CHAPTER VII
THE DETERMINING JUDGMENT

The elements of behavior already examined include the system of desires, the principle of control, and the emotional content of the individual act. We shall make no mistake if we regard desire as the nuclear point in all experience; we must therefore study its implications. Now, since desire looks to a variety of ends, and since a choice must be taken between ends if we are to avoid a devastating conflict, we might expect the mind to be furnished with some faculty which can meet the situation effectively. It is the custom to call this faculty the intellect, reason, conscience, judgment. The term is of little consequence, but the concept denoted by it is essential to the understanding of moral consciousness.

All ethical writers agree in accepting the reality of this function and its capital authority. Plato set it in opposition to the entire body of animal passions and assigned to it a regulative office. Aristotle assumed that human acts can be moral only if their course is deliberately determined by the presiding intellect in accordance with the established order of its thought. The severe criticism to which modern science has subjected the concept of mind has not succeeded in eliminating the fact of an elective and selecting coördination of effort in a single judgment. The sharp distinction which Kant continued to draw between the observable elements of experience and the unity of the Practical Reason has given way to the thesis that thought and desire are analytical aspects of consciousness, not separate units in its whole. The moral act is not divisible into two contradictory principles, which can be reconciled only by a kind of psychic miracle. The entire human self is involved in any endeavor

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