Values and Intentions: A Study in Value-Theory and Philosophy of Mind

By J. N. Findlay | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
THE VALUES OF WELFARE

(I) THE VALUES OF SATISFACTION AND DISSATISFACTION

We have so far shown it to be inevitable that conscious life, if sufficiently enriched and prolonged, should develop aspirations towards what we have called the 'impersonal', and that with this tendency should go a reinforcement of the tendencies essential to consciousness as such, and a reshaping of all interests merely personal and peculiar, so as to make them fit into the general framework provided by 'the impersonal', and to constitute its content. Conscious endeavour, in its less obsessive forms, must acquire a 'set' towards forms necessarily capable of being shared by anyone, however they may be inclined or placed, and, as tending in such directions, must necessarily be endorsed and approved, not merely idly, in a spiritual segment of the individual to which they belong, but also in corresponding spiritual segments belonging to other conscious individuals. And its reshapement of peculiar, personal interests will have general validity according as it flows, most naturally and logically, from the general set towards impersonality, a flowing of which we can become extraneously and deductively conscious, as in a meta-ethical work like the present, but of which we can also become aware in the concrete work of ethical deliberation and discussion, as irrelevancies drop away, plausible steps show themselves up as misguided, and different people's impersonal reactions converge towards uniformity. Were there no such convergence, we should have the position that the form of the impersonal was without selective or sifting force, a position in which many formalists have believed, but which we have held not to obtain. That it does not obtain can be shown, however, only in detailed working out, and this we shall begin in the present chapter.

Our ensuing chapters will not, however, deal with the desirability of highly concrete acts and projects, but only with the main heads of desirability, the supreme sorts of reason in virtue of which things are judged to be intrinsically desirable and

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