CHAPTER III
THE HUMAN ORGANISM

We have assumed in our examination of the moral act that the first object of scientific study is the nature of the individual agent. Two points of departure are open to choice: either we may survey the modes of human intercourse in an established community, or we may determine the intrinsic properties of the single person and proceed from these as types to an analysis of the moral forces in the group. The first method was followed by Bentham in his "Morals and Legislation," where he formulated the modern creed of Utilitarianism, the second by Plato and Aristotle in their effort to show the parallel between individual citizens and the collective state. We shall adopt the latter as being more in keeping with the principles already espoused, that moral acts are concrete and self-contained wholes and that such acts imply and require the presence of a directing mind.

To this reason we may join another of even more fundamental import, namely, that the senses give us exact and reliable presentations of the outer world. Each experience embraces a definite situation taken from our environment; it is a factual response to an existing stimulus. The universe is not, as some thinkers insist, a continuous stretch of substance out of which the intellect constructs its own figures, giving such names as suit the kind of feelings aroused. Every object that arrests our attention is an independent body, endowed with a character peculiar to itself. It sustains explicit relations with neighboring objects and is subject to change of form and position under the influence of forces which it cannot control. The objects we are describing include all the classes studied by the natural

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