By Ernest Albee
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CONTENTSOn the Sufferings of the WorldOn the conceit of ExistenceOn SuicideImmortality: A DialoguePsychological ObservationsOn EducationOf WomenOn NoiseA Few Parables
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Extra resources for A history of English Utilitarianism
In treating of obligation, the author sometimes uses lan guage which might suggest determinism. It is to be remem bered, however, that he is an uncompromising libertarian— so far, at least, as it is possible to define the position of one so little given to metaphysical speculation or the precise use of metaphysical language. By the “necessity” and “immutability” of the Laws of Nature, he simply means that, if certain acts are performed, certain consequences will necessarily ensue, now and always.
Cumberland pronounces em phatically against this view. , he is guilty of libel against human nature. ” 69 The compact would avail nothing, unless there were something in human nature that would make men abide by their promises. Cumberland might have added that Hobbes is not at liberty to make any ultimate appeal to reason in the matter—even as showing what is for the individual's selfish interest—for men learn what is “good” for them, as well as what is “right,” from the powers that be. Hobbes had regarded the instinct of self-preservation, if not the conscious seeking of one’s own pleasure, as the fun damental spring of human action.
As regards the mind, he says: “To the mind we ascribe Understanding and Will; to the Understanding we re duce Apprehending, Comparing, Judging, Reasoning, a Meth odical Disposition, and the Memory of all these things, and of the objects about which they are conversant. ” ** Such details are merely preliminary, and we shall now ask what is meant by “Right Reason,” an expression which is constantly recurring in the treatise. Hobbes had practically denied that there was any such faculty in man. In Cumber land’s system, on the other hand, Right Reason plays an im portant, if a somewhat Protean part.