Ethics, Origin and Development

Ethics, Origin and Development

Ethics, Origin and Development

Ethics, Origin and Development

Excerpt

"Ethics" is the swan song of the great humanitarian scientist and revolutionist-anarchist, and constitutes, as it were, the crowning work and the résumé of all the scientific, philosophical, and sociological views of Peter Alekseyevich Kropotkin, at which he arrived in the course of his long and unusually rich life. Unfortunately, death came before he could complete his work, and, according to the will and desire of Peter Alekseyevich, the responsible task of preparing "Ethics" for the press fell upon me.

In issuing the first volume of "Ethics", I feel the necessity of saying a few words to acquaint the reader with the history of this work.

In his "Ethics"Kropotkin wished to give answers to the two fundamental problems of morality: whence originate man's moral conceptions? and, what is the goal of the moral prescriptions and standards? It is for this reason that he subdivided his work into two parts: the first was to consider the question of the origin and the historical development of morality, and the second part Kropotkin planned to devote to the exposition of the bases of realistic ethics, and its aims.

Kropotkin had time to write only the first volume of "Ethics," and even that not in finished form. Some chapters of the first volume were written by him in rough draft only, and the last chapter, in which the ethical teachings of Stirner, Nietzsche, Tolstoi, Multatuli, and of other prominent contemporary moralists were to be discussed, remained unwritten.

For the second volume of "Ethics" Kropotkin had time to write only a few essays, which he planned to publish at first in the form of magazine articles,--and a series of rough drafts and notes. They are the essays: "Primitive Ethics," "Justice, Morality, and Religion, . . ."

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