CHAPTER II
THE NATURE OF THE MORAL ACT

1. The Moral Act as Distinguished from the Non-moral.

The primary use to which the logical methods must be put is to discover the nature and form of the moral act. We have already intimated that conduct which bears the imprint of value, obligation, moral purpose, is to be sharply distinguished from behavior which is described solely from the standpoint of the organic processes. Thus, we cannot deny that human acts springing from an unmatured intelligence like that of savage or child cannot be judged by the same standards as those employed in studying the normal adult mind. The flash of anger in the child or the savage's hand lifted to strike has none of the inherent properties which we ascribe to the retirement from battle of the Hellenic Achilles. Likewise, the matured intelligence must be in its usual state of activity; if not, we hesitate on good grounds and after plentiful experience to hold the agent to any reasonable terms of accountability. The somnambulist risking his life at the open window, the patient under a deep anæsthetic, the controlled subject in an hypnotic trance, even the man who has sunk into the stupor of intoxication, seem, to instructed opinion, to be outside the pale of moral initiative. Their actions are to be explained by the reflections of psychology, not by the maxims of ethics.

Still further, if matured intelligence in a normal state of activity is carefully inspected, it will be found that there are many conscious modes of expression which scarcely reach the level of moral significance. All automatic reactions of the body--breathing, beating of the heart, digestion, the development of the sex function--are beyond the

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