CHAPTER IV
VIRTUE AND VICE

1. Duty, Right, and Virtue--How Are They Related?

What is the position of virtue, what of vice, in the development of the moral career? The question is central to an understanding of the value of character and its conversion into the several modes of conduct. It is customary and no doubt proper to discriminate between the three concepts, doing right, doing one's duty, and acting virtuously. Each of these refers explicitly to the objective aspects of behavior. It is the moral man at work, not the man analyzing his intrinsic moral qualities, that is under inspection. To act rightly is to follow a law which the mind conceives as embodying the fundamental ends of human living. Thus, Tolstoy is persuaded that he could not enjoy the luxuries of his vast estate while millions of his countrymen stood on the brink of starvation; he must eat the bread of poverty even though his family enjoyed the rewards of their privileged status. The law of conscience, the law of right, constrained him. The term right belongs to the overt act, not to the constitutive properties of character; for, common as is its use in denoting the value of a motive, every motive, as we have argued, is necessarily prefixed to the projected action and cannot be considered apart from it.

In the same manner, duty represents the will of the agent in operation. To be sure, we may indulge in certain observations of an abstract nature, such as "It is my duty to be honest, charitable, temperate;" but a practical assumption lies near the surface of every such judgment, namely, that honesty, charity, and temperance must be expressed in recognizable forms of action; otherwise, moral values cannot

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