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

By J. N. Findlay | Go to book overview

APPENDIX
HENRIETTA HERTZ LECTURE THE STRUCTURE OF THE KINGDOM OF ENDS

By J. N. FINDLAY

Fellow of the British Academy

Read at the British Academy, 20 March 1957

I wish to speak this evening, with great comprehensiveness and some inexactness, on a subject on which I do not usually speak at all: the subject of the final ends of action, of the extent to which these may be given an agreed content, and of the degree to which they may be fitted into a system. I have borrowed my title, not from the ethical writings of Kant, where it properly belongs, but from the concluding passage of Professor Braithwaite's 1950 British Academy lecture, entitled 'Moral Principles and Inductive Policies'. There Professor Braithwaite ends by saying that 'the empiricist if he wishes may perfectly well use teleological language, and speak of pursuing εὐδαιμονία or of pursuing happiness, using these abstract nouns not to denote unique and nebulous concepts, but in a way in which Aristotle and Mill seem frequently to have used them, as collective names for the Kingdom of all final Ends. In this 'Kingdom', he goes on to say, 'there are many mansions'. It is my purpose this evening to consider some of the many mansions into which this Kingdom of Ends naturally divides itself, and what, if anything, can be profitably said regarding the architecture of the whole mass of building.

I am braving this subject because I believe that the almost total contemporary neglect of it by philosophers is not due to the fact that everything philosophically significant, everything vertebral or (shall I say) osseous, has already been laid bare in it, and what now remains are merely the fleshy or horny scraps beat left for the scavenging activities of edifiers and men of action. I believe, in fact, that some of the main formal bones of the subject are as yet inadequately exposed, much as some of the elementary notions of logic had to wait till the nineteenth century for an adequate exposure. I believe too, that some of these bones are so near the surface that they may readily be exposed and scraped even by the rough hacksaw methods of the present occasion. I

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