IT has already been remarked that questions of ultimate ends do not admit of

It has already been remarked that questions of

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IT has already been remarked, that questions of ultimate ends do not admit of proof, in the ordinary acceptation of the term. To be incapable of proof by reasoning is common to all first principles); to the first premises of our knowledge, as well as to those of our conduct. But the former, being matters of fact, may be the subject of a direct appeal to the faculties which judge of fact namely, our senses, and our internal consciousness. Can an appeal be made to the same faculties on questions of practical ends ? Or by what other faculty is cognizance taken of them? Questions about ends are, in other words, questions what things are desirable. The utilitarian doctrine is, that happiness is desirable, and the only thing desirable, as an end ; all other things being only desirable as means to that end. What ought to be required of this doctrine what conditions is it requisite that the doctrine should fulfil to make good its claim to be believed? The only proof capable of being given that an object is visible, is that people actually see it. The only proof that a sound is audible, is that people hear it : and so of the other sources of our experience. In like manner, I apprehend, the sole evidence it is possible
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HOW PROVED. 53 to produce that anything is desirable, is that people do actually desire it. If the end which the utilitarian doctrine proposes to itself were not, in theory and in practice, acknowledged to be an end, nothing could ever convince any person that it was so. ' No reason can be eiven why the general happiness is desirable, exceDt that each person, so far as he believes it to be attainable- desires his own "Eapmness. JTEis, however,- being a fact, we have not only all the proof which the case admits of, but all which it is possible to require, that happiness is a good : that each person's happiness is a good to that person, and the general happiness, therefore, a good to the aggregate of all persons. Happiness has made out its title as one of the ends of conduct, and consequently one of the criteria of.morality. But it has not, by this alone, proved itself to be the sole criterion. To do that, it would seem, by the same rule, necessary to show, not only that people desire happiness, but that they never desire anything else. Now it is palpable that they do desire things which, in common language, are decidedly distin guished from happiness. They desire, for example, virtue, and the absence of vice, no less really than pleasure and the absence of pain. The desire of virtue is not as universal, but it is as authentic a fact, as the desire of happiness. And hence the opponents of the utilitarian standard deem that they have a right to infer that there are other ends of human action besides happiness, and that happiness is not the standard of approbation and disapprobation. But does the utilitarian doctrine deny that people desire virtue, or maintain that virtue is not a thing to
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54 UTILITARIANISM.
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