CHAPTER VIII
THE SYNTHETIC METHOD

Its Form

There now lie before us two distinct methods of judging moral conduct, each of them with its elements of strength and its palpable weaknesses. It should not be overlooked that scholarly minds of the first rank have woven their genius into the discussion and that representative leaders of opinion and action in every age have been deeply impressed by their arguments. Hedonism has been associated most frequently with the interests of art, Intellectualism with the aspirations of religion. Both have at times won their way into the complexities of jurisprudence. If we were called upon to decide, from private and public effects, which method has the greater chance of survival, no categorical answer could be made. The issue is confused by two factors, the first, that ethical theory is apt to reflect the temperamental idiosyncrasies of the subject. The artist, for instance, must consult his feelings very largely in assessing the beauty, the æsthetic worth, of a picture or statue. He waits for no objection to be raised against applying the same method to a moral situation. The man of religion seeks for direct judgment of right and wrong, being accustomed to render direct homage of worship and receive, as he thinks, direct acknowledgment thereof.

At the same time, neither method insures a consistent application of its terms. Thus, Sidgwick affirms that prudence, benevolence, and equity are necessary instruments in every satisfaction, especially that identified with the name of Utilitarianism. Benevolence is the moral equivalent of

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