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A Manual of Moral Philosophy   By: (1811-1893)

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First Page:

A Manual of Moral Philosophy

Designed For

Colleges and High Schools.


Andrew P. Peabody, D.D., LL.D.

Plummer Professor of Christian Morals in Harvard University.

New York and Chicago:

A. S. Barnes And Company



Preface. Chapter 1. Action. Chapter II. The Springs Of Action. Section I. The Appetites. Section II. The Desires. Section III. The Affections. Chapter III. The Governing Principles Of Action. Chapter IV. The Right. Chapter V. Means And Sources Of Knowledge As To Right And Wrong. Section I. Conscience. Section II. Sources Of Knowledge. 1. Observation, Experience, And Tradition. Section III. Sources Of Knowledge. 2. Law. Section IV. Sources Of Knowledge. 3. Christianity. Chapter VI. Rights And Obligations. Chapter VII. Motive, Passion, And Habit. Chapter VIII. Virtues, And The Virtues. Chapter IX. Prudence; Or Duties To One's Self. Section I. Self Preservation. Section II. The Attainment Of Knowledge. Section III. Self Control. Section IV. Moral Self Culture. Chapter X. Justice; Or, Duties To One's Fellow Beings. Section I. Duties To God. Section II. Duties Of The Family. Section III. Veracity. Section IV. Honesty. Section V. Beneficence. Chapter XI. Fortitude; Or Duties With Reference To Unavoidable Evils And Sufferings. Section I. Patience. Section II. Submission. Section III. Courage. Chapter XII. Order; Or Duties As To Objects Under One's Own Control. Section I. Time. Section II. Place. Section III. Measure. Section IV. Manners. Section V. Government. Chapter XIII. Casuistry. Chapter XIV. Ancient History Of Moral Philosophy. Chapter XV. Modern History Of Moral Philosophy. Index. Footnotes


This book has been prepared, particularly, for the use of the Freshman Class in Harvard College. The author has, at the same time, desired to meet the need, felt in our high schools, of a manual of Moral Science fitted for the more advanced classes.

In the preparation of this treatise, the author has been at no pains to avoid saying what others had said before. Yet the book is original, so far as such a book can be or ought to be original. The author has directly copied nothing except Dugald Stewart's classification of the Desires. But as his reading for several years has been principally in the department of ethics, it is highly probable that much of what he supposes to be his own thought may have been derived from other minds. Of course, there is no small part of the contents of a work of this kind, which is the common property of writers, and must in some form reappear in every elementary manual.

Should this work be favorably received, the author hopes to prepare, for higher college classes, a textbook, embracing a more detailed and thorough discussion of the questions at issue among the different schools past and present of ethical science.

Chapter 1.


An act or action is a voluntary exercise of any power of body or mind. The character of an action, whether good or bad, depends on the intention of the agent. Thus, if I mean to do my neighbor a kindness by any particular act, the action is kind, and therefore good, on my part, even though he derive no benefit from it, or be injured by it. If I mean to do my neighbor an injury, the action is unkind, and therefore bad, though it do him no harm, or though it even result to his benefit. If I mean to perform an action, good or bad, and am prevented from performing it by some unforeseen hindrance, the act is as truly mine as if I had performed it. Words which have any meaning are actions. So are thoughts which we purposely call up, or retain in the mind.

On the other hand, the actions which we are compelled to perform against our wishes, and the thoughts which are forced upon our minds, without our own consent, are not our actions... Continue reading book >>

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