« PreviousContinue »
and self-determined activity. But there is no warrant to say, with the elder Fichte, that the Ego (I) posits itself, or with Hegel, that the Ego comes to itself, -or, with both, that the Ego is Universal Reason manifesting itself. Neither by direct evidence, nor by inference, can these positions be sustained.
Personality is here taken as involved in the consciousness of mature life. Whether this knowledge of Personality is capable of development from Sensation, as the lowest form of experience, is a question held in reserve. For answer, see Part 1. Div. ii. c. i.
15. Besides the characteristics of experience already indicated, there are conditions of existence known as external to Self. These are conditions of our physical existence, as part of the material world ; and conditions of intelligence, in so far as it is concerned with the facts of an outer world.
16. Moral Philosophy concentrates attention on what applies to Self as the determiner of personal activity. It is because Self-knowledge implies knowledge of myself as directing my own actions, in accordance with knowledge, that a Moral Philosophy is possible.
The characteristics of our physical nature, and those of the purely intellectual nature, belong to two distinct departments of science, the one physical, the other mental; but, Moral Philosophy, as distinct from both, makes reference to the results of the Physiological and Intellectual sciences, only in so far as its territory borders upon theirs. .
17. In view of the sphere of action open to me as a Personality, I recognise my relation to other living beings,
I some of which, by speech and action, discover themselves to be possessed of the same personality as that which belongs to
Of these living beings, there are others which do not discover their possession of personality. Within the sphere of personal activity, there is thus established the general distinction between Persons and Things, or more specifically, the threefold distinction between Persons, Living Organisms, and Things.
18. The Philosophy of Morals must be as applicable to the persons by whom I am surrounded as to myself, and must be capable of verification by them. But it need not be applicable to other living beings around me, or capable of verification in their experience.
19. Personality is the first requisite for philosophising. Where there is not self-consciousness, or knowledge of Self, as possessing power for self-direction, under conditions of intelligence, there cannot be a philosophy either of our own nature, or of any other form of being.
20. Personality is the basis of Morality. Where there is not knowledge of Self, as the intelligent source of action, there is no discrimination of motive, act, and end; and where such discrimination does not exist, there is no morality. The knowledge of moral distinctions, and the practice of morality, are in such a case equally impossible ; Shaftesbury, Inquiry concerning Virtue, I. II., $ 3. "The idea of person involves determination to individual morality;" Trendelenburg, Natur: recht, § 86, p. 158, Leipzig, 1860. 'Personality, as the universal characteristic of man, advances to the phenomenal in the form of individuality;' Martensen, Die Christliche Ethik, Gotha, 1871.
21. Actions as contemplated in Moral Philosophy are the outcome of intelligence and will, and are properly named Personal Actions. Other forms of activity, popularly denominated * Actions,' do not come within the sphere of Moral Philosophy.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ETHICS.
PHILOSOPHY OF MAN'S MORAL NATURE.
1. In seeking the rational explanation of our Moral Nature, it is better, in point of order, to begin with our knowledge of moral distinctions, and only after that to extend observation to the springs of activity, namely, desires, affections, judgments, and volitions.
This order has been very frequently reversed in works on Moral Philosophy.
The Scotch Philosophy, swayed by the old classification of the powers of the Mind into the Understanding and the Will, has commonly begun the treatment of Moral Philosophy with an enquiry as to the Impulses of our nature, denominated Active Powers. Hutcheson's Passions and Moral Sense; Reid's Active Powers; Beattie's Moral Science; Stewart's Philosophy of the Active and Moral Powers. The German Philosophy has commonly taken the other course, seeking first to ascertain what is the Ethical idea or conception.
2. In the Intellectual department of Mental Science, Psychology deals with the facts of our experience belonging to morals, as with all the facts of consciousness, but simply to determine their nature as mental facts. In the Ethical department of Mental Science, Psychology ascertains the nature of Mental facts only as a preliminary step for determining their Moral significance.
3. The Psychology of Ethics is completed only by constructing a philosophy of all that belongs to our personality as Moral beings. Each characteristic must be looked at, not only apart, but also in relation to other features of our Moral Nature. The value of every ethical system must ultimately be tested on psychological grounds;' Mansel's Prolegomena, Pref. (Oxford, 1860).
4. In a system of Philosophy, every affirmation is liable to have its truth determined by a variety of tests. In no case are we shut up to a single avenue of enquiry. In Moral Philosophy there is uniformly a double test,—the true in theory must be the consistent in practice.
MAN'S MORAL NATURE AS COGNITIVE.
DIVISION I.-INTUITIONAL THEORY.
KNOWLEDGE OF MORAL DISTINCTIONS.
1. THERE is in consciousness a knowledge of Moral distinctions among personal actions. This is apparent in the discrimination of actions into right and wrong; Honestum (rectum), malum; kalóv, kukóv; Recht, Unrecht.
The same distinction is otherwise expressed by the phrases morally good,' and 'morally bad.' In these phrases, the term 'morally' is used to indicate the specific nature of goodness or badness alleged to exist, namely, such goodness or badness as can belong to personal actions, and to the agents, in contrast with other forms of goodness or badness, such as may belong to things. “The right' thus comes under a wider generalization, namely, the good.' Happiness is a good within a man ; property, on the other hand, is an external good; but the morally good is distinct from both, as good connected with what a man is and does, in contrast with what a man experiences and has. The greatness of contrast between actions and things makes it exceedingly undesirable to lay the foundations of Moral Science on such a generality as the Good. The whole Ethical Philosophy of ancient times was seriously