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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/201

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THE MORALITY OF HAPPINESS.

"If a father, sternly enforcing numerous commands, some needful and some needless, adds to his severe control a behavior wholly unsympathetic if his children have to take their pleasures by stealth, or, when timidly looking up from their play, ever meet a cold glance, or more frequently a frown, his government will inevitably be disliked, if not hated; and the aim will be to evade it as much as possible. Contrariwise, a father who, equally firm in maintaining restraints needful for the well-being of his children, or the well-being of other persons, not only avoids needless restraints, but, giving his sanction to all legitimate gratifications, and providing the means for them, looks on at their gambols with an approving smile, can scarcely fail to gain an influence which, no less efficient for the time being, will also be permanently efficient. The controls of such two fathers symbolize the controls of morality as it is and morality as it should be."

 
II. CONDUCT AND DUTY.[1]

Morality relates to those parts of our conduct of which it can be said that they are right or wrong. Under the general subject conduct, then, morality is included as a part. On regarding the word "duty" as implying all that we ought to do and all that we ought to avoid, we may say that duty is a part of conduct. All actions which are not purposeless may be regarded as included under the word "conduct," as well as some which, though purposeless at the time, result from actions originally done with purpose until a fixed habit had been acquired. But only those actions which we consider good or bad are referred to when we speak of duty; and the principles of what we call morality relate only to these.

Here, however, we have already recognized a connection between duty and conduct generally, which should show all who are familiar with scientific methods that morality can not properly be discussed in its scientific aspect without discussing conduct at large. Every student of science knows that, rightly to consider a part, he must consider the whole to which it belongs. In every department of science this general law holds, though it is not always recognized. No scientific subject has ever been properly dealt with until it has been

  1. I remind the reader that in these papers, as stated in the introductory one, I am following the lines along which Mr. Herbert Spencer has already traced the general doctrine of the morality of happiness. Where his reasoning seems open to objection or too recondite to be quite readily followed, I shall indicate such objections, and my own opinion respecting them, or endeavor to remove such difficulties; but the moral doctrine I am here dealing with is that of which he has been the chief teacher, if he may not be regarded as its only founder. Even if the scientific study of ethics, on principles analogous to those which have made astronomy, geology, and more recently biology, true sciences, has been taken up by others and pursued till new truths have been recognized and perhaps some errors pointed out in his treatment of it, it remains still true that he was the first to indicate the true scientific method, and to show where hitherto it had been departed from even by the founders of the school of philosophy to which he belongs.