BLTC Press Titles


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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll


Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh


The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite


Theory of Colours

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


History of European morals from Augustus to Charlemagne

by William Edward Hartpole Lecky

Excerpt:

1 'I conceive that when a man deliberates whether he shall do a thing or not do it, he does nothing else but consider whether it be better for himself to do it or not to do it'—Hobbes On Liberty and Necessity. 'Good and evil are names that signify our appetites and aversions.'—Ibid. Leviathan, part i. ch. xvi. 'Obligation is the necessity of doing or omitting any action in order to be happy.'—Gay's dissertation prefixed to King's Origin of Evil, p. 36. 'The only reason or motive by which individuals can possibly be induced to the practise of virtue, must be the feeling immediate on the prospect of future private happiness.'—Brown On the Characteristics, p. 169. 'En tout temps, en tout lieu, tant en matiere de morale qu'en matiere d'esprit, c'est l'interet personnel qui dicte le jugement des particuliers, et l'interet general qui dicte celui des nations.. . . Tout homme ne prend dans ses jugements conseilque de son intereV—Helve'tius De TEsprit, discoursii.' Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. . . . The principle of utility recognises this subjection, and assumes it for the foundation of that system, the object of which is to rear the fabric of felicity by the hands of reason and of law. Systems which attempt to question it, deal in sounds instead of sense, in caprice instead of reason, in darkness instead of light.'—Bentham's Principles of Morals and Legislation, ch. i. 'By the principle of utility is meant that principle which approves or disapproves of every action whatsoever, according to the tendency which it appears to have to augment or diminish the happiness of the party whose interest is in question.'—Ibid. 'Je regarde l'amour e'claire' de nous-memes comme le principe de tout sacrifice morale.'—D'Alembert quoted by D. Stewart, Active and Moral Powers, vol. i. p. 220.

2 'Pleasure is in itself a good; nay, even setting aside immunity from pain, the only good; pain is in itself an evil, and, indeed, without exception, the only evil, or else the words good and evil have no meaning.'—Bentham's Principles of Morals and Legislation, ch. x. 'Happiness is the sole end of human action, and the promotion of it the test by which to judge of all human conduct.'—Mill's Utilitarianism, p. 68.

8 'Good and evil are nothing but pleasure and pain, or that which occasions or procures pleasure or pain to us. Moral good and evil then is only the conformity or disagreement of our voluntary actions to some law whereby good or evil is drawn on us by the will and power of the law maker, which good and evil, pleasure or pain, attending our observance or breach of the law by the decree of the law maker, is that we call reward or punishment.'—Locke's Essay, book ii. ch. xxviii. 'Take away pleasures and pains, not only happiness, but justice, and duty, and obligation, and virtue, bility.1 When we speak of the goodness of God, we mean only His goodness to us.2 Eeverence is nothing more than our conviction, that another who has power to do us both good and harm, will only do us good.8 The pleasures of piety arise from the belief that we are about to receive pleasure, and the pains of piety from the belief that we are about to suffer pain from the Deity.4 Our very affections, according to some of these writers, are all forms of self-love. Thus charity springs partly from our desire to obtain the esteem of others, partly from the expectation that the favours we have bestowed will be reciprocated, and partly, too, from the gratification of the sense of power, by the proof that we can satisfy not only our own desires, but also the desires of others.5 Pity is an emotion aris

all of which have been so elaborately held up to view as independent of them, are so many emptv sounds.'—Bentham's Springs of Action, i. § 15.

1 'II lui est aussi impossible d'aimer le bien pour le bien, que d'aimer le mal pour le mal.'—Helve"tius De TEsprit, disc. ii. ch. v.

a 'Even the goodness which we apprehend in God Almighty, is his goodness to us.'—Hobbes On Human Nature, ch. vii. § 3. So Waterland,' To love God is in effect the same thing as to love happiness, eternal happiness; and the love of happiness is still the love of ourselves.'—Third Sermon on Self-love.

* 'Reverence is the conception we have concerning another, that He hath the power to do unto us both good and hurt, but not the will to do us hurt.' —Hobbes On Human Nature, ch. viii. § 7.


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