THE extension of art into society, therefore, brought even greater complication to Ruskin's system of moral ideas. The ethical assumptions in his political economy dramatized the already existing conflicts of moral notions. Jeremy Bentham had perceived these forces of ethical confusion some fifty years before Carlyle and Ruskin got their visions. Moralists who impulsively used both "the principles of utility" and ascetic principles indiscriminately, with no apparent appreciation of their inner contradiction, he called "capricious" and coined the term "Ipse-dixitism" to refer to the authority behind their confusions.
In his Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation ( 1789), Bentham reduces all moral ideas to three possible systems. There is the system based on the principle of utility, and there are the two systems adverse to this: asceticism and caprice (or Ipse-dixitism). Various capricious theories of right and wrong may all be reduced, Bentham thought, to principles of a "sympathy or antipathy" 1 or, in other words, to an aggressive desire for pleasure or a fear of it. When forced to supply some absolute criterion other than the principle of utility, men holding these confused moralities resort to a great variety of phrases. Bentham listed them with shrewd comments. Among them are "The Moral Sense" (conscience); Com-