their Natures, Powers, Operations, and Connections.
Division of PhilosophyTherefore to give our Definition more Precision, Philosophy may be defined, the Knowledge of the Universe, or of Nature, and of its Powers, Operations and Connections, with just Reasonings deduced from thence.NaturalNatural Philosophy investigates the Properties and Operations of Body or Matter.MoralMoral Philosophy contemplates Human Nature, its Moral Powers and Connections, and from these deduces the Laws of Action; and is defined more strictly the “Science ofManners or Duty, which it traces from Man’s Nature and Condition, and shews to terminate in his Happiness.” Therefore it is called Ethics, Disciplina Morum. In fewer Words, it is the “Knowledge of ourDutyandFelicity, or the Art of being virtuous and happy.”
How an ArtIt is denominated an Art, as it contains a System of Rules for becoming virtuous and happy. Whoever practises these Rules, by so doing, attains an habitual Power and Facility of becoming virtuous and happy. It is likewise called a Science,How a Science as it deduces those Rules from the Principles and Connections of our Nature, and proves that the Observance of them is productive of our Happiness.
Its ObjectIt is an Art, and a Science of the highest Dignity, Importance, and Use. Its Object is Man’s Duty, or his Conduct in the several Moral Capacities and Connections which he sustains.Its Office Its Office is to direct that Conduct, to shew whence our Obligations arise and where they terminate. Its Use, or End,Its End is the Attainment of Happiness; and the Means it employs are Rules for the right Conduct of our Moral Powers.Its Means
The Standard of other Arts and SciencesAs every Art and Science is more or less valuable, as it contributes more or less to our Happiness, this Moral Art or Science which unfolds our Duty and Happiness, must be a proper Canon or Standard, by which the Dignity and Importance of every other Art or Science are to be ascertain’d. It is therefore pre-eminent above all others; it is that Master-Art, that Master-Science, which weighs their respective Merits, adjusts their Rank in the Scale of Science, prescribes their Measures, and superintends their Efficacy and Application in Human Life. Therefore Moral Philosophy has been honoured with the glorious Epithets of the Directress of Life, the Mistress of Manners, the Inventress of Laws and Culture, the Guide to Virtue and Happiness, without some degree of which Man were a Savage, and his Life a Scene of Barbarity and Wretchedness.
Having thus settled the Subject and End of the Science, the Elements of which we are attempting to discover, and sufficiently distinguished it from all others, it seems proper next to fix the Method of prosecuting it.The MethodMoral Philosophy has this in common with Natural Philosophy, that it appeals to Nature or Fact; depends on Observation, and builds its Reasonings on plain uncontroverted Experiments, or upon the fullest Induction of Particulars of which the Subject will admit. We must observe, in both these Sciences, Quid faciat & ferat Natura; how Nature is affected, and what her Conduct is in such and such Circumstances. Or in other words, we must collect the Phaenomena, or Appearances of Nature in any given Instance; trace these to some General Principles, or Laws of Operation; and then apply these Principles or Laws to the explaining of other Phaenomena.
Therefore Moral Philosophy enquires, not how Man might have been, but how he is constituted; not into what Principles, or Dispositions his Actions may be artfully resolved, but from what Principles and Dispositions they actually flow; not what he may, by Education, Habit, or foreign Influence, come to be, or do, but what by his Nature, or Original Constituent Principles he is formed to be and do. We discover the Office, Use or Destination of any Work, whether natural or artificial, by observing its Structure, the Parts of which it consists, their Connection or joint Action. It is thus we understand the Office and Use of a Watch, a Plant, an Eye, or Hand. It is the same with a Living Creature, of the Rational, or Brute Kind. Therefore to determine the Office, Duty, or Destination of Man, or in other words what his Business is, or what Conduct he is obliged to pursue, we must inspect his Constitution, take every Part to pieces, examine their mutual Relations one to the other, and the common Effort or Tendency of the Whole.
[*] The bracketed material was omitted in the original.
[1.]Plato, The Republic. X.618c–d.
[*] Vid. Bacon. Aug. Scient. Lib. II. cap. 1. [Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam (1561–1626), was an English philosopher, statesman, and scientist, one of whose projects was the reform of education. His De dignitate et augmentis scientarium (1623) is a translation and elaboration of his The Advancement of Learning (1605). For Fordyce’s admiration of Bacon see his fulsome praise in A Brief Account, paragraph 33.]
[2.]In his A Brief Account, Fordyce attributes this view to Pythagoras. See paragraph 1.
[3.]“Wisdom, moreover, as the word has been defined by the philosophers of old, is ‘the knowledge of things human and divine and of the causes by which those things are controlled.’” Cicero, De Officiis, Loeb Classical Library, p. 173.