is quite as often put to themselves by persons who never heard of the principle

Is quite as often put to themselves by persons who

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is quite as often put to themselves by persons who never heard of the principle of utility, as by its ad herents. Those whose conscientious feelings are so weak as to allow of their asking this question, if they answer it affirmatively, will not do so because they believe in the transcendental theory, but because of the external sanctions. It is not necessary, for the present purpose, to de cide whether the feeling of duty is innate or implanted. Assuming it to be innate, it is an open question to what objects it naturally attaches itself; for the philo sophic supporters of that theory are now agreed that the intuitive perception is of principles of morality, and not of the details. If there be anything innate in tiie matter, I see no reason why the feeling which is innate should not be that of regard to the pleasures and pains. of others. If there is any principle of morals which is intuitively obligatory, I should say it must be that. It so, the intuitive ethics would coincide with the utilitarian, and there would be no further quarrel between them. Even as it is, the intuitive
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ITS SANCTIONS. 47) moralists, though they believe that there are other intuitive moral obligations, do already believe this to be one ; for they unanimously hold that a large portion of morality turns upon the consideration due to the interests of our fellow creatures. Therefore, if the belief in the transcendental origin of moral obligation gives any additional efficacy to the internal sanction, it appears to me that the utilitarian principle has already the benefit of it. On the other hand, if, as is my own belief, the moral feelings are not innate, but acquired, they are not for that reason the less natural. It is natural to man to speak, to reason, to build cities, to cultivate the ground, though these are acquired facult:es. The moral feelings are not indeed a part of our nature, in the sense of being in any perceptible degree present in all of us ; but this, unhappily, is a fact admitted by those who believe the most strenuously in their transcendental origin. Like the other acquired capa cities above referred to, the moral faculty, if not a part of our nature, is a natural outgrowth from it ; capable, like them, in a certain small degree, of springing up spontaneously ; and susceptible of being brought by cultivation to a high degree of develop ment. Unhappily it is also susceptible, by a sufficient use of the external sanctions and of the force of early impressions, of being cultivated in almost any direc tion : so that there is hardly anything so absurd or so mischievous that it may not, by means of these influences, be made to act on the human mind with all the authority of conscience. To doubt that the same potency might be given by the same means to the principle of utility, even if it had no foundation
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46 UTILITARIANISM.
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