Lectures on the Ethics of T.H. Green, Mr. Herbert Spencer, and J. Martineau

By Henry Sidgwick | Go to book overview

LECTURE IV
SPRINGS OF ACTION

THE details of Martineau Classification of the Springs of Action are given from the psychological point of view in chapter v., and from the ethical point of view in chapter vi. Before I proceed to examine this in detail I must again recall that Martineau and I approach the examination of Common Sense from essentially different points of view. I do not regard the verdict of Common Sense, even when it is clearly pronounced, as final: if I find it conflicting with what appear to me clear deductions from self-evident principles--such as those which according to me lie at the basis of Utilitarianism--I venture after full consideration to dissent from it, though even so I may not think it right to proclaim my dissent.

This attitude, which in my mind is primarily arrived at independently of a study of the history of morality, is yet confirmed by such a study; which leads me to regard the current civilised morality of the present age as merely a stage in a long process of development, in which the human mind has, I hope, been gradually moving towards a truer apprehension of what ought to be. We do not find merely

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