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The Moral Economy   By: (1876-1957)

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First Page:

E text prepared by Al Haines

Transcriber's note:

Page numbers in this book are indicated by numbers enclosed in curly braces, e.g. {99}. They have been located where page breaks occurred in the original book. For its Index, a page number has been placed only at the start of that section.




Assistant Professor of Philosophy in Harvard University

Author of

The Free Man and the Soldier The Moral Economy The Approach to Philosophy

Charles Scribner's Sons New York Chicago Boston Atlanta San Francisco Dallas

Copyright, 1909, by Charles Scribner's Sons All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without the permission of Charles Scribner's Sons


MARCH 30, 1909

"Things and actions are what they are, and the consequences of them will be what they will be; why then should we desire to be deceived?"




This little book is the preliminary sketch of a system of ethics. Its form differs from that of most contemporary books on the subject because of the omission of the traditional controversies. I have attempted to study morality directly, to derive its conceptions and laws from an analysis of life. I have made this attempt because, in the first place, I believe that theoretical ethics is seriously embarrassed by its present emphasis on the history and criticism of doctrines; by its failure to resort to experience, where without more ado it may solve its problems on their merits. But, in the second place, I hope that by appealing to experience and neglecting scholastic technicalities, I may connect ethical theory with every day reflection on practical matters. Morality is, without doubt, the most human and urgent of all topics of study; and I should like, if possible, to make it appear so.

The references which I have embodied in the notes are intended to serve the English reader as an introduction to accessible and untechnical literature on the subjects treated in the several chapters. These chapters coincide with the main divisions of ethical inquiry: Goodness, Duty, Virtue, Progress, Culture, and Religion. And although so brief a treatment of so large a programme is impossible without sacrifice of thoroughness, it does provide both a general survey of the field, and a varied application of certain fundamental ideas.





I. THE GENERAL CLAIMS OF MORALITY . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

The practical necessity of morality, 1. The interplay of dogmatism and scepticism, 4. The fundamental character of morality, 7.

II. GOODNESS IN GENERAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

The dependence of value on life, 9. Definition of the simpler terms of value. Goodness: the fulfilment of interest, 11. "Good" and "good for," 12.

III. MORAL GOODNESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

The moral organization of life, 13. Definition of the terms of moral value. Moral goodness: the fulfilment of an economy of interests, 15. Moral goodness and pleasure, 16. Rightness or virtue, 18. Morality and life, 19.

IV. MORALITY AND NATURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

The alleged artificiality of morality, 20. Morality and the struggle for existence, 21. Morality and adaptation, 22. Morality is natural if life is, 24.

V. MORALITY AND CONFLICT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Morality and competitive struggle. Morality the condition of strength, 24. The value of conflict, 23. The elimination of conflict, 26. Morality and the love of life, 27.

VI. THE DIGNITY AND LUSTRE OF MORALITY . . . . . . . . . . . 28

The effect of war on sentiment and the imagination, 28. Real power is constructive, not destructive or repressive, 29... Continue reading book >>

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