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GOLDEN RULE, the term applied in all European languages to the rule of conduct laid down in the New Testament (Matthew vii. 12 and Luke vi. 31), "whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets." This principle has often been stated as the fundamental precept of social morality. It is sometimes put negatively or passively. "do not that to another which thou wouldst not have done to thyself" (cf. Hobbes, Leviathan, xv. 79, xvii. 85), but it should be observed that in this form it implies merely abstention from evil doing. In either form the precept in ordinary application is part of a hedonistic system of ethics, the criterion of action being strictly utilitarian in character.

See H. Sidgwick, History of Ethics (5th ed., 1902), p. 167; James Seth, Ethical Principles, p. 97 foll.