« НазадПродовжити »
experience of facts, however universal, can give rise to that particular characteristic of intuitions and a priori ideas, which compels us to deny the possibility that in any other world, however otherwise different, our experience (as to space relations) could be otherwise.”
“ 2. That the case of moral intuitions is very much stronger."
3. That if Mr. Spencer's theory accounts for anything, it accounts not for the deepening of a sense of utility and inutility into right and wrong, but for the drying up of the sense of utility and inutility into mere inherent tendencies, which would exercise over us not more authority but less, than a rational sense of utilitarian issues.”
“4. That Mr. Spencer's theory could not account for the intuitional sacredness now attached to individual moral rules and principles, without accounting a fortiori for the general claim of the greatest happiness principle over us as the final moral intuition—which is conspicuously contrary to the fact, as not even the utilitarians themselves plead any instinctive or intuitive sanction for their great principle."
“5. That there is no trace of positive evidence of any single instance of the transformation of a utilitarian rule of right into an intuition, since we find no utilitarian principle of the most ancient times which is now accepted moral intuition, por any moral intuition, however sacred, which has not been promulgated thousands of years ago, and which has not constantly had to stop the tide of utilitarian objections to its authority—and this age after age, in our own day quite as much as in days gone by.
Surely, if anything is remarkable in the history of morality, it is the anticipatory character, if I
may use the expression, of moral principles—the intensity and absoluteness with which they are laid down ages before the world has approximated to the ideal thus asserted.”
Sir John Lubbock, in his work on Primitive Man before referred to, abandons Mr. Spencer's explanation of the genesis of morals while referring to Mr. Hutton's criticisms on the subject. Sir John proposes to substitute “deference to authority” instead of “sense of interest” as the origin of our conception of “duty,” saying that what has been found to be beneficial has been traditionally inculcated on the young, and thus has become to be dissociated from “ interest” in the mind, though the inculcation itself originally sprung from that source. This, however, when analysed, turns out to be a distinction without a difference. It is nothing but utilitarianism; pure and simple, after all. For it can never be intended that authority is obeyed because of an intuition that it should be deferred to, since that would be to admit the very principle of absolute morality which Sir John combats. It must be meant, then, that authority is obeyed through fear of the consequences of disobedience, or through pleasure felt in obeying the authority which commands, In the latter case we have “ pleasure” as the end, and no rudiment of the conception “duty.” In the former we have fear of punishment, which appeals directly to the sense of “utility to the individual,” and no amount of such a sense will produce the least germ of “ought,” which is a conception different in kind, and in which the notion of “punishment” has no place. Thus, Sir John Lubbock's explanation only concerns a mode in which the sense of “duty” may be stiniulated or appealed to,
and makes no approximation to an explanation of its origin.
Could the views of Mr. Herbert Spencer, of Mr. Mill, or of Mr. Darwin on this subject be maintained, or should they come to be generally accepted, the consequences would be disastrous indeed ! Were it really the case that virtue was a mere kind of “retrieving," then certainly we should have to view with apprehension the spread of intellectual cultivation, which would lead the human “ retrievers” to regard from a new point of view their fetching and carrying. We should be logically compelled to acquiesce in the vociferations of some continental utilitarians, who would banish altogether the senseless words
duty” and “merit;" and then, one important influence which has aided human progress being withdrawn, we should be reduced to hope that in this case the maxim cessante causa cessat ipse effectus might through some incalculable accident fail to apply.
It is true that Mr. Spencer tries to erect a safeguard against such moral disruption, by asserting that for every iminoral act, word, or thought, each man during this life receives minute and exact retribution, and that thus a regard for individual self-interest will effectually prevent any moral catastrophe. But by what means will he enforce the acceptance of a dogma which is not only incapable of proof, but is opposed to the commonly received opinion of mankind in all ages ? Ancient literature, sacred and profane, teems with protests against the successful evil-doer, and certainly, as Mr. Hutton observes:1
Honesty must have been associated by our ancestors with many unhappy as well as many happy consequences, and
1 Macmillan's Magazine, No. 117, July 1869.
we know that in ancient Greece dishonesty was openly and actually associated with happy consequences when the concentrated experience of previous generations was held, not indeed to justify, but to excuse by utilitarian considerations, craft, dissimulation, sensuality, selfishness.”
This dogma is opposed to the moral consciousness of many as to the events of their own lives; and the author, for one, believes that it is absolutely contrary to fact.
History affords multitudes of instances : an example may be selected from one of the most critical periods of modern times. Let it be granted that Lewis the Sixteenth of France and his queen had all the defects attributed to them by the most hostile of serious historians ; let all the excuses possible be made for his predecessor, Lewis the Fifteenth, and also for Madame de Pompadour: can it be pretended that there are grounds for affirming that the vices of the two former so far exceeded those of the latter, that their respective fates were plainly and evidently just ? that while the two former died in their beds, after a life of the most extreme luxury, the others merited to stand forth through coming time as examples of the most appalling and calamitous tragedy ?1
1 The same period supplies us with a yet more striking example. H. Von Sybel, in his “French Revolution” (translated by W. C. Perry), vol. iv. p. 321, says of the unfortunate young Lewis the Seventeenth : “No one can read the reports of the martyrdom of this unhappy child without the deepest emotion. Simon the Cobbler, a neighbour and admirer of Marat, had been appointed, on his recommendation, by Robespierre, as the jailer of the young Capet.” “The ill-treatment of the feeble child became his daily refreshment from the ennui of the prison, his pastime and his patriotic office. He clothed the Prince in a sansculotte dress, compelled him to wear a Jacobin cap, made him drunk with ardent spirits, and forced him to sing indecent sougs. This treatment was varied by abuse, blows, and cruelties of every kind whenever the child made mention of his parents, whenever he showed the slightest
This theme, however, is too foreign to the immediate matter in hand to be further pursued, tempting as it is. But a passing protest against a superstitious and deluding dogma may stand,-a dogma which, like any other dogma, may be vehemently asserted and maintained, but which is remarkable for being destitute, at one and the same time, of both authoritative sanction and the support of reason and observation.
To return to the bearing of moral conceptions on “Natural Selection," it seems that, from the reasons given in this chapter, we may safely affirm—1. That “Natural Selection "could not have produced, from the sensations of pleasure and pain experienced by brutes, a higher degree of morality than was useful; therefore it could have produced any amount of “ beneficial habits,” but not abhorrence of certain acts as impure and sinful.
symptom of resistance to the humiliations inflicted on him, whenever news arrived of a victory of the Vendeans or the Austrians.” “The brutal monster one day beat and kicked the boy because he would not repeat the words, ‘My mother is a harlot.' Another time Simon was awakened in the night, and heard the child praying as he knelt by his bedside. “I'll teach you,' he cried, “to whine your paternosters,' and, pouring a pail of cold water over his body and his bed, he compelled him by blows from an iron-heeled shoe to pass the rest of the winter night in the wet, cold bed.” After the death of Simon he was imprisoned in a little cell for six months, at the end of which time when his new jailer, Laurent, entered, “He was astonished when they led him by the dim light of a lantern to the entrance of a pestiferous den, from which a feeble voice answered him after repeated calls; but what was his horror, when, on the following day, he caused the door to be broken open, and penetrated the scene of misery itself! In this poisonous atmosphere a pale and emaciated child, with matted hair, lay upon a filthy lair, clothed with half-rotten rags, his head covered with an eruption, his neck with festering sores, and his whole body with swarms of vermin.” Mr. Herbert Spencer may be safely challenged to explain by what crimes this child had merited so frightful and long-continued a chastisement.