The Metaphysical Elements of Ethics eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 54 pages of information about The Metaphysical Elements of Ethics.

My Own End, The End of Others,

which is also my the promotion of

{Introduction ^paragraph 115}

      Duty which is also my


(My own (The Happiness

Perfection) of Others)

{Introduction ^paragraph 120}

3 4

The Law which is The End which is

also Spring also Spring

{Introduction ^paragraph 125}

On which the On which the

      Morality Legality

       of every free determination of will rests

{Introduction ^paragraph 130}

  The Formal Element of the Duty of Virtue.

XII.  Preliminary Notions of the Susceptibility of the Mind for

Notions of Duty generally

{Introduction ^paragraph 135}

These are such moral qualities as, when a man does not possess them, he is not bound to acquire them.  They are:  the moral feeling, conscience, love of one’s neighbour, and respect for ourselves (self-esteem).  There is no obligation to have these, since they are subjective conditions of susceptibility for the notion of duty, not objective conditions of morality.  They are all sensitive and antecedent, but natural capacities of mind (praedispositio) to be affected by notions of duty; capacities which it cannot be regarded as a duty to have, but which every man has, and by virtue of which he can be brought under obligation.  The consciousness of them is not of empirical origin, but can only follow on that of a moral law, as an effect of the same on the mind.

A. The moral feeling

This is the susceptibility for pleasure or displeasure, merely from the consciousness of the agreement or disagreement of our action with the law of duty.  Now, every determination of the elective will proceeds from the idea of the possible action through the feeling of pleasure or displeasure in taking an interest in it or its effect to the deed; and here the sensitive state (the affection of the internal sense) is either a pathological or a moral feeling.  The former is the feeling that precedes the idea of the law, the latter that which may follow it.

{Introduction ^paragraph 140}

Now it cannot be a duty to have a moral feeling, or to acquire it; for all consciousness of obligation supposes this feeling in order that one may become conscious of the necessitation that lies in the notion of duty; but every man (as a moral being) has it originally in himself; the obligation, then, can only extend to the cultivation of it and the strengthening of it even by admiration of its inscrutable origin; and this is effected by showing how it is just, by the

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The Metaphysical Elements of Ethics from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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