The philosophy of morals

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Page 160 - Examine the crime of ingratitude, for instance, which has place wherever we observe good-will expressed and known, together with good-offices performed, on the one side, and a return of ill-will or indifference with ill-offices or neglect on the other: anatomize all these circumstances and examine, by your reason alone, in what consists the demerit or blame.
Page 56 - ... in the case of justice, where a man, taking things in a certain light, may often seem to be a loser by his integrity.
Page 129 - Actions in the abstract are right or wrong, according to their tendency ; the agent is virtuous or vicious, according to his design. Thus, if the question be, Whether relieving common beggars be right or wrong ? we inquire into the tendency of such a conduct to the public advantage or inconvenience. If the question be...
Page 161 - Enquire then, first, where is that matter of fact which we here call crime; point it out, determine the time of its existence, describe its essence or nature, explain the sense or faculty to which it discovers itself. It resides in the mind of the person who is ungrateful.
Page 56 - ... a loser by his integrity. And though it is allowed that, without a regard to property, no society could subsist; yet, according to the imperfect way in which human affairs are conducted, a sensible knave, in particular incidents, may think, that an act of iniquity or infidelity will make a considerable addition to his fortune, without causing any considerable breach in the social union and confederacy. That honesty is the best policy, may be a good general rule, but it is liable to many exceptions:...
Page 57 - If his heart rebel not against such pernicious maxims, if he feel no reluctance to the thoughts of villany or baseness, he has indeed lost a considerable motive to virtue; and we may expect, that his practice will be answerable to his speculation.
Page 161 - ... compared to two added to three, it will contain as many- units as that compound number. But when you draw thence a comparison to moral relations, I own that I am altogether at a loss to understand you.
Page 45 - And, if it be not necessary, in the case of a science which we regard as the surest of all sciences, that the proportions of figures should be any thing inherent in the figures, — why should it be required, before we put confidence in morality, that right and wrong should be something existing in the individual agents ? It is not easy, indeed, to understand what is meant by such an inherence as is required in this postulate; or what other relations, actions can be supposed to have...
Page 55 - Having removed these false springs of virtuous actions, let us next establish the true one, viz. some determination of our nature to study the good of others ; or some instinct, antecedent to all reason from interest, which influences us to the love of others...
Page 57 - But in all ingenuous natures the antipathy to treachery and roguery is too strong to be counterbalanced by any views of profit or pecuniary advantage. Inward peace of mind, consciousness of integrity, a satisfactory review of our own conduct, these are circumstances very requisite to happiness, and will be cherished and cultivated by every honest man who feels the importance of them.

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