Principles and practice of morality - PDF by Ezekiel Gilman Robinson

Principles and practice of morality

Principles and practice of morality

Excerpt from the introduction:

A new textbook on Morals may justly be challenged to prove its right to appear in. an already overcrowded community of similar treatises. The only answer that in this case can be given is, that the book has been made for a service which no one of its predecessors could be persuaded to render. It embodies the lectures its author has given to his classes in Ethics, and is, what it purports to be, distinctively a textbook. It touches existing controversies only so far as is necessary for the elucidation or defence of its own positions. 

The aim has been to condense rather than to expand its discussions and to diminish rather than to multiply its pages. Numerous references to authors, with footnotes and statements of controverted points, have been purposely omitted. One of the easy, and one of useless things in a textbook on morals at the present day, is to accumulate such references and notes

Too many of them distract the student s attention, and often bewilder him. Well-read teachers make little or no use of them; teachers who are not well-read commonly lack the time or inclination to look up the references for their own information. Most of what the author has thought it necessary or desirable to say respecting the various schools of moralists and their methods may be found in the somewhat lengthened Chapter III. of Part II. Division IV. on "The Ultimate Ground of Obligation."

To have anything like a clear understanding of existing ethical controversies, one must know the ethical treatises that have appeared within the last fourteen years. When Prof. Sidgwick published the first edition of his Methods of Ethics, in 1874, it has been called an "epoch-making book," English speaking moralists were grouped under two general classes, known as intuitionalists and utilitarians or derivates. Prof. Sidiwick in criticising these two classes handled a two-edged sword, cutting keenly into "egoistic hedonism," but turning the sharper edge on " intuitionism." 

His own theory he styled " universalistic hedonism." In 1876, two years after the appearance of the Methods of Ethics, Mr F. H. Bradley published his Ethical Studies, consisting of an application of Hegelian principles to ethical questions. In 1878 appeared Herbert Spencer s Data of Ethics, giving the methods and fundamental principles of the Ethics of Evolution. In 1882 Mr Leslie Stephen, with the same purpose as Mr Spencer, but seeking it by a different method, published his Science of Ethics. In 1883 appeared Prof. T. H. Green s posthumous but elaborate and able Prolegomena to Ethics, giving the Hegelian view of the ethical controversy started by evolutional ethics.

Moral Science is definite and exact knowledge respecting morals; Moral Philosophy is a justification of the principles that are always implied or assumed in Moral Science; and it may also include a discussion of questions which the conclusions of the scientists suggest, but which it cannot answer, because lying beyond its range. Moral Science aims to decide for us what conduct is right; Moral Philosophy, why it is right. But neither one can complete itself without the aid of the other. 

Thus those writers who insist that Morals shall always be treated scientifically, that is, by an a posteriori process, who define Moral Science, or Ethics, as the science of right conduct, are compelled, in determining what shall be regarded as right conduct, to step outside the limits of science, and into the realm of philosophy. 

 Mr Herbert Spencer says: "Morality, properly so-called, the science of right conduct, has for its object to determine how and why certain modes of conduct are detrimental and certain other modes beneficial." The "how" is manifestly a question of science; the " why " is also, with equal plainness, a question of philosophy. Others, again, define Ethics as the " science of human duties," and claim to be able by strictly scientific methods to determine what human duties really are, forgetting apparently that the question what makes duty to be duty, why some actions are obligatory and others are not, is strictly a philosophical and not a scientific inquiry.

Some contents of the book:

Definition: sources: relations.

Part I.
Essential principles of ethics.
Chapter I.
Principles ascertained ........ 13
Chapter ii.
Distribution of materials ...... 22
Part ii.
Theoretic morality.
Division I.
The moral faculty or conscience.
Chapter I.
Meanings of the terms moral faculty and conscience 26
Chapter ii.
Origin of the conscience ....... 33
Chaptee iii.
Conscience and the moral consciousness ... 44
Chaptee iv.
The moral taste and conscience ..... 49
Chaptee v.
Conclusions respecting conscience as a faculty. 62

X contents.
Chapter vi.
The function of conscience 68
Chapter vii.
The actual judgments of conscience .... 65
Section 1. Rightness and justness of our moral self-judgements 66
Section ii. Relation of self-judgments to other mental acts 69
Section iii. The supreme authority of conscience . . 72
Division ii.
Moral law.
Chapter I.
Place and significance of moral law in ethics . . 79
Chapter ii.
Idea and definition of moral law .... 82
Chapter iii.
Various kinds of laws 88
Chapter iv.
Origin of moral law. 90
Chapter v.
Tests of moral laws 93
Chapter vi.
Design of moral law 97
Chapter vii.
The sanctions of moral law 101
Chapter viii.
Perpetuity of moral law 104
Chapter ix.
The feeling of obligation . . 106

Contents. Xi
Division iii.
The will.
Chapter I.
Connection of will with other ethical factors. 109
Chapter ii.
What is the will? Ill
Chapter iii.
Relation of will to the other powers. - . 113
Chapter iv.
Conditions under which will acts 118
Chapter v.
Freedom of the will 122
Section I. Freedom as the absence of outward constraint. 124
Section ii. Freedom as equipoise or indifference between
Objects 126
Section iii. Freedom as a condition of rational existence 127
Section iv. Freedom as harmony among the soul s powers 130
Chapter vi.
Determinism 134
Division iv.
Virtue and theories of virtue.
Chapter I.
Morality, virtue, and righteousness .... 138
Chapter ii.
Theories of virtue 141
Chapter iii.
The ultimate ground of obligation 145
Section I. Theories of a supreme will .... 153
Section ii. Theories of good ends subserved . . . 154
Section iii. Theories of principles or of subjective states 164
Section iv. Theory of the immutable nature of god. 171

the book details :
  • Author: Ezekiel Gilman Robinson
  • Publication date:1888
  • Company: Boston: Silver
  • Principles and practice of morality 
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