Ethical Rationalism and Secularisation in the British Enlightenment : Conscience and the Age of Reason [1st ed.] 9783030522025, 9783030522032

This book reassesses the ethics of reason in the Age of the Reason, making use of the neglected category of conscience.

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Ethical Rationalism and Secularisation in the British Enlightenment : Conscience and the Age of Reason [1st ed.]
 9783030522025, 9783030522032

Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages i-xii
The Enlightenment’s Legacy (Dafydd Mills Daniel)....Pages 1-71
Conscience, Normativity, and Rational Intuition (Dafydd Mills Daniel)....Pages 73-130
Conscience or Complacency? Neo-Kantianism, Deism, and Practical Reason (Dafydd Mills Daniel)....Pages 131-199
Conscience or Moral Sense? The Contest for Enlightenment in Scotland (Dafydd Mills Daniel)....Pages 201-246
The Secularisation of Conscience (Dafydd Mills Daniel)....Pages 247-275
Conclusion (Dafydd Mills Daniel)....Pages 277-301
Back Matter ....Pages 303-344

Citation preview

Ethical Rationalism and Secularisation in the British Enlightenment Conscience and the Age of Reason

Dafydd Mills Daniel

Ethical Rationalism and Secularisation in the British Enlightenment “A complex re-interpretation and resuscitation of Samuel Clarke’s ethics that seeks to distinguish him and the ‘Clarkeans’ from other Enlightenment rationalists and establish his thought as a viable alternative to what Daniel and many others see as the flawed legacy of the Enlightenment’s ‘thin’, complacent rationalism in the ethical domain.” —William J. Bulman, Associate Professor of History and Global Studies, Lehigh University, USA “A very welcome and masterful study of Samuel Clarke, who, despite the explosion of work on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British moral philosophy of the past thirty years, has been badly understudied. Daniel vigorously defends Clarke, puncturing widespread misconceptions and caricatures, and also provides a rich description and analysis of Clarke’s historical context.” —Stephen Darwall, Andrew Downey Orrick Professor of Philosophy, Yale University, USA “An insightful, ambitious, and highly interesting work.  It offers a reading of Samuel Clarke’s ethical rationalism which rescues it from The Enlightenment’s secular legacy, makes explicit its religious commitments, and reconfigures the central notions of reason and conscience. An important resource for moral philosophy and moral theology, and for contemporary discussions of the limits of reason and nature.” —Fiona Ellis, Director of the Centre for Philosophy of Religion, University of Roehampton, UK “This is a brilliant re-reading of key Enlightenment discussions of the foundations of morality. Focusing on ethical rationalism and the attendant concepts of ‘right reason’ and ‘conscience’, it offers perceptive new insights into the secularization of moral discourse. This is an important text not only for historians of moral philosophy, but also for those interested in contemporary versions of ethical realism.” —Peter Harrison, Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Queensland, Australia

“This valuable study deftly rescues Samuel Clarke, and the British tradition of ethical rationalism that grew up around him, from the sharply dismissive judgments so often rendered against them. Far from naively asserting the self-evidence of moral truths, Mills Daniel shows how Clarkean conscience serves as the site for active practical reasoning that draws critically on one’s own experiences, the opinions of others, moral theories, and traditional authorities. In transforming received understandings of ethical rationalism, Mills Daniel also skillfully demonstrates how proto-Kantian readings of Butler go awry; both Butler and the Clarkeans stand in a shared tradition of ‘recta ratio’ as reasoning to the law of reason that is simultaneously the law of human nature, the law of God, and the law of the universe. An important contribution to the history of modern moral thought.” —Jennifer A. Herdt, Gilbert L. Stark Professor of Christian Ethics, Yale University Divinity School, USA “At the beginning of the eighteenth century, British scholars, philosophers, and clergy were engaged in a complex debate about reason, sense experience, moral knowledge, and the authority of conscience. In an expert balancing of intellectual history and ethical theory, Dafydd Mills Daniel guides us through this discussion, helping us see what was at stake for the participants and connecting their concerns with  the problems of ethical realism in a secular age. In these pages, we encounter the classic form of questions we are still trying to answer.” —Robin W. Lovin, Cary Maguire University Professor of Ethics Emeritus, Southern Methodist University, USA

Dafydd Mills Daniel

Ethical Rationalism and Secularisation in the British Enlightenment Conscience and the Age of Reason

Dafydd Mills Daniel Oxford, UK

ISBN 978-3-030-52202-5    ISBN 978-3-030-52203-2 (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-52203-2 © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Palgrave Macmillan imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG. The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland

To Mum and Dad

Acknowledgments

This book is dedicated to my parents, David and Jennifer, in thanks for their inexhaustible love and support. It would not have been possible to complete this book, or the doctoral thesis on which parts of it are based, without their help and encouragement—and the wider enthusiasm for what John Locke called ‘Thoughts, Reasonings, and Discourses’ that they instilled in me, and my brother, Edmund, and sister, Megan. I know that I am incredibly lucky to have such parents and siblings, and am most grateful to each of them for all they continue to do for me, in this and every other endeavour, with deepest love and thanks. I am also incredibly glad to have the opportunity to acknowledge my indebtedness to Nigel Biggar, Margaret Farley, and Peter Harrison. Margaret, Nigel, and Peter have been an invaluable resource for encouragement, guidance, and wisdom, personally and professionally, over more than a decade—it is no exaggeration to say that I would not have discovered, or had the opportunity to work in, the fields of ethics and intellectual history without them. As parts of this book develop my Oxford DPhil thesis, I would like to thank my supervisors, Nigel and Peter. Completing the book itself over the last couple of years, while lecturing at Oxford, has been no mean task—and without friends and colleagues in the Faculty of Theology and Religion, Jesus College, and Harris Manchester College, it would have seemed far too Heraclean. Special mention here must be made of Joseph vii

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Cunningham and Michael Oliver, whose friendship has provided both welcome distractions from writing and encouragement for it. As office-­ neighbours, Mike and I have traversed a lot across three years teaching together at Oxford—and through all that, he was still able to remind each day that progress however small, and wherever possible, is still progress. Of course, a book like this, which incorporates some doctoral work, makes one think of the friendships formed and kept over the years, which are a source of much joy and comfort—particularly in current times. As well as Joe and Mike, it is not possible to leave unmentioned, James Benford, Ben Clark, Alex Dowding, Molly Dunn, Ricardo Engel, Simon Fairclough, Ben Franz, Fiona Harris, Ana Harvey, Tristan Scott Harvey, Francesca Holloway,  Graeme Johnstone, Chloé Joyeux, Will Kay, Ken Nodland, Cristina Mendonça, Eleanor Mitchell, Katie Moore. I thank The Journal of Religion and the University of Chicago Press for permission to use as  Chap. 4  a pre-publication version of my article accepted for publication by them on 11.04.2019: ‘Modern Infidels, Conscientious Fools, and the Douglas Affair: The Orthodox Rhetoric of Conscience in the Scottish Enlightenment’ ©2020 by The University of Chicago https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/708939.

Contents

1 The Enlightenment’s Legacy  1 1.1 Introduction   1 Part 1   1 1.2 Lord Shaftesbury, William Blake, and ‘The New Natural Philosophy’  3 1.3 John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and Reason   8 1.4 Contemporary Criticisms of Enlightenment Rationalism  15 1.5 Naturalisation, Subjectivism, and Privatisation  24 Part 2   26 1.6 Clarkean Ethical Rationalism in the British Enlightenment 26 1.7 Mathematics and Morals  34 1.8 Secularisation, Liberalism, and Totalitarianism  37 1.9 Reason and Conscience in Context: The Anglican Tradition of Ciceronian Right Reason and Thomistic Natural Law  41 1.10 Conclusion  70

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2 Conscience, Normativity, and Rational Intuition 73 2.1 Introduction  73 Part 1  76 2.2 Criticisms of Clarkean Ethical Rationalism: Francis Hutcheson and David Hume  76 2.3 Contemporary Humean and Kantian Criticisms  87 Part 2  94 2.4 The That and the What of Intrinsic Rightness  94 2.5 ‘Enlarged’ ‘Conscientious Right Reason’: Richard Hooker, Benjamin Whichcote, and the Clarkeans 100 2.6 Duty to God: God’s Being and Will 106 2.7 Duty to Others: Equity and Benevolence 113 2.8 Duty to Self: ‘Self-approbation’, ‘Self-condemnation’, and the Law of Conscience 118 2.9 The Richness of Clarkean Reason and Perception 123 2.10 Conclusion 126 3 Conscience or Complacency? Neo-Kantianism, Deism, and Practical Reason131 3.1 Introduction 131 Part 1 138 3.2 Passive Perception, Active Consciousness, and Freewill 138 3.3 ‘Moral Certainty’ and the Limits of Human Reason 141 3.4 Practical Moral Reasoning 144 Part 2  148 3.5 ‘Original’ Materials of Conscience: ‘Light of Nature’, ‘Law of Nature’, and ‘Practical Virtue’ 148 3.6 Intending Rectitude: Matthew Tindal and Francis Hutcheson156 3.7 ‘Virtuous Act’/‘Virtuous Agent’: Acting According to Conscience versus An Act of Conscience158 3.8 Fallenness and the ‘State of Trial’ 159 Part 3  161 3.9 ‘Additional’ Materials of Conscience: Self-Love and Benevolence161

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3.10 Conscience’s ‘Presages’: The ‘Motives of Religion’ and Moral Development 3.11 Faith, Moral Reasoning, and Self-Imposition 3.12 Choosing and the Integrity of Persons 3.13 Conclusion

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4 Conscience or Moral Sense? The Contest for Enlightenment in Scotland201 4.1 Introduction 201 4.2 The Scottish Enlightenment Paradigm: ‘Enlightened’ Literati verses Religious ‘Conservatives’ 203 4.3 Samuel Clarke and John Witherspoon 208 Part 1: Section 1 212 4.4 Rationalism, Calvinism, and the Douglas Affair 212 4.5 ‘Modern Infidels’ and the Moral Sense 219 Part 1: Section 2 222 4.6 ‘Politeness’ and the Controversy Over Church Patronage 222 4.7 Defending the ‘Common People’: ‘Conscientious Fools’ and ‘Liberty of Conscience’ 223 Part 2 230 4.8 The Orthodox Appeal to Samuel Clarke 230 4.9 Samuel Clarke, Joseph Addison, and William Shakespeare: The Subversion of ‘Enlightened’ and ‘Conservative’236 4.10 Conclusion 245 5 The Secularisation of Conscience247 5.1 Introduction 247 5.2 Joseph Butler, Cambridge Platonism, and Heart 255 5.3 Tensions in the Rational Discourse of Conscience 260 5.4 The Naturalisation of Conscience: Adam Smith and the Theological Utilitarians 262 5.5 Liberty of Conscience 271 5.6 The Fragmentation of Conscience’s Referents 273

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6 Conclusion277 6.1 Introduction 277 6.2 The Naturalisation of Reason 280 6.3 Individualism and Privatisation 285 6.4 Joseph Butler’s Reasoning 290 6.5 Contemporary Ethical Realism and Christian Metaphysics296 Bibliography303 Index335

1 The Enlightenment’s Legacy

1.1  Introduction Part 1 Critics and proponents of ‘the Enlightenment’ inevitably face the question of whether the definite article can be used in that well-known expression. Rather than ‘the Enlightenment project’, is it preferable to talk of ‘the Enlightenment paradigm’, ‘Enlightenment ideals’, Enlightenment values, or, rather, ‘enlightenments’?1 Each refinement gets closer to recognising the difficulty of speaking of a single set of beliefs or thinkers who can completely encapsulate an epithet which, even with the addition of ‘European’, is often applied to at least three centuries and two continents. This book uses the term, ‘the British Enlightenment’, unremarkably and non-exclusively. The use is unremarkable, because this book focuses on some familiar thinkers and ideas from a period in British history (the  See, respectively: Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue, 2nd edn (London: Duckworth, 1985); David Wootton, Power, Pleasure, and Profit (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Harvard University Press, 2018); Stephen Pinker, Enlightenment Now (New York, NY: Penguin, 2018); Anthony Pagden, The Enlightenment (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013); Charles J.  Withers, Placing the Enlightenment (Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press, 2003). 1

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late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries) conventionally referred to as the Enlightenment. On the non-exclusive side, if there is a particular set of thoughts or thinkers, or particular historical dates, that mark out the British Enlightenment, they will still be up for grabs by the close of this book. Indeed, one of the purposes of this book, as will be seen particularly in the discussion of Scotland, is to concur with recent scholarship that ‘the British Enlightenment’ was characterised by opposition between various groups over what it meant to be ‘enlightened’; an opposition which can temper our use of the word ‘secularisation’ when applied to this time period and its consequences.2  What we might call the ‘revisionist’ picture of the Enlightenment challenges the idea that it was a period of secularisation. Jonathan Israel distinguishes between ‘conservative’, ‘moderate’, and ‘radical’ Enlightenments, and questions the extent to which we can make either of those ‘enlightenments’ representative of the Enlightenment qua homogenous movement. Carl Becker denied that the Enlightenment philosophes were ‘secular’ in any convincingly modern sense—pointing to the further question of whether the modern or contemporary world itself can convincingly be deemed ‘secular’ J.C.D. Clark and S.J. Barnett question whether political and religious radicalism was really as dominant in the Enlightenment as critics (for example, MacIntryre) and proponents (for example, Peter Gay) of the Enlightenment qua secularising ‘project’ have suggested: it may only appear to be dominant because we are influenced by the rhetoric of ‘conservatives’ within the eighteenth-­ century. The group of Clarkeans discussed in this book, are interesting in this respect, because: (a) they wrote against what they perceived to be (or exaggerated as) the deist threat; and (b) their ethical rationalism was drawn into the secularisation narrative, both at the beginning of the century (not least during the Bangorian controversy: see below) and, at the end of the century (not least through the controversy over the American and French Revolutions: see below). However, with respect to (b) it is not clear that the threat of radicalism, from the Clarkean Hoadly in the Bangorian controversy or the Clarkean Price in the French Revolution were as great as opponents suggested; in each case, the secularisation narrative served ‘conservative’ politico-religious ends, and it is the prominence of that narrative, rather than the radicalism itself, that, for Clark, has misled historians into thinking that Hoadly was victorious in the Bangorian controversy (J.C.D.  Clark, English Society, 1660–1832, 2nd edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 352, fn.123). In Chap. 4, on the Scottish Enlightenment, we shall see Clarkean influence later into the century, as conservative’ Calvinists appealed to Clarke in the Scottish Enlightenment as part of their opposition to the ‘enlightened’ literati as secularising ‘modern infidel’. Nonetheless, the ‘conservative’ appeal to Clarke itself points to how making ‘secular’ and ‘enlightened’ synonymous often ignores nuances in eighteenth-century rhetoric itself: orthodox Scottish Calvinists aimed to portray (a) the literati as a secularising threat to Scottish society, but also (b) their own ‘conservativism’ as truly ‘enlightened’. For the debate over ‘secularisation theory’, and its relationship to both the Enlightenment and modernity, see: Carl L.  Becker, The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1932); Peter Gay, The Enlightenment: An Interpretation, 2 vols. (London: W.W. Norton, 1977); B.W. Young, Religion and Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998); J.G.A. Pocock, Barbarism and Religion, vol.2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Jonathan Israel, Radical Enlightenment (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), Enlightenment Contested (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), Democratic Enlightenment (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011); 2

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Though this book is not directly concerned with the historiography of the term Enlightenment, British or otherwise, it does examine a key current of eighteenth-century British thought, in the light of concerns that have been raised about the Enlightenment’s mixed legacy. The key current of British Enlightenment thought, examined in this book, is ethical rationalism; more specifically, that of ‘Newton’s bulldog’: Samuel Clarke. It is argued that, if we look at Clarke’s British Enlightenment ethical rationalism, especially in light of his theory of conscience, we are better placed to respond to leading Humean and Kantian criticisms of it. Moreover, at the end of this book, it will be suggested that a reappraisal of Clarke’s ethical rationalism makes it a helpful resource for tempering what contemporary critics regard as the Enlightenment’s mixed legacy. In order to appreciate, the contribution a reappraisal of Clarke’s ethical rationalism can make, three things are necessary: to hear more about what the Enlightenment’s mixed legacy is supposed to be; to recognise that Clarke’s ethical rationalism has often been regarded as a key contributor to that legacy; and to discuss Samuel Clarke himself—a celebrated and influential eighteenth-century figure, who is now relatively neglected. The remainder of this introduction will cover each of these three points in more detail.

1.2  L ord Shaftesbury, William Blake, and ‘The New Natural Philosophy’ There are criticisms of early modern rationalism in Lord Shaftesbury and William Blake, that not only parallel one another, but also contemporary criticisms of the Enlightenment’s legacy. S.J.  Barnett, The Enlightenment and Religion (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003); David Sorkin, The Religious Enlightenment (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008); J.C.D. Clark, ‘Secularisation and Modernity: The Failure of a “Grand Narrative”’, The Historical Journal, 55:1 (March 2012), 161–194); William J. Bulman and Robert G. Ingram (eds), God in the Enlightenment (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016); Anna Tomaszewska and Hasse Hamalainen (eds), The Sources of Secularism (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017); Ian Hunter, ‘Secularisation: Process, Programme, and Historiography’, Intellectual History Review, 27:1 (2017), 7–29.

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Writing at different ends of the eighteenth-century, Shaftesbury and Blake were both troubled by the scientific rationalism or ‘new natural philosophy’ of their day: But the Spectre like a hoar frost & a Mildew rose over Albion Saying, I am God O Sons of Men! I am your Rational Power! Am I not Bacon & Newton & Locke who teach Humility to Man!3

Blake pleaded, ‘God forbid that Truth should be Confined to Mathematical Demonstration’,4 and both he and Shaftesbury viewed such figures as Francis Bacon, René Descartes, Thomas Hobbes, Isaac Newton, and John Locke as having done just that. The first problem with confining truth to mathematical demonstration, is that it relegates all other kinds of truth, and the processes of acquiring it, to the realm of individual opinion, if not fantasy. Shaftesbury objected that ‘Science or speculation’ interfered ‘with a more practical sort’ of philosophy, while also arrogantly ‘shut[ting] the door against better knowledge’.5 ‘Super-speculative Philosophy’ ‘reaches nothing we can truly call our Interest or Concern’;6 it is ‘the cool way of Reason’ which human beings can only encounter ‘abstractedly and drily’.7 Meanwhile, Blake juxtaposed ‘Rational Demonstration’ and ‘Faith’ as well as the ‘Abstract Philosophy warring in enmity against Imagination’.8 The ‘Natural Philosophy’ of Bacon, Locke and Newton opposes ‘Spiritual Knowledge’ and ‘inspiration and vision’ with ‘Rational Philosophy and Mathematic Demonstration’.9 The second problem with Enlightenment natural philosophy or scientific rationalism builds on the first. The emphasis on demonstrative  William Blake, ‘Jerusalem’, in The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake, ed. D.V. Erdman, rvsd edn (New York, NY: Random House, 1988), 203. 4  Blake, ‘Annotations to the Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds’, in Works, 659. 5  [Lord Shaftesbury (Anthony Ashely Cooper)], Soliloquy, or Advice to an Author, in Characteristicks of Men Manners, Opinions, Times, 3 vols. ([London:] 1711), vol.1, 291–303. Eighteenth Century Collections Online. 6  Ibid., 292; 290. 7  Shaftesbury, The Moralists, a Philosophical Rhapsody in Characteristicks, vol.2, 364–366. 8  Blake, Milton: Books the Second, in Works, 142; Jerusalem, 148. 9  Blake, Works, 201, 207; 519; 544. 3

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reasoning not only cuts us off from other types of, and ways to, truth, but separates knowledge from truth: reason and reasoning no longer grant us access to the nature of reality itself. In the criticisms of both Shaftesbury and Blake, Locke and Hobbes (or, at least, Locke and Hobbes as interpreted by Shaftesbury and Blake)10 were key figures.

J ohn Locke’s and Isaac Newton’s ‘Philosophy of the Five Senses’ In Locke, ‘Knowledge’ consists ‘in the perception of the Agreement, or Disagreement of any two Ideas’, and it is solely ‘from Experience’ that the ‘white Paper’ of the ‘Mind’ is ‘furnished’ with ideas qua ‘all the materials of Reason and Knowledge’.11 Through ‘reason’, we are able to advance ‘knowledge’, but what we are reasoning about is only ever ideas derived from human experience, just as ‘knowledge’ is never anything other than the degree of certainty we have concerning the relationship between our  Proponents of the Enlightenment ‘secularisation narrative’ often single out particular figures for both illustrative and historiographic reasons. To explain how Enlightenment critics employ, and why they choose, particular figures is not necessarily to endorse their use or interpretation of them. For example, we shall see in Chap. 4 that David Hume and Francis Hutcheson epitomise the secularising dangers of ‘enlightened’ thinking for Scottish Calvinists, who offered a version of Clarkean ethical rationalism. Meanwhile, we shall see below, and in Chaps. 3 and 5, that proponents of Clarkean ethical rationalism have been associated with the secularising effects of the Enlightenment themselves. In the discussion of Hume and Hutcheson in Chap. 4, it is possible to indicate why criticisms of them might be misleading; and, of course, the theme of this entire book is to discuss why criticisms of the Clarkeans may be misleading. Similarly, in this chapter, I draw parallels between Shaftesbury’s and Blake’s use of Locke and Hobbes, and the use of Kant and Bentham in some contemporary critics. Responding to the ‘secularising’ reading of these figures falls beyond the thematic and physical limits of this book. However, see notes 25 and 64, for limitations in certain approaches to Kant and Locke. And, for a wider discussion of why the interpretation of Locke and Hobbes offered by Shaftesbury and Blake is in places problematic, and ignores important differences between them, see: John Locke, Questions Concerning the Natural Law, eds R.  Horwitz, J.S. Clay and D. Clay (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990); Nicholas Wolterstorff, John Locke and the Ethics of Belief (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996); Nathan Guy, Finding Locke’s God (London: Bloomsbury, 2020); Jeremy Waldron, God, Locke, and Equality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010); Justin Champion, ‘Godless Politics: Hobbes and Public Religion’, in Bulman and Ingram, op.cit.; A.P. Martinich, The Two Gods of Leviathan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); Laurens van Apeldoorn and Robin Douglass (eds), Hobbes on Politics and Religion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018). 11  John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, ed. P.H. Nidditch (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979), IV.II.15; II.I.2. 10

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ideas.12 Thus, Locke defined reason as a ‘merely’ ‘discursive Faculty’: it is in ‘Reasoning’ about the relationship between various ideas we already have that we ‘deduce’ and ‘demonstrate’ previously unknown or unproven ‘connexions’ with other ideas.13 However, because ideas are ‘all the materials’ of human knowledge, and ideas are either ‘simple’ qua the result of direct experience (‘sensation’) or ‘complex’ qua constructed through ‘reflection’ on simple ideas we already possess, human knowledge is only ever knowledge of our own ideas. Human beings cannot stand outside or go ‘beyond’14 the ideas we have as a result of ‘sensation or reflection’, and assess their truth from the perspective of objective reality itself. Reason works with, and from, pre-existing ideas and definitions derived from empirical experience. It is limited in scope: the source and extent of its operation is restricted, not just to the material world, but to our own ideas of the material world, clouded in the ‘veil of perception’. Beyond ‘the veil of perception’, we do not know how far the ‘real essence’ of a physical object (such as gold) conforms with our idea of it: when it comes to physical objects, our knowledge is not of their ‘real essence’, but the ‘the nominal essences the mind makes’.15 As a result, the following questions cause us some difficulties: what is it about the ‘real essence’ of what we call gold that means we experience this physical object as yellow, malleable at certain temperatures, and so on? Such questions lie beyond us because ‘the Mind knows not Things immediately, but only by the intervention of the Ideas it has of them’, such that we are ‘destitute of Faculties’ able to ‘pry into the Nature and hidden Causes of those Ideas’.16 Locke praised Newton, who, ‘in his never enough to be admired Book, has demonstrated several Propositions, which are so many new Truths, before unknown to the World, and are further Advances in Mathematical Knowledge’.17 However, behind the ‘veil of perception’, Locke doubted whether ‘natural Philosophy is not capable of being made a science’,  Ibid., IV.III.1–5.  Ibid., I.II.15; IV.II.2. 14  Ibid., II.XXIII.32; II.XXXI. 15  Ibid., III.VI.11. 16  Ibid., IV.IV.3; II.XXIII.29, 32. 17  Ibid., IV.VII.3. 12 13

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because it cannot deliver direct insight into ‘the internal Constitution, and true Nature of things’: Reason, Though it penetrates into the Depths of the Sea and Earth, elevates our Thoughts as high as the Stars, and leads us through the vast Spaces, and large Rooms of this mighty Fabrick, yet it comes far short of the real Extent of even corporeal Being…18

For Blake, ‘Newton & Locke’ were proponents of ‘the philosophy of the five senses’: their empiricism has made the material world the sole province of reason qua ‘Demonstrative Science’,19 and so the sole source of human knowledge. Newton’s experiments and Locke’s ideas mean that the human mind’s primary function is simply to number, weigh, and measure different parts of the visible universe.20 Newton and Locke direct human reason downwards towards the world, and also make it captive to the world. The empiricism and rationalism of early modern natural philosophy was caught in a paradox of its own making: the paradox of ‘Doubt & Experiment’.21 Newton’s scientific method, which ‘frames no hypothesis’, teaches us to ‘Doubt & Experiment’: doubt means that we are only committed to theories or hypothesises that have been constructed from, and verified through, experiment, just as doubt means that we are open to testing, and revising, our current hypothesises through experiment. However, Locke’s theory of ideas points to why ‘Experiment’ is a process which reinforces, rather than ever finally satisfying, ‘Doubt’, just as ‘Doubt’ endlessly reinforces the need to ‘Experiment’. Scientific reasoning is merely ‘the Vegetable Ratio’, which reasons about ‘natural causes’ it cannot see behind, but which it uses the ‘telescope’ and ‘microscope’ to investigate endlessly.22 If our empirical investigations can never give us certain knowledge, behind the ‘veil of perception’, there is no end to doubt and the need for experiment. Locke’s and Newton’s new natural philosophy promises human beings knowledge, while trapping us in an  Ibid., IV.XII.10; II.XXIII.32; IV.XVII.9.  Blake, The Song of Los, in Works, 68; Jerusalem, 155. 20  See: Blake’s image of Newton (1795), and associations with Urizen below. 21  Blake, Jerusalem, 203. 22  Blake, Milton, 99, 124, 127. 18 19

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endless cycle of ‘Doubt & Experiment’, so that ‘the Philosophic & Experimental would soon be the ratio [reason] of all things & stand still, unable to do other than repeat the same dull round over again’.23

1.3  John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and Reason Lockean and Newtonian rationalism and empiricism condemn human beings to an endless cycle of ‘Doubt & Experiment’, turning us into atheistic materialists, and cutting us off from the realms of mystery, religion, imagination, God, and transcendence, as not just legitimate areas of enquiry, but as necessary aspects of ourselves and of our experience of the world. In making us atheists, the new natural philosophy stems from voluntarism and egoism. It was Mr. Locke that struck the home blow: for Mr. Hobbes’s character and base slavish principles in government took off the poison of his philosophy. ’Twas Mr. Locke that struck at all fundamentals, threw all order and virtue out of the world, and made the very ideas of these (which are the same as those of God) “unnatural,” and without foundation in our minds.24

Here, Shaftesbury points us towards something that will be discussed in more detail below: reason not merely as human demonstrative reasoning, but as recta ratio (right reason). We can imagine reason qua recta ratio in Christian Platonic or Cartesian terms: reason is something divine, and shared between human beings and God, which allows human beings to experience God and to understand, with God, the universe’s fundamental truths. In these terms, there is an analogy between religious and mathematical truth that allows the latter to be conceived, with the former, in a ‘mystical’ sense. Mathematical truths are unalterable and universal, knowable by all rational creatures, because they are truths of reason. But, where reason is divine, to know truths of reason (like mathematical truths) is to experience the divine, and to have some knowledge of the fundamental principles of the universe that have been imprinted upon it  Blake, There is No Natural Religion, in Works, 3.  Shaftesbury, Letters of the Earl of Shaftesbury to a Student at the University (London: 1716), 44–45.

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by the divine mind at creation. Thus, in the above quotation, Shaftesbury is highlighting the secularisation of reason through the influence of Locke and Hobbes, where reason moves from divine recta ratio to human ratiocination. When Locke and Hobbes encouraged that process, it is noticeable that they not only reduced reason to ‘mere reckoning’ (Hobbes) or a ‘merely’ ‘discursive faculty’ (Locke), but also naturalised a Platonic and Cartesian emphasis on mathematics.25 We saw that Locke maintained that human beings have to rely on ‘probable’ knowledge in this life, because we cannot get ‘beyond’ our own ideas, all of which derive from empirical experience. Locke questioned whether ‘natural philosophy’ could be called a ‘science’, precisely because it can never deliver ‘real knowledge’ of the physical world. With physical objects (like gold), the ‘real essence’ lies (somewhere) behind the ‘nominal essence’ our own mind creates, but we cannot be certain in what sense the latter corresponds to the former. However, while we may not have ‘real knowledge’ of physical objects (like gold), that is not the case with mathematical objects, like triangles. We have certain knowledge of trigonometry, because a triangle is not a ‘copy’ of ‘anything’ in ‘the reality of Things’.26 In effect, we invented the ‘general idea’ of a triangle, so we

 See Chap. 5; and, Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. I. Shapiro (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010), I.IV, 22–33; I.XI, 64–65; I.XV, 97–98; II.XXI, 126–127; II.XXXI, 213–221; De Homine in Man and Citizen, ed. B.  Gert, trans. C.T.  Wood, T.S.K.  Scott-Craig and B.  Gert (Anchor, 1972), X.4–5 and De Cive in Gert, op.cit., I.7–9; II.1–3; I.1 fn.; Locke, Essay, I.II.10–11; I.III.6; I.IV.17–18; II.I.2; II.XXIII.1–2; II.XXIII.29; III.VI.4–9; IV.II.9; IV.II.15; IV.IV.1–10; IV.VII; IV.XII.7–11; IV.XVII.1–2. Hobbes self-consciously appropriated the language of ‘natural law’ and ‘right reason’ in the citations given, and therefore shifts their meaning, see: Samuel Mintz, The Hunting of the Leviathan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1962), 23–38. While Locke’s understanding of reason qua ratiocination, consistent with his rejection of innate ideas, has been associated with an explicit rejection of Platonic a priori reason (R.W.  Harris, Reason and Nature in Eighteenth Century Thought (London: Blandford Press, 1968), 88–89), it should be noted (consisted with tensions in reading Locke in purely Blakean and Shaftesburian terms: see note 10) that there are familiar vestiges in Locke of the language used in recta ratio to describe reason and conscience, not least Benjamin Whichcote’s ‘candle of the Lord’ motif; see: John Locke, The Reasonableness of Christianity (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1958), para.231 and Essay, IV.II.1; IV.III.20; IV.VII.11; IV.X.1; IV.XIII.3; IV.XVII.14–15; IV.XIX.4; 11–14; IV.XVII.23–24; Robert Greene, ‘Whichcote, the Candle of the Lord, and Synderesis’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 52:4 (Oct.-Dec., 1991), 642–644 and ‘Synderesis, the Spark of Conscience, in the English Renaissance’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 52:2 (Apr.-Jun., 1991), 218–219. 26  Locke, Essay, II.XXXI.3; IV.IV.3–6. 25

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know its ‘real essence’, and can theorise with certainty about how and why triangles (unlike metals) work: Because in all our Thoughts, Reasonings, and Discourses of this kind, we intend Things no farther, than as they are conformable to our Ideas. So that in these, we cannot miss of a certain undoubted reality.27

Hobbes made a similar observation: in physics we reason from ‘effects’ to ‘causes’, and so reason without absolute certainty, because ‘the causes of natural things are not in our power, but in the divine will’.28 However, while the behaviour and underlying causes of physical objects remains a matter of ‘use and experience’ and ‘a posteriori’ conjecture, this is not the case with ‘abstract’ objects in geometry. Here certain knowledge is possible; unlike with ‘natural things’, ‘the generation of the figures depends on our will’: nothing more is required to know the phenomenon peculiar to any figure whatsoever, than that we consider everything that follows from the construction that we ourselves made in the figure to be described.29

Locke and Hobbes strip reason, qua ‘mere reckoning’, of the Christian Platonic overtones of reason qua recta ratio. It is not an intuitive faculty that recognises self-evident metaphysical truths and peers into a divine realm. Mathematical knowledge is not of super-sensory truths, through which we reach back into real essences, ‘hidden Causes’, the Platonic Forms, or the mind of the Christian God: mathematical knowledge is certain knowledge only because it concerns our own ideas. However, for their critics, the problem with Hobbes and Locke was not simply that they limited the scope of mathematical truth and human reason: in making reason ‘mere’ ratiocinaton, as opposed to recta ratio, they continued to draw an analogy between mathematical and moral truth, and thereby subverted it.30  Ibid., IV.IV.5.  Hobbes, De Homine, X.5. 29  Ibid. 30  See note 25, and Chap. 5. 27 28

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Prior to Hobbes and Locke, the analogy between mathematics and morals was already conventional (see below). In broadly Christian Platonic terms, the analogy would be: just as the slave-boy in Plato’s Meno has the innate ability to answer basic mathematical problems, human beings have innate knowledge of, or the innate ability or disposition to recognise the value of, such fundamental moral truths as not to harm the innocent (justice), or to treat others as you would like to be treated yourself (equity). Human beings have innate knowledge of, or immediately assent to the truth of, fundamental moral and mathematical truths because both are truths of reason qua recta ratio. In this Christian Platonic metaphysical framework, God is perfect reason, so mathematical and moral truths are not only immutable and objective truths, known universally by all human beings, they are also truths shared between God and human beings, who were created rational creatures in God’s image. All truths of reason have their origin in God qua the ‘fount’ of reason itself. When Hobbes and Locke kept the mathematical analogy, but shifted the meaning of reason, they subverted the mathematical analogy. In mathematical and moral subjects, certain knowledge is attainable, but only because both are ‘abstract’ ideas we have constructed, rather than fundamental divine truths of reason qua recta ratio. Locke and Hobbes use the example of justice:31 how can we be certain whether a particular act is unjust, or what a just society is like? In the same way that we can be certain that a particular figure is a square: we have definitions of squares and justice which exhaust what they are. If we reason appropriately from the definition of justice, we will correctly identify injustice, and accurately reason out the features of a just society. This is not to say, contra some of their contemporary critics, that Locke and Hobbes thought that human beings could define moral or mathematical truth arbitrarily. Nonetheless, a priori demonstrative knowledge in these subjects is possible because mathematical and moral truths are in some sense ‘nominal’: our abstract definitions determine what we consider to be just and square in the ‘real’ world, and we can reason accurately about justice and squares without ever encountering anything just or square in the ‘real’ world.

31

 See: Hobbes, De Cive, XIII.9; III.1–7; Locke, Essay, III.XI.9; IV.IV.9.

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Returning to Shaftesbury’s quotation above, we can see why he bracketed Hobbes and Locke together. In Shaftesbury, an analogy between mathematics and morals was possible, because he was an ethical realist: certain things are always morally wrong in the same way that certain things are always mathematically true. In both cases, their rightness or truthfulness is not a matter of human construction or divine command, but of the nature of reality itself. Shaftesbury observed, ‘whoever sincerely defends VIRTUE and is a Realist in MORALITY must of necessity, in a manner, by the same Scheme of Reasoning, prove as very a Realist in DIVINITY’.32 His concern was that Locke and Hobbes threatened realism in both of these senses. Thus, he complained that Locke (like Hobbes) has thrown ‘all order and virtue out of the world, and made the very ideas of these (which are the same as those of God) “unnatural,” and without foundation in our minds’. In Locke, the rational human mind is not live with the innate experience of universal mathematical and moral truths of reason qua recta ratio, shared between God and human beings; Locke rejected the theory of innate ideas, because his empiricism made the human mind a tabula rasa or blank slate, entirely ‘furnished’ by, and so contingent upon, ideas derived from empirical experience (‘sensation’) and ‘reflection’ upon that experience. Locke may have drawn an analogy between mathematic and moral truths—‘moral knowledge is as capable of real Certainty, as Mathematicks’—but if certain knowledge is possible in mathematics because it concerns such general ideas as triangles qua ‘Archetypes of the Mind’s own making’, then it would seem our certain knowledge is possible in both subjects simply because both are (like the idea of a triangle): ‘Fictions and Contrivances of the Mind’.33 Locke was pushing ‘order’ and ‘virtue’ out of the world, precisely because he argued that mathematical and moral ideas do not have to refer to ‘the reality of Things’ to afford certain knowledge. In the same way, Hobbes and Locke undermined realism about virtue, and so realism about God, where Shaftesbury viewed them as inextricably connected. The belief in immutable moral and mathematical truths, with their ‘fount’ in a divine realm of objective order and purpose, is groundless when moral rightness and  Shaftesbury, Moralists, 268.  Locke, Essay, IV.IV.5–9; IV.VII.9.

32 33

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mathematical correctness are dependent upon the voluntarist will of contingent human beings. As Hobbes put it: ‘Geometry hath been and is demonstrable’, because it is one ‘of those things whose generation depends on the will of men themselves’.34 Thus, ‘politics and ethics [like geometry], can be demonstrated a priori’, but only because ‘we ourselves make the principles’.35

Egoism and Atheism For their critics, the problem is not simply that Hobbes and Locke encourage atheism and voluntarism, by insisting that human beings ‘make the principles’ of morality. Their empiricist scientific rationalism further undermines realism by opening the way to egoism. In Blake’s mythology, Locke, and Newton receive ‘the philosophy of the five senses’ from a being named Urizen (Your Reason). Locke and Newton, like the figure of Urizen/Your Reason, oppose ‘imagination’ with ‘reason’ or ‘cold abstraction’ in order to make mathematical ‘reasoning power’, and the laws it invents, the ‘ratio [reason] of all things’36 For Blake, Locke’s theory of ideas is consistent with the fact that scientific rationalism is simultaneously arrogant and reticent: ‘I am your Rational Power!/Am I not Bacon & Newton & Locke who teach Humility to Man!’ Reason qua demonstrative reasoning is limited to human experience and empirical experiment, and to ideas that the human mind constructs (reticence). At the same time, in being limited to human experience and ideas created by our own ‘sense and reflection’, it is argued that reason qua demonstrative reasoning deals with all that matters, and all that can be considered certain knowledge (arrogance). Locke, Newton, and Bacon reveal how there is no object of study within their demonstrative science separate from Your Reason; that is, separate from the egoistic human individual itself: ‘He who sees the Infinite in all things sees God. He who sees the Ratio [reason] only sees himself only’.37 Consequently, returning to Shaftesbury’s  Hobbes, op.cit., X.5.  Ibid. 36  Blake, Works, 229; 389; 2; 152; 72. 37  Blake, There is No Natural Religion, in Works, 3. 34 35

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criticism of Hobbes and Locke above, early modern scientific rationalism is an attempt to make itself the ‘ratio [reason] of all things’, which informs and is informed by the egoism and materialism of deism, if not atheism: Deism, is the Worship of the God of this World by the means of what you call Natural Religion and Natural Philosophy, and of Natural Morality or Self-Righteousness, the Selfish Virtues of the Natural Heart.38

Shaftesbury and Blake agreed that ‘modern deism’ was the culmination of the ‘newly espoused’ natural philosophy, where both shared an emphasis upon ‘the lowest and narrowest compass’ of human life: egoism or ‘self-interest’.39 They also agreed that this emphasis was the inevitable consequence of scientific rationalism’s arrogance, as it made its own ‘Single vision’ (Blake) or ‘simple view’ (Shaftesbury) the only way to look at reality. Thus, while Blake prayed, ‘God us keep/From Single vison & Newton’s sleep’,40 Shaftesbury demurred that the ‘Searchers of Modes and Substances’, ‘inrich’d [sic] with Science above other Men’, should have learned ‘Magnanimity’.41 They should have accepted (as Locke, in fact, did)42 that the scope of demonstrative reason and scientific knowledge is limited; recognising either that the objects of their enquiries are too complicated to be fully understood, or at least that the whole of reality is too complicated to be encapsulated exhaustively from one single perspective. Instead, as Shaftesbury put it, they ‘conceit[edly]’ ‘pretended’ to explain ‘the machine of this World’ by bringing it under a ‘system’ which made the world ‘as uniform, plain, regular and simple, as you could wish’, and, as a result, have ‘anatomiz’d; and by some notable Scheme, so solv’d and reduc’d [‘the universe’], as to appear an easy Knack or Secret to those who have the Clew [sic]’.43 The problem is not merely that the heirs to Locke  Blake, Jerusalem, 201.  Shaftesbury, Sensus Communis, an Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour, in Characteristicks, vol.1, 114. 40  Blake, Letter ‘To Thomas Butts, 22 November 1802’, in Works, 722. 41  Shaftesbury, Soliloquy, 291. 42  See above, and the discussion of ‘moral certainty’ in Chap. 3. 43  Shaftesbury, Soliloquy, 291; Moralists, 253; Miscellany 3, in Characteristicks, vol.3, 160. 38 39

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and Newton have distorted reality by making it ‘simple’ and a ‘knack’, when it is complex, but that they have made it ‘simple’ by imposing one ‘single’ ‘system’ or ‘scheme’ upon it: an atheistic mechanical philosophy that reduces all the functions of the natural world to materialism, and those of human nature to egoism. This system is satisfactory to scientific rationalism because it has the benefit of being efficient (‘uniform, plain, regular and simple’), not least because, like Blake’s Your Reason, it does not appeal to messy, opaque, contingent and unpredictable realms of feeling, imagination, mystery, transcendence, or divine providence that lie beyond the control of the human individual, and which human demonstrative reasoning find hard to systematise and quantify: Modern Projectors … wou’d willingly rid their hands of these natural Materials; and … build after a more uniform way. They wou’d new-frame the Human Heart … to reduce all its Motions, Ballances [sic] and Weights, to that one Principle and Foundation of a cool and deliberate Selfishness. Men … are unwilling to think that they can be so outwitted … by Nature, as to be made to serve her Purposes, rather than their own. They are asham’d to be drawn thus out of themselves and forc’d from what they esteem their true Interest.44

1.4  C  ontemporary Criticisms of Enlightenment Rationalism Shaftesbury and Blake made Locke representative of their criticisms of Enlightenment rationalism. Modern critics have tended to do the same with Immanuel Kant and Jeremy Bentham;45 in either case, the criticisms remain Shaftesburian and Blakean.  Shaftesbury, Sensus Communis, 116–117.  See: Haidt, Taylor, Adorno and Horkheimer, below, as well as MacIntyre, After Virtue, Ch.6. Berlin is more favourable toward Kant (and John Stuart Mill), than Bentham. Indeed, it seems he would have regarded his own liberal ‘values pluralism’ as neo-Kantian, at least when (following Berlin’s example) the following phrase from Kant is also emphasised: ‘Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made’. For Berlin, the legacy of the Enlightenment is most definitely mixed between what he calls ‘admiration’ and criticism of its ‘empirical shortcomings’ and ‘some of its consequences, both logical and social’ (Berlin, Power of Ideas (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000), 4)—and so he still points to issues in Kant and a host of other Enlightenment figures that map onto the discussion that follows (see: Steven B.  Smith, ‘Isaiah Berlin on the Enlightenment and the Counter-Enlightenment’, in The Cambridge Companion to 44 45

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Shaftesbury and Blake were troubled by the ‘Single vison & Newton’s sleep’. Similarly, contemporary critics draw attention to what Isaiah Berlin called the Enlightenment’s ‘monism…faith in a single criterion’;46 what Charles Taylor calls its ‘myth of the single, omnicompetent code’;47 and what Jonathan Haidt calls its ‘quest for parsimony and worship of reason’: its belief that there is ‘a single moral rule’48 discoverable by human reason.49 If Enlightenment philosophes were on the hunt for a ‘single’ moral principle, both Kant’s deontological ethics and Bentham’s utilitarianism, despite their obvious differences, speak to the Enlightenment’s legacy: Kant provided an abstract rule from which (he claimed) all other valid moral rules could be derived…Bentham told us to use arithmetic to figure out the right course of action, but Kant told us to use logic. Both men accomplished miracles of systematisation, boiling all of morality down to a single sentence [Kant’s ‘categorical imperative’ and Bentham’s ‘maximisation of utility’].50

The words I have italicised above make clear the parallels between Shaftesbury and Blake, and such contemporary critics as Haidt; in each Isaiah Berlin, eds J.L. Cherniss and S.B. Smith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018), Ch.8). For Berlin, as George Crowder observes, the problem is not necessarily with monism per ce, particularly as propounded by philosophers Locke, Kant, or Mill, but with what monism leads to and becomes in ‘those with less benign intentions and visions’ (Isaiah Berlin: Liberty and Pluralism (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2004), 190). Consequently, Charles Taylor, does speak favourably of Berlin (A Secular Age (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Harvard University Press, 2007), 52), even though his criticism of the Enlightenment’s ‘this-worldliness’ is not Berlinian—anymore than it is precisely the same as Christian Smith’s or Stanley Hauerwas’ (who also invokes Berlin’s ‘monistic moral principles’ (‘Character, Narrative, and Growth in Christian Life’, in The Hauerwas Reader, eds John Berkman and Michael Cartwright (London and Duke, NC: Duke University Press, 2001), 231) or Haidt’s (who also invokes Berlin’s ‘moral monism’ (The Righteous Mind (London: Penguin, 2013), 132); anymore than Shaftesbury’s motivations for criticising scientific rationalism, and the conclusions he draws from those criticisms, are precisely the same as Blake’s: what is of interest here are the significant parallels between these modern and early modern criticisms of the Enlightenment’s legacy. 46  Isaiah Berlin, ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’ in Liberty, ed. Henry Hardy, new edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 216. 47  Taylor, Secular, 52. 48  Ibid., 161. 49  Jonathan Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis (London: Arrow Books, 2006), 161; 163. 50  Jonathan Haidt, Righteous Mind, 140.

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case the ‘quest for parsimony’ in the reduction of morality to a ‘single sentence’ or ‘single vision’ stems from the ‘worship’ of a particular kind of reason, one in which (returning to Blake), ‘Truth should be Confined to Mathematical Demonstration’. Reducing morality to a ‘single sentence’ or ‘single vision’ is an aspect of what Charles Taylor calls ‘the “myth” of the Enlightenment’:51 that knowledge qua knowledge must have the same criteria in all areas of human enquiry. If it is possible to resolve disagreements in science and mathematics by, in the end, appealing to single, universal principles, like 2 + 2 = 4, then the same must be possible in morals and politics. It must be possible to discover single, universal principles that allow for objectivity in morals and politics qua a science.52 However, for Taylor and Haidt, like Shaftesbury and Blake, ‘the myth of the Enlightenment’ is not simply a mistaken commitment to a ‘single vision’, it is what I characterised above as reticence and arrogance: ‘the rationalist delusion’53 that to be governed in morals and politics, as in mathematics, by ‘reason alone’ epitomises human progress.54 The simplicity and universality of Enlightenment rationalism’s ‘single vision’ achieves progress, but only at the cost of restricting what counts as legitimate data for reasoning about practical human affairs in politics and ethics. Enlightenment rationalism (and here Kant and Bentham are again paradigmatic)55 will not allow anything that appears to be contingent and pluralist (what Haidt calls ‘messy’ and Taylor ‘mysterious’) to come under its ‘single vision’.56 For example, from Enlightenment rationalism’s ‘single’ perspective religion, culture, and feeling become irrational. Not only  Charles Taylor, Dilemmas and Connections (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Harvard University Press, 2011), 322. 52  Taylor, Dilemmas, 323, 328–329. 53  Haidt, Righteous, 34. 54  Taylor, Dilemmas, 327. 55  See: Taylor, Secular Age, 245; Dilemmas, 348; 704–705; Sources of the Self (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 82–83; Haidt, Happiness, 63 and Righteous Mind, 140; Stanley Hauerwas, ‘Character, Narrative, and Growth’, 230–231; works cited in notes 45 and 66. 56  See: Taylor, Dilemmas, 54–55, Chs.13–14; Secular Age, Chs.10, 17; Haidt, Happiness, 161–163; Righteous Mind, Part II; Christian Smith, Moral, Believing Animals (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 45–46; 154–156; What is a Person? (London and Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2010), 72; 179–180; Hauerwas, The Peaceable Kingdom (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991), 1.2.2; ‘How Christian Ethics Came To Be’, in Hauerwas Reader, Ch.1. In criticising the Enlightenment’s ‘reason alone’ for leaving the ‘individual alone’, separated from, 51

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does religion try to impede the free use of human reason by prioritising revelation (see below), but religions vary in the same way as cultures, so that neither can be the source of a universal moral qua mathematical principle satisfactory to ‘reason alone’. Human sentiments or emotions vary from person to person, culture to culture, and do not appear to be stable predictors of how even a single individual will always behave or react. And so, again retuning to Shaftesbury and Blake, Enlightenment rationalism may hold the ‘knack’ for explaining reality, but only because it imposes a ‘single vision’ upon reality that ignores its complexity. Of course, continuing with the comparison between modern and early modern critics of Enlightenment rationalism, the further problem here is that artificially simplifying reality has negative consequences. It is as Enlightenment rationalism undermines the status of religion, culture, tradition, feeling, and transcendence that life is understood in ‘purely this-worldly or human terms’,57 and collapses into egoism and subjectivism. And just as Shaftesbury and Blake made Locke and Hobbes representative of that collapse qua a legacy of Enlightenment rationalism, contemporary critics have done the same with Bentham and Kant, the most ‘widespread this-worldly philosophies in our contemporary world’.58 Bentham’s secular utilitarianism reduces moral reasoning to felicific calculation of this-worldly or natural happiness, consistent with the fact that ‘Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure’.59 Moral and political reasoning is calculating what will lead to the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people in society as it is in this world. Benthamite utilitarianism was a form of progressivism: various social and economic attitudes and institutions restrict access to happiness for certain groups of people; similarly, religion, in promising true happiness in a life to come, can encourage people to ignore or to put up with unnecessary suffering in this world. By making the maximisation of utility our ‘single’ ethical principle, we could throw off inhibiting traditions, institutions, and beliefs, and plan a for example, religion, tradition, sentiment, Smith and Hauerwas, in particular, stress their agreement with MacIntyre, After Virtue, Chs.4–5. 57  Taylor, Dilemmas, 322; 327. 58  Ibid., 323. 59  Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (London: 1789), i.

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society which makes as many people as possible as happy as possible. However, it is noticeable that even in his own day, Bentham’s utilitarianism was dismissed as ‘pig-philosophy’ which made human beings into machines, because it reduced human moral life to a single motive—the pursuit of pleasure and reward—and made that motive a mechanism in the human mind that could be manipulated for the desired effects.60 Thus, Bentham indicates why Enlightenment rationalism has been criticised for a legacy of secular totalitarianism as well as secular liberalism. If it is possible to reduce human motives for action to mechanisms or biological processes that are, in some sense, programmable, and the sole purpose of life is the securing of this-worldly pleasure, then we are justified in imposing upon individuals systems of governance, if not eugenics, that have been calculated to maximise that pleasure for them. Contrasted with Bentham’s single principle—what John Stuart Mill termed ‘the Greatest Happiness Principle’—Kant’s single vision was, as Taylor puts it, ‘the perception that we are rational agents’;61 a perception that led him to dismiss utilitarianism in favour of deontology. Nonetheless, despite their respective differences, Kant’s emphasis upon autonomy as a feature of rational agency manifested itself in a similar way to Bentham’s emphasis upon happiness: his single vision resulted in a single universal moral principle (not the maximisation of happiness, but the categorical imperative),62 and the removal of traditions, institutions, and religious beliefs where they inhibit, not Benthamite happiness, but individual autonomy: Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance from another…Have the courage to use your own understanding! is thus the motto of enlightenment… Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why so great a proportion of men…gladly remain in lifelong immaturity, and  See: Berlin, ‘Two Concepts’, Sect.III. There are affinities here with Bernard Williams’ ‘integrity objection’ to utilitarianism: ‘A Critique of Utilitarianism’, in Utilitarianism: For and Against (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973), Sect.3–5 61  Taylor, Dilemma, 329. 62  For this use of Kant’s categorical imperative as a parallel to Bentham’s maximisation of utility— both of which reveal Kant’s and Bentham’s ‘monism’ or insistence that morality can be reduced to a ‘single’ principle—see works cited in notes: 45, 55, and 66. 60

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why it is so easy for others to establish themselves as their guardians…The guardians who have so benevolently taken over the supervision of men have carefully seen to it that the far greatest part of them (including the entire fair sex) regard taking the step to maturity as very dangerous, not to mention difficult…But I hear from all sides…don’t argue! The officer says, “Do not argue, drill!” The tax man says, “Do not argue, pay!” The pastor says, “Do not argue, believe!”63

Leaving aside Kant’s own religious and metaphysical views,64 it is not a necessary step, but it is perhaps not a long step, from his suspicion of the infantilising effects of institutional religion, to a suspicion of religion itself. Thus, we can see why both its critics (and proponents) would trace a line from Kant’s ‘age of enlightenment’ to New Atheism. Religious beliefs are irrational, not simply because they make unverifiable truth claims about spiritual realms beyond the limits of human speculative reason, but because they are dogmatic. Religions tells us what to believe on the basis of authorities and traditions, which they make it heresy to challenge. Thus, it is only once we are free from the ‘illusions’ of transcendence and other-worldliness that underpin all religious tradition and authority that genuine freedom and self-affirmation are possible.65 However, like Benthamite happiness, Kantian self-affirmation points to why the Enlightenment has been criticised for underpinning secular totalitarianism and nationalism as well secular liberalism. On the one hand, Berlin connected certain versions of an Enlightenment emphasis upon ‘positive liberty’ with the rise of fascism and communism; it might be the case that human beings should be freed from some beliefs and institutions in order to think freely, but that still means that we need  Immanuel Kant, ‘An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?’, in What is Enlightenment?, ed. James Schmidt (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1996), 58–59. 64  John Hare and Karl Ameriks give an effective summary of the influential ‘secular’ reading of Kant, and limitations with it; see their works as cited in Chap. 3, and, for textual support: Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason, trans. L.W.  Beck (Indianapolis, IA: Bobbs-Merrill, 1956), 32–33; 84–85. See also: Keith Ward, Morality, Autonomy, and God (London: One World, 2013), Chs.8–9, who offers a ‘religious’ reading that builds on Hare. Christopher Insole, Kant and the Creation of Freedom (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013) and Robert Stern, Understanding Moral Obligation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012) differ from each other, as well as both Hare and the conventional ‘secular’ reading. 65  Charles Taylor, Secular, 637. 63

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another set of beliefs and institutions, to make sure we think freely in the correct way, and for the correct reason.66 On the other hand, as in the Kantianism of John Rawls’ public reasons liberalism, Enlightenment rationalism encourages us to remove religious discourse from the public sphere;67 and, more than this, informs a radical postmodernist emphasis upon individual autonomy which makes it inappropriate to make any ultimate truth or value claims public, in case they might inhibit individual freedom of thought, action, and self-expression.68 The fact that Enlightenment rationalism can be associated with both the totalitarian limiting of individual freedom and a postmodernist and existentialist commitment to the individual’s absolute freedom, returns us to Taylor’s claim that the ‘myth of the Enlightenment’ is the belief that it was an ‘unmitigated step forward’.69 For example, Taylor, like other critics of Enlightenment rationalism, connects our contemporary political (and individualistic) emphasis upon universal human rights with Kant’s ‘age of enlightenment’;70 a connection perhaps most famously illustrated by the United States Declaration of Independence. On the other hand, Taylor is not convinced that Enlightenment rationalism provides a stronger foundation for those supposed rights and freedoms than the

 Berlin, ‘Two Concepts’, Sect.IV–VII; ‘Political Ideas in the Twentieth-Century, Sect.II–IV; Power, 4, 14. There is an affinity here with the Frankfurt School who made their criticisms of the relationship between the Enlightenment and an oppressive instrumental rationality criticisms of Western civilisation itself (Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, ed. G.S. Noerr and trans. E. Jephcott (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002), 63–93. In doing so, they further illustrate the way in which contemporary critics of the Enlightenment have tended to draw together Bentham and Kant: Katerina Deligiorgi, Kant and the Culture of Enlightenment (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2005), Ch.5. 67  Taylor, Dilemmas, 320; 328. 68  Smith, Believing Animals, 155–156; Taylor, Secular Age, 636–637; see also the connection here with the emphasis on the radically free individual, unencumbered by any social, moral, and religious mores or traditions: works cited in notes 55 and 70. 69  Taylor, Dilemmas, 327. 70  See: Taylor, Dilemmas, Ch.14; MacIntyre, After Virtue, Ch.6; Haidt, Righteous Mind, Part II; Hauerwas, Peaceable Kingdom, 1.2; After Christendom (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1991), Ch.1; Smith, Believing Animals, 150–155. For a wider discussion of this connection, see: Nicholas Wolterstorff, Justice: Rights and Wrongs (Oxford and Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008), Ch.2. 66

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belief that we are imago dei;71 a consideration apparently conceded by the language of the Declaration of Independence itself.72 Pushed to the totalitarian and technocratic side, Benthamite happiness and Kantian self-affirmation have been used to justify removing rights, including the right to life, from certain human beings when they are deemed to be insufficiently happy or rational for society.73 Pushed to the secular liberal and postmodernist side, an enlightened Kantian commitment to the individual’s rights and freedoms becomes unstable: if each individual must be free to construct and to self-impose their own norms of behaviour, then, as Jean-Paul Sartre pointed out,74 an Enlightenment emphasis on individual autonomy leads inevitably to the erosion of the old-fashioned metaphysical and religious concepts (universal reason, ultimate value, objective duty, a shared human nature, an ideal society) that Enlightenment rationalism had incoherently rested individual autonomy upon—concepts which inhibit the absolute freedom of the individual, by telling her that there are certain things she must to do to be truly human. Similarly, if individual autonomy is paramount, then society, in John Start Mill’s terminology, does an individual ‘harm’ whenever it prevents her from being self-determining in relation to herself: the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-­ protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear

 Taylor, Dilemmas, 329.  ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’. 73  The paradigmatic example here is, of course, Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 2nd edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993). 74  Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness, trans. Hazel E.  Barnes (New York, NY: Washington Square Press, 1992), Part 1, Chap. 1. 71 72

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because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right.75

For critics, Mill’s ‘harm principle’ (at least, to follow John Gray, so far as it has been co-opted by contemporary ‘hyper’, as opposed to ‘classical’, liberalism) epitomises the Enlightenment’s problematic legacy. Kantian selfaffirmation and Benthamite happiness have been combined. As a legacy of the Enlightenment, we want to keep the autonomous agency of the individual as sacred. But, as a further legacy of the Enlightenment, we avoid explaining why the individual is sacred in any metaphysical or religious terms, thus refusing to delineate any transcendental purpose for which the individual has free agency. We make the purpose of life the pursuit of happiness qua the avoidance of this-worldly pain. But, we emphasise each individual’s own free ‘rational choice’ to define for themselves what gives them pleasure and what gives them pain, and expect the exercise of that free choice to be respected by other individuals and society at large, and any inhibition of that freedom to count as ‘harm’. As most famously raised by Alasdair MacIntyre, there is a concern that the legacy of the Enlightenment is the fragmentation of society into an atomised and anxious hedonistic individualism.76 Where the frameworks for human action and self-understanding supplied by religion, tradition, and culture are considered to be coercive and ‘harmful’, the individual is responsible for coming to terms with the Sartrean ‘nausea’ of identity and purpose, right and wrong, by themselves. This produces an emphasis upon self-dependence and self-assertion, rather than mutual dependence, encouraging isolation as well as rivalry between individuals. At the same time, if individual choice, based on considerations of pleasure and pain, is the only measure of identity and purpose, right and wrong, then each becomes fluid, not realist: relativised not just to each individual’s concept of what constitutes this-worldly material pleasure/pain, but to each individual’s mutable will. The individual determines what is pleasurable/painful for themselves, and this can change from moment to moment. Conversely, such a  John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, and other writings, ed. Stefan Collini (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 13. 76  MacIntyre, After Virtue, Chs.5–6; 15. 75

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hyper-liberalism collapses into determinism as much as radical individualism. We saw above how Shaftesbury complained that ‘modern deism’ and ‘new natural philosophy’ materialised nature and human nature, in both senses of that term. Shaftesbury’s ‘modern’ Hobbesian and Lockean scientific rationalism looked at nature through an empiricist ‘single vision’ which reduced the universe to matter, and made it into (in Max Weber’s famous phrase) a ‘dis-enchanted’ machine; meanwhile, that same ‘single vision’ could see only a ‘single’ motive at work in the ‘dis-enchanted’ machine of human nature: materialism qua self-interest. In effect, Christian Smith, like Shaftesbury, sees a new mechanical philosophy at work in our own modern society, this time under the auspices of a post-Enlightenment combination of Kantian self-­affirmation and Benthamite happiness. If human being must be self-­directing, but all we are self-directing towards is the balance of this-worldly pleasure over pain, then human beings are reduced to ‘material maximisers’ with ‘a single, monochromatic human motive’. Consequently, human beings are reduced to predictable and ‘programmable’ ‘calculators’: practical reasoning is simply a matter of performing cost-benefit analyses on the basis of the available ‘data’, so that what we mistakenly call free and rational ‘“choice”…essentially becomes a matter of crunching out numbers in a mathematical formula’.77

1.5  Naturalisation, Subjectivism, and Privatisation We can see that these criticisms of the Enlightenment’s legacy, from Shaftesbury to the present day, have a number of overlapping strands. For the purposes of the discussion of British Enlightenment ethical rationalism in this book, it is helpful to isolate three of them: • The naturalisation of reason Reason is able to construct and to acquire knowledge, but only when reason is that by means of which human beings are able to test and verify  Smith, Believing Animals, 156.

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truth-claims empirically. In the sphere of practical life, reason functions instrumentally: it enables human beings to calculate how to maximise natural goods, not least this-worldly happiness or pleasure. • The privatisation of value The naturalisation of reason informs and is informed by scientism or the fact/value distinction. In the former, as with Richard Dawkins and the New Atheists, it is promised that the truth of value claims, like religious and moral beliefs, can be determined by scientific reason, in the same way as it determines other facts about human nature and the world.78 In the latter, either all (A.J. Ayer’s emotivism) or some (Rawls’ public reasons liberalism) value claims are different from facts, because they do not meet the scientific requirement of being empirically verifiable (Ayer), or the political scientific requirement of forming the basis for a liberal public sphere (Rawls). Consequently, we are encouraged to regard some/all religious and moral beliefs as (at best) entirely subjective viewpoints, which fall outside public life into our private life, just as they fall beyond rational enquiry and criticism. • The absolute authority of the individual as constructor of value It is as the privatisation of moral and religious beliefs interconnects with a no longer religious or metaphysically grounded belief in the intrinsic value of the individual, that it becomes not only inappropriate to bring some/all moral and religious beliefs into the public sphere, but dangerous. A society must not risk interfering with an individual’s right to self-affirmation or freedom of conscience, by allowing the state or any other social group to become the arbitrary constructor of value for the individual. Consequently, the only intelligible (and, indeed, legitimate) social ethic is a form of preference utilitarianism, which avoids indoctrination and oppression by allowing each atomised individual to pursue  For a discussion of Dawkins’ efforts to avoid the fact/value distinction, see my ‘Models of (Re-) Enchantment, Inference: International Review of Science, 4:3 (March 2019) https://inference-review. com/letter/models-of-re-enchantment 78

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what they consider to be in their own interest, according to their self-­ authorising private judgement.

Part 2 1.6  C  larkean Ethical Rationalism in the British Enlightenment The central topic of this book is Clarkean ethical rationalism (CER), an ethical theory which, in the eighteenth-century, and in contemporary moral philosophy and intellectual history, is often associated with the Enlightenment’s mixed legacy. In order to understand why this the case, we need to understand what CER is, and that’s the topic to which I now turn. The figure at the heart of CER is Samuel Clarke. Clarke was an Anglican clergyman, discussed and admired (although not always uncritically) by such luminaries as Queen Caroline, Joseph Butler, Adam Smith, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Voltaire.79 Although he may not be as well-­ known as those figures anymore, it is not much of an exaggeration to say that Clarke was at the heart of key scientific, ethical, philosophical theological, and even political debates in Britain, particularly in the early part of the eighteenth-century. On the scientific or natural philosophical side, Clarke was a close friend of Isaac Newton, translating his Opticks into Latin in 1706. He was also a populariser of Newtonian natural philosophy, defending his version of Newtonianism against Gottfried Leibniz’s mechanistic philosophy in the celebrated Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence, which is still widely studied today.  See, respectively: J.P Ferguson, Dr. Samuel Clarke: An Eighteenth Century Heretic (Kineton: The Roundwood Press, 1976),106; 209; 222–224; Joseph Butler, ‘The Butler-Clarke Correspondence, 1713–1717’, in The Works of Bishop Butler, ed. J.H. Bernard (London: Macmillan, 1900), vol.1, 311–339; Adam Smith, “A Letter to the Authors of the Edinburgh Review”, Edinburgh Review, no.1 (Edinburgh: 1756), in The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith, eds W. P. D. Wightman and J. C. Bryce (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980), vol.3, 250; Jean-­ Jacques Rousseau, Emile, or On Education, trans. Allan Bloom (London: Penguin, 1991), 269; The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence, ed. H.G.  Alexander (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1956), xi–xii; xli. 79

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Clarke’s natural philosophy informed his work in what we would now call philosophy of religion and ethics. For example, he was famous for his a priori argument for the existence of God, which he developed in his 1705 Boyle Lectures (see Chap. 2). These lectures were instituted by another friend of Newton’s, the leading early modern scientist, Robert Boyle, who left money in his will to fund a series of annual lectures ‘for proving the Christian religion against notorious Infidels, viz. Atheists, Theists [deists], Pagans, Jews and Mahometans’. Clarke gave the Boyle Lectures again in 1706, this time developing his ethical rationalism qua a form of rational intuitionism: all human beings immediately and self-­ evidently perceive moral truth with reason in the same way that we ‘see’ that 2 + 2 = 4. Clarke’s rationalist ethics and natural theology were influential. In opposition to Clarke, Francis Hutcheson and David Hume established their sentimentalist moral philosophy (see Chaps. 3 and 4). Clarke was a target of Hume’s (in)famous is/ought gap, just as he appears as Demea in his posthumously published Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (London: 1779). Similarly, he was often a reference point for the early English deists80 (pointing towards his presence in some important political debates: see below). Matthew Tindal’s Christianity as Old as Creation (London: 1730), sometimes referred to as the ‘Deist’s Bible’, has an entire chapter (number 14) dedicated to explaining why Clarke was a ‘true deist’ (see Chap. 3). Clarke did not think of himself as a deist. As part of the Christian apologetics of his Boyle lectures, he had advanced his rationalist natural and moral theology in explicit opposition to deism. Nonetheless, returning to the critics of Enlightenment rationalism above, Clarke was viewed as informing a climate of opinion which promoted reason over revelation, the individual over institutional religion.81 As

 See: Wayne Hudson, Enlightenment and Modernity: The English Deists and Reform (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2009), 9; 31–58; 114–120. 81  For controversies that surrounded Clarke and his followers, see: Ferguson, Clarke, passim; Martin Griffin, Latitudinarianism in the Seventeenth-Century Church of England, eds R.H.  Popkin and L. Freedman (Leiden: Brill, 1992), Ch.4; Robert Ingram, Reformation Without End (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018), Part I; John Gascoigne, Cambridge in the Age of Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), Ch.5. 80

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such, he was not only taken up by the religiously heterodox, but accused of heterodoxy himself. In 1712, Clarke published his The Scripture-Doctrine of the Trinity, which was criticised for expressing anti-trinitarianism, to the extent that, in 1714–15, the Lower House of Convocation, the governing body of the Church of England, attempted (unsuccessfully) to have Clarke censured. The problem was not simply that he appeared to be anti-­trinitarian, but that he recommended toleration for heterodoxy. Under the Test and Corporation Acts (1661; 1673; 1678), which remained in force in some form in Great Britain and Ireland until the nineteenth-century, public office-holders had to take Anglican communion, deny transubstantiation, and subscribe to belief in the trinity. Clarke was criticised for short-­ circuiting the religious conformity laws, by tolerating the religious dissent they were designed to discourage. That is, in the introduction to Scripture-­ Doctrine, Clarke argued that ‘sincere Christians’ can only submit to prescribed articles of faith when they are consistent with their own understanding of scripture. At the same time, he implied that the latitude in the Church of England’s 39 articles is such that Christians can subscribe in good faith even when their own ‘sense’ of scripture is unorthodox, including anti-trinitarian. Clarke and his followers82 regarded their tolerant latitudinarianism as a Reformation principle; it had come to them through the likes of Richard Hooker, William Chillingworth, and John Locke, but was founded in the emergence of Protestantism itself,83 most famously with Martin Luther’s declaration at the Diet of Worms: Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the  For the points below, and the appeal to the Reformation, and such latitudinarian luminaries as Chillingworth and Locke, see the introduction to Clarke’s Scripture-Doctrine, and Hoadly’s and Balguy’s Bangorian writings as cited below. 83  Thus, the Reformation itself has been associated with an Enlightenment ‘subjectivism’ and ‘privatisation’ of religion qua the private domain of individual conscience. See: Brad S. Gregory, The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularised Society (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Harvard University Press, 2012), Chs.2; 4; Stanley Hauerwas, In Good Company: The Church as Polis (Notre Dame, IA: Notre Dame University Press, 1995), Chs.3; 13. 82

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Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.84

For the Clarkeans, a latitude or tolerance was possible within Christianity, because, as the Reformation had made clear, many things in religion are ‘indifferent’, including external religious rites and ceremonies, institutional structures, and even certain doctrines; there is only (as Locke had insisted) one ‘fundamental’ of the Christian faith: the belief that Christ has been sent from God to be our saviour. Accordingly, one of Clarke’s closest friends, Benjamin Hoadly,85 embraced these ‘reformed’ rationalist and latitudinarian principles to the extent that he brought about what J.C.D. Clark describes as ‘the most bitter domestic ideological conflict of the century’:86 the Bangorian controversy, named after Hoadly as Bishop of Bangor. The controversy resulted from a 1717 sermon delivered before, and supported by, George I. In it, Hoadly blended Clarkean ethical rationalism and Luther’s sola scriptura conscience ‘captive to the Word of God’, and argued against religious conformity laws in favour of liberty and sincerity of conscience. In explicitly Clarkean language (see Chap. 2), Hoadly insisted that, by the ‘Common Reason of Mankind’, all human beings have before their ‘Eyes the Boundaries of Right and Wrong’, which gives them ‘recourse to the Original of Things: to the Law of Reason’.87 It  Martin Luther, ‘The Edict of Worms, May 1521’, in Martin Luther, eds E.G. Rupp and Benjamin Drewery (London: Edward Arnold, 1970), 60. 85  Hoadly edited the posthumous 4 volume edition of The Works of Samuel Clarke (London: 1738) and wrote the preface for the posthumous 10 volume edition of Clarke’s Sermons on the Following Subjects (London: 1730). The 1730 Sermons were edited by Clarke’s brother, John, who was made Dean of Salisbury while Hoadly was the bishop. The fact that Hoadly wrote the preface to an edition of Clarke’s work edited by Clarke’s brother, with a dedication to Queen Caroline written by Clarke’s wife, Catherine, illustrates Clarke’s and Hoadly’s friendship. As does the following from Hoadly’s preface: ‘I shall think Myself greatly recompensed for the want of Any other Memorial, if My name may go down to posterity thus closely joyned [sic] to His; and I myself be thought of, and spoke of, in Ages to come, under the Character of The FRIEND of Dr. CLARKE’. 86  Clark, English Society, 352. 87  Benjamin Hoadly, Preservative against the Principles and Practices of Nonjurors in Church and State (London: 1716), 89; The Nature of the Kingdom, or Church, of Christ, 2nd edn (London: 1717), 4. Hoadly’s Bangorian writings comprise his 1717 sermon, and the 1716 Preservative; the former continued the latter, responding to the non-juror, George Hickes’, posthumously published, Constitution of the Catholic Church, and the Nature and Consequences of Schism (London: 1716). 84

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is also through reason that we have ‘Natural Notions’ of God’s nature as ‘true, and Just, and Good’.88 We know, through our own reason, both that God expects us to act with truth, justice, and goodness, and that God will only value those acts if we choose freely to perform them: ‘The favour of God…follows from Sincerity’, which ‘must depend upon…Conduct honestly enter’d into, by the Dictate of your Conscience’.89 Any moral and religious laws which seek to compel human beings to think and to act in a certain way are an anathema. Moreover, the ‘General Law’ of the gospel ‘laid down’ by Christ confirms the law of reason.90 In the New Testament, we are told that the church is the kingdom of Christ, but that that kingdom is ‘invisible’.91 As a result, the general law of the gospel is that only Christ will judge who is a member of his ‘kingdom’ or ‘church’, and that he will do so on the basis of their faith in him as their ‘sole’ ‘king’; a faith which, if it is genuine, will find expression in the sincere intention to act with truthfulness, goodness, and justice, in obedience to Christ’s command to love.92 Religious conformity laws defy the law of the gospel, because they are a human attempt to ‘usurp’ Christ’s authority. Conformity laws (and, by implication visible, established churches) allow some Christians to appoint themselves ‘vicegerents’ with the ‘spiritual authority’ to judge others in Christ’s place.93 Moreover, contrary to ‘Reformation’ principles, those ‘vicegerents’ invent unbiblical doctrines and ‘external’ religious rites, and judge others according to religious laws and practices they impose, rather than according to the ‘general’ law of the gospel: to obey Christ’s command to love as an expression of sola fide in him.94 As a result, religious conformity laws make it such that ‘neither the Consciences nor Understandings of Men, neither Spirit nor Truth…[are] at all concerned in the Matter’ of a

 Hoadly, Preservative, 97.  Ibid., 90–91. 90  Hoadly, Kingdom, 26. 91  Ibid., 19–21; 31. The source text for Hoadly’s Bangorian sermon was John 18.36: ‘Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not of this world”’. 92  Ibid., 5, 18, 29. 93  Ibid., 11–14; Preservative, 53. 94  Ibid., 5; 18; 28–29. 88 89

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Christian life:95 they not only prevent individuals from reading and coming to their own genuine appreciation of a Christian life from the word of God in Scripture, but make Christians captive to human rather than divine authority: [religious conformity laws] equally devest Jesus Christ of his Empire in his own Kingdom; set the obedience of his Subjects loose from himself; and teach them to prostitute their Consciences at the feet of Others, who have no right in such a manner to trample upon them.96

As Hoadly’s sermon appeared to threaten the very idea of an established church, the Lower House of Convocation attempted to have him censured, just as they had done with Clarke previously. To prevent it, the King prorogued Convocation, which would not meet again for 140 years. No wonder, then, that John Gascoigne describes ‘Clarke and his followers’ as ‘the centre around which debates about the relative significance of reason and Revelation swirled’,97 in the first half of the eighteenth-­ century. Indeed, scholars, including Gascoigne, have traced how Hoadly became a seminal figure for dissenters and political reformers into the nineteenth-century,98 as his Clarkean Bangorian writings spread, like a ‘fever’,99 throughout Great Britain, Ireland, and America. One of those dissenters to which Hoadly’s influence spread was Richard Price, a key figure in this book, who remarked: ‘You will know how much the cause of civil and religious liberty has been indebted to Bishop Hoadly’.100 Like Hoadly, Price was a follower of Clarke’s ethical  Ibid., 7.  Ibid., 29. 97  Gascoigne, op.cit., 123. 98  Ibid., 199–200 and Gascoigne, ‘Anglican Latitudinarianism, Rational Dissent and Political Radicalism in the Late Eighteenth-Century’, in Enlightenment and Religion, ed. Knud Haakonssen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), Ch.9; William Gibson, Enlightenment Prelate: Benjamin Hoadly, 1676–1761 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 31–40; 283–288; Andrew Starkie, The Church of England and the Bangorian Controversy, 1716–1721 (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2007), 161–187. 99  This was how Hutcheson described Hoadly’s influence in Ireland; see: M.A. Stewart, ‘Rational Dissent in Early Eighteenth-Century Ireland’, in Enlightenment and Religion, Ch.3. 100  Richard Price to Benjamin Rush, January 1783, in The Correspondence of Richard Price, eds D.O. Thomas and B. Peach (Durham, 1983–1994), vol.2, 162. 95 96

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r­ ationalism, as exhibited in his sermons, and his A Review of the Principal Questions and Difficulties in Morals (London: 1758). Price was a unitarian minister, and so, unlike Clarke, openly anti-trinitarian. Like Clarke, he is somewhat overshadowed these days by other eighteenth-century figures, even though he was well-known to his contemporaries, not least as a result of his support for both the American and French Revolutions. In the American case, his support included the friendship of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams, and the receipt of an honorary degree from Yale University the same year as George Washington. In the French case, it was in response to Price’s sermon, A Discourse on the Love of Our Country (London: 1790), that Edmund Burke wrote his Reflections on the Revolution in France (London: 1790); and, it was in defence of Price that Mary Wollstonecraft (who attended Price’s Unitarian church in Newington Green) wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Men (London: 1790), and that Thomas Paine wrote Rights of Man (London: 1791), in the introduction to which Price is described as ‘one of the besthearted men that lives’. As well as his involvement in debates in politics (including on the national debt) and philosophy, theology, and ethics (including with Joseph Priestley over freewill), Price produced statistical work on population-growth which influenced Thomas Malthus, and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society as a result of editing the work of Thomas Bayes, which made a lasting contribution to probability theory in the form of Bayes’ Theorem.101 While Hoadly highlights the importance for Clarkean ethical rationalism in religious, ethical, and political debates at the beginning of the eighteenth-century, Price indicates (indeed, was a conduit for) its relevance for such debates in the latter part of the century. When Clarke and Price are discussed together in works of contemporary moral philosophy and intellectual history, it is always with mention of John Balguy, another central figure in this book. Balguy was a Yorkshire clergyman, and a dedicated follower of Clarke; he not only espoused Clarkean ethical rationalism in his works, but defended Clarke from both Hutcheson and Tindal (see Chaps. 2 and 3).  For Price’s biography, see: D.O. Thomas, The Honest Mind: The Thought and Work of Richard Price (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977). 101

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He was cited by Price, responded to by such figures as Hutcheson, Bayes, and the deist Peter Annet.102 Moreover, Daniel Waterland (an opponent of CER (see Chap. 5)), recommended Balguy’s (and Hoadly’s) sermons as part of his curriculum for University of Cambridge students, just as he was included in the student ‘Compendium’ produced by Edward Bentham, Regius Professor of Divinity, University of Oxford.103 According to his son, Thomas,104 Balguy ‘refused’ ‘invitations’ of advancement from Lancelot Blackburne, Archbishop of York and Edward Chandler, Bishop of Durham, and was acquainted with Thomas Secker, Archbishop of Canterbury, Joseph Butler, Clarke, and Hoadly. Indeed, Balguy’s first published works, under the pseudonym, Silvius, were pamphlets in the Bangorian controversy, written in support of his fellow Clarkean, Hoadly.105 Balguy not only played an active part in the Bangorian controversy (apparently having to be deterred from writing further pamphlets by Clarke and Hoadly),106 but his A Collection of Tracts (London: 1734) opens with a 20-page dedication to Hoadly, which acknowledges his ‘particular Obligations to your Lordship’: Balguy was made a Prebendary of Salisbury, while Hoadly was the bishop; and his son, Thomas, was made a Prebendary of Winchester during Hoadly’s time as bishop there.107

 Francis Hutcheson, An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections. With illustrations on the Moral Sense, 3rd edn (London: 1742), 243–244; Thomas Bayes, Divine Benevolence (London: 1731); Peter Annet, Deism Fairly Stated (London: 1746), 90, 94–95. 103  Daniel Waterland, Advice to a Young Student (Oxford: 1755), 34; Edward Bentham, An Introduction to Moral Philosophy (Oxford: 1745), 83. 104  ‘John Balguy’, in Biographia Britannica, eds Andrew Kippis, et al., 2nd edn (London: 1778). This entry reads: ‘For the materials of this article we are indebted to the Rev. Dr. Balguy’; that is, Balguy’s son), vol.1, 550. 105  Silvius’s examination of certain doctrines lately taught, and defended by the Reverend Mr. Stebbing (London: 1718); Silvius’s letter to the Reverend Dr. Sherlock (London: 1719); Silvius’s defence of a dialogue between a Papist and a Protestant: in answer to the Revd. Mr. Stebbing (London: 1720). 106  Biographia Britannica, 550. 107  For Balguy’s biography, see: ibid., 548–552; Hugh David Jones, John Balguy: An English Moralist of the Eighteenth Century (Leipzig: Quelle & Meyer, 1907). 102

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1.7  Mathematics and Morals From the above, we can see why the Clarkeans would be included under, and viewed as contributors to, the Enlightenment’s mixed legacy. With respect to the naturalisation of reason, Clarkean ethical rationalism was influenced by both Locke and Newton, and forcefully advocated the analogy between mathematics and morals. In a famous passage, Clarke argued that such moral truths as the golden rule: are so notoriously plain and self-evident, that nothing but the extremest [sic] Stupidity of Mind…can possibly make any Man entertain the least Doubt concerning them. For a Man endued with Reason, to deny the Truth of these Things; is the very same Thing…as if a Man that understands Geometry…should…perversely contend that the Whole is not equal to all its Parts…108

The Clarkean use of the mathematical analogy (see Chap. 2) makes three claims: First: all human beings by rational intuition ‘see’ moral truth in the same way that we ‘see’ mathematical truth—so rational intuition is the source of our moral knowledge. Second: the perception of moral truth is a necessary condition, not just for moral knowledge but for the experience of normativity (it is in perceiving the truth of the golden rule that I realise I ought to follow it). Third: the perception of moral truth is a sufficient condition for moral action. The Clarkeans claimed that we perceive the golden rule to be intrinsically right in the same way that we perceive 2 + 2 = 4 to be intrinsically correct. We need no other information or conditions to know that 2 + 2 = 4, and we need no other information or conditions to know that we should follow the golden rule. In Clarkean ethical rationalism, moral truth is objective and universally knowable by all human beings qua rational agents. It would be as ‘stupid’ to claim that 2 + 2 = 5, as it would be to claim that an innocent  Samuel Clarke, A Discourse Concerning the Unchangeable Obligations of Natural Religion, and the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Religion, in Samuel Clarke, A Discourse Concerning the Being and Attributes of God, the Obligations of Natural Religion, and the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Religion, 10th edn (London: 1767), 31–32. 108

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person should be harmed, or money lent need not be repaid. A human being, ‘endued with Reason’, should just be able to ‘see’ or intuit that it is wrong not to repay a loan, or to harm someone who is innocent, in the same way that she ‘sees’ or intuits that 2  +  2  =  4. Moreover, while all human beings unavoidably perceive universal moral truth, it is impossible for anything to alter ‘morality equally unchangeable with all truth’.109 What makes something morally right and wrong is simply the fact that it is right and wrong: right and wrong are not established by society, culture, God’s will, human will, an individual’s own judgement or feelings. Morality is ‘eternal and immutable’,110 in the same way as mathematics. Both are facts which will never change, because they are part of the ‘nature of things’:111 truths embedded in the fabric of reality itself. Whatever a triangle or circle is, that it is unchangeably and eternally…the three angles of a triangle and two right ones shall be equal…The same is to be said of right and wrong, of moral good and evil, as far as they express real characters of actions. They, must immutably and necessarily belong to those actions of which they are truly affirmed.112

For the Clarkeans, the fact that moral truth does not depend on culture, divine command, or human emotions, means that moral motivation does not depend on them either: a rational agent performs a moral action for the same reason she assents to 2 + 2 = 4: because it is right in itself. The Clarkeans appeared to endorse what T.H.  Irwin, when discussing Balguy, calls a proto-Kantian ‘subtraction’ theory.113 A moral motivation for a moral action is the intuition of the action’s intrinsic rightness; if a moral motivation is mixed with any other motivations, it ceases to be moral. Other motivations might include performing a moral action

 Richard Price, A Review of the Principal Questions in Morals (London: 1787), 12.  Ibid. 111  See, for example: Clarke, Discourse, 34, 43; Richard Price, A Review of the Principal Questions in Morals, ed. D.D. Raphael (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974), 50–56. 112  Price, Review (1787), 74–75. 113  T.H.  Irwin, ‘Scotus and the Possibility of Moral Motivation’, Morality and Self-Interest, ed. P. Bloomfield (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 169–170. 109 110

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because we think it will bring another person, or ourselves, happiness; or because a superior authority like God or the state commands it.

Thinning Out Reason As described above, the Clarkeans’ mathematical analogy makes them appear like typical proponents of Haidt’s ‘rationalist delusion’, a delusion which underpins the problematic legacy of the Enlightenment. In the first place, they were, like Shaftesbury’s and Blake’s Locke and Hobbes, influential in thinning out reason, through their, as John Finnis puts it, ‘stubborn insistence upon seeing reason in a theoretical rather than a practical role’.114 For Frederick Beiser, Clarke was the ‘most dogmatic and naïve’ proponent of post-Restoration natural law theory, within which the meaning of reason started to move from recta ratio to ‘a purely discursive, formal, and natural power’ that ‘does nothing more than conceive, judge, and infer’.115 The Clarkeans were particularly ‘dogmatic and naïve’ in arguing that mathematical reason supplies human beings with universal and indubitable knowledge of moral qua mathematical truth, and that that knowledge is a necessary and sufficient motivation for moral action. In the second place, the Clarkeans were not only influential in thinning out reason, but exhibit the difficulties and confusions that follow from that thinning out. According to Finnis, and various scholars discussed in Chap. 2, therefore, Clarke is caught in Hume’s is/ought gap, because he ‘fails to advert to any desire or interest of the agent’s that might be satisfied by acting rightly’.116 It is as the Clarkeans make human mathematical reason the source of moral knowledge and moral motivation that they demote other facets of human experience, making them illegitimate data for moral reasoning and moral science. Variable and contingent emotion, culture, tradition, revelation, divine command, religious experience  Frederick Beiser, The Sovereignty of Reason: The Defense of Rationality in the Early English Enlightenment (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996), 321. 115  Ibid., 298; 165. 116  John Finnis, Natural Law and Natural Rights, 2nd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 41. 114

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c­ annot meet the standard of ‘eternal and immutable’ truth guaranteed by mathematical reason: they can neither be the universal and objective grounds for truth, or our grounds for assenting to believing and doing that which is morally qua mathematically true. For Besier, a Clarkean overemphasis on ‘complete, accurate, and neutral’ mathematical reason is the consequence of tensions within post-Restoration natural law theory, of which Clarke was the ‘most dogmatic and naïve’ proponent.117 It was as reason moved from recta ratio to ratiocination, and became a ‘strictly theoretical or speculative faculty’, that ‘The problem with [early modern] rationalism is that it detaches moral values from the will; it assumes that there could be good or evil even if there were no human desires or sentiments’.118

1.8  Secularisation, Liberalism, and Totalitarianism In Chaps. 2 and 3, I respond to Beiser and Finnis above, and argue that the Clarkeans did not ‘detach’ morality from human desires. I shall also argue that the Clarkeans aimed to keep God and Christian revelation as part of the moral life, not least in response to deism. But, as with Finnis’ and Beiser’s concerns about the role of human desire in CER, the question arises as to how effective it was in accomplishing that aim:119  Beiser, Sovereignty, 298–299.  Ibid., 321; 311. 119  For Clarke’s Newtonianism, and its potential connections with Arianism, deism and ‘theological voluntarism’, see: John Redwood, Reason, Ridicule and Religion: The Age of Enlightenment in England, 1660–1750 (London: Thames and Hudson, 1976), 93–114; 168–172; 200–201; Margaret Osler, Divine Will and the Mechanical Philosophy: Gassendi and Descartes on Contingency and Necessity in the Created World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 232–233; Larry Stewart, ‘Samuel Clarke, Newtonianism, and the Factions of Post-Revolutionary England’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 42:1 (Jan.–Mar., 1981), 53–72; S.D. Snobelen, ‘“God of Gods, and Lord of Lords”: The Theology of Isaac Newton’s General Scholium to the Principia’, Osiris 16 (2001), 169–208; Peter Harrison, ‘Was Newton a Voluntarist?’, in Newton and Newtonianism: New Studies, eds J.E. Force and S. Hutton (Dordrecht: Springer, 2004), 39–64; Hudson, English Deists, 8–12; 106–114 and Enlightenment and Modernity, 8–9; 34–47; Ferguson, op.cit., 78–82; 98–105; Gascoigne, Cambridge in the Enlightenment, 117–123; 131–133; 1425–145; 164–176; 196–197). 117 118

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Thus the Gospel Sir Isaac confutes God can only be known by his Attributes.120

Blake does not directly reference Clarke here, but he was a famous defender of Newton, whose demonstration of God’s existence argued that we have a priori knowledge of God’s attributes, and Newtonian a posteriori proofs of that a priori knowledge.121 In Clarke’s Boyle lectures, Newton’s empirical science reveals an intricate, divinely-orchestrated and providentially-maintained universe, confirming our a priori knowledge of God as one who possesses the attributes of perfect knowledge, power, wisdom, and justice. Blake’s point is that making God and religious knowledge matters of speculative reason not only diminishes gospel revelation, as in deism, but leaves us with a deistic God: an impersonal unmoved mover, planning and setting the universe in motion, rather than the personal and miraculous God of Christianity. Shaftesbury (although himself often associated with deism) made a similar point when he criticised ‘modern DEISM’ and its scientific rationalism for making ‘the Notion’ of God ‘dry, and barren’, and a matter for ‘mere speculation’, rather than ‘our strongest Affections’, ‘when all the while a Providence is never meant, nor anything like Order or the Government of a Mind admitted’.122 Similarly, it was the deist, Anthony Collins and the deistic, Alexander Pope, who voiced these Shaftesburian and Blakean criticisms against Clarke directly. Pope mocked Clarke’s a priori demonstration as the ‘high Priori Road’ which causes us to ‘reason downward, till we doubt of God’,123 while Collins remarked that Clarke’s demonstration ‘made a question’ of God’s ‘existence’, ‘which otherwise would be with few any question at all’.124 The Clarkeans’ confidence in a priori reason as our source of religious and moral knowledge, and moral motivation, stemmed from their own  Blake, The Everlasting Gospel, in Works, 519.  For a discussion of Clarke’s use of Newton in his Boyle lectures, see: John J. Dahm, ‘Science and Apologetics in the Early Boyle Lectures’, Church History, 39:2 (1970), 172–186; Thomas Pfizenmaier, The Trinitarian Theology of Dr. Samuel Clarke (1675–1729) (Leiden: Brill, 1997), Ch.2; Larry S. Chap, The God of Covenant and Creation (London: T&T Clark, 2011), Ch.3. 122  Shaftesbury, Moralists, 268–269. 123  Alexander Pope, The Dunciad: Book the Fourth, 2nd edn (London: 1742), lns.463–464. 124  Samuel Clarke, The Correspondence of Samuel Clarke and Anthony Collins, 1707–1708, ed. W.L. Uzgalis (London: Broadview, 2011), 243. 120 121

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‘single vision’, with a particular emphasis, in this case, upon vision. As we have seen, their analogy between mathematics and morals always included an analogy with sight: we immediately and self-evidently ‘see’ moral qua mathematic truth. For the Clarkeans, what we are ‘seeing’ in moral matters is the non-natural, irreducible, and ‘simple’ quality of intrinsic rightness—Balguy and Price often called it ‘rectitude’. The idea that all human beings are capable of seeing this rectitude rests on their belief that there is objective or abstract moral truth ‘out there’ to be perceived by human reason, in the same way that there is objective or abstract mathematical truth ‘out there’ in the nature of things. It also points to how they are part of the Enlightenment legacy mixed between totalitarianism and secular liberalism. The relationship with secular liberalism is perhaps already obvious from the description above of Clarke’s own latitudinarianism, and his followers’ role in the Bangorian controversy and support for the American and French Revolutions. The Clarkean insistence that all human beings are capable of intuiting individual truth, leads to the contention that all human beings have the right to behave in accordance with that intuition. The Clarkeans are examples of how Enlightenment rationalism informs a belief in the absolute authority of the individual as constructor (or in this case, receptor) of value qua the right to liberty of conscience. Consequently, the Clarkeans, again, not least Hoadly and Price, have been regarded by some historical and contemporary commentators as harbingers of the secular liberal state and the privatisation of value qua the privatisation of conscience.125 Religious beliefs are not the state’s concern, but nor are they to be concerned with the state. Religious laws and sanctions concern  The debate here is whether Hoadly (and Tindal) offer a prescient statement of modern liberalism or defend some form of established Anglican ‘civil religion’. I cannot argue for such a view here, but I favour the latter (see my ‘Patriotism, Private Conscience, and Public Religion: “Revolution Principles” in the British Enlightenment’, E-REA (forthcoming: 2021): the Clarkeans, including Hoadly, maintained a ‘low’ Anglican vision of the church’s role and responsibilities in a flourishing civic-religious life, where the public sphere is neither disestablished, secular, or unlimited in its liberalism. Instead, social harmony is the consequence of a vibrant and avowedly Protestant public sphere, which educates each individual about the ‘fundamentals’ of religious and moral value, while allowing those values to be expressed and enacted diversely. It is this view of the state which informs my own description of a vibrant public sphere, which conceives of value as objective, but is at the same time enriched with debates about how those moral and religious values are best pursued and represented, in the Conclusion. For the wider debate about Hoadly and Tindal, see: Leslie Stephen, English Thought in the Eighteenth Century, 2 Vols. (New York, NY, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1876), vol.2, X.38–41; Gibson, Hoadly, 198; Starkie, Bangorian, 189–191; Mark Goldie, ‘The English System 125

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the interior and private aspects of the individual—the conscience which ‘presages’ what is future, divine, and (in Hoadly’s terms) invisible—rather than the public sphere, which is governed by the laws and sanctions of an outward and earthly kingdom. Religious ideas are legitimately stripped from the public sphere when they threaten to interfere with civil peace, or encourage one form of human conscience to seek domination over others. The association with totalitarianism stems from Clarke’s language of ‘stupidity’ in the oft-cited quotation above. One common criticism here is that this passage exemplifies how the Clarkeans were ‘naïve’ and ‘complacent’ (see Chap. 3). What is right seems obvious to them; so it must appear so to all people, unless they’re ‘stupid’. Such complacency returns us to Shaftesbury and the other critics of the Enlightenment’s legacy: it ignores the complexity and ‘exigencies’126 of life, and makes morality seem a straightforward ‘knack’, rather than a struggle. Of course, if we believe that morality is an easy ‘knack’, and that some people are making heavy weather of it, then we are justified in making things clearer for them. And so, we return to Berlin’s ‘positive freedom’, and the conflict between individuals, and between individuals and the state, over who needs to be made to ‘see’ things properly. As P.H. Nowell-Smith observed, Clarkean intuitionism encourages violence as a means of settling moral disagreements, because where everyone can claim that their own intuitions are ‘infallible’, there will be no other way to convince you to ‘see’ things the right way.127 Consequently, it is in ‘Clarke’s’ statement that right actions ‘are so notoriously plain and self-evident’ that only ‘the extremest stupidity of mind’ can make us ‘doubt’ them, that, ‘The theory underlying persecution is admirably explained’.128

of Liberty’, in The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Political Thought, eds M. Goldie and R. Wokler (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 52–53; Anthony Page, John Jebb and the Enlightenment Origins of British Radicalism (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003), 27–28; Martin Hugh Fitzpatrick, ‘From Natural Law to Natural Rights? Protestant Dissent and Toleration in the Late Eighteenth Century’, History of European Ideas, 42:2 (2016), 199–200. 126  Christine Korsgaard, The Sources of Normativity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 40. 127  P.H. Nowell-Smith, Ethics (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1954), 47. 128  Ibid.

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The association with totalitarianism is consistent with a neo-Kantian criticism of the Clarkeans (see Chap. 3): that they make the human will a mechanism that ‘simply says yes or no’129 to their own ‘single vision’: the rational intuition of intrinsic rightness. In CER, what makes something right is the fact that it is right in itself. Intrinsic rightness is irreducible, and cannot be defined; intrinsic rightness or rectitude is just what some actions and situations are. What attracts us to performing them is the fact that they possess this ‘simple’ irreducible quality of rectitude. On the one hand, the belief that all human beings are capable of intuiting rectitude for themselves with their own reason, suggests that they should be given liberty of conscience to enact rectitude for themselves qua the freedom to follow their own reason. On the other hand, it is not clear that Clarkean moral agents really are free and self-directing, rather than agents who find their will passively obliged whenever it is externally impinged upon by the perception of this irreducibly quality of rectitude. Rectitude is something we perceive, and, in perceiving, something to which we unavoidably and automatically respond. From this perspective (see Chap. 3), Clarkean moral agency is less agency than succumbing.

1.9  R  eason and Conscience in Context: The Anglican Tradition of Ciceronian Right Reason and Thomistic Natural Law As a result of the criticisms outlined above, CER has been dismissed as a ‘naïve’,130 ‘crude’,131 and ‘confused’ moral philosophy, that was a ‘failure’,132 resting up ‘dogmatism’ and ‘bluster’.133 This book argues that it is possible to defend the Clarkeans from such criticisms, if we pay attention to their neglected theory of conscience. The Clarkeans’ mathematical analogy  J.B. Schneewind, The Invention of Autonomy: A History of Modern Moral Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 517–518. 130  Beiser, Sovereignty, 298. 131  Bob Tennant, Conscience, Consciousness and Ethics in Joseph Butler’s Philosophy and Ministry (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2011), 27. 132  Finnis, Natural Law, 42; 40. 133   Roger Crisp, ‘Sidgwick and the Boundaries of Intuitionism’, in Ethical Intuitionism: Re-evaluations, ed. Philip Stratton-Lake (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2002), 60–61. 129

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may suggest a naturalised or secularised thinned out understanding of reason qua human ratiocination not recta ratio. However, the Clarkean theory of conscience highlights how they intended their use of the mathematical analogy to be understood in the context of reason qua recta ratio. Thus, by factoring conscience into their thought, we are better placed to see how CER can respond to leading criticisms of it, including its associations with the Enlightenment’s mixed legacy. Now, when I use the phrase recta ratio in the paragraph above, and in the rest of this book, I am using it to refer to a broad Anglican tradition of Ciceronian right reason and Thomistic natural law,134 and so suggesting that the Clarkeans were using conscience to position themselves within that tradition. However, it is important to note here that there are two important caveats to such a statement. First, returning to Beiser above, any post-Restoration tradition of Ciceronian right reason and Thomistic natural law was not tension-free, so placing the Clarkeans within that tradition does not make CER tension-­free. Such a caveat is an accurate description of the position I shall take up in Chap. 5. Second, the word ‘tradition’, as in Anglican tradition of Ciceronian right reason and Thomistic law, or tradition of recta ratio, is problematic. When Knud Haakonssen and John Spurr write about recta ratio and early modern natural law, they use such expressions as ‘ambiguity’, ‘ill-defined’,  For the tradition of Ciceronian right reason and Thomistic natural law, and its relationship with Protestant conceptions of ‘reason’, ‘conscience’ and ‘natural law’, see Chap. 5; and: Robert Hoopes, Right Reason in the English Renaissance (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1962), passim; John Morgan, Godly Learning: Puritan Attitudes towards Reason, Learning and Education, 1560–1640 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 41–61; three related articles by Robert Greene: ‘Synderesis in the English Renaissance’, 195–219, ‘Whichcote and Synderesis’, 617–644 and ‘Instinct of Nature: Natural Law, Synderesis, and the Moral Sense’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 58:2 (Apr., 1997), 173–198; A.A. Long, ‘Roman Philosophy’, in The Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Philosophy, ed. D.  Sedley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 184–210; S.A. Seagrave, ‘Cicero, Aquinas, and Contemporary Issues in Natural Law Theory’, The Review of Metaphysics, 62:3 (Mar., 2009), 491–523; M.B. Crowe, The Changing Profile of the Natural Law (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1977), 32–41; Isabel Rivers, Reason, Grace and Sentiment: A Study of the Language of Religion and Ethics in England, 1660–1780, 2 Vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), vol.1, 59–66; Patrick Müller, Latitudinarianism and Didacticism in Eighteenth Century Literature: Moral Theology in Fielding, Sterne, and Goldsmith (Frankfurt, Peter Lang, 2009), 49–59; John Spurr, ‘“Rational Religion” in Restoration England’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 49:4 (Oct.-Dec., 1988), 563–585; Neal Wood, Cicero’s Social and Political Thought (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1988), 71; Cicero, De Re Publica, in De Re Publica, De Legibus, trans. C.W. Keyes (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1943), III.xxii.33.

134

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‘blurred’, ‘amorphous’, ‘paradoxical’, ‘lack of coherence’.135 In case the word tradition is misleading, therefore, let me be clear that it is used here in the sense of ‘climate’ or what Haakonssen calls ‘remarkable historical identity’, rather than to signify a single, uniform ‘school’ of thought.136 There are important differences between, for example the Clarkeans, the Cambridge Platonists, Jeremy Taylor, Nathaniel Culverwell, Richard Cumberland; some of which shall be discussed in Chaps. 2 and 5. The intention here is not to resolve these differences—they are part of the first caveat that recta ratio is not tension-free—but to acknowledge that they can make the language of a or the ‘tradition’ of recta ratio unstable. It is with those caveats in mind that, in the next section, I survey a range of leading early modern Anglican thinkers on the nature and meaning of conscience and recta ratio. These figures, in future chapters, will help us to reflect further on what the Clarkeans meant by such concepts as ‘conscience’, ‘reason’ and ‘intuition’. Again, it is important to emphasise that the figures discussed below did not necessarily agree with each other; some (for example, Robert South and William Sherlock on the trinity)137 disputed directly with one another, and there were differences, not just on doctrinal matters, but also when it comes to moral epistemology and normativity.138 ‘Natural conscience’ was invoked variously to  Spurr, ‘“Rational Religion”, 563; 569; 570; 581; 584; Knud Haakonssen, ‘Early Modern Natural Law Theories’, in The Cambridge Companion to Natural Law Jurisprudence, eds G.  Duke and R. George (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 76–79. 136  Ibid., 76. 137  See: Udo Thiel, ‘The Trinity and Personal Identity’, in English Philosophy in the Age of Locke, ed. M.A. Stewart (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000), Ch.7. 138  In Chap. 5, I shall discuss tensions between the divine authority of conscience and the limits of human reason (which include the limits of conscience, because ‘conscience…is also reason’ (ibid., II.I.i.30)) in the rational discourse of conscience. That tension speaks to wider problems within the tradition of recta ratio itself, not just the question of where one lays the emphasis upon the divine or human part of conscience, but the related question of where one places the emphasis in our understanding of the nature of obligation and law. With respect to the latter question, Cumberland (see Chap. 3), Sanderson, Taylor, and Culverwell have been looked upon as occupying an awkward position in recta ratio, as herein explored, due to their voluntarist language concerning the relationship between law and superior will, where, as Cumberland put it, ‘Laws being nothing but practical Propositions, with Rewards and Punishments annex’d, promulg’d by competent Authority’ (Richard Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, ed. J.  Parkin (Indianapolis, IA: Liberty Fund, 2005), Introduction.vi; see: Sanderson, Robert Sanderson, Several Cases of Conscience Discussed in Ten Lectures in the Divinity School at Oxford, trans. R. Codrington (London: 1660), 38–39; Jeremy Taylor, Ductor Dubitantium. Or, The Rule of Conscience in The Whole Works of Jeremy 135

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defend naive or dispositional innate ideas, rational or aesthetic intuitionism, and the need for regeneration in grace and faith. Indeed, I have discussed Shaftesbury above and return to him below, but Shaftesbury was latterly associated with deism himself, not least by Balguy, and criticised by both the Clarkeans and Scottish Calvinists because his sentimentalism appeared to threaten ethical rationalism.139 Nonetheless, we can be almost certain that the Clarkeans would have read, or at the very least indirectly encountered, all of the figures discussed below, either because they are directly referenced by them (in particular, the Cambridge Platonists: see Chaps. 2 and 3); or because they were leading figures contemporaneous with them (for example, John Tillotson, Archbishop of Canterbury); or because they were seminal figures in the age before them Taylor, vol.9, eds Alexander Taylor, with C.P.  Eden (London: 1855), II.I.i; II.I.i.30; Nathaniel Culverwell, An Elegant and Learned Discourse of the Light of Nature, eds R.A.  Greene and H. MacCallum (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1971), 65). While it is not possible here to debate the position of such figures within the tradition of recta ratio (which would require the assessment of the difficult balance between voluntarism and intellectualism in a history of even, broadly speaking, Thomistic definitions of natural law), it is worth pointing out that, as the paradigm of conscience is the paradigm of right reason (see below), tensions within the rational discourse of conscience, about how one explains its nature and authority, are bound to connect with tensions in recta ratio itself. For Cumberland, Sanderson, Culverwell, Taylor, and the balance between intellectualism and voluntarism in natural law more generally, see: Knud Haakonssen, Natural Law and Moral Philosophy: From Grotius to the Scottish Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 15–62, ‘Natural Law Without Metaphysics: A Protestant Tradition’, in Contemporary Perspective on Natural Law, ed. A.M. Gonzalez (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), 67–86; Hoopes, Right Reason, 165–185; Schneewind, Autonomy, 58–140; Crowe, Changing Profile, 214–233; Richard Tuck, Natural Rights Theories (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), 54–81; 101–118; 156–172; James Tully, ‘Governing Conduct’ in Conscience and Casuistry in Early Modern Europe, ed. Edmund Leites (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 28; 34–38; Linda Kirk, Richard Cumberland and Natural Law (Cambridge: James Clarke & Co., 1987), 1–12; 24–41; H. Trevor-Hughes, The Piety of Jeremy Taylor (London: Macmillan, 1960), 45–75; Robert Hoopes, ‘Voluntarism in Jeremy Taylor and the Platonic Tradition’, Huntingdon Library Quarterly, 13:4 (Aug., 1950) 341–354; Robert Greene and Hugh MacCallum, ‘Introduction’, in Light of Nature, xiv–xlviii; Robert Horwitz, ‘Introduction’, in Questions Concerning; Jon Parkin, Science, Religion and Politics in Restoration England (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1999), 56–87; Stephen Darwall, The British Moralists and the Internal ‘Ought’, 1640–1740 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 23–52; Dennis Klinck, Conscience, Equity and the Court of Chancery in Early Modern England (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010), 189–193. 139  See Chaps. 2, 3 and 4; Balguy’s A Letter to a Deist (London: 1726) is addressed to Shaftesbury; and, he expressed surprise that a man of Hutcheson’s ‘Discernment and Penetration’ should be ‘dissatisfied’ by Clarke’s ethical rationalism, ‘unless I may have leave to attribute it to too close an Attachment to the celebrated Author of the Characteristicks [Shaftesbury]’(The Foundation of Moral Goodness, in John Balguy, A Collection of Tracts Moral and Theological: Placed in the Order wherein they were first published (London: 1734), 66).

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(for example, Robert Sanderson and Jeremy Taylor). Indeed, it is worth noting that the vast majority of those discussed below, are mentioned in both Waterland’s and Bentham’s student manuals cited above, indicating the influence that they continued to have, even into the middle of the eighteenth-century. Consequently, although the Anglicans surveyed in the next section do not form a single school, they do illustrate a climate or tradition on conscience and recta ratio of which the Clarkeans where a part; a tradition or climate that was Ciceronian, following, not least, Hugo Grotius, who drew substantially on Cicero’s Stoicism,140 and Thomistic, consistent with the fact that, when it comes to conscience in the early modern period, ‘everywhere the Thomistic theory dominates’.141

Conscience and Recta Ratio If the concept of recta ratio was a ‘commonplace’ in the seventeenth-­ century,142 Cicero was its ‘most widely read transmitter’.143 According to his classic144 definition of natural law: True law is right reason in agreement with nature [(1)]; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting [(2)]…and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it [(3)]…one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times [(1); (2)], and there will be one master and ruler…God…for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge [(4)]. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties [(3)]…145  Haakonssen, ‘Early Modern Natural Law’, 80.  H.R. McAdoo, The Structure of Caroline Moral Theology (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1949); for the same observation, see also: Thomas Wood, English Casuistical Divinity During the Seventeenth Century (London: SPCK, 1952); Kenneth Kirk, Conscience and Its Problems (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1927), 380. 142  Müller, Latitudinarianism and Didacticism, 51. 143  Schneewind, Autonomy, 18. 144  Neal Wood, Cicero’s Social and Political Thought (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1988), 71. 145  Cicero, De Re Publica, III.xxii.33. 140 141

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Consistent with the numbered parentheses placed in the quotation above, Cicero’s definition effectively summarises both how the law of reason can be understood as our own law (3), God’s law (4), and the law of the (Christian-created and/or Stoic-noetic)146 universe itself (1)–(2), and how those claims about reason are interconnected. The law of right reason, something eternal that rules the whole universe,147 is (1)–(2) because the distinction between things that are just and unjust148 is a standard fixed by nature149 in which reason is inherent150 and from which it is derived.151 It is because the law of right reason is (1)–(2) that, ‘Whatever good thing is praiseworthy must have within itself something which deserves praise,’152 so that justice and all honourable things are to be sought for their own sake.153 The fact that justice and equity are to be pursued for their own sake is not to be isolated from (3). As agents possessing reason, we are naturally inclined towards the ends of benevolence, equity and justice, experiencing the verdict of what is (un)just and (dis)honourable as the judgement of our own minds.154 We know the law of right reason qua the law of Nature, and experience it as our own law; so, to contradict the law of right reason is to contradict our own nature and judgement.155 But just as (1), (2) and (3) cannot be finally separated, they cannot be isolated from (4). As the divine mind cannot exist without reason, the law of right reason is ‘coeval with that God who guards and rules heaven and earth’,156 and whom the universe obeys.157 As nothing is more divine  R.A.  Horsley, quoted by Jean Porter, Natural and Divine Law: Reclaiming the Tradition for Christian Ethics (Ottawa: Novalis, St. Paul University, 1999), 69. 147  Cicero, De Legibus, II.iii.8. 148  Ibid., II.v.13. 149  Ibid., I.xvi.44; 45. 150  Ibid., II.vi.16. 151  Ibid., II.iv.10. 152  Ibid., I.xvii.46. 153  Ibid., I.xviii.48. 154  Ibid., I.xv.42–xvi.45. 155  See: Ibid, I.vii.23–viii.25; I.xxii.58–60; I.xii.33. 156  Ibid., II.iv.8. 157  Ibid., III.i.3. 146

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in heaven and earth than reason, it is both a gift158 from God who created us with reason, and ‘the first common possession of man and God’.159 Anyone able to follow the Stoic precept, Know Thyself, will realise that he has a divine element within him, and will regard his own inner nature as a kind of ‘consecrated image of God’,160 in the same way that humans must recognise the universe as a commonwealth ‘of which both gods and men are members’.161 Thus, according to the interconnectedness of (1)– (4), the rational agent will always experience the law of right reason as the ‘highest reason, implanted in Nature’;162 as our own law; and as the ‘ultimate mind of God’.163

Reason and the Nature of God As J.B. Schneewind points out, Aquinas concurred with Cicero that right reason shows us the first principles of natural law qua principles which should govern both divine and human will.164 In line with the interconnectedness of (1), (2) and (4), the further point here (maintained by the Clarkeans: see Chap. 2) is that to say, ‘There is a nature of goodness…and wisdom antecedent to the will of God, which is the rule and measure of it’, is only to say that God has no law ‘but the perfection of his own nature’.165 The ‘eternal law’, ‘which God hath eternally purposed himself

 Ibid., I.xii.33.  Ibid., I.vii.23. 160  Ibid., I.xxii.58–59. 161  Ibid., I.vii.23. 162  Ibid., I.vi.19. 163  Ibid., II.iv.8. 164  Schneewind, Autonomy, 23. 165  Ralph Cudworth, A Treatise of Freewill, ed. John Allen (London: John W. Parker, 1838), 50; 17. 158 159

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in all his works to observe’,166 is ‘not something other than’ God,167 it is God: 168 ‘The being of God is a kind of law to his working’.169 Thus, on the one hand, the fact that ‘The creator made the world not with hands, but by reason’,170 explains why we encounter right and wrong qua determined by the law of reason as objective facts about reality itself, ‘drawn from out of the very bowels of heaven and earth’.171 Within creation, we encounter what is ‘Right and fit’172 as ‘Relations’ of ‘fittingness’ between things in and of this world; as such, it makes sense to think of ‘the Nature and Reason of Things’173 which determines what is ‘fitting’ as natural. The eternal law is the law of created nature, and so just as ‘The whole community of the universe is governed by the divine reason’,174 rightness or fittingness qua ‘determined’ by the law of reason will be experienced as though fixed by ‘Nature’, in the Stoic sense. Such an experience is consistent with the fact that the ‘eternal law’ is ‘laid up in the bosom of God’,175 and is ‘That law which hath been the pattern to make, and is the card to guide the world by’.176 However, ‘the Reason of Things, and the Rule of Right’ ‘is’, not only ‘the Law of God’s Creation’,177 but also the law of God’s ‘Understanding’.178 Consequently, to encounter ‘fittingness’ according to the ‘nature of

 Richard Hooker, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, I.iii.1, in The Works of the Learned and Judicious Mr. Richard Hooker, ed. John Keble, 3 Vols., 5th edn (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1865), vol.1. 167  Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I–II, Q.91, A.1, in The Basic Writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, ed. A.C. Pegis, 2 Vols. (New York, Random House, 1945). 168  See: Aquinas, Summa, I–II, Q.91, A.1; Q.93, A.1, 4; Hooker, Laws, I.iii.1; I.ii.5. 169  Hooker, Laws, I.ii.2. 170  Hooker, Laws, I.ii.6, fn.6. 171  Ibid., I.viii.5. 172  Benjamin Whichcote, Moral and Religious Aphorisms, eds J.  Jeffery and S.  Salter (London: 1753), No.561. 173  Ibid., No.257. 174  Aquinas, Summa, I–II, Q.91, A.1. 175  Hooker, Laws, I.iii.1. 176  Ibid., I.ii.5. 177  Ibid., No.446. 178  Ibid., No.414. 166

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things’ within creation is also always to encounter God, who, ‘being the author of Nature, her voice is but his instrument’:179 The greater Rights of the World that Govern above and below, are determined, by the Relation things have to each other; and these Rights can never yield, or be controuled [sic]: For These are a Law with God, and according to his Nature; and are as unchangeable and unalterable, as God himself.180

Reason and ‘Natural Law’ While ‘nature’ is a ‘book’, ‘printed all over with the Passive Characters and Impressions of Divine Wisdom and Goodness’, it is only because human beings were created with reason as ‘an Intellectual Eye’ that ‘Divine Wisdom and Goodness’ in ‘the Book of Nature’ are visible to us in ‘large and legible Characters’.181 It is also only because we were created with reason that we can recognise the interconnectedness of (1), (2) with (4), and so appreciate that to go against reason, is to go against God: ‘it is the self same thing, to do that which the Reason of the Case doth require; and that which God himself doth appoint’.182 Possessing reason, we not only experience it as of God, and as the law of the created universe, but also as (3) our own natural law. Reason is our ‘first participation from God’, so that the light of natural reason, whereby we discern what is good…which is the function of the natural law, is nothing else than an imprint on us of the divine light.183

 Hooker, Laws, I.viii.3.  Ibid., No.258. 181  Ralph Cudworth, A Treatise Concerning Eternal and Immutable Morality (London: 1731), 186–187. 182  Whichcote, op.cit., No.76. 183  Aquinas, Summa, I–II, Q.91, A.2. 179 180

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To be created with reason is to share the eternal reason, and the rational creature’s ‘participation of the eternal law’ is natural law’.184 For Aquinas, possession of natural law makes us subject to eternal law in two ways: first, by ‘partaking of the eternal law’ through knowledge’; second, through ‘an inward motive principle’: as rational creatures, we are naturally inclined towards that which harmonises with the eternal law, being ‘naturally adopted to be the recipients of virtue’.185 As God imprints on the whole of nature the principles of its proper actions,186 our twin subjection to the eternal law means that, just as ‘Sense is a Law to Sensitives; Reason is a Law to Rationals’:187 angels and men…reasonable creatures, have the notions of good and evil, of right and wrong…so woven …in their very natures…they can never be wholly defaced, without the ruin of their beings…188

We experience reason as our law, ‘interwoven’ into our nature, in two ways, consistent with our twin subjection to eternal law. First, to go against reason is to go against our own knowledge, ‘the natural dictates’ of our minds’.189 Second, to do so is to contradict our own ‘Rational Instincts’190 after the ends of reason. Conscience and intuition are associated with both our knowledge of certain general principles of the eternal law, and our natural inclination to fulfil the natural law qua our ‘proper act and end’.191 Our ‘Rational Instincts’ are ‘Connaturally implanted’ ‘in the Rational Soul, or Conscience, or Mind, or whatever else we please to term it’; they are ‘Moral Truths, of great Weight, and Moment, and Necessity, for due regulation of the life of man’, to which we immediately ‘assent’, ­‘antecedently  Ibid., I–II, Q.91, A.2.  Ibid., I–II, Q.93, A.6. 186  Ibid., I–II, Q.93, A.5. 187  Whichcote, op.cit., No.854. 188  John Tillotson, The Works of the Most Reverend Dr John Tillotson, Late Lord Bishop of Canterbury, 10 Vols. (Edinburgh: 1772), vol.6, CXLII, 459. 189  Ibid., CXLI, 434. 190  Matthew Hale, Of doing as we would be done to, in Contemplations Moral and Divine. The Third Part (London: 1700), 155. 191  Aquinas, Summa, I–II, Q.91, A.2. 184 185

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to any…Ratiocination of the Understanding’, as ‘fit, and just, and good’ qua ‘laws’ of our rational ‘nature’, akin to the ‘Rules, which we call Natural Instincts’ ‘implanted’ ‘by God’ ‘in the Sensible or Vegetable Nature’.192 In conscience, we suffer what it means to contradict ‘the dictates of natural light’193 qua our own nature and judgement. ‘The unspeakable torment of a guilty Conscience’ is: consciousness of having done something that contradicts the perfective principle of his being…something which did not become him, and which, being…a reasonable creature, he ought not to do.194

Consistent with the interconnectedness of (1)–(4), in conscience we suffer from the awareness of having failed to be true to ourselves (3), and also from our failure to pursue the ‘fixed and immutable, eternal and indispensable’ ‘intrinsical [sic] good…in things’ (1); (2).195 Our awareness that we have contradicted our natural law (3), and the ‘eternal laws’ of goodness, justice and truth (1); (2),196 is also our awareness of having failed God (4), the perfection of the law of reason, in whom we seek our perfection as agents possessed of reason. ‘All things, by desiring their own perfection, desire God Himself ’,197 but this is more true of human beings than other creatures,198 because in the operation of reason, and by proceeding in ‘knowledge of truth’, and growing in ‘the exercise of virtue’, we can aspire to the greatest ‘conformity with God’.199 Our rational instinct is for that which accords with the law of reason—‘goodness, and righteousness, and truth, and faithfulness’—but these are ‘the essential, and necessary, and immutable properties of the divine nature’.200 Our rational  Hale, Of doing as we would be done to, 154–156.  Tillotson, Works, vol.6, CXLII, 456. 194  Ibid., 456. 195  Ibid., 453; 452; 454. 196  Ibid. 197  Aquinas, Summa, I, Q.6, A.1. 198  Hooker, Laws, I.v.2. 199  Ibid., I.v.3. 200  Tillotson, Works, vol.6, CXLII, 453. 192 193

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instinct for the ends of reason, qua our own law, and the law of the nature of things, is also always our experience of, and desire to imitate, ‘by affecting resemblance with’,201 God, who possesses the perfections of reason as his moral and natural attributes (see below).

Conscience and Intuition The interconnectedness of (1)–(4) speaks to how the perceptive and reflective exercise of reason is always live with all that reason is qua our own law, God’s law, and the law of the created universe itself. Quotations from Henry More and Robert South help to summarise all that reason is, and how, through the operation of human reason, we experience all that it is: the Intellect of man [(3)] is…a small compendious Transcript of the Divine Intellect [(4)], and we feel…in our own Intellects [(3)] the firmness and immutability of the Divine [(4)], and of the eternal and immutable Truths exhibited there [(1); (2)].202 the law of nature…I take to be nothing else, but the mind of God [(4)] signified to a rational agent, by the bare discourse of his reason, and dictating to him, that he ought to act suitably to the principles of his nature [(3)], and to those Relations that he stands under [(1); (2)].203

Conscience and intuition are features of, and are used as a means to assert, the interconnectedness of (1)–(4). The Clarkeans have been criticised for their mathematical analogy, but use of it is consistent with the emphasis, within recta ratio, on innate ideas qua those to which we immediately assent, which is itself consistent with the association of conscience

 Hooker, Laws, I.v.2.  Henry More, Annotations upon the Two foregoing Treatises, Lux Orientalis, Or, An Enquiry into the Opinion of the Eastern Sages Concerning the Prae-existence of Souls; and the Discourse of Truth (London: 1682), 257. 203  Robert South, Sermons Preached Upon Several Occasions, 6 Vols. (London: 1737), vol.1, XI, 404. 201 202

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with both the Socratic daemon and Stoic hegemonikon and koinai ennoiai (common notions) (see below).204

 atural Conscience, Common Notions, N and Immediate Assent According to the interconnectedness of (1)–(4), to have reason is to be able to know God’s mind, because ‘Reason first danc’d and triumpht in those eternal Sun-beams, in the thoughts of God himself…the fountain and original of Reason’.205 Conscience, like the Socratic daemon, is our ‘domestic god’,206 ‘a little God sitting in the middle of men’s hearts’,207 and in the ‘middest between…[God] and man’,208 thus emphasising how human thought and activity are filled with an awareness of, and a desire  For the associations between ‘conscience’, the Socratic daemon, Stoic koinai ennoiai, and to hegemonikon, see: E.  Zeller, The Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics, ed. O.J.  Reichel, rvsd edn (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1892), 158–159; 212–217; 240–248; J.M.  Rist, Stoic Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969), 22–27; 220; 231–232; 264–272; Linda Hogan, Confronting the Truth: Conscience in the Catholic Tradition (Mahwah: Paulist Press, 2000), 36–43; J.R. Lenz, ‘Deification of the Philosopher in Classical Greece’ in Partakers of the Divine Nature: The History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions, eds M.J.  Christensen and J.A. Wittung (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), 47–67; 224–225; S.M. Lee, The Cosmic Drama of Salvation: A Study of Paul’s Undisputed Writings From Anthropological and Cosmological Perspectives (Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010), 123; 219–221; Walter Pannenburg, Anthropology in Theological Perspective, trans. M.J.  O’Connell (London: T&T Clark, 1985), 296–297; Walter Burkert, Greek Religion, trans. J.  Raffan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985), 328–332; Marcia Colish, The Stoic Tradition from Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages (Leiden: Brill, 1990), 27–28; Crowe, Changing Profile, 126; 128; Daniel Carey, Locke, Shaftesbury, and Hutcheson: Contesting Diversity in the Enlightenment and Beyond (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 53–58; R.D. Bedford, The Defence of Truth: Herbert of Cherbury and the Seventeenth Century (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1979), 52–54; Vivienne Brown, ‘The Dialogic Experience of Conscience: Adam Smith and the Voices of Stoicism’, Eighteenth Century Studies, 26:2 (Winter, 1992–1993), 233–260 and Adam Smith’s Discourse: Canonicity, Commerce and Conscience (London: Routledge, 1994), 48–56; Pierre Hadot, The Inner Citadel: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, trans. M. Chase (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), 49; 83–84; 89; 112–127; 266–267; J.W. Yolton, John Locke and the Way of Ideas (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1956), 30–39; Greene, ‘Synderesis in the English Renaissance’, 195–219, ‘Whichcote and Synderesis’, 617–644 and ‘Synderesis and the Moral Sense’, 173–198; Richard Sorabji, Moral Conscience through the Ages (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2017), Chs.1–2. 205  Culverwell, Light of Nature, 97. 206  Taylor, Ductor, I.I.i.2. 207  William Perkins, A Discourse of Conscience in William Perkins, 1558–1602, English Puritanist. His Pioneer Works on Casuistry: A Discourse of Conscience, and The Whole Treatises of Cases of Conscience, ed. T.F. Merrill (Nieuwkoop: B. De Graaf, 1966), 9. 208  Ibid., 6. 204

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to imitate, God, who gave us conscience as his ‘vicegerent’,209 ‘substitute’, ‘vicar’.210 It is ‘the Messenger of the Mind of God to the Soul of Man’211 as the ‘treasure or repository’212 of the natural law which is a ‘natural impression’ of ‘that eternal law…in the mind of God’.213 It is in line with the Pauline language of inscription in Roms.2:14–16,214 ‘the loci classici of the New Testament doctrine of natural law,’215 that the language of common notions, ‘imprinted…upon the mind in fair and indelible characters’,216 as the ‘stamp’ and ‘signature of reason,217 should also be expressed in the language of ‘the dictates or principles of natural conscience’:218 ‘These κοιναί έννοιαι, These common Notions, are that  Benjamin Whichcote, The Works of the Learned Benjamin Whichcote, D.D., 4 Vols. (Aberdeen, 1751), vol.4, LXXXIV, 260. 210  Taylor, Ductor, I.I.i.2. 211  South, Sermons, vol.2, XI, 404. 212  Taylor, Ductor, I.I.i.1. 213  Sanderson, Cases of Conscience, 131. 214  ‘When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts excuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus’. For discussion of Paul’s use of ‘conscience’, in the form of the New Testament suneidesis, see: C.H. Dodd, New Testament Studies (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1953), 114–115; 129–142; Lee, Cosmic Drama, 123–124; 205–206; 218–225; C.A. Pierce, Conscience in the New Testament (London: SCM, 1958), 60–103. Pierce emphasises the difference between suneidesis and the conception of conscience (as in early modern Anglicanism) as both antecedent and subsequent, when suneidesis denotes only ‘subsequent pain which indicates that sin has been committed’ (ibid., 117). However, we can see here that the ‘presages’ of early modern Anglican conscience recall suneidesis qua the uncontrollable ‘pain a man suffers when he has done wrong’ (op.cit., 71). Moreover, suneidesis, like early modern Anglican conscience, is both the ‘internal’ experience of divine ‘wrath’ (ibid., 74), as well as self-consciousness of wrongdoing. While the affective emphasis upon pain may cause tensions within the tradition of recta ratio (see Chap. 5), because early modern Anglican conscience is, like suneidesis, comprised of the experience of ‘internal wrath’ and the reflective ‘to know with one’s self’ (ibid., 22), it captures aspects of suneidesis. This book (particularly this chapter, and Chaps. 2 and 3), highlights how the former can be described in similar terms to the latter, when ‘Conscience’, in the New Testament, ‘is the reaction of the whole man to his own wrong acts’ (ibid., 113), so that suneidesis, like early modern rationalist conscience in this book, is both a moral reflex action’ and something that ‘refers to a man’s own acts or to his own character arising from or expressed in those acts’ (ibid., 115). 215  Dodd, New Testament, 140. 216  Thomas Burnet, Third Remarks upon an Essay Concerning Human Understanding, in Remarks on John Locke by Thomas Burnet, ed. G. Watson (Doncaster: Brynmill, 1989), 62. 217  Culverwell, Light of Nature, 79. 218  Burnet, Third Remarks, 75. 209

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Law of God, which the Apostle Rom. 2. doth say is written in the Hearts of men’.219 The point about these common notions or dictates of conscience is that they are not, following John Yolton’s well-known distinction, ‘naively’ innate.220 The likes of William Sherlock, John Norris and Thomas Burnet, responding to Locke’s rejection of the doctrine of innate ideas, contended that it was, at least, a helpful, because symbolic, analogy: This is certain, no Man who believes that the Ideas of God, and of Good and Evil, were originally impress’d on our Minds when they were first made, can doubt whether there be a God, or an essential Difference between Good and Evil.221

The doctrines of innate ideas and natural conscience preserve (1)–(4), and their interconnectedness, such that to defend one is to defend the others; just as to attack one (as Locke had done) is to attack the others.222 The important point, consistent with the ‘polyvalence’ of the word  Sanderson, Cases of Conscience, 132.  Yolton, Way of Ideas, 26–71. 221  William Sherlock, A Discourse Concerning the Happiness of Good Men, and the Punishment of the Wicked in the Next World, 5th edn (London: 1735), 100. 222  Thus, the controversy over Locke’s rejection of ideas in many ways parallels the reaction against Hutcheson’s moral sense, not least amongst such Clarkeans as Balguy and Price (see Chaps. 2 and 3) and such orthodox Scottish Calvinists as John Witherspoon (see Chap. 4). Just as Burnet and Sherlock, each appealed to ‘conscience’ as part of safeguarding (1)–(4) qua associations of recta ratio against Locke’s rejection of innate ideas, I shall later argue that conscience conveyed peculiar referents (see Chaps. 3, 4, and 5); referents which Clarkeans and Calvinists thought Hutcheson threatened by replacing rational conscience with his affective moral sense. Thus, Balguy criticised Hutcheson’s ‘Notion of a moral Sense’, because ‘at the same time it depreciates Virtue, it also debases the Faculty of Reason’, and so ‘is depreciating the most sacred Thing in the World’ (Foundation of Moral Goodness, 63–64). Richard Sorabji describes Hutcheson’s moral sense as part of the ‘resecularisation’ of conscience—that is, a tendency through the eighteenth-century (including Kant) of returning conscience to its pre-Stoic conception, where knowledge of God and of right and wrong were independent (Moral Conscience, 185; Chs.1, 9). Whether Sorabji is right about Hutcheson relates to the question of the latter’s own ethical realism and use of the Stoic to hegemonikon (see below and Chaps. 2 and 4). Nevertheless, in this book, I talk of conscience’s secularisation, because we are concerned with a post-Stoic, Christian context, within which, for its critics, Hutcheson’s moral sense does not represent a theory of conscience at all, but is instead a secularising threat to conscience, precisely because it is not able to convey conscience’s referents, and ensure that the paradigm of conscience remains the paradigm of recta ratio. 219 220

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innate,223 is that the case for (1)–(4), and their interconnectedness, is made in terms of immediate intuitive assent and conscience, thus corresponding with the Clarkeans’ own use of intuition, conscience, and the mathematical analogy. The suggestion that certain ‘notions’ are ‘born with us’224 need not mean that ‘innate Ideas must be first known’225 ‘before the use of Reason’.226 ‘That grey-headed venerable Doctrine of Innate or Common Principles’, with its language of inscribed ‘Innate Characters’, is rather helpful as an ‘Analogy’.227 The language of inscription expresses the fact that we have the ‘fullest, clearest, and most distinct Knowledge’ of certain ‘Notions and Ideas’, ‘after the use of reason’,228 and so not ‘without any labour or search of the Mind, without the Use of Reason, Experience or Observation, or any external notices to bring them into view’.229 However, the fact that there are not innate ideas qua ‘figures’ ‘legibly’ written in ‘the mind of man’, ‘like the Red Letters or Astronomical Characters in an Almanack’, does not mean it is appropriate to speak of the mind as a (Lockean) tabula rasa.230 We experience certain truths qua befitting to the language of inscription, because we know such ‘Truths as soon as we see them’;231 we do so because they are ‘Natural to the Soul’.232 ‘Intuition’ is not only the ‘most perfect and satisfactory Knowledge we have’, but it is that through which we experience certain ‘Notions and Ideas’ as, if not naively innate, then ‘Connate, and inbred, and interwoven in the very Frame…of a

 Peter Harrison, ‘Religion’ and the Religions in the English Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 34. 224  South, Sermons, vol.1, II, 51. 225  Sherlock, Happiness, 89. 226  Burnet, Third Remarks, 62. 227  John Norris, Cursory Reflections, ed. G.D. McEwen (Los Angeles, LA: Augustan Reprint Society, 1961), 21. 228  Burnet, Third Remarks, 62. 229  Sherlock, Happiness, 89. 230  Henry More, An Antidote Against Atheism, 4th edn, in A Collection of Several Writings of Dr. Henry More, 4th edn (London: 1712), I.V.1–2. 231  Sherlock, Happiness, 91. 232  More, Antidote, I.VII.2. 223

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rational soul’:233 ‘The Truths of God are Connatural to the Soul of Man’, which ‘makes no more Resilience to them, than the Air does to Light’.234

The Liveness of Speculative and Practical Reason In line with Aquinas,235 the ‘notions and truths’ that are ‘true to the Soul at the very first Proposal’,236 such that they are ‘naturally and unavoidably [sic] assented unto by the Soul’,237 include both theoretical truths of speculative reason and moral truths of practical reason or conscience. For both, we need basic ‘Axioms’, because to make nothing ‘evident of itself unto man’s understanding’ would remove ‘all possibility of knowing anything’.238 With respect to the ‘Understanding Speculative’, amongst the general maxims and notions in the human mind, which are ‘the rules of discourse, and the basis of all philosophy’, are ‘that the same thing cannot at the same time be, and not be. That the whole is bigger than a part’;239 ‘that Every finite Number is either even or odd; If you add equal to equal, the wholes are equal’.240 With respect to the practical understanding, amongst the ‘some first, and Alphabetical Notions’, imprinted upon the being of man as clear and indelible principles, by the putting together of which it can spell out the law of nature,241 are: ‘What is good is to be chosen; what is evil to be avoided, but the more excellent Good is preferable to the less excellent’;242 ‘Everything that is unjust is to be eschewed’;243 ‘Whatsoever is injurious ought not to be  Sherlock, Happiness, 82; 83.  Whichcote, Aphorisms, No.444. 235  Aquinas, Summa, I–II, Q.94, A.2. 236  More, Antidote, I.VI.6. 237  Ibid., I.VII.1. 238  Hooker, Laws, I.viii.5. 239  South, Sermons, vol.1, II, 50. 240  More, Antidote, I.VII.2. 241  Culverwell, Light of Nature, 54. 242  Henry More, An Account of Virtue: Or, Dr. Henry More’s Abridgment of Morals, Put into English, 2nd edn (London: 1701), 22. 243  Sanderson, Cases of Conscience, 14. 233 234

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done’;244 ‘that God is to be worshipped’;245 ‘“parents to be honoured;” and “others to be used by us as we ourselves would be by them”’.246 In morals, then, we have first principles, like Euclidean axioms in mathematics, which the mind immediately assents to,247 so that: the understanding, both speculative understanding, or the soul, as considering the truth and falsehood of things, and the practical, considering their good and evil, or what is to be done and not done, both of them inferring consequences from premises in way of discursive reason.248

Our immediate assent to certain theoretical and practical truths means two things, also maintained by the Clarkeans. The first is that an analogy can be made between mathematical and moral truths: ‘In Morality, we are sure as in Mathematics’,249 because, like mathematics, morals may be known, ‘by the Reason of the Thing; Morals are owned, as soon as spoken’.250 Second, as it is truth itself that is ‘connatural to our souls’,251 our assent to all truth,252 whether theoretical or practical, is always thick with all that reason is. ‘The image of God’ is ‘resplendent’ in both the ‘connate notions in the speculative intellect’ and the connate notions of the practical understanding, which, like conscience, can be described as the soul’s store-house, in which are ‘treasured up the rules of action, and the seeds of morality’.253

 Taylor, Ductor, I.I.i.24.  Whichcote, Works, vol.2, XXIX, 63. 246  Hooker, Laws, I.viii.5. 247  Sanderson, Cases of Conscience, 133. 248  Cudworth, Freewill, 31. 249  Whichcote, Aphorisms, No.298. 250  Ibid., No.586. 251  Whichcote, Works, vol.2, XXV, 13. 252  Ibid., vol.1, XXII, 354. 253  South, Sermons, vol.1, II, 53. 244 245

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Reason Live with God ‘The natural Notion or Idea of God’254 is itself a common notion. ‘The Idea of God’ ‘is a natural result of the free use of reason’,255 so that ‘acknowledgement of a God is as well to be said to be according to the Light of Nature, as the Knowledge of Geometry’.256 However, the natural notion of God is more fundamental than other common notions: ‘Nothing…is more natural to the mind and understanding of men, than the knowledge of God’,257 because the idea of God, with his necessary attributes or perfections (see below), is imprinted upon the human mind ‘by that God whose idea it is’,258 leaving an ‘Indeleble [sic] Character of God upon our Souls’.259 Conscience, as ‘God’s Deputy’,260 and our ‘home-God’,261 that which God gave us as our ‘keeper’ to ‘pry into’ our thoughts and actions, and ‘bearing witnesse [sic]’ to God,262 emphasises how ‘the notion of a Deity is intimate to our understandings, and sticks close to them’.263 As ‘Every knowing faculty is the seat of conscience’,264 it, together with the natural notion of God, helps to emphasise how all activity of human reason, including both intuiting, and reasoning from, self-evident theoretical and practical first principles, is live with God as a result of our ‘innate sense’265 of him. Moreover, the fact that ‘The natural knowledge of God is the product of reason’266 means not only that all rational intuition and reflection cannot be separated from the idea of God with ‘such a deep  More, Antidote, I.IX.1.  Edward Stillingfleet, Origines Sacrae: or A Rational Account of the Grounds of Natural and Revealed Religion, 2 Vols., new edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1836), vol.1, III.I.iv. 256  More, Antidote, I.X.6. 257  Tillotson, Works, vol.5, LXXXVII, 19. 258  Stillingfleet, Origines Sacrae, vol.1, III.I.vi 259  More, Antidote, I.IX.1. 260  John Wilkins, Of the Principles and Duties of Natural Religion, 6th edn (London: 1710), 90. 261  Whichcote, Works, vol.1, III, 42. 262  Perkins, Discourse of Conscience, 8. 263  Tillotson, Works, vol.1, I, 31. 264  Taylor, Ductor, I.I.ii.4. 265  Whichcote, Aphorisms, No.792. 266  Whichcote, Works, vol.3, LVIII, 182. 254 255

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root in the mind of man’,267 but that our experience, and knowledge, of God is inseparable from the very ideas we possess and truths we perceive:268 when it is said…the Notion of God is natural to the Soul…[it means] there is…a faculty in the Soul of man, whereby upon the use of reason he can form within himself a settled notion of such a first and supreme Being…endowed with all possible perfection.269

Not only is it the case that our natural notions of such perfections as goodness and justice must be applicable to God, so that God is good and just, ‘as Men understand Goodness and Justice’,270 but we also perceive such perfections to be amongst God’s (moral) attributes, which we experience as communicable to us. ‘God intended Himself to be the peculiar object of Mind and Understanding in Man’,271 so that ‘the mind of man takes cognizance of God receives from him and returns to him and carries a continual sense of God within itself ’.272 We experience the ‘Perfections’ of power, wisdom (amongst God’s natural attributes), and goodness, justice, truth (amongst his moral attributes) to be ‘in some degree in ourselves’273 because they have been ‘communicated’ to us, through ‘participation in God’, the ‘Fountain and Author, the Rule and Measure’ of all ‘Perfection’.274 Of course, some of God’s attributes are ‘incommunicable’:275 his self-­ existence and eternity, for example. Moreover, even those that are  Tillotson, Works, vol.1, II, 60.  The classic text here is, of course, Descartes’ ‘Third Meditation’, Meditations on First Philosophy, ed. J. Cottingham (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996) see also: Aquinas, Summa, I–II, Q.93, A.2; Cudworth, A Treatise Concerning Eternal and Immutable Morality, With A Treatise of Freewill, ed. Sarah Hutton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 128–133. 269  Wilkins, Natural Religion, 61. 270  William Sherlock, A Discourse Concerning the Divine Providence, 9th edn (London: 1747), 132. 271  Whichcote, Aphorisms, No.848. 272  Whichcote, Works, vol.1, XVIII, 300. 273  Tillotson, Works, vol.1, I, 20. 274  Wilkins, Natural Religion, 135. 275  Whichcote preferred to call God’s ‘incommunicable’ attributes his ‘natural attributes’, while the likes of Tillotson and Wilkins, as well as the Clarkeans, included certain of God’s ‘natural attributes’, such as those of ‘power’ and ‘wisdom’, amongst God’s ‘communicable’ attributes. For Whichcote, ‘the first, we partake of the divine nature by imitation of God in his moral 267 268

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communicable (although ‘creatures’ ‘partake of them’276 as ‘derived from’277 God) are above ‘the condition of a Creature’ to possess in ‘any Equality with God’, and a creature is unable ‘to conceive’ ‘that degree and perfection wherein God possesseth them’.278 Nevertheless, even as there are divine attributes that can only be known by ‘proportion’, and others that we can only ‘admire’ and ‘adore’, not ‘comprehend’ or ‘grasp’,279 the fact remains that it is with every operation of human reason that we experience God as ‘the Object, which does fully exhaust and draw out, which does perfectly exercise and employ, the Faculties of Mind and Understanding’.280 We cannot do otherwise than experience ‘Created Intellectual Nature’ as that which has, ‘as its proper Perfection; to have sense and apprehension of God, in whom is all Fullness and Perfection’.281 Consequently, it is by the very ‘motion of mind and understanding, inquiring into and discovering the reason of things,’282 that we are driven to ‘imitation of the Divine Perfections’, to the extent that we are

perfections…In his natural perfections we cannot communicate with him, because we are creatures. His natural perfections are such as these, infiniteness, eternity, omniscience, omnipotence’ (Works, vol.2, XLVIII, 385). However, just as Whichcote maintained that ‘the make of man, the natural use of mind and understanding…is enough to satisfy any one concerning the being of God, and his essential perfections’ (Works, vol.3, LVI, 144), there was agreement with Whichcote that, ‘The first thing that we attribute to God, next to his being, is his goodness, and those other attributes which have a necessary connection with it’ (Tillotson, Works, vol.6, CXLII, 454), and that God’s moral ‘attributes’ are those of the ‘Divine Nature and Perfections’ ‘which are most proper for our imitation’ (ibid., vol.2, XLI, 397). Of course, underlying Whichcote’s claim that ‘Things Moral are better understood, than things Natural’ (Aphorisms, No.645), was an emphasis upon the view, common to recta ratio (and so also in CER, see Chap. 2), that, as God’s actions are determined by his nature, ‘Wisdom and Power are Perfections, only as they are in conjunction with Justice and Goodness’ (Aphorisms, No.261). Although, then, it is only ‘in all Moral Perfections’ that ‘God is imitable by us’, and ‘communicable to us’ (Aphorisms, No.50), as it is not possible for God, or human beings, to practise, or to possess, wisdom and power without goodness and justice, what we mean by the former in ourselves, and in God, is determined by the latter (see: Aphorisms, No.26; 388; 1154). 276  Tillotson, Works, vol.6, CXXVI, 354. 277  Wilkins, Natural Religion, 206. 278  Tillotson, Works, vol.6, CXXVI, 354. 279  Whichcote, Works, vol.1, XXIV, 382. 280  Whichcote, Aphorisms, No.938. 281  Ibid., No.845. 282  Whichcote, Works, vol.1, XVIII, 300.

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‘capable’,283 and know that, ‘We must Learn of the Divine Wisdom, Imitate the Divine Goodness, Depend on the Divine Power’.284

Knowing Ourselves with God The truths we experience, through intuition and conscience, as connate are those we experience as interwoven into human nature. Conscience and intuition are associated with our experience of God, and our drive for the ends of reason in imitation of him. Further, we experience this drive as being in full accordance with our own nature and judgement as rational agents. The most significant Anglican casuists, Robert Sanderson, William Perkins and Jeremy Taylor, emphasised the fact that conscience, according to the etymology of the Latin conscientia (and Greek suneidesis), means a ‘knowing together’.285 A ‘gift’ from God, it enables ‘man [to]…know…together with God, the same things of himself ’;286 it is a ‘thing placed by God…as an arbitratour [sic] to give sentence & to pronounce either with man or against man unto God’.287 Conscience ‘doth internally witness for’ for God,288 through which God is active as a ‘conscious witness and an inspector into all [our]…works…[and] secret thoughts’.289 However, it is also through conscience that we know our own actions qua conscious witnesses of ourselves. To act against conscience is to act against God, who ‘sits’ in, and ‘gives us laws’, through conscience,290 but it is also to go against ‘our own minds and judgment’,291  Tillotson, Works, vol.6, CXXXI, 271.  Whichcote, Aphorisms, No.1019. 285  Sanderson, Cases of Conscience, 4–7; Perkins, Discourse of Conscience, 9; Taylor, Ductor, I.I.i.23–24. For more on conscientia and suneidesis (as well as synderesis: see Chap. 3), see: C.S. Lewis, Studies in Words (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1960), 181–213; Pierce, op.cit., 13–59; Don Marietta, Jr., ‘Conscience in Greek Stoicism’, Numen, 17:2 (Dec., 1970), 176–187. 286  Perkins, Discourse of Conscience, 9. 287  Ibid., 6. 288  Wilkins, Natural Religion, 90. 289  Sanderson, Cases of Conscience, 4. 290  Taylor, Ductor, I.I.i.2. 291  Whichcote, Works, vol.1, III, 43. 283 284

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not least because conscience is the ‘same thing’ as our ‘mind’ or ‘understanding’.292 The fact that to contradict conscience is to contradict God and ourselves is conveyed through legal and book metaphors. Through conscience, ‘every man’ has ‘a kind of court and tribunal in his own breast, where he tries himself, and all his actions’.293 Further, within the ‘spiritual court’ of conscience, it ‘sustains all parts in this trial’,294 being ‘the judge which declares the law’; the ‘bar’ at which we stand accused;295 the ‘witness’ who accuses us; the ‘Lord’s sergeant’ to ‘arrest’ us; the jailer to ‘imprison’ us; the ‘hangman to execute’ us;296 and ‘the record and register of our crimes’.297 In this final role, man’s conscience is ‘the “preserver” of the court rolls of heaven’.298 Not only does ‘Conscience hath the pen of a ready writer’,299 to ‘note’ down all that is said or done,300 it is itself the book in which these records are kept. ‘The Book of Conscience’ ‘is a Book, wherein, from the first use of our Reason, till our Death, we are continually Writing all our Thoughts, Words and Actions’.301 On ‘doomsday’, this book will be ‘brought forth and laid open to all the world’.302 Conscience may be ‘the judgement of a man’s own mind concerning the morality of his actions’,303 but it is also ‘God’s book, the book of life or death’304 and the court in which God has ‘set up a tribunal, and a gibbet, and a rack’.305 The ‘lashes of conscience’306 are its ‘presages’: ‘the  South, Sermons, vol.3, II,56.  Tillotson, Works, vol.2, XXXVIII, 334. 294  Ibid., 335; 334. 295  Ibid., 334. 296  Perkins, Discourse of Conscience, 74. 297  Tillotson, Works, vol.2, XXXVIII, 334. 298  Taylor, Ductor, I.I.i.21. 299  Nathaniel Culverwell, The Act of Oblivion, in Nathaniel Culverwell, An Elegant and Learned Discourse of the Light of Nature, with several Other treatises, ed. W. Dillingham (Oxford: 1669), 32. 300  Perkins, Discourse of Conscience, 8. 301  Matthew Hale, Of the Knowledge of Christ Crucified. Part II, in Contemplations, 83. 302  Taylor, Ductor, I.II.ii.4. 303  Tillotson, Works, vol.2, XXXVIII, 335. 304  Taylor, Ductor, I.I.ii.4. 305  Ibid., I.I.ii.19. 306  Wilkins, Natural Religion, 53. 292 293

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­ ashings of the fire of hell’307 and God’s future judgement. But they are fl also our own experience of doing ‘violence to the light of our minds’,308 which is the ‘unhappiest breach in the world’ through which we ‘arm our own minds against ourselves’,309 and ‘lay violent handes [sic] upon’ ourselves.310 ‘Whoever commits a sin against his light, judgment, and conscience’,311 as he ‘goes against his very make, and doth that which is violent, horrid and unnatural’, suffers ‘self-condemnation’, thus entering the most ‘violent’ and ‘hellish state’ ‘that ariseth out of his own self ’:312 There is no such condemnation…in this state…or…the future, as self-­ condemnation. The worst of hell, is not from…foreign infliction…it is from within; the worm of conscience is the life of hell.313

Reason Live with Ourselves The fact that, ‘whoever goes against the clear dictate and conviction of his conscience…sins against God and his own soul’,314 serves to highlight how the operation of reason is not only live with God but with ourselves. We would not be capable of assenting to truth if we did not possess ‘an active sagacity in the Soul’, allowing for ‘quick recollection’ (analogous to that described in Plato’s Meno), ‘whereby some small Business being hinted upon her…[the soul] runs out presently into a more clear and larger Conception’.315 In assenting to truth, we experience ‘the Active Power and Innate Fecundity of the Mind itself ’,316 and, returning to the interconnectedness of (1)–(4), experience truth as not only necessary and

 Perkins, Discourse of Conscience, 74.  Tillotson, Works, vol.2, XXXVIII, 346. 309  Ibid., 349. 310  Perkins, Discourse of Conscience, 74. 311  Whichcote, Works, vol.4, LXXX, 166. 312  Ibid., vol.3, LVI, 145; 153. 313  Ibid., vol.2, XXXV, 140. 314  Tillotson, Works, vol.2, XXXVIII, 346. 315  More, Antidote, I.V.2. 316  Cudworth, Immutable Morality, 149. 307 308

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eternal, with its perfection in God, but as ‘the Natural Emanations of…[our] own Mind’.317 In moral matters, conscience emphasises how: ‘The Rule of Right is, the Reason of Things; the Judgment of Right is, the Reason of our Minds, perceiving the Reason of things’.318 We possess a ‘natural sagacity to distinguish moral good and evil’ qua ‘natural conscience’,319 in which the perception of moral truth cannot be separated from our awareness that to do that which we perceive to be right in itself is to act according to our own judgement. Returning to its association with ‘connate ideas’, conscience is also connected with our ‘rational instincts’ after the ends of reason as rational agents. In both cases, the language of conscience is part of the assertion that the law of reason is our own law. Self-condemnation in conscience demonstrates that ‘the reason of our mind…is our governor’ according to ‘the reason of things, which gives law, and is the rule of action’,320 not least because it demonstrates that ‘It is the Reason of Things, and of our Minds, not the Power of God only, which condemns’.321 Self-condemnation also illustrates the fact that ‘Nothing is more Unnatural to men, than Wickedness’, which is ‘contrary to the Reason of the Mind, and to the Reason of Things’.322 Indeed, because conscience is a ‘knowing together’ with God, and ‘the image of God’—that ‘likeness of God in which he was pleased to make man’323—self-­ condemnation in, and by, conscience qua ‘true issue of reason’,324 demonstrates that ‘Our Nature is reconciled’ to ‘the Rule of Everlasting Righteousness, Goodness, and Truth’, as both our own ‘natural law’ and ‘the Law of Heaven’:

 More, Antidote, I.VII.1.  Whichcote, Aphorisms, No.33. 319  Burnet, Third Remarks, 63. 320  Whichcote, Works, vol.1, XIII, 212. 321  Whichcote, Aphorisms, No.129. 322  Ibid., No.523. 323  Taylor, Ductor, I.I.i.2. 324  Whichcote, Works, vol.3, LIV, 120. 317 318

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The Spirit of God in us, is a Living Law, Informing the Soul; not Constrained by a Law without, that enlivens not: but we act in the Power of an inward Principle of Life, which enables, inclines, facilitates, determines.325

To Hegemonikon Conscience not only helps to assert that reason is our own, as well as God’s, law, but, further, that it is as a result of being created rational agents that human beings are, returning to Roms.2:14–16, a ‘law to ourselves’. For Aquinas: law is in a person not only as in one that rules, but also, by participation, as in one that is ruled. In the latter way, each one is a law to himself, insofar as he shares the direction that he receives from one who rules him.326

Human beings are not ‘makers’ of the laws which divide ‘truth from falsehood, and good from evil’, but rather discover or ‘find them out’, both as belonging to God, and as being ‘promulgated’ to human beings by God’s having ‘instilled’ the natural law ‘into men’s minds so as to be known by…[them] naturally’.327 However, because this law, by being promulgated, imprints on human beings an action-directing principle,328 the law that we know naturally, according to our ‘natural inclination to act according to reason’,329 and as that by means of which we participate in the mind and eternal law of God, is also that by means of which we are made, and know ourselves to be, a law to ourselves. The meaning of Roms.2:14–16 is not that we are creators of the law of reason, but rather that, ‘by natural discourse attaining the knowledge thereof, [we can] seem the makers’ of that law.330 However, our appearance as ‘makers’ is still illustrative of our capacity for self-governance as  Whichcote, Aphorisms, No.625.  Aquinas, Summa, I–II, Q.90, A.3. 327  Ibid., I–II, Q.90, A.4. 328  Ibid., I–II, Q.93, A.5. 329  Ibid., I–II, Q.94, A.3. 330  Hooker, Laws, I.viii.3. 325 326

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rational agents, and our consequent responsibility to choose with, and thereby impose upon ourselves, the law of reason qua the law of our own nature and judgement: Man out of the way of right and reason, is a monster…God…made him to consist of such principles, that he was a law given to himself, and if he varied from this law of his creation, he must be self-condemned, and…unavoidably miserable.331

It is from remorse of conscience, ‘from men’s blaming, accusing, and condemning themselves’, that we know our actions are not ‘necessary’.332 Remorse of conscience indicates our ‘hegemonicon or self ruling power’,333 whereby our nature ‘has a self-forming and self-framing power by which every man is self-made into what he is, and accordingly deserves either praise or dispraise, reward or punishment’.334 Although Cudworth does not call conscience ‘hegemonicon’, he demonstrates why such an equivalence has been made by the Clarkeans, as well as Joseph Butler and Francis Hutcheson.335 ‘τό ήγεμονικον’ is ‘the  Whichcote, Works, vol.3, LXVI, 346–347.  Cudworth, Freewill, 2. 333  Ibid., 63. 334  Ibid., 36–37. 335  Hume, in a letter to Hutcheson, objected to what J.D. Filonowicz (Fellow-Feeling and the Moral Life (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 106) calls Hutcheson’s ‘Butlerized’ later conception of the ‘moral sense’: ‘You seem here to embrace Dr. Butler’s Opinion in his Sermons on human Nature; that our moral Sense has an Authority distinct from its Force and Durableness, & that because we always think it ought to prevail. But this is nothing but an Instinct or Principle, which approves of itself upon reflection; and that is common to all of them’ (‘To Francis Hutcheson, Jan. 1743’, Letter 19, in The Letters of David Hume, 2 vols., ed. J.Y.T.  Greig (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), vol.1, 47). However, Butler would not have agreed that approval ‘upon reflection’ is ‘common to all’ instincts or principles; instead he cites Epictetus on to hegemonikon to illustrate his understanding of ‘conscience or reflection’ and its relation to other instincts or principles (‘Of the Nature of Virtue’, in The Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature, in The Works of Joseph Butler, 2 Vols., ed. William Gladstone (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1897), vol.1, Dissertation II.1 fn.; Epictetus, Discourses, trans. W.A. Oldfather (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), I.1.1–12). Similarly, Hume’s letter concerns Hutcheson’s Institutio (Glasgow: 1742), where Hutcheson not only used ‘conscience or moral sense’ synonymously (Philosophiae Moralis Institutio Compendiaria, with A Short Introduction to Moral Philosophy, ed. L. Turco (Indianapolis, IA: Liberty Fund, 2007), I.I.xi), but also spoke in Butlerian terms of ‘conscience or moral sense’ as that which is ‘destined to govern’, ‘to regulate the highest powers of our nature’ (ibid., I.I.x) and ‘the whole of life’ (ibid., I.II.iv; I.I.x; I.I.xviii). 331 332

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ruling, governing, commanding, determining principle in us’;336 it is that through which the soul is ‘redoubled upon itself, having a power of intending or exerting itself more or less, in consideration and deliberation’.337 ‘τό ήγεμονικον’ is the soul’s ‘power over itself ’, precisely because it ‘is the soul as comprehending itself ’.338 Cudworth thus points to the affinity between to hegemonikon and conscience qua knowledge of the law of reason, according to which human beings are self-­directing (see Chap. 3): We are certain by an inward sense that we can reflect upon ourselves and consider ourselves, which is a reduplication of life in a higher degree…all cogitative beings…are self-conscious. Though conscience…be commonly attributed to rational beings only…as are sensible of the discrimen honestorum or turpium, when they judge of their own actions according to that rule, and either condemn or acquit themselves. Wherefore that which is thus conscious of itself, and reflexive upon itself, may also as well act upon itself…339 Hutcheson’s description of ‘our conscience, or moral sense’ (ibid., II.IV.iii) as ‘the governing power in man’ (ibid., I.I.xii) is consistent with his own description of conscience as to hegemonikon in De naturali hominum socialitate oratio inauguralis (Glasgow: 1730) (see: Inaugural Lecture on the Social Nature of Man in Francis Hutcheson: Two Texts on Human Nature, ed. T.  Mautner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 131–132); and recalls his translation of to hegemonikon in his edition of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations (London: 1742) (see: Francis Hutcheson and James Moor (trans.), The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, eds J. Moor and M. Silverthorne (Indianapolis, IA: Liberty Fund, 2008), II.2; IV.3; 29 fn.; V.11; VII.28; 55;VIII.48; IX.15). Scholars have not only agreed with Hume that Hutcheson’s later conception of the ‘moral sense’ was ‘Butlerized’, but that Butler’s influence can be discerned in Hutcheson’s use of to hegemonikon to describe ‘conscience or moral sense’; see: J.D. Bishop, ‘Moral Motivation and the Development of Francis Hutcheson’s Philosophy’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 57:2 (Apr., 1996), 277–295; Henning Jensen, Motivation and the Moral Sense in Francis Hutcheson’s Ethical Theory (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1971), 85; 107–109; Brown, Adam Smith’s Discourse, 57; Knud Haakonssen, ‘Natural Rights or Political Prudence? Francis Hutcheson on Toleration’, in Natural Law and Toleration in the Early Enlightenment, eds J.  Parkin and T.  Stanton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 190–191; M.L. Frazer, The Enlightenment of Sympathy: Justice and the Moral Sentiments in the Eighteenth Century and Today (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 31–32; Daniel Carey, ‘Francis Hutcheson’s Philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment: Reception, Reputation, and Legacy’, in Scottish Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century, eds A. Garrett and J.A. Harris (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), vol.1, 51–53. 336  Cudworth, Freewill, 31–32. 337  Ibid., 36. 338  Ibid., 36–47. 339  Ibid., 71.

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Cudworth introduces conscience into the language of ‘a kind of duplicity in the human soul’, where it is the power of reflection that enables ‘the soul to be as it were reduplicated upon itself, and so hegemonical over itself ’.340 Such an association between conscience and ‘dialogic scrutiny’341 is also to be found in Adam Smith’s and Kant’s use of conscience,342 as well as in Shaftesbury, who influenced Hutcheson, Butler, Smith and Kant.343 Shaftesbury discussed the ‘duplicity of the soul’ in the context of to hegemonikon and the Socratic daemon, which, as mentioned above, is another metaphor for conscience qua ‘the God, dwelling within us’.344 For Shaftesbury, ‘the wise Antients…by this Daemon-Companion’ were only declaring that: we had each of us a Patient in our-self…we were properly our own Subjects of Practice; and…we…became due Practitioners, when by virtue of an intimate Recess we…discover a certain Duplicity of Soul, and divide our-­ selves into two Partys [sic]”.345

It was within such a ‘Home Dialect of SOLILOQUY’ that the Stoic ‘RECOGNISE YOURSELF!’ means ‘Divide your-self’, so that, in

 Ibid., 45.  Brown, Adam Smith’s Discourse, 50. 342  For Smith’s use of ‘conscience, see Chap. 4; for Kant’s, see: The Metaphysics of Morals, trans. and ed., Mary Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 6:400–402; 6:438–441; Allen Wood, Kantian Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 182–192. 343  For Shaftesbury’s influence on such figures, see: W.R. Scott, Francis Hutcheson: His Life, Teaching and Position in the History of Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1900), 182–197; Thomas Fowler, Shaftesbury and Hutcheson (London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, 1882), 183–200; Filonowicz, Fellow-Feeling, 65–68; 91–119; Rivers, Reason, Grace, vol.2, 154–226; 236–237; Stephen, English Thought, vol.2, IX.47–64; Michael Gill, The British Moralists and the Birth of Secular Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 139–145; Brown, Adam Smith’s Discourse, 50–52; Jensen, Moral Sense, 35–39; Lewis White Beck, Early German Philosophy: Kant and His Predecessors (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1969), 329–332; David Marshall, ‘Adam Smith and the Theatricality of Moral Sentiments’, Critical Inquiry, 10:4 (June, 1984), 612, fn14. 344  Whichcote, Aphorisms, No.1058. 345  Shaftesbury, Soliloquy, 169. 340 341

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establishing the subordinacy of what was base and ‘servile’ within us, we could actually ‘make Us agree with our-selves, and be of a piece within’.346 Shaftesbury’s use of daemon and Cudworth’s use of hegemonicon help to show, not only why conscience should gather such metaphors, but what conscience and its metaphors are intended to assert about rational human agency itself: that the soul of man hath a reciprocal energy upon itself, or of acting upon itself…it is not merely passive to that which it receives from God…[but has] a power of being a [‘co-worker’] with God…347

Reason and conscience may be sparks of the divine, but we do not possess them as something alien from ourselves. Further, those ends to which reason and conscience direct us are not alien to us, nor attained without reflective effort and choice. The distinguishing feature of conscience is not that it is simply our own or God’s judgement, or merely our awareness of a realm of normative fact. It is a ‘knowing together’ with God and with ourselves, of God and of ourselves, of that which is of God and of ourselves, namely the law of reason itself.

1.10  Conclusion It follows from the above, that, within the tradition or culture of recta ratio, the category of conscience carried some significant metaphysical baggage. When reason is recta ratio, reason is not merely human demonstrative reasoning; it is the law of God’s nature, of human nature, and of the created universe itself. And, conscience is a rational, intuitive and reflective faculty, through which we experience reason qua recta ratio, and are aware (see Chap. 2) of corresponding ‘tripartite’ moral duties to ourselves, to others, and to God, enjoined by the law of reason itself. Thus, when reason is recta ratio, conscience has multiple referents (as I term them: see Chap. 5): conscience is that through which human beings  Ibid., 169–170.  Cudworth, Freewill, 46.

346 347

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experience the moral law as right in itself according to the law of reason; however, because the law of reason is an attribute of God, conscience is that through which we experience the moral law as right according to the judgment and will of God. Likewise, because reason is the law of our own minds, it is through conscience that we experience the moral law as right according to our own nature and judgement as rational creatures made by God. In the rest of this book, I shall suggest that an understanding of conscience, with its referents, in the context of recta ratio, not only helps us to respond to criticisms of the Clarkeans, but to reflect further on their role in the secularisation of conscience and the naturalisation of reason, and so the Enlightenment’s mixed legacy.

2 Conscience, Normativity, and Rational Intuition

2.1  Introduction Clarkean ethical rationalism (CER) is best known for its use of the analogies of sight and mathematics. Not only do we self-evidently ‘see’ that which is the right thing to do with the immediacy and certainty with which we know 2 + 2 = 4, but to mistake the rightness of actions or principles is the same as mistaking a basic mathematical sum.1 Further, within their use of the analogies of sight and mathematics, the Clarkeans maintained that perception of rightness is a sufficient motivation for the performance of an act of rightness, and that the only moral motivation for an act of intrinsic rightness is that it is right in itself. The Clarkeans distinguished between our ‘original obligation’ and ‘additional motives’ or ‘obligations’2 for moral action:

 See: Clarke, Discourse, 31–32; 42; 50; 57–58; Balguy, TFMG, 70; 75; TFMG.II, 110; 116; 155; Price, Review, ed. Raphael, 44–45; 50; 53; 66–67; 168–169; 208; 233–234. 2  See, as well as Clarke below: Balguy, TFMG, 91 and Second Letter, 339; Price, Review, ed. Raphael, 118; 145; 196 and Review, 2nd edn, 178. 1

© The Author(s) 2020 D. Mills Daniel, Ethical Rationalism and Secularisation in the British Enlightenment, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-52203-2_2

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however…absolutely necessary to the Government of frail and fallible Creatures…[is ‘The Dread of superior Power and Authority, and the Sanction of Rewards and Punishments’, it] is yet really…only a secondary…Obligation, or Inforcement [sic] of the first. The original Obligation…is the eternal Reason of Things…So far…as Men are conscious of what is right and wrong, so far they Are under an Obligation to act accordingly; And consequently That eternal Rule of Right…’tis evident Ought as indispensably to govern Mens [sic] Actions, as it Cannot but necessarily determine their Assent.3 these eternal and necessary Differences of Things make it fit and reasonable for Creatures so to act; they cause it to be their Duty…separate from the Consideration of these Rules being the…Command of God; and…antecedent to any…personal Advantage…Reward or Punishment…annexed…by natural Consequence, or…positive Appointment, to the Practising or Neglecting of those Rules.4

Our ‘original obligation’ is to do what is right because it is right in itself; however, we have ‘additional motives’ or ‘obligations’, including individual happiness and divine command, which must not be our primary motivations. For Price, we cannot be ‘conscious that an action is fit to be done’ and ‘remain uninfluenced, or want a motive to action’,5 but the impressions of pleasure and pain, which ‘generally attend our perceptions of virtue and vice’, are merely their ‘effects and concomitants’.6 Additional motives, like rewards and punishments, ‘do not make…[moral obligation], but enforce it.7 While we have an ‘unavoidable consciousness of rectitude in relieving misery, in promoting happiness, and in every office of love and good-will to others’, it is the awareness of rectitude that ‘consecrates kindness and humanity, and exalts them into virtues’.8 Only when an ‘agent’ acts from ‘consciousness of rectitude’ can he ‘be justly denominated virtuous’.9  Clarke, Discourse, 43–44.  Ibid., 29. 5  Price, Review, 315. 6  Ibid., 63. 7  Ibid., 175. 8  Ibid., 332. 9  Ibid., 310. 3 4

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Balguy, discussing our ‘original obligation’ and ‘additional motives’, refers to the former as our ‘internal’ ‘Reason’, ‘Motive’ and ‘Obligation’, and to the latter as our ‘external’ one:10 Our Approbation of Virtue is…the necessary Effect of its essential Worth. As we are compelled to assent to whatever appears true, so we are forced to approve whatever appears right…this necessity is not external. It flows directly from the intrinsick Excellence…of the Thing approved.11

Balguy agreed with Clarke that:12 The intrinsick Goodness of such Actions is an irresistible Recommendation to our Minds and Judgements, and…is a perpetual Reason for the Concurrence of our Wills.13

In response to Hutcheson’s discussion of ‘justifying’ and ‘exciting reasons’ (see below), Balguy and Price contended, ‘“that the perception of right and wrong does excite to action, and is alone a sufficient principle of action”’:14 The End of the Speculatist is Truth…The End of the Moralist is Rectitude, whether it conduce to his Interest…moral Good is an End, an ultimate End of one kind, as natural Good is of another…Pleasure may be the Consequence or Appendage of Virtue…it is not the End of a moral Agent…but Virtue alone, antecedent to all Considerations, and abstracted from every natural Good.15

 See: Balguy, TFMG, 57; 68; 84; 96; TFMG.II, 120; 147; 187–188; LT, 374–375; 389; 394; 396.  Balguy, TFMG.II, 178. 12  ‘originally and in Reality, ’tis as natural and (morally speaking) necessary, that the Will should be determined in every Action by the Reason of the Thing, and the Right of the Case; as ’tis natural and (absolutely speaking) necessary, that the Understanding should submit to a demonstrated Truth’ (Clarke, Discourse, 40). 13  Balguy, TFMG.II, 117. 14  Price, Review, 313. 15  Balguy, TFMG, 84. 10 11

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The first part of this chapter explores criticisms of CER related to their use of the analogies of sight and mathematics and distinction between ‘original obligation’ and ‘additional motives’. Part 2 responds to those criticisms, aiming to refine our approach to central aspects of CER; a process that will be continued in Chap. 3.

Part 1 2.2  C  riticisms of Clarkean Ethical Rationalism: Francis Hutcheson and David Hume The most significant criticisms of CER are Francis Hutcheson’s and David Hume’s, which have informed critical responses to CER, and rational intuitionism more generally. Limitations of space do not permit a full discussion of Hutcheson’s and Hume’s criticisms. On the one hand, that is not essential: Hume’s ‘is/ought gap’, and contention that ‘Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions’,16 are well-known, while the differences between Hutcheson’s and Hume’s sentimentalism and CER are frequently reviewed.17 On the other hand, while Hume’s and Hutcheson’s criticisms are well-­ known, it has been questioned whether what we call ‘Humean’ and ‘Hutchesonian’ represents the historical Hutcheson and Hume. For example, with respect to Hutcheson, it is questioned whether his theory of a moral sense changes over time; becomes more rationalist than sentimentalist; and, whether, in some iterations, it was intended to supply

 David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature: Being An Attempt to introduce the experimental Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects (London: 173–1470), 3.1.2.27; 2.3.3.4. Hume Texts Online. Cf. David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, eds David Fate Norton and Mary J. Norton (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). 17  See works cited in note 19–20 and: D.D. Raphael, The Moral Sense (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1947), passim; Rachel Kydd, Reason and Conduct in Hume’s Treatise (New York, NY: Russell & Russell, 1964), 1–98; Stanley Tweyman, Reason and Conduct in Hume and His Predecessors (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1974), passim; Gill, British Moralists, 156–180; 194–197; 201–213; 235–269; Sophie Botros, Hume, Reason and Morality: A Legacy of Contradiction (London: Routledge, 2006), 61–94; Rivers, River, Grace, vol.2, 153–237; Beiser, Sovereignty, 266–322; William Blackstone, Francis Hutcheson and Contemporary Ethical Theory (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1965), 41–65. 16

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both justifying and exciting reasons (see below).18 Perhaps even more significantly, with regard to Hume, it is debated whether he really was a noncognitivist and proponent of the Humean Theory of Motivation (HTM) named after him. The debate over Hume raises central issues about the (in)famous is/ought passage itself: does it simply identify a logical flaw (what is not in the premises cannot be in the conclusion) or is it a statement of the fact/value distinction? And, even if it is the latter, how should we interpret Hume’s understanding of this distinction? On the normative side, is Hume saying in this passage, consistent with HTM, that all beliefs by themselves are motivationally inert, or just some beliefs?19 On the metaethical side, is he saying that values are not facts (expressivism), or, rather, that although facts do not entail values, values can be inferred from certain kinds of facts, like facts about an individual’s own affective state (subjectivism) or universal human nature (natural law)? Given this range of options it is hardly a surprise that it has been doubted not only whether Hume is a proponent of HTM, but whether it is more appropriate to interpret Hume and Hutcheson as either subjectivists, expressivists, or realists.20  See discussion of Hutcheson’s use of to hegemonikon in Chap. 1, note 335, and works cited in notes 19–20 below. 19  See: Elijah Millgram, ‘Was Hume a Humean?’, Hume Studies, 21:1 (April 1995), 75–93; Elizabeth S.  Radcliffe, ‘Kantian Tunes on a Humean Instrument: Why Hume Is Not Really a Skeptic about Practical Reasoning’, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 27:2 (June 1997), 247–270; Christine Korsgaard, ‘Skepticism about Practical Reason’, in Internal Reasons, eds K. Setiya and H. Paakkunainen (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012); Rachel Cohon, Hume’s Morality: Feeling and Fabrication (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008); Paul Guyer, Knowledge, Reason, and Taste (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008), Ch.4; Henry E. Allison, Custom and Reason in Hume (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), Chs. 5 and 8. 20  See: Julian Dodd and Suzanne Stern-Gillet, ‘The Is/Ought Gap, the Fact/Value Distinction and the Naturalistic Fallacy’, Dialogue, 34:4 (1995), 727–746; W.D.  Hudson (ed.), The Is/Ought Question (London: Macmillan, 1969), passim; William Frankena, ‘Hutcheson’s Moral Sense Theory’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 16:3 (June, 1955), 356–375; Kenneth Wrinkler, ‘Hutcheson’s Alleged Realism’, Journal of the History of Philosophy, 23:2 (April, 1985), 179–194; David Fate Norton, ‘Hutcheson’s Moral Realism’, Journal of the History of Philosophy, 23:3 (July, 1985), 397–418; Pauline Westerman, ‘Hume and the Natural Lawyers: A Change of Landscape’, in Hume and Hume’s Connexions, eds M.A. Stewart and J.P. Wright (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995), 83–104; Knud Haakonssen, ‘Natural Law and Moral Realism: The Scottish Synthesis’, in Studies in the Philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment, ed. M.A.  Stewart (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), 61–85 and Knud Haakonssen, Natural Law and Moral Philosophy: From Grotius to the Scottish Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 63–75; James Moore, ‘Hume and Hutcheson’, in Hume’s Connexions, 23–57; J.L. Mackie, 18

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It is simply not possible to enter, let alone settle, such debates about the historical Hume and Hutcheson here. However, it is not necessary to do so. First, no one engaged in these debates argues that Hume is an ethical rationalist, and certainly not one in the Clarkean mould; even Rachel Cohon, who finds room for some form of cognitivism in Hume, makes that explicit.21 Whatever role(s) for reason Hume (and Hutcheson)22 may or may not have found in their ethical theories, Clarkean reason most definitely failed its audition for the part (see below and Chap. 4). Second, it is fairly clear, as we shall see in Chap. 4, that the is/ought passage contains a rebuff to Clarke, in the same way that Hutcheson’s Illustrations on the Moral Sense did. Thus, the passage does seem to do more than merely identify a logical flaw; the fact that rationalists, like the Clarkeans, are jumping from is to ought illustrates, as Hume puts it in the is/ought passage itself, that ‘the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceived by reason’.23 Whatever one makes of the is/ought passage taken by itself, reading it as part of a wider criticism of Clarkean-esque rationalists for failing to differentiate adequately between moral norms and mathematical or theoretical facts is consistent with the language of the passage, and related parts of the Treatise and second Enquiry (see below). Third, the use of Hume and Hutcheson in this chapter and Chaps. 3 and 4 follows that of Locke, Hobbes, Kant, and Bentham in the previous one. That is, while it is possible to point to the debate about whether particular interpretations are correct, what we are interested in here is Hume’s Moral Theory (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980), 51–75; Daniel Carey, Locke, Shaftesbury, and Hutcheson: Contesting Diversity in the Enlightenment and Beyond (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 150–172 Joseph Duke Filonowicz, Fellow-Feeling and the Moral Life (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 124–160. 21  Cohon, Hume’s Morality, 12–13. 22  For the debate about whether (and, if so, how) reason functions in Hutcheson and Hume, see notes 19–20 above and to hegemonikon in Chap. 1. 23  Hume, Treatise, 3.1.2.27. For Hutcheson’s identification of an is/ought gap, in stated opposition to Clarke, see, for example: Francis Hutcheson, An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections, with Illustrations on the Moral Sense, ed. A Garrett (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, 2002), 142; 180, where the latter reference also includes the parallel to Hume’s more famous remark: “’Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger” (Treatise, 2.3.3.6).

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precisely how these figures have been interpreted (rightly or wrongly) as part of criticising CER in particular, and Enlightenment rationalism in general. While noting where criticisms of Hutcheson and Hume are debated, in Chap. 4 I am principally interested in how Scottish Calvinists represented Hutchesonian and Humean moral theory to emphasise its deficiencies (and secularising consequences) when compared to ethical rationalism. In this chapter, I am principally interested in how the ‘traditional’ Hutchesonian and Humean criticisms (not least is/ought gap qua fact/value distinction) have underpinned contemporary Humean and neo-Kantian criticisms of rational intuitionism. If it is the case that Hume and Hutcheson have been used (and/or abused) by both critics and supporters, to the extent that the ‘real’ Hume and Hutcheson disappear behind what we (sometimes misleadingly) call ‘Humean’ and ‘Hutchesonian’, that does not change how they have been used to criticise the Clarkeans. The larger (and largely open) question of whether, and, if so, how, Hume is Humean, or Hutcheson Hutchesonian, is for books focused on what is Humean or Hutchesonian rather than, as here, what is Clarkean. Thus, the discussion of Hutcheson and Hume below considers what are traditionally regarded as their central criticisms of CER, while illustrating their view that the sentimentalist ‘moral sense’ supplied the live intuitional bedrock for moral action in a way that CER’s mathematical reason did not. As a result, it will be possible to appreciate how and why Hutcheson and Hume have been used by other critics of CER (below), and how and why the Clarkeans in turn criticised Hutcheson and Hume (Chaps. 3 and 4).

Hutcheson’s Moral Sense Following Locke, Hutcheson maintained that ‘simple Ideas’ are perceived, and received, through the senses, with perceptions being both ‘pleasant, and…painful’.24 The ‘Different Senses’ are the ‘Powers of receiving…different Perceptions’, with the ‘Ideas’ that are ‘rais’d in the  Francis Hutcheson, An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue in Two Treatises, ed. W. Leidhold. rvsd edn (Indianopolis, IA: Liberty Fund, 2008), I.I.iv; vi. 24

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Mind’ by ‘external Objects…are call’d Sensations’:25 ‘we may call “every Determination of our Minds to receive Ideas independently on our Will, and to have Perceptions of Pleasure and Pain, A SENSE’.26 He reasoned that, as we perceive other qualities besides colour and sound, we have ‘internal’ senses, as well as those of ‘Seeing and Hearing’. These are ‘suited’ to the various objects we experience, and ‘by which we receive either Pleasure or Pain’. He admitted the difficulty of assigning ‘accurate Divisions on such Subjects’; a definitive list of those senses additional to the external senses, and the ‘Class of Perceptions’ to which they correspond, may not be achievable.27 As well as such senses as those of ‘Beauty and Harmony’;28 and a ‘Sense of Honour’; he also suggested a ‘Moral Sense’:29 ‘that Determination [‘of our Mind’30] to be pleas’d with the Contemplation of those Affections, Actions, or Characters of rational agents, which we call virtuous’.31 For Hutcheson, virtue ‘consists in Benevolence’,32 which is ‘the universal Foundation of this moral Sense’.33 It can be more particularly defined as our mind’s determination, ‘to approve every kind affection…all publickly useful Actions…flow from such Affections, without…a view to…private Happiness’.34

Justifying and Exciting Reasons Hutcheson hoped that his moral sense theory would give a better account of normativity than CER.  He distinguished ‘justifying’ from ‘exciting’ reasons, emphasising the live intuitional bedrock of the natural human instinct of benevolence and the moral sense. He proposed other ‘Classes of Affections’, along with benevolence, under which ‘All Affections are  Ibid., I.I.i–ii.  Hutcheson, Essay, 4. 27  Ibid., 4–6. 28  Hutcheson, Inquiry, I.I.xv. 29  Hutcheson, Essay, 6–7. 30  Ibid., 248. 31  Hutcheson, Inquiry, Preface, 9. 32  Hutcheson, Essay, 116. 33  Hutcheson, Inquiry, II.IV.i. 34  Ibid., II.Introduction. 25 26

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included; [such that] no end can be previous to them’, not least ‘Self-­ Love’.35 But, why do we regard as moral actions we are excited to perform from benevolence, but not those we perform from self-love? Hutcheson maintained that God created us with a moral sense,36 which determines our perception of moral qualities in certain ‘Objects and ‘Events’, and our approval of acts of disinterested benevolence as moral. This God-­given moral sense enables us to perceive moral qualities as being distinct from self-love.37 It supplies the ‘justifying reason’ for our pursuit of others’ happiness, by approving as moral that ultimate end, to which natural affection excites us. As the moral sense is our mind’s determination to approve benevolence, the very name of which ‘excludes Self-Interest’,38 it follows that, since all virtue is ‘Affections [for others], or Actions consequent upon them…Virtue is not pursued from…Self-love….39 For Hutcheson, our having a ‘Sense of Good distinct from Advantage’40 is shown by our never calling anyone benevolent who, though ‘useful to others’, ‘only intends his own Interest’.41 If our perceptions of moral good and evil were not ‘different from those of natural Good, or Advantage’, our admiration of a ‘fruitful Field’ would be the same as that for ‘a generous Friend…for both are…advantageous to us’.42 We do not approve of actions as moral because they are accompanied by the pleasurable sensation of approval,43 just as the intention to obtain the ‘sensible sensation’44 of moral ‘Self-Approbation’45 is not what excites us to

 Ibid., 218.  Ibid., 245–246. 37  Hutcheson, Inquiry, II.I.i; v. 38  Ibid., II.II.iii. 39  Ibid., II.II.ii. 40  Ibid., II.I.i. 41  Ibid., II.II.iii. 42  Ibid., II.I.i. 43  ‘When we are contemplating Actions, we do not chuse to approve, because Approbation is pleasant: otherwise we would always approve, and never condemn any Action; because this is some way uneasy. Approbation is plainly a Perception arising without previous Volition, or Choice of it, because of any concomitant Pleasure’ (Hutcheson, Essay, 248). 44  Hutcheson, Inquiry, II.Introduction. 45  Hutcheson, Essay, 17–20. 35 36

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disinterested moral actions.46 It is our moral sense’s approval of moral acts qua acts of disinterested benevolence that makes publicly useful actions ‘grateful to the Agent’,47 and ‘represents Virtue as the greatest Happiness to the Person possessed of it’.48 The Clarkeans used rational conscience to explain self-­approbation and condemnation; Hutcheson thought that the moral sense better explained why ‘Moral Perceptions arise in us as necessarily’,49 and why, on ‘apprehending good or evil’, we experience ‘agreeable Sensation’, when the object is good and ‘uneasy Sensation, when it is evil’.50 This is why our own and others’ ‘Temper’ will strike our moral sense as ‘lovely or deformed, and will be the Occasion…of Pleasure or Uneasiness’:51 this internal Sense…toward Benevolence, will…influence our Actions, or…make us very uneasy…we shall be conscious that we are in a base unhappy State, even without considering any Law whatsoever, or any external Advantages lost, or Disadvantages impending…52

With respect to CER, Hutcheson was not clear whether the common expression, ‘Reasonableness in an Action’, denoted ‘the Motive to Election [exciting reason], or the Quality determining Approbation [justifying reason]’.53 If it denoted the former, the difficulty for CER was that ‘“no Reason can excite to Action previously to some End, and…no End can be proposed without some Instinct or Affection”’:54 As if…Reason, or the Knowledge of the Relations of things, could excite to Action when we proposed no End, or as if Ends could be intended without Desire or Affection.55  Inquiry, II.Introduction.  Hutcheson, Essay, 236. 48  Ibid., 72. 49  Ibid., 4. 50  Ibid., 7. 51  Ibid., 106. 52  Hutcheson, Inquiry, II.VII.i. 53  Hutcheson, Essay, 215. 54  Ibid., 291. 55  Ibid., 219. 46 47

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Anticipating Hume’s famous criticisms of ethical rationalism, Hutcheson maintained that, as reason is ‘understood to denote our Power of finding out true Propositions, Reasonableness must denote the same thing, with Conformity to true Propositions, or to Truth’, but as: Whatever attribute can be ascribed to a generous kind Action, the contrary Attribute may…be ascribed to a selfish cruel Action…Conformity [to truth] cannot make a Difference among Actions, or recommend one more than another either to Election or Approbation, since any Man may make as many Truths about Villany [sic], as about Heroism…56

To ‘say’ that ‘Merit…attends Actions to which we are excited by Reason alone’57 must mean that actions conforming to reason ‘shews a Quality in the Action, exciting the Agent to do it’.58 Hutcheson objected to the idea that Clarkean ‘fittingness’ referred to this ‘exciting quality’ in an action, not least because it relied upon an unsatisfactory circularity. For Hutcheson, investigation of the basis on which particular actions are considered ‘fitting’ would show that it is not the action’s ‘fittingness’ that explains its exciting quality. If we ask, for example, for the reason that excites men to obey God, and the answer is that it is ‘fit’ to do what God commands because he ‘is our Benefactor’, we may then ask, ‘what Reason excites to concur with Benefactors?’.59 To a further answer of ‘fittingness’, we may respond with the question why we are excited to perform as moral this particular act of ‘fittingness’: A Sword…bear[s] the same Relation to the Body of an Hero…[as] to a Robber. The killing of either is equally agreeable to these Relations, but not equally good in a moral Sense; Without presupposing Affections…[the] Knowledge [‘of these Relations’] will not excite to one Action rather than another; nor without a moral Sense will it make us approve any Action more than its contrary.60  Ibid., 215.  Ibid., 290. 58  Ibid., 217. 59  Ibid., 224. 60  Ibid., 253–254. 56 57

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We can only understand the ‘exciting Reasons’ for actions, when we suppose ‘Affections Instincts or Desires…implanted in our Nature’,61 because ‘the Reasons moving to Election’ are those showing the ‘Tendency of an Action to gratify some Affection in the Agent’.62 ‘Benevolence towards others’ lies at the live intuitional bedrock of actions we approve as moral. No ‘end can be previous to’ it; this natural affection of benevolence makes human beings’ general happiness an ‘ultimate End’,63 causing us to prefer actions that promote it to others: Without…[publick Affections] this Truth, “that an hundred Felicities is a greater Sum than one Felicity,” will no more excite to study the Happiness of the Hundred, than this Truth, “an hundred Stones are greater than one,” will excite a Man, who has no desire of Heaps, to cast them together.64

Hume’s Moral Sentiment Hume maintained that, as (a) an active principle ‘can never be founded on an inactive’,65 and (b) reason is simply ‘the discovery of truth or falsehood’,66 then (c) reason cannot ‘prevent or produce any action by contradicting or approving of it’.67 And as (d) morality influences ‘actions and affections’,68 and is ‘practical’, not ‘speculative’,69 it follows that (e) ‘approbation of moral qualities most certainly is not derived from reason’, proceeding ‘entirely from a moral taste’.70 For Hume, ‘the ultimate ends of human actions’ commend themselves to ‘the sentiments and affections of mankind’, and can never be ‘accounted for by reason’. When confronted with such ‘ultimate ends’ as avoidance of  Ibid., 226.  Ibid., 249. 63  Ibid., 221. 64  Ibid., 225–226. 65  Hume, Treatise, 3.11.7. 66  Ibid., 3.1.1.9. 67  Ibid., 3.1.1.10. 68  Ibid., 3.1.1.6. 69  Ibid., 3.1.1.5. 70  Ibid., 3.3.1.15. 61 62

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pain and pursuit of pleasure, it is absurd to ask for a reason why an individual ‘hates pain’ or pursues ‘pleasure’: ’Tis impossible there can be a Progress in infinitum; and that one Thing can always be the Reason, why another is desir’d. Something must be desirable on its own Account, and because of its immediate…Agreement with human Sentiment or Affection.71

In moral questions, we need not go beyond the simple fact ‘that every Thing, which contributes to the Happiness of Society, recommends itself directly to our Approbation and Good-will’:72 ’Tis needless to push our Researches so far as to ask, why we have…Fellow-­ feeling with others….We must stop somewhere in our Examination of Causes…there are, in every Science, some general Principles, beyond which we cannot hope to find any Principle more general.73

At the live intuitional bedrock lies ‘the great Secret of moral distinctions’,74 a ‘Sentiment, common to all Mankind’, which the concept of morality implies; this commends ‘the same Object to general Approbation’, and gives everyone the ‘same Opinion’ about it:75 ‘Whatever Conduct gains my Approbation, by touching my Humanity, procures also the Applause of all Mankind, by affecting the same Principle in them’.76 We approve as moral that which ‘contributes’ to others’ happiness, because ‘the End, which they have a Tendency to promote, must be…agreeable to us, and take hold of some natural Affection’.77 In our ‘preference’ for what is useful to public good, a sentiment ‘display[s] itself ’, and ‘This Sentiment can  David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (London: 1751), 210 (cf. An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, in Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding and Concerning the Principles of Morals, eds L.A.  Selby-Bigge, with P.H.  Nidditch (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975), Appendix I.v.244. 72  Ibid., 84 (cf. Selby-Bigge, V.II.178). 73  Ibid., 84, fn (cf. Selby-Bigge, V.II.178 fn.) 74  Ibid., 82 (cf. Selby-Bigge, V.I.177). 75  Ibid., 176–177 (cf. Selby-Bigge, IX.I.221). 76  Ibid., 180 (cf. Selby-Bigge, IX.I.223). 77  Ibid., 77 (cf. Selby-Bigge, V.I.173). 71

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be no other than a Feeling for the Happiness of Mankind, and a Resentment of their Misery’.78 This sentiment of ‘warm Concern for the Interests of our Species is attended with a delicate Feeling of all moral Distinctions’ so that anyone ‘unaffected with the Images of human Happiness or Misery…must be equally indifferent to the Images of Vice and Virtue’.79 For Hume, any unaffected individual has ‘Sentiments…directly opposite to those, which prevail in the human Species’,80 because, ‘While the human Heart is compounded of the same Elements as at present, it will never be altogether indifferent to the Good of Mankind’.81 Appreciating that morality is ‘more properly felt than judg’d of ’82 is the only way to safeguard the fact that moral actions and feelings of moral praise concern something constitutive of human nature, which is original and universal, personal and overriding, and affects anyone with ‘a human heart’.83 The is of reason makes the moral something speculative and placed at a distance, just as the Clarkean talk of relations is dry, ‘abstract’84 ‘Metaphysics’.85 For Hume, through the live intuitional bedrock of moral sentiment, moral approval is always the intimate ought of our own sentiments: Thus the distinct Boundaries and Offices of Reason and Taste are easily ascertain’d. The former conveys the Knowledge of Truth and Falsehood: The latter gives the Sentiment of Beauty and Deformity, Vice and Virtue…one discovers Objects, as they really stand in Nature…The other has a productive Faculty… gilding…natural Objects with the Colours, borrow’d from internal Sentiment…Reason, being cool and disengag’d, is no Motive to Action, and directs only the Impulse, receiv’d from Appetite

 Ibid., 199 (cf. Selby-Bigge, Appendix.I.235).  Ibid., 94 (cf. Selby-Bigge, V.II.183). 80  Ibid., 95 (cf. Selby-Bigge, V.II.184. 81  Ibid., 178 (cf. Selby-Bigge, IX.I.222). 82  Treatise, 3.1.2.1. 83  Enquiry, 94 (cf. Selby-Bigge, V.II.183. 84  Ibid., 209 (cf. Selby-Bigge, Appendix.I.iii.242). 85  Ibid., 203–204 (cf. Selby-Bigge, Appendix.I.i.239). 78 79

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or Inclination…Taste, as it gives Pleasure or Pain…becomes a Motive to Action, and is the first Spring or Impulse to Desire and Volition.86

2.3  C  ontemporary Humean and Kantian Criticisms Given the admiration Hutcheson and Hume had for Shaftesbury,87 it is perhaps no surprise that we should find Shaftesburian elements in their criticisms of CER; like Shaftesbury in the previous century (see Chap. 1), they are confronting a rationalism which, so far as they are concerned, makes a thinned out reason qua ratiocination the source of moral knowledge and moral motivation. In turn, contemporary critics have often followed Hutcheson and Hume in arguing that, by making ethics a study of perceptible moral facts somehow analogous with mathematical facts, the Clarkeans make morality dry and theoretical. Indeed, we can see why John Finnis and Frederick Beiser invoked Hume’s is/ought gap when criticising the Clarkeans; and why Clarkean rational intuitionism often appears to exemplify the criticisms Alastair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, Jonathan Haidt, Stanley Hauerwas, and Christian Smith have for Enlightenment rationalism itself.88 Representing the ‘traditional’ interpretation of the is/ought gap, G.J. Warnock and P.H. Nowell-Smith view it as (in Max Black’s famous phrase) a ‘guillotine’ for any kind of rational intuitionism. If morality is about intuiting objective moral facts, that are factual in the same way as 2 + 2 = 4, than those is theoretical facts are always potentially uninteresting; it is not clear ‘what such pieces of information [as moral facts], even if recognised to be true, have to do with our conduct’,89 so that from the  Ibid., 211 (cf. Selby-Bigge, Appendix.Iv.246).  For Shaftesbury’s influence on Hutcheson’s theory of a moral sense, to hegemonikon in Chap. 1; for Hume and Shaftesbury, see: Isabel Rivers, Reason, Grace and Sentiment: A Study of the Language of Religion and Ethics in England, 1660–1780, 2 Vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), vol.2, Ch.4; Michael B. Gill, The British Moralists and the Birth of Secular Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), Ch.18; James A.  Harris, Hume: An Intellectual Biography (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), Ch.1. For Hume, Shaftesbury, with Locke, Mandeville, Butler, and Hutcheson, was one of those ‘late philosophers in England, who have begun to put the science of man on a new footing’. 88  See Chap. 1 for a discussion of all these figures. 89  G.J. Warnock, Contemporary Moral Philosophy (London: Macmillan, 1967), 15. 86 87

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statement that any moral qua mathematical facts exist, ‘no conclusions follow about what I ought to do’:90 I might admit that it is wrong to harm an innocent person in the same way that the angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees, but does this mean I can be as uninterested in harming innocent people as I am in triangles? In Chap. 1, we saw that a central criticism of Enlightenment rationalism is that it rests on the ‘delusion’ or ‘myth’ that all of human life can be reduced to a theoretical science, ‘neat’ and universal like mathematics. Such a ‘myth’ not only cuts us off from (in Haidt’s phrase) the ‘messier’91 and contingent aspects of human life (such as culture, tradition, and feeling), it is found to be a ‘myth’ precisely because morals and politics are practical subjects engaged with the human condition, not theoretical subjects pursed at the level of abstract principles. Similarly, for Albert Schwietzer (as for Finnis and Beiser), the mistake of ‘Intellectualists and Intuitionists’, like the Clarkeans, was that they focused on ‘logical distinctions’, ‘a lifeless and semi-scholastic philosophising’, rather than ‘investigating in a practical fashion the nature of man’. Their insistence that we ‘see’ or ‘intuit’ moral qua mathematical facts could not explain what made those facts normative, and so could not capture ‘the great enthusiastic driving force’ of an ethic like Hutcheson’s or Hume’s utilitarianism.92

Moral Fetishism Stephen Darwall has suggested ‘judgement externalism’ as a way around Humean criticisms for rational intuitionism;93 a way of explaining why the intuition of objective moral truth has, as it were, normative purchase. While Hutcheson and Hume emphasised the live intuitional bedrock of the moral sense, for Darwall, ‘judgement externalists’ rely upon an antecedent desire to do what is right because it is right; such a desire would satisfy a Humean Theory of Motivation by connecting our rational  P.H. Nowell-Smith, Ethics (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1954), 41.  Indeed, we should note that, when making this remark, Haidt is celebrating the ‘messy’ pluralism of Hume’s sentimentalism over the monism of Bentham’s and Kant’s ‘single’-minded rationalism (see Chap. 1). 92  Albert Schweitzer, Civilization and Ethics, trans. C.T. Campion, and C.E.B. Russell (London: Unwin Books, 1961), 85–87. 93  Stephen Darwall, ‘Ethical Intuitionism and the Motivation Problem’, in Philip Stratton-Lake (ed.), Ethical Intuitionism: Re-evaluations (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2002), 248–270. 90 91

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intuition of intrinsic rightness with a desire to do what we perceive to be intrinsically right. However, while judgement externalism may help a rational intuitionist over the is/ought gap, it has been called a form of ‘moral’ ‘fetish’, as good people no longer ‘care non-derivatively’ about what they think is the right thing to do.94 By referring back to a ‘basic non-derivative concern de dicto to do the right thing’, ‘judgement externalism’ means that good people do not act honestly or help another person from a ‘direct concern’ for honesty or for another’s good, but from a generic desire to do what they judge to be the right, whatever that happens to be.95 The Clarkeans were not ‘judgement externalists’; as Balguy makes clear,96 they would have rejected it as Hutchesonian. For them, there is no antecedent desire to do what is right because it is right; rather our desire to do what is right follows from our ‘seeing’ intrinsic rightness. Nonetheless, there are still difficulties for the Clarkeans related to the accusation of ‘moral fetishism’, where the fetishism is about ‘fittingness’. CER gives the impression that we are concerned not with what is right in itself, but simply with the fact that it is right in itself. As such they seem to confirm D.H. Monro’s point that ‘objectivist’ talk of moral facts ends up condemning ‘a man for making an intellectual error’.97 In the same way, that they confirm Stephen Toulmin’s observation (made using the Clarkean expression ‘fittingness’), that the ‘objective doctrine’ in ethics ‘misrepresent[s] our concept of “goodness”’.98 In objectivism, a moral person is no longer someone with an immediate, even innocent, concern for being kind or thoughtful; it is someone with a concern for this  Michael Smith, The Moral Problem (Oxford: Blackwell, 1994), 75.  Ibid., 76. 96  ‘moral Agents…must have, an Affection for Virtue. But why must this Affection be an Instinct? Whatever Reasons there may be for an instinctive Benevolence, I can see none for an instinctive Love of Virtue…We find our Minds necessarily determined in favour of Virtue. But I presume such a Determination is not antecedent, but consequent to our Perceptions of this amiable Object’ (Balguy, TFMG, 92). 97  D.H. Monro, Empiricism and Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967), 120; see also: Hutcheson, An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections, with Illustrations on the Moral Sense, ed. Aaron Garrett (Indianapolis, IA: Liberty Fund, Inc., 2002) (A.  Garrett, ed.), 164. 98  Stephen Toulmin, Reason in Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1964), 25. 94 95

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o­bjective non-natural property of rightness or ‘“fittingness”’. Indeed, objectivism emphasises this non-natural property of rightness or fittingness to such an extent that, if someone was kind or thoughtful, but not ‘conscious of observing any “non-natural property”…[or] “fittingness,”’ we would have to say that ‘he cannot know what goodness is’ even when he acts morally.99 Prefiguring these criticisms related to ‘moral fetishism’, Hutcheson was concerned that the CER distinction between ‘original obligation’ and ‘additional motivation’100 meant that, “Merit is found only in Actions done without Motive or Affection, by mere Election, without prepollent [sic] Desire of one Action or End’.101 As such, CER jumps to a Stoical extreme, making ‘Merit in Morals’ distasteful to ‘every Honest Heart’, by suggesting ‘there should be no Merit in a tender compassionate Heart, which shrinks at every Pain of its Fellow-Creatures’, because actions of real moral merit are performed from a concern for ‘Reason alone’, ‘such an unaffectionate Determination, as that by which one moves his first Finger rather than the Second’.102

 Ibid., 23.  Underpinning criticism here is that, in opposition to Hutchesonian sentimentalism, Balguy and Price often spoke, as part of the distinction between ‘original obligation’ and ‘additional motives’, in proto-Kantian terms about actions performed on the basis of affective aspects of our nature: ‘we characterise as virtuous no actions flowing merely from instinctive desires, or from any principle except a regard to virtue itself’ (Price, Review, 337), so ‘“the virtue of an agent is always less in proportion to the degree in which natural temper and propensities fall in with his actions…and rational reflexion on what is right to be done, is wanting’” (ibid., 330–331); ‘Notwithstanding all that our author [Hutcheson] has alleged in behalf of instincts, I think it appears…that they are so far from constituting virtue…that…we always account those actions most virtuous which have the least dependence upon instincts’ (Balguy, TFMG, 59). However, as we shall see below, and in the next chapter, in response to Humean criticisms, the reaction against Hutcheson did not mean that the Clarkeans maintained that the rational perception of intrinsic rightness was, as Hutcheson contended, an ‘unaffectionate’ experience: ‘The End of the Moralist is Rectitude…Considered as Moral, this is precisely the Mark that he aims at; his Judgement directing, and his Affection prompting to this Object, as in a peculiar Sense, self-worthy’ (ibid., 84). 101  Hutcheson, Essay, 292. 102  Ibid., 293; for Hume’s parallel remark, see: Treatise, 2.3.3.6: ‘’Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger’. 99

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The Objection from Supervenience Humean criticism have helped to expose what J.L. Mackie, responding to both Clarke and modern rational intuitionism, called the ‘queerness’ of non-naturalism, which has made rational intuitionism appear ‘implausible’,103 or even ‘foolish’.104 CER and modern rational intuitionism relied upon ‘the wilder products of philosophical fancy’:105 a ‘suspicious’106 or ‘mysterious intuitive faculty’,107 such as conscience, and the ‘queerness’ of the objective moral qualities that ‘by a mysterious “intellectual intuition”’108 we are supposed to ‘intuit’ or ‘perceive’ with that faculty. Michael Smith refers to the ‘epistemological debt’ of ‘non-­ naturalism’ and their inability to pay it: Non-naturalists want to enrich our ontology with an extra property…They owe us an account of how we come by knowledge of the relations the extra properties they posit stand in to natural properties. And this is just what non-naturalists fail to do in any plausible way.109

The ‘debt’ of non-naturalism is consistent with the objection from supervenience as an aspect of non-naturalism’s ‘queerness’; as Mackie famously argued: What is the connection between the natural fact that an action is a piece of deliberate cruelty…and the moral fact that it is wrong?…The wrongness must…be ‘consequential’ or ‘supervenient’; it is wrong because it is a piece of deliberate cruelty. But just what in the world is signified by this ‘because’? It is not even sufficient to postulate a faculty which ‘sees’ the wrongness: something must be postulated which can see at once the natural features

 William Frankena, Ethics, 2nd edn (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1973), 105.  John Hartland-Swann, An Analysis of Morals (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1960), 151. 105  J.L. Mackie, Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1990), 41. 106  Nowell-Smith, Ethics, 40. 107  R.M. Hare, The Language of Morals (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1964), 64. 108  A.J. Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1990), 108. 109  Smith, Moral Problem, 25. 103 104

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that constitute the cruelty, and the wrongness, and the mysterious consequential link between the two.110

The question for the rational intuitionist is: if moral properties are irreducible, and so, to paraphrase Moore’s epigraphic use of Butler, ‘their own thing’, how do these non-natural properties relate to their natural features? The suggestion that we simply ‘see’ rightness makes morality ‘“empty”’ or contentless (if not also fetishistic) by making it something we merely ‘see’ or ‘detect’, as ‘attaching to anything whatever’; we cannot suggest any ‘reason’ ‘why what is right is right’.111 As Korsgaard puts it, in words echoing G.J.  Warnock,112 we have ‘normative concepts because we’ve spotted some normative entities, as it were wafting by’.113

‘Heteronomy of the Will’ For neo-Kantian critics, like Darwall and Korsgaard, Hutcheson’s and Hume’s historic criticisms are important because they demonstrate how CER is not able to answer ‘the normative question’.114 While the Clarkeans ‘insisted that reason can directly determine the will…they did not have an account of how it does so’.115 The Clarkeans might claim that ‘fit[ness] to be done’: is a self-evident truth built into the nature of things, in the same way that mathematical truths are…But people do not regulate their actions, love, hate, live, kill, and die for mathematical truths…Clarke’s account…leave[s] us completely mystified…why people…do these things for moral truths.116  Mackie, Ethics, 41.  Warnock, CMP, viii; 14. 112  Ibid. Where Korsgaard has ‘wafting’, Warnock preferred ‘floating’. 113  Christine Korsgaard, The Sources of Normativity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 44. 114  Ibid., 40. According to Darwall, Hume’s ‘challenge remains a substantial obstacle to a plausible formulation of intuitionism’ (‘Motivation Problem’, 251). Korsgaard describes the quotation indented below as consistent with the is/ought passage (Treatise, III.I.i). 115  Christine Korsgaard, Creating the Kingdom of Ends (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 37, fn.12. 116  Korsgaard, Sources, 12. 110 111

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Thus, in neo-Kantian terms, Hume’s is/ought gap passage and Mackie’s ‘problem of supervenience’ help to illustrate how the Clarkeans fall foul of Kant’s ‘heteronomy of the will’. CER, as a species of intuitionism, is ‘heteronomous’, because it ‘ground[s] morality in an end or value given independently of the will’.117 Normativity is something we just see ‘wafting by’. The Clarkean claim that the binding nature of perceived intrinsic value is self-evident—we simply, and unavoidably, ‘see’ what we ought to do—is not only circular, but explains why, in attempting to break that circularity, they just fall deeper and deeper into heteronomy. A neo-Kantian moral agent pursues the ‘procedure’ of ‘reflective endorsement’; that is, uses practical reason to go through the ‘procedure’ of ‘formally’ working out right and wrong according to the various formulations of the ‘categorical imperative’, including, for example, universalisibility.118 Such reasoning is ‘pure’, because it considers actions and principles only from the perspective of the categorical imperative, not any instrumental or ‘hypothetical’ considerations, such as happiness, satisfaction of individual desire, or divine command.119 And, consequently, it is through such a procedure that each individual rational agent is the ‘constructor’ or ‘creator’ of moral values for themselves:120 ‘rational endorsement’ is carried out by an individual’s own reason, purely according to the categorical standards of (their own) reason. If nothing else, through the ‘reflective endorsement’ procedure, a neo-Kantian agent cannot escape the fact that a moral principle, generated by their own practical reasoning, is normative, because, when ‘moral principles in some sense originate in my reason and are self-imposed’,121 ‘we command ourselves to do what we find it would be a good idea to do.122  Andrews Reath, Agency and Autonomy in Kant’s Moral Theory (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006), 129. 118  Korsgaard, Sources, 35; 91. See: J.B. Schneewind, ‘Natural Law, Skepticism, and Methods of Ethics’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 52:2 (Apr.–Jun., 1991), 307; Darwall, Internal ‘Ought’, 323. 119  Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, trans. and ed. Mary Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 4:448; Critique of Practical Reason, trans. and ed. Mary Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 5:58–89. 120  Korsgaard, Sources, 112. 121  Reath, Agency and Autonomy, 99. 122  Korsgaard, Sources, 104–105. 117

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By contrast, a Clarkean rational intuitionist does not go through the procedure of practical reasoning; according to their mathematical analogy, she simply ‘sees’ moral qua mathematical truth with theoretical reason. Now, when a Clarkean agent tries to explain the normativity of an irreducible moral principle, they cannot do so. They rely (circularly) on that principle’s irreducibility—its self-evident intrinsic rightness—and commit themselves to the view that this ‘queer’ quality of rightness, received through, rather than constructed by, reason, imposes itself ‘heteronmously’ on an individual’s will. More than this, as Andrews Reath points out, a rational intuitionist may well try and explain what makes a self-evident moral principle normative, but this causes two problems for them: (1) it contradicts their own commitment to irreducible moral principles with ‘immediate authority’; and (2) it further compounds their heteronomy by attaching more ‘external motive[s] or sanction[s]’ to moral principles.123 That is, to put in in Clarkean terminology, an intuitionist should not argue that we have an original obligation to do what is intrinsically right qua irreducibly normative, only to slip into arguing that we should do what is intrinsically right because it satisfies such additional motivations as divine or civil authority, contingent desires, and so on.

Part 2 2.4  T  he That and the What of Intrinsic Rightness Below, different aspects of this book’s response to criticisms of Clarkean ethical rationalism (CER) are considered. To frame the overall response, it is helpful to begin with the suggestion that criticisms of CER artificially separate the that and the what of intrinsic rightness. The Clarkeans do not simply maintain that we perceive intrinsic rightness with reason, but that what it is that we perceive to be right in itself with reason is what it is that is according to reason, where reason is recta ratio: our law, God’s law, and the law of the created universe.  Reath, Agency and Autonomy, 166, fn.22.

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The significance of the shift in emphasis between the criticisms of CER and this study’s understanding of CER is best illustrated by two quotations from Clarke: Sin…separate from the consideration of its being an obstinate disobeying the revealed will of God, is…utterly unreasonable and inexcusable: ’Tis acting in opposition to the known reason…of things; contrary to that eternal Order…God has established in the original constitution of Nature; opposite to the Light of Reason, the dictates of Conscience, the unprejudiced judgement of our own Minds…contrary to all our natural Notions…of the Attributes and Will of God; destructive to the public Welfare and Happiness of Mankind…the Peace of our Minds, and the Support of our…Reputation.124 When he looks back upon his past life, and finds that…he has…obeyed the dictates of his own conscience; that his actions have not been biased by passion or appetite, by any mean, unlawful…interest…he has done all things in obedience to the law of God; with a sincere design of promoting only the Glory of God, the Welfare of his Neighbour, and his own true and eternal Interest…125

In order to be consistent with their distinction between ‘original obligation’ and ‘additional motives’, it would seem that Clarke is referring above to (i) a moral motivation to do that which we perceive to be right in itself because it is according to the ‘reason and proportion of things’ that is surrounded by (or ‘complicated with’ (see below)) (ii) additional motivations and considerations, that include our concern for our own judgement and happiness, others’ happiness and opinion, our creator’s commands, and so on. From a limited perspective, these quotations from Clarke might seem consistent with an attempt to use conscience as a ‘bridging concept’126 over the is/ought gap, with the additional considerations being internal to conscience, but external to the foundation of morals.  Clarke, Sermons, V.XI, 153.  Clarke, Sermons, VIII.XIII, 181. 126  The phrase is adapted from A.C.  MacIntyre, ‘Hume on “is” and “ought”’, in Is/Ought Question, 35–50. 124 125

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Conscience qua ‘Bridging Concept’ John Maxwell, Richard Cumberland’s translator, suggests something like conscience qua ‘bridging concept’. In defending Cumberland’s natural law theory, he explained that, while a proof of ‘the Law of Nature’ is that it is ‘discern’d by our natural Reason and Understanding’, one objection to this approach is it supposes ‘without Proof, the Legislative Power of Reason…For Reason can demonstrate…persuade…invite, but not compel’.127 On Cumberland’s behalf, Maxwell responded: … mere Reason is not Law, but reason, complicated with what is Law, is necessarily Law. For as right Reason noticeth what is the Well-doing and the Evil-doing, it is complicated with what is, in its own Nature, matter of Law. And as it noticeth, that the Well-doing…is according to the Mind of God…it is complicated with what is Law, by a superior Authority. The Laws of Nature must be consider’d, not as the Dictates of mere right Reason, but as the Dictates of conscientious Right Reason.128

With regard to the Clarkeans, conscience qua ‘bridging concept’ means that it is no wonder that when men know in their conscience that an action ‘ought not to be done’129 we cannot ‘want a motive’:130 what goes into conscience as the is of perceived intrinsic rightness is complicated with the oughts of self-love, benevolence, and divine command. Of course, conscience qua ‘bridging concept’ means that, so far as such quotations as Clarke’s attempt to use ‘the dictates of conscience’ to carry moral agents to the that of perceived intrinsic rightness, via the what of self-love, benevolence and/or obedience, the Clarkeans fall into externalism. Conscience qua bridging concept artificially conceals the criticisms of ‘contentlessness’ in the Clarkean representations of what is moral and our motivation to act morally.  John Maxwell, ‘A Treatise concerning the Obligation, Promulgation, and Observance of the Natural Law’, in Richard Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature, ed. J. Parkin (Indianapolis, IA: Liberty Fund, 2005), 914. 128  Ibid., 914–915. 129  Clarke, Sermons, X.IX, 130. 130  Price, Review, 315. 127

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However, what if self-love, benevolence and obedience are themselves the what of intrinsic rightness? If so, it is legitimate for the Clarkeans to give content to what is moral and our motivation to act morally with reference to our concern for acting self-interestedly and benevolently and obediently qua doing that which is right in itself.

The Single Law of Reason In an important quotation, Price describes what it means to believe in reason qua a single law which is experienced as our law, God’s law, and the law of the created universe; it is a law which enjoins ‘tripartite’131 duties to ourselves, others and God:

 The ‘tripartite’ division of our moral duties, in the period under discussion, has been associated with the influence of Pufendorf, as well as the use of Titus 2:11–12, exhibited by Whichcote (see: Knud Haakonssen (ed.), Thomas Reid on Practical Ethics (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007), xlvi–xlvii; 181, fn.1, ‘Natural Jurisprudence and the Identity of the Scottish Enlightenment’, in Philosophy and Religion in Enlightenment Britain, ed. Ruth Savage (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 270–272, ‘From Natural Law to the Rights of Man: a European Perspective on American Debates’, in A Culture of Rights: The Bill of Rights in Philosophy, Politics and Law, eds M.J.  Lacey and K.  Haakonssen (Cambridge: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, 1992), 29, fn.16, and Natural Law, 94, fn.79; Rivers, Reason, Grace, vol.1, 18–24; 70–73; Peter Harrison, ‘Religion’ and the Religions in the English Enlightenment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 30–32; G.R. Cragg, From Puritanism to the Age of Reason (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1950), 37–40; R.D. Bedford, The Defence of Truth: Herbert of Cherbury and the Seventeenth Century (Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1979), 175–177; Gill, British Moralists, 50–53. The following discussion introduces the Clarkean understanding of our ‘tripartite’ duties through Whichcote, not least because Clarke anonymously produced an edition of Whichcote’s sermons in 1707 (see: Samuel Salter, ‘Preface’ to Benjamin Whichcote, Moral and Religious Aphorisms, eds John Jeffery and Samuel Salter (London: 1753), xvii–xix; John Tulloch, Rational Theology and Christian Philosophy in England in the Seventeenth Century, vol.1, 2nd edn (Edinburgh: Blackwood and Sons, 1874), 97; J.A. Passmore, Ralph Cudworth: An Interpretation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1951), 102–103; Rivers, Reason, Grace, vol.1, 43). Kenneth Kirk criticised Jeremy Taylor for losing ‘himself in verbosity’ in the following remark (Conscience and Its Problems (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1927), 380); however, Taylor does exhibit the connections, examined below, between conscience qua our mind and conscience qua our knowledge of what it is that is right and wrong, when we encounter right and wrong as that which is satisfactory to our ‘tripartite’ duties: ‘Conscience is the mind of a man governed by a rule, and measured by the proportions of good or evil, in order to practice, viz., to conduct all our relations and all our intercourse between God, our neighbour, and ourselves; that is, in all moral actions’ (Ductor, I.I.i.1). 131

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however different from one another the heads [of virtue]…they all run up into one general idea…the same authority that enjoins, the same truth and right that oblige, the same eternal reason that commands…Virtue…is necessarily one thing. No part of it can be separated from the other…The same law that requires piety, requires also benevolence, veracity, temperance, justice, gratitude, &c. All…rest on the same foundation, and are alike our indispensable duty. He…who lives in neglect of any of them, is as really a rebel against reason…There is another coincidence between the…heads of virtue…their agreeing…in requiring the same actions. An act of justice may be also an act of gratitude and beneficence; and whatever any of these oblige us to, that also piety to God requires…Whatever exceptions may now happen, if we will look forwards to the whole of our existence, the three great principles of the love of God, the love of man, and true self-­ love, will always draw us the same way…132

For the Clarkeans’ critics, the phrase ‘original obligation’ supports the suggestion that any references within CER to the motivational force of self-love or benevolence makes the Clarkeans externalists. The phrase is consistent with the view that, within CER, there is always the danger of moral motivation becoming ‘contentless’: unrelated to a specific act of moral worth, merely a characterless regard for an undefined, and indefinable, rightness in general. However, following Price, we can appreciate why Clarke does not simply refer to our ‘original obligation’, but to our ‘original obligations’: our ‘tripartite’ moral duties to ourselves, others and God. Our ‘original obligation’ is our ‘original obligations’, and vice versa, because when referring to the latter we are referring to the former: to the same ‘eternal Law of Righteousness’ from which we ‘deduce’ the ‘several [and ‘particular’] Duties of Morality or Natural Religion’.133 It is not that moral distinctions are founded on self-love, benevolence or divine will, but that our responsibility to act for ourselves, others and God is the result of eternal moral distinctions. Acts are not right in themselves because they satisfy self-love, benevolence, or God’s will, but acting selfconcernedly, benevolently, obediently is right in itself. These are the  Price, Review, 277–279.  Clarke, Discourse, 51.

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duties that the law of rectitude enjoins, which Price called the ‘subject matter of virtue’. The Clarkeans could explain our normative concern for ‘rectitude’ in terms of our rational concern, and affection, for ourselves, our fellow creatures and our creator; and also why intrinsic rightness supervenes upon that which is fitting to our relations with ourselves, others, and God: it is because God created the world under the law of reason that we encounter our responsibility to that law always as one to ourselves, others and God: Rectitude…or virtue, is a LAW…the first and supreme law, to which all other laws owe their force…The whole creation is ruled by it: under it men and all rational creatures subsist. It is the source and guide of all actions of the Deity himself…The…relaxation of it, once for a moment, in any part of the universe, cannot be conceived without a contradiction.134

Contrary to criticisms of the Clarkeans, reason in CER is live with the demands of God, others and ourselves, with our part in creation itself; we can only make demands of ourselves, and demands can only be made on us by others and God, through and because of, reason. Our demands upon ourselves are the same as those made upon us by God and others. Despite criticisms related to ‘moral fetishism’, it is clear that within CER what the act of intrinsic rightness is de re does not disappear behind a commitment or motivation to do what it is that is right in itself de dicto. As W.D. Hudson puts it with respect to Price: the sharp…distinction…commonly drawn…under the influence of Kant…between actions from a sense of duty and actions from such motives as benevolence and cruelty, would not have been drawn by Price…Rectitude, he believed, has a content. It is benevolence, among other things. Benevolent action for the sake of duty is not something different from benevolent action for the sake of benevolence, to Price.135

 Price, Review, 178.  W.D.  Hudson, Reason and Right: A Critical Examination of Richard Price’s Moral Philosophy (London: Macmillan, 1970), 172. 134 135

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2.5  ‘Enlarged’ ‘Conscientious Right Reason’: Richard Hooker, Benjamin Whichcote, and the Clarkeans When interpreting the Clarkeans, and recta ratio more generally, we need an ‘enlarged’ sense of Maxwell’s ‘conscientious Right Reason’, consistent with Hooker’s ‘enlarged’ Thomistic sense of law.136 ‘Enlarged’ conscientious right reason is not simply conscience qua ‘bridging concept’. In the latter, a moral act is performed by a moral agent with the consciousness that the perception of moral rightness is ‘complicated with’ the oughts of self-love, benevolence, our own judgement, and divine will. Within an enlarged sense of conscientious right reason, a moral agent appreciates that those oughts are the oughts of reason; he acts conscientiously, and morally, when he performs his action on the basis of his reflective certainty, in conscience, that the act he perceives to be right in itself satisfies each of those oughts qua the oughts of reason.

Duties to Reason and to Creation In the discussion of recta ratio, we saw how conscience and intuition help to emphasise the fact that the perceptive and reflective exercise of reason is always live with all that reason is. However, because goodness is seen ‘with the eye of the understanding. And the light of that eye, is reason’,137 conscience and intuition, in both recta ratio and CER, are not only part of emphasising the fact that the rational perception of goodness (qua an operation of reason) is live with all that reason is, but also part of emphasising the fact that what it is that we perceive with reason to be according to reason is satisfying all that reason is qua our law, God’s law, and the law of the created universe itself: The knowledge of that which man is in reference unto himself, and other things in relation unto man, I may justly term the mother of all those  Richard Hooker, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, I.iii.1, in The Works of the Learned and Judicious Mr. Richard Hooker, ed. John Keble, 3 Vols., 5th edn (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1865), Vol.1. 137  Ibid., I.vii.2. 136

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­ rinciples, which are as it were edicts…in that Law of Nature, whereby p human actions are framed.138

Knowledge of such relations is not only inseparable from the exercise of human reason; those relations are determined by reason qua the divine ‘eternal law’, according to which human beings, and the world, were made. ‘The sentence of Reason, determining…what is good to be done’,139 is that that which is ‘fit and good to be done’,140 is that which is according to relations that are themselves determined by reason. It is the sentence of reason, with respect to our relation with ourselves, that (returning to the language of conscience and to hegemonikon) we appreciate that ‘command’ belongs to ‘the diviner part in relation unto the baser of our souls’;141 it is the sentence of reason, with respect to our relation to God, that we appreciate all that belongs to God according to ‘that known relation which God hath unto us as unto children’;142 and, with respect to our relation with others, it is the sentence of reason that we appreciate the ‘relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves’ which breeds the ‘desire to be loved [by]’, and to love, them.143 Clarkean emphasis upon self-evidence through the mathematical analogy is the same as that within recta ratio, where immediate intuitive assent stresses both that ‘the greatest moral duties we owe to God or man, may without any difficulty be concluded’,144 and that (unlike for Hutcheson and Hume) there is no real distinction between saying it is reason or human nature that functions as the live intuitional bedrock for moral action. The ‘Law of Reason’ and ‘human Nature’ are synonymous,145 because the law which, by the light of reason, ‘men find themselves bound

 Ibid., I.viii.6.  Ibid., I.viii.8. 140  Ibid., I.Preface.iii.1 141  Ibid., I.viii.6. 142  Ibid., I.viii.7. 143  Ibid., I.viii.7. 144  Ibid., I.viii.10. 145  Ibid., I.viii.8. 138 139

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in that they are men’146 is the law that we act with ‘rectitude’,147 by fulfilling the duties that we owe to ourselves, others and God. By acting fittingly towards all three, we obey reason qua recta ratio and are ‘the stay of the whole world’,148 created by God according to the law of reason: For we see the whole world and each part thereof so compacted…as long as each thing performeth only that work which is natural unto it, it…preserveth…other things, and…itself…is it possible, that Man being not only the noblest creature in the world, but even a very world in himself, his transgressing the Law of his Nature should draw no manner of harm after it?149

Whichcote and the ‘Tripartite’ Duties Whichcote’s treatment of ‘tripartite’ duties is closely related to Hooker above and the discussion of the Clarkeans below. In recta ratio, we have seen that there are ‘connatural’ self-evident practical ‘first principles’, which are: principles of moral action…planted in the intellectual nature, in the moment of his creation…so that we cannot use reason but we must declare them, and make use of them, yea we are regulated by them.150

According to the interconnectedness of (1)–(4), as previously discussed,151 when we contradict these principles, we not only contradict the ‘nature  Ibid., I.xvi.1.  Ibid., I.viii.1. 148  Ibid., I.iii.2. 149  Ibid., I.ix.1. 150  Benjamin Whichcote, The Works of the Learned Benjamin Whichcote, D.D., 4 Vols. (Aberdeen, 1751), vol.4, LXXVI, 109. 151  As stated in Chap. 1: ‘“True law is right reason in agreement with nature [(1)]; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting [(2)]…and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it [(3)]…one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times [[(1); (2)], and there will be one master and ruler…God…for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge [(4)]. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties [(3)]…” Consistent with the numbered parentheses inserted into the quotation above, Cicero’s 146 147

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of things’, and God’s will and nature, but also our own nature and judgement, such that we suffer ‘self-condemnation’ in conscience. Whichcote makes it clear that the ‘truths’ and ‘principles’ to which we immediately assent consist of those which concern our acting for ourselves, others and God. The exercise of reason is always live with ourselves, others, and God qua all that reason is and all that it is our duty to do according to reason as rational agents. Moreover, while, through the exercise of reason, we gain knowledge of the relations between, ourselves, others, and God, we also have a ‘rational desire’ to fulfil our duties to all three as part of our ‘subjective motivational set’152 as creatures possessed of reason. Thus, in the earlier discussion of recta ratio, our twin subjection to the ‘eternal law’ was associated with the language of conscience and intuition. According to this twin subjection, we possess in, and as, ‘natural conscience’ both knowledge of the ‘eternal law’ and ‘rational instincts’ after the ends of reason, such that reason is a law to human beings as sense is to animals: It is the same thing in moral agents, to observe and comply with the order and dictates of reason, as it is in inferior creatures, to act according to the sense and impetus of their natures.153

But to possess a drive for the ends of reason, qua the impetus of our rational nature, is to possess a drive for something, namely, what it is that is according to reason: acting for ourselves, others and God. It is as Natural for a Man, in respect to the Principles of God’s creation in Him; to do that towards God, his Neighbour, and Himself, which Right Reason doth demand; as it is for a Beast, to be guided by his Senses and Instinct; or as it is for the Sun, to give Light.154

definition effectively summarises both how the law of reason can be understood as our own law (3), God’s law (4), and the immutable law of the (Christian-created and/or Stoic-‘noetic’) universe itself (1); (2); and how those claims about reason are interconnected’. 152  The phrase is, of course, taken from Bernard Williams, ‘Internal and External Reasons’, in Moral Luck: Philosophical Papers, 1973–1980 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 102. 153  Whichcote, Works, vol.3, LI, 52. 154  Whichcote, Aphorisms, No.211.

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For Whichcote, our ‘great and bright’, ‘connate’ ‘truths’ concern ‘piety, devotion towards God’, ‘to live in love’, ‘justice, righteousness amongst men’, and ‘the rule of sobriety and temperance of prudence and moderation’ with respect to ourselves: 155 These are the instances of morality founded in the creation of God…that arise from the relation that is between God and man…these are rooted in the intellectual nature; so that ’tis as impossible for the intellectual nature to be without the principles and grounds of these, as it is impossible for…the sun [to be] without light or fire without heat…156

Nothing is ‘more knowable’ than ‘to do justly, to love mercy and walk humbly with God; Mic. vi. 8. To live godly, righteously and soberly in this present world, Tit. ii. 12’, because this is, ‘The truth of first inscription…connatural to man, it is the light of God’s creation, and it flows from the principles of which man doth consist, in his very first make’.157 Returning to the language of conscience in recta ratio, Whichcote maintains that there are three things ‘in which every man that…hath the use of reason is a law unto himself ’:158 ‘piety to God’; ‘righteousness to men’; and ‘righteousness to ourselves’.159 God made man ‘first to these things’ as ‘a law written in the heart of man’; God interwove ‘the very dictates of natural conscience’, into ‘the very principles of our frame and constitution’.160 By being ‘ungodly or unrighteous in these three great instances’,161 an individual departs from himself,162 and acts against God and ‘the order of reason’,163 precisely because our ‘tripartite’ duties are: the three great instances of virtue, the…fundamentals of religion, the… materials of conscience, which are immutable, unalterable, and i­ ndispensable,  Whichcote, Works, vol.4, LXXVI, 111–112; vol.3, LI, 53.  Ibid., vol.2, XXVIII, 59. 157  Ibid., vol.3, L, 20. 158  Ibid., vol.1, III, 40. 159  Ibid., vol.2, XXVIII, 57. 160  Ibid., vol.3, LIV, 122. 161  Ibid., vol.3, LVI, 148. 162  Ibid., vol.3, LIV, 122. 163  Ibid., vol.1, VIII, 141. 155 156

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that are settled in the very foundation of God’s creation [and ‘founded originally in the main foundation of God’]…164

‘Enlarged’ ‘Original Obligation’ in Clarkean Ethical Rationalism There is a further point in respect of the Clarkeans: that, in perceiving a particular instance of intrinsic rightness which is, for example, fitting to our duties to others, we also perceive that to do that which is fitting to our relation to others is also always to do that which is fitting with respect to our relations with ourselves and with God. As Whichcote put it, it is ‘God-like, to take pleasure in the Good of Others’,165 not least because nothing is ‘more Reasonable; than that We should be that to One another, which God is to us All’.166 This further point emphasises the fact that rational perception of moral truth in CER, as in recta ratio, is not only always live with all that reason is, but also always live with what it is that we perceive with reason to be according to reason, so that rational perception is always normatively thick with all that it means to act according to reason qua our law, God’s law, and the law of the created universe. The Clarkeans are able to avoid the claim that we perceive with a thin is of reason moral truths that are potentially uninteresting, because external from us in a posited realm of normative fact. Consequently, it is possible to appreciate why the Clarkeans are not, on their own terms, externalists when they refer to our normative concern to do what it is that we perceive to be right in itself qua acting in imitation of God’s will, or qua acting with ‘self-approbation’. Such motivations are ‘internal’ to the perception of intrinsic rightness, and are, as such, part of our ‘original obligation’ to do that which is right in itself qua acting for ourselves, for others, and for God. When the Clarkeans distinguish between ‘additional motives’ and our ‘original obligation’, we must be careful not to mistake the normative concern for ‘self-approbation’, ‘self-condemnation’ and God’s will qua exemplar for what the Clarkeans meant by ‘additional motives’. In CER, acting from an ‘immediate relish’ for all that reason is  Ibid., vol.3, LVI, 148; vol.4, LXXVI, 112 (my italics).  Whichcote, Aphorisms, No.549. 166  Ibid., No.710. 164 165

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qua our law, God’s law, and the law of the created universe is not the same as doing that which is right in itself simply because God commands it; or because we derive sensual pleasure from it; or because God rewards us for it.

2.6  Duty to God: God’s Being and Will Part 1 referred to the live intuitional bedrock of benevolence and the moral sense in Hutcheson and Hume. The criticism of the Clarkeans is that such a live intuitional bedrock is absent from their thought, because they focus upon the static is of truth or reason. For John Finnis, Clarke could not bridge the is/ought gap, because he had surrendered a necessary feature of the ‘standard’ natural law tradition in the seventeenth-century: What is right and wrong depends on the nature of things…not on a decree of God; but the normative or motivating significance of moral rightness and wrongness…depends fundamentally upon there being a decree expressing God’s will that the right be done… Clarke’s difficulties arose from the fact that, while rejecting one part of this twofold thesis, he accepted the other part…he rejected the assumption that obligation is essentially the effect of a superior’s act of will. But he remained so firmly within the grip of the thesis that practical reasoning is a matter of discerning relations of fittingness to or consistency with nature that he tried to treat obligation as just one more of the set of relations of consistency.167

However, the ethical rationalists did not remove the ‘normative or motivating’ force of God’s will, but rather, in moral acts, the ‘normative or motivating’ force of doing what God wills simply because a superior being has commanded it, and of obeying God’s commands (and so the moral law) in order to receive divine reward. Consistent with recta ratio, the Clarkeans maintained that, as human reason participates in divine reason, awareness and appreciation of God’s being and attributes cannot

 John Finnis, Natural Law and Natural Rights, 2nd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 44–45. 167

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be isolated from the ability to, and the act of, perceiving intrinsic rightness, such that God’s will is a moral motivating force qua exemplar. For the Clarkeans, voluntarism ‘overthrows the Divine attributes and existence’.168 God’s existence is undermined because, as Price put it, ‘Infinite, eternal truth implies an infinite, eternal MIND’169 and ‘An eternal, necessary mind supposes eternal, necessary truth’.170 If all truth, including moral truth, depends on God’s will, there is no necessary ‘difference between power and impotence, wisdom and folly, truth and falsehood, existence and non-existence’.171 And if there is no longer ‘Infinite, eternal truth’, there is no ‘infinite, eternal MIND’, nor any possibility of conceiving of a being who has the divine perfections of infinite wisdom, power and perfect goodness: Mind supposes truth; and intelligence, something intelligible…If…there were…no eternal, necessary, independent truths; there could be no infinite, independent, necessary mind or intelligence…Just as, if there were nothing possible, there could be no power; or, if there were no necessary infinity of possible, there could be no necessary, infinite power…172

Consequently, nominalism and atheism are both self-contradictions: When we are endeavouring to suppose, that there is no Being in the Universe that Exists Necessarily; we always find in our Minds…some Ideas of Infinity and Eternity; which to remove…is, to suppose that there is no Being…to which these Attributes or Modes of Existence are necessarily inherent, [and] is a Contradiction in the very Terms.173

Nominalism and atheism contradict both the ‘natural notions’ we have of such ideas as ‘wisdom’, ‘justice’ and ‘power’, which depend on an eternal mind, and so also our ‘natural notion’ of God as the origin, and  Price, Review, 138.  Ibid., 142. 170  Ibid., 138. 171  Ibid., 137. 172  Ibid., 138. 173  Clarke, Demonstration, 15. 168 169

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possessor, of wisdom, justice and power. For the Clarkeans, the idea of God as an infinite and necessarily existing eternal being: ’Tis the First and Simplest Idea we can possibly frame; an Idea necessarily and essentially included…as a sine qua non, in every other idea whatsoever…which…we cannot possibly extirpate or remove out of our Minds….174

While the Clarkeans’ critics often refer to Clarke’s statement that only ‘stupidity of mind’ and ‘corruption of manners’ prevent people from seeing what is self-evidently right, Clarke is just as forthright about the being and attributes of God. Anybody, who uses reason ‘may easily become…certain of the Being of a Supreme Independent Cause’; we can only be ‘ignorant of this first and plain Truth’, that there is an ‘Eternal, Infinite, and Selfexisting’ being, ‘the Cause and Original of all other Things’, by being ‘utterly stupid, and not thinking at all’.175 As Price put it: Every thought and every idea…imply its necessary and unchangeable existence…Can this be anything besides the divine, uncreated, infinite reason and power, from whence all other reason and power are derived, offering themselves to our minds…forcing us to see and acknowledge them…What is the true conclusion …there is an incomprehensible first wisdom, knowledge and, power necessarily existing, which contain in themselves all things…and upon which all things depend…There is nothing so intimate with us, and one with our natures, as God. He is…necessary to all the operations of our minds…176

God’s Attributes and Will As we cannot separate from our ideas of infinity or power the fact that these ideas originate in God, we have to admit that they are attributes of God. It ‘evidently follows’177 from our own ‘natural notion’ of God as  Ibid., 17.  Ibid., 19. 176  Price, Review, 141. 177  Clarke, Demonstration, 44. 174 175

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eternal and necessarily existent, and the fact that we have our own ‘natural notions’ of infinity, power, and so on, that God possesses the ‘natural Attributes’ of ‘infinite Knowledge, Wisdom, and Power’.178 It also follows from our ‘natural notions’ of justice and goodness that God, as their ‘origin’, possesses all ‘Moral Perfections’, so we cannot experience our own moral ideas without knowing that justice, goodness, and all God’s other moral attributes, are as ‘Essential to the Divine Nature as the Natural Attributes of Eternity, Infinity, and the like’.179 In line with recta ratio, Clarke stressed that to deny God’s moral attributes is to deny his natural attributes and vice versa.180 It is possible to deduce God’s moral attributes from his natural attributes, because there is a ‘necessary Connexion of Goodness, Justice, or any other Moral Attribute, with these Natural Perfections’.181 Clarke’s ‘Argumentation a priori’ maintained that God must ‘be a Being of Infinite Goodness, Justice, and Truth…all…Moral Perfections’.182 As ‘Infinite Knowledge, and the Perfection of Wisdom’,183 ‘He…knows perfectly’184 the natural and necessary relations of things, ‘the true Ground and Foundation of all Morality’.185 As ‘complete Power’, he has ‘No possible Temptation to deviate in the least therefrom’:186 from the Attributes of God natural Reason leads Men to the Knowledge of his Will…the same Reasons and Arguments, which discover to Men the natural Fitnesses or Unfitnesses of Things, and the necessary Perfections or Attributes of God…[prove] that That which is truly the Law of Nature, of the Reason of Things, is in like Manner the Will of God.187

 Ibid., 38.  Ibid., 111. 180  Clarke, Discourse, 27–28. 181  Clarke, Demonstration, 111–112. 182  Clarke, Demonstration, 109. 183  Ibid., 107. 184  Ibid., 108. 185  Ibid., 106. 186  Ibid., 108. 187  Clarke, Discourse, 93–94. 178 179

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God’s Nature From our a priori knowledge of God’s being and attributes, we know that it is impossible for God not to do ‘what his Moral Attributes require him to do’;188 and also that: we ought to distinguish between the will of God and his nature. It by no means follows, because…[truth is] independent of his will, that…[it is] independent of his nature.189

The ‘Law of Nature’, which ‘is of the same Original with the eternal Reasons or Proportions of Things’, is ‘of the same Original with…the Perfections or attributes of God himself’.190 While the ‘eternal Rule of Justice and Goodness’191 determines the will of God, this is simply the same as saying that God ‘directs’ himself, and that his will follows from his nature: the obligations ascribed to the Deity arise…from…his own nature…that eternal, unchangeable LAW, by which…he is directed in all his actions, is no other than HIMSELF; his own infinite, eternal, all perfect understanding.192

And so: when morality is represented as eternal and immutable…it is only saying that God himself is eternal and immutable…making his nature the high and sacred original of virtue…the sole fountain of all that is true and good and perfect.193

All truth, including moral truth, is prior to God’s will, but this does not mean that it is prior to God; indeed, to say that the law of reason determines God’s will is only to say that God’s nature is prior to his will and  Clarke, Demonstration, 110.  Price, Review, 140. 190  Clarke, Discourse, 65. 191  Ibid., 70. 192  Price, Review, 181. 193  Ibid., 144. 188 189

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that God directs himself in accordance with his nature. Though God’s positive will is not the ground of moral distinctions, we cannot but be aware of what God wills on the basis of his nature: our a priori knowledge of it is inseparable from ‘the use of reason’. God’s will, even without the prospect of reward, retains its normative force in CER, therefore, because rational perception is live with God as inseparable from the truth perceived.

Conscience, Imitation and God’s Will qua Exemplar In this context, the Clarkeans make use (familiar from recta ratio) of conscience to express our ‘natural notions and apprehensions of God’: as God has made us intelligent and free, capable of knowing and seeing our Creator, we are bound ‘to behave accordingly’.194 Conscience is ‘God’s deputy’195 and ‘Vicegerent’,196 our ‘domestic governor’,197 a ‘continual Witness’198 to God, which is God’s ‘voice’,199 such that, for the ‘fool’ ‘To say in his heart there is no God, is to give the lie to his own conscience’.200 In the Pauline language of inscription, conscience symbolises the fact that, by being created with the ‘divine gift of reason’, we are raised into ‘our Maker’s Likeness’.201 We are ‘constituted moral agents’, who ‘bear the signature of God’s image’,202 and are made ‘to the Imitation and Likeness of God’.203 Conscience in CER, as in recta ratio, emphasises how God is active in the ‘operations of our minds’, and how, upon the exercise of reason, and our immediate assent to truth, we experience God as its ‘origin’. To perceive truth has an unavoidable normative richness to it, which  Balguy, SFS, I.XVIII, 338.  Ibid., I.III, 48. 196  Ibid., 149. 197  Ibid., II.III, 51. 198  Clarke, Sermons, V.VI, 81. 199  Balguy, SFS, I.XIX, 359. 200  Ibid., I.XVI, 298. 201  Ibid., I.XVIII, 329. 202  Ibid., I.XVIII, 338. 203  Clarke, Discourse, 173. 194 195

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need not be reducible to God’s will qua positive command, but can be appreciated as God’s will qua exemplar: the same intrinsick Excellency of Right and Good, which always determines the Will of God…ought also…to govern the Actions of all other rational Beings…All rational and intelligent Beings are, by the Law of their Nature, obliged to endeavour to become in their several degrees…like unto Him, who alone is Perfect Reason and Understanding. This is an original Obligation, founded in Nature itself, requiring us to imitate what it necessitates us to admire.204

For the Clarkeans, as the contemplation of God’s being and attributes is inseparable from the perception of moral truth, so is the excitement to imitate God. This is not based on reward or mere command, but arises from knowing what God is (his being and attributes) and what God does (what he wills). Our a priori knowledge of the ‘necessary perfections of the Deity; the infinite excellences of his nature as the fountain of reason and wisdom’ means that we know, ‘from hence, and not merely from his almighty power, arises his SOVEREIGN AUTHORITY’.205 Consequently, while the Clarkeans are known for maintaining that ‘Moral Truth and Rectitude are Self-good, and Self-eligible’, included in the self-eligibility of the rule of truth is our experience of, and desire to imitate, God as part of rational perception, not least because, ‘Every Ray of Truth and Reason seems to participate of the Majesty of that Being; to whom it all belongs, and whose Attribute it is’: To refuse subjection to right Reason, when clearly seen and known; may be looked upon as the very Essence of Rebellion. It is violating the…fundamental Law of Heaven and Earth…Reason…is Divine…All necessary Truth being an essential…Emanation from the infinite and all perfect Mind. Hence it appears not only possessed of the highest Worth…but invested with a supreme and absolute Authority, not only attractive, but really awful.206  Clarke, Sermons, II.VIII, 104–105.  Price, Review, 184. 206  Balguy, LT, 379–380. 204 205

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The What of Imitation Of course, we not only admiringly perceive that something is right in itself, and that to do that which we perceive to be right in itself is to imitate God; we also perceive what it is that is intrinsically right, and so what acts would be, and are to be, performed in imitation of God. For the Clarkeans, what we perceive to be intrinsically right is that which is fitting to our ‘tripartite’ duties to ourselves, to others, and to God.207 Consistent with the single law of reason, our experience of all that reason is, and our knowledge of our relations to, and responsibilities for, ourselves, others, and God, are inseparable from the perception of moral truth. To perceive it is not only to perceive what it is that we desire to perform in imitation of God, but what it is that is fitting to our relation with ourselves, others, and God. Because to perceive moral truth is to perceive what it is that is according to reason itself; when we perceive what it is that is fitting to any one of our relations, we also perceive what it is that is fitting to each of our relations, and so what it is that is satisfactory to each of our ‘tripartite’ duties to ourselves, others and God.

2.7  Duty to Others: Equity and Benevolence Clarke maintained, ’Tis evidently more Fit…that Men should deal with one another according to the known Rules of Justice and Equity:208 The Reason which obliges Every Man in Practice…to [do ‘as we would be done by’]…is the…same as …That which forces him in Speculation to affirm…if one Line or Number be equal to another, That other is reciprocally equal to It. Iniquity is the very same in Action, as Falsity or Contradiction in Theory; and the same Cause which makes the one Absurd, makes the other Unreasonable.209

 See: Clarke, Discourse, 50–68; Balguy, TFMG, 88; First Letter, 23; DR, 259; EOR, 145; Price, Review, ed. Raphael, 131–176. 208  Clarke, Discourse, 31. 209  Ibid., 53–54. 207

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We perceive that ‘doing as we would be done by’ is a moral truth: it should be ‘impossible for Men not to be as much ashamed of Doing Iniquity, as they are of Believing Contradictions’, because it is according to ‘the…plainest Reason in the World’ that ‘Whatever Relation…one Man in any Case bears to another; the same That Other, when put in like Circumstances, bears to Him’.210 For Clarke, it is not only that equity is ‘fit’ to be done, but that, ‘tis undeniably more Fit, absolutely and in the Nature of the Thing itself, that all Men should endeavour to promote the universal Good and Welfare of All’.211 Human beings are under an obligation to the duty of ‘universal Love or Benevolence’: not only doing barely what is Just and Right…but…a constant Endeavouring to promote…the Welfare and Happiness of all Men…For if…there be a natural and necessary Difference between Good and Evil, and that which is Good is Fit and Reasonable, and that which is Evil is Unreasonable to be done…so every rational Creature ought…to do all the Good it can to all its Fellow-creatures.212

As ‘from the different Relations of different Persons one to another, there necessarily arises a Fitness or Unfitness of certain Manners of Behaviour’,213 the duty of benevolence can be ‘deduced’:214 it is fit for the moral agent to ‘do as he would be done by’, but most fit to promote the good of others; and it must always be most fit to do the most fit thing. The duties of equity and benevolence are ‘plain and self-evident’ moral truths. But perception of a moral truth is inseparable from, and so thick with, ‘intimate’ ‘natural notions and apprehensions’ of God, and a desire to imitate God qua exemplar. We cannot separate out from our ‘natural notions’ of God’s being and attributes, and the perceived intrinsic rightness of acting in imitation of him, what it is that God wills, and so what it is that we must do to imitate God. To perceive the moral truth of equity and benevolence is not only to perceive what it is that is ‘fitting’ to do when acting in  Ibid., 54–55.  Ibid., 31. 212  Ibid., 57. 213  Ibid., 30. 214  Ibid., 55; 57. 210 211

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r­elation to other human beings, but also that acting according to such moral truths is to act fittingly to our relation with God. Consequently, what it is that we perceive to be right in itself according to God’s will qua exemplar is, at the same time, what it is that we perceive to be fitting to our relations with others and God. Clarke suggested that the ‘Method of deducing the Will of God, from his Attributes, is of all others the best and clearest, the certainest and most universal, that the Light of Nature affords’.215 It follows from ‘natural notions’ of God’s attributes that acting for others is acting to ‘imitate’ God, because ‘in his government of the World, [God] does always what in the whole is best…what tends most to the Good of the whole Creation’:216 [God] being infinitely Self-sufficient to his own Happiness, could have no other Motive to create…but only that he might communicate to them his Goodness and Happiness, and who, consequently, cannot but expect and require, that all Creatures should, according to their several Powers and Faculties, endeavour to promote the same End.217

However, as this quotation indicates, to perceive the moral truth of benevolence, for example, is not only to perceive what it is that is fitting to our relations with others, and what it is that we must do to imitate God qua exemplar, but also what it is that is fitting to our relation with God as the ‘Relation of a Creature to his Creator’.218 For Clarke, as ‘the eternal and unchangeable Nature and Reason of the Things themselves’ are ‘the Law of God himself, not only to his Creatures, but also to Himself, as being the Rule of all his own Actions in the Government of the World’, not only is it the case that ‘these eternal moral Obligations are really in perpetual Force, merely from their own Nature, and the abstract Reason of Things’, but:

 Ibid., 94.  Clarke, Sermons, VII.VII, 101. 217  Clarke, Discourse, 96. 218  Ibid., 53. 215 216

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so also they are…the express and unalterable Will, Command, and Law of God to his creatures, which he cannot but expect should, in Obedience to his Supreme Authority, as well as in Compliance with the natural Reason of Things, be regularly and constantly observed thro’ the whole Creation.219

So, while the light of reason confirms the obligation to imitate God, it is ‘the same Light of Reason teaching us further, that Imitation of God, as ’tis most fit in itself…cannot but be likewise acceptable unto Him, and agreeable to his Will’.220 The fact that God: is always pleased to make those Rules [‘of everlasting Righteousness’] the Measure of all his Own Actions, necessarily prove, that it must likewise be his Will, that all rational Creatures should proportionably [sic] make them the Measure of Theirs;221 And consequently, that the wilful Transgression or Neglect of them is as truly an insolent Contempt of the Authority of God, as ’tis an absurd Confounding of the natural Reasons and Proportions of Things.222

To perceive moral truth is both to appreciate what God wills as consistent with his nature, and also to recognise that we ought to act for others (which we perceive to be right in itself ), not only to imitate God (also perceived as right in itself ), but also because God commands such behaviour, and we perceive it to be right in itself to obey God: ‘Piety…towards God is as necessarily good in itself, and of as unchangeable Obligation in Nature and Reason; as the Creator is of necessity infinitely superior to his Creatures’,223 and ‘The Sense of our having received our Being and all our powers from him, makes it infinitely reasonable that we should employ our whole Beings…in his Service’.224 It follows that our sense of having ‘received our Being and all our powers from’ God is inseparable from the perception of moral truth; our ‘natural  Ibid., 90–91.  Clarke, Sermons, II.VIII, 105. 221  Ibid., II.VIII, 105. 222  Clarke, Discourse, 91. 223  Clarke, Sermons, VII.VII, 94. 224  Clarke, Discourse, 52. 219 220

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notions’ of God as the source of all truth. It further follows that the reason why we stand in such a relation to God as to make it fitting for us to do what he commands, is because God: has created [us] after his own Image…has endued [us] with excellent Powers and Faculties to enable…[us] to distinguish between Good and Evil…[and] imitate him in the Exercise of those divine Perfections.225

What it is that we perceive to be fit to our relation with God returns us, not just to our capacity to perceive that particular actions are right in themselves, but what it is that we perceive to be right in itself with that capacity; namely, in the context of benevolence, acting for others, which we perceive to be an action in imitation of God fitting to our relation with God and with others: The Order and Harmony of God’s Creation, depends upon every Creature acting according to the Law of its Nature…this Law of Nature to Men, is, our Obligation to govern ourselves by that Particular Understanding and Knowledge, whereby we are distinguished from the inferior part of the Creation; whereby we are enabled to discern between Good and Evil…God has indued [sic] us with Faculties, by which we are able to see and distinguish what will promote the Welfare and Happiness of the world; and he has given us those Faculties for that very End and that by distinguishing things right, we might direct our Choice to such actions always as are most universally useful and beneficial to Mankind.226

These quotations, as they refer to doing what it is that we perceive to be right in itself as acting according to the law of our own nature, also demonstrate how what it is that we perceive to be fitting to our relation with others and God is also what it is that we perceive to be fitting to our relation with ourselves.

225 226

 Clarke, Sermons, II.VIII, 106.  Ibid., VII.VII, 100.

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2.8  D  uty to Self: ‘Self-approbation’, ‘Self-condemnation’, and the Law of Conscience The Clarkeans, as in recta ratio, use conscience and immediate assent to emphasise the fact that the intuition of self-evident moral truth is not only live with God but live with ourselves: That there is an essential Difference between Good and Evil, between Virtue and Vice; is what every man as clearly discerns by the natural and necessary Perception of his own Mind and Conscience, as his Eyes see the Difference between Light and Darkness.227

Conscience, as the law of our own ‘understanding’,228 must assent to ‘what it is that it perceives to be ‘Just and Right’.229 Consequently, conscience qua our ‘own mind’230 emphasises the fact that ‘the Necessity of the Mind’s giving its Assent to the eternal Law of Righteousness’231 means that ‘the unalterable Rule of Right and Equity’, as it ‘force[s] the Assent of all Men’, ‘necessarily and unavoidably determine[s] the Judgement’.232 In and through conscience, we experience the law of reason to which we cannot avoid giving our assent as the law of our own judgement and nature. This experience is consistent with the fact that ‘right Reason’ (Clarke here makes explicit reference, as in recta ratio, to St. Paul, Cicero and Plato’s Meno)233 was ‘written’ on our hearts by God as our ‘Law of Nature’,234 ‘which makes the principal Distinction between Men and Beasts’.235 In and as conscience, we experience reason as ‘our governing Principle, our supreme Guide’.236 It is in and as conscience that we  Serm Ibid., II.VI, 77.  Balguy, SFS, I.VI, 104. 229  Clarke, Discourse, 44. 230  Balguy, SFS, I.I, 3. 231  Clarke, Discourse, 50. 232  Ibid., 44. 233  Ibid., 44–45; 65. 234  Ibid., 44. 235  Ibid., 65. 236  Balguy, TFMG.II, 194. 227 228

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experience the law of reason, to which we are subject, as ‘no other than the law of…[our] own mind’, so that whoever acts contrary to reason acts ‘contrary to the convictions of his conscience’,237 while ‘he who follows his conscience…follows his nature’.238 Although CER has been viewed as suggesting that moral truths are ‘mysterious’ entities, which we happen to see ‘wafting by’ at a distance, their description of moral perception is actually one of a dynamic encounter in conscience with all that reason is, whereby rational creatures are enabled to act for themselves, their fellow creatures, and their creator. The Clarkeans are able to use conscience to maintain that, just as the normative force of God’s will qua exemplar cannot be separated from our experience of the perception of intrinsic rightness, and our desire to do that which is right in itself because it is right in itself, neither can the normative force of ‘self-approbation’ and ‘self-condemnation’ be separated from our experience of the perception of intrinsic rightness, and our desire to do that which is right in itself because it is right in itself: Moral Obligation has been considered as intellectual Attraction, of the noblest Kind. But it is not, like corporeal Attraction, effected at a Distance. Reason, or the Appearance of Reason, must be perceived, before it can move the Mind at all.239

Upon the perception with reason of what it is that is according to reason, ‘The same Necessity which compels Men to assent to what is true, forces them to approve what is right and fit’.240 However, ‘Approbation does not constitute Merit, but is produced by it’.241 Our approval of what it is that we perceive to be right in itself is a result of our encounter with what it is that possesses intrinsic worth: Truth, probity, integrity, fidelity, benevolence, mercy, charity towards men; with humble reverence, gratitude and piety towards God; as they are in themselves most lovely, and most excellent; so they must needs make a  Balguy, SVS, 217.  Ibid., SVS, 149. 239  Balguy, LT, 413. 240  Balguy, TFMG, 81. 241  Ibid., 59. 237 238

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delightful appearance in the eye of the possessor. The noblest views, and finest prospects upon the face of the earth, cannot equal the charms of this moral landskip [sic].242

Our ‘forced’ approval of ‘whatever appears right’ is not an external ‘Necessity’, but one that ‘flows directly from the intrinsick Excellence…of the Thing approved’.243 However, as the ‘affection or inclination to rectitude [which] cannot be separated from the view of it’,244 is ‘that Affection, of which Reason itself is the Object’,245 ‘that excitement [which] belongs to the very ideas of moral right and wrong, and is essentially inseparable from the apprehension of them’, is that which we experience as our natural ‘disposition’ to act according to reason as rational agents.246 When we perceive ‘Fitness’ and ‘Reasonableness’ in an ‘Act of Succour’, we are induced, ‘merely from the Reason of the Thing, and the Rectitude of the Action’, to relieve ‘Distress’; and it is in this inducement that we experience the ‘prompt’ of ‘our Understandings’,247 which means that to do what it is that we perceive to be intrinsically right is ‘to follow Nature’,248 just as it is ‘as natural for a reasonable Creature to act reasonably, as for an affectionate one to act affectionately’.249 Our natural ‘inclination’, as rational agents, to do what it is that we perceive with reason to be according to reason means that we experience ‘The intellectual nature’ as having ‘its own law’, precisely because ‘It has, within itself, a spring and guide of action which it cannot suppress or reject’.250

 Balguy, SFS, I.III, 47.  Balguy, TFMG.II, 178. 244  Price, Review, 315. 245  Balguy, TFMG, 78. 246  Price, Review, 315. 247  Balguy, TFMG, 50. 248  Balguy, TFMG.II, 194. 249  Balguy, TFMG, 51. 250  Price, Review, 317. 242 243

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‘Self-approbation’ To perceive what it is that is fitting to our relations with others and with God is also to perceive what is fitting to our relation with ourselves, not least because he who acts according to his own judgement and nature by doing what it is that he ‘approves’ as right in itself, has: the pleasing approbation of…[his] own mind, and the comfortable congratulations of his conscience; on having answered in a good measure, the end of his creation, maintained the dignity of his nature, and reverenced the image of God imprinted on his soul…251

It follows from the intrinsic worth of what it is that we perceive to be right in itself, and so fitting to our relations with ourselves, others, and God, that our ‘self-approbation’ in conscience is not ‘additional’ or ‘external’ to being ‘directed merely by the rules of right reason, and influenced by the charms of virtue alone’:252 Reason both shews us what to pursue, and how to pursue it…shews us what we are…makes us what we are, and distinguishes us from inferior Creatures. Reason recommends to us Honesty, Benignity, Submissiveness to Reason, and every other Virtue. It applauds us whenever we act conformably thereto, and condemns every Violation of them.253

‘Self-approbation and Consciousness of Well-doing…inseparably attend the Love and Practice of Virtue’, and ‘the sublimest Pleasures which rational Beings are capable of, spring from Virtue; and are the genuine Fruits, and peculiar Effects of it’.254 The motivational force of ‘the attractions of moral beauty, and virtuous excellence’,255 that we experience in rational perception as our rational ‘affection’256 for the ends of reason qua rational  Balguy, SFS, II.VI, 111–112.  Ibid., I.XVI, 289. 253  Balguy, TFMG.II, 185–186. 254  Balguy, DR, 237–238. 255  Balguy, SFS, I.XVI, 289. 256  Balguy, TFMG, 78; 82. 251 252

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agents need not be confused with our ‘additional’ and ‘external’ motivational concerns for mere sensual pleasure and the ‘sanctions of reward and punishment’.257 ‘Self-approbation’ and ‘self-condemnation’ are ‘Obligations of Conscience’ and, as such, ‘internal Reasons’ for doing that which we perceive to be intrinsically right.258

‘Self-condemnation’ ‘Self-condemnation’, like ‘self-approbation’, is an essential part of both our experience of what it means to do what it is that we perceive to be right in itself, and of how our perception of what it is that is fitting to our relations with others and God is also our perception of what it is that is fitting to our relation with ourselves. Just as self-approbation is inseparable from the fact that ‘virtue’ is ‘amiable and excellent’,259 ‘lovely, and beautiful, and beneficial…in itself ’,260 ‘self-condemnation’ is inseparable from the fact that ‘vice’ is ‘vile and odious in its own nature’.261 Any individual who fails to do what it is that he perceives to be right in itself ‘lives in opposition to the light of his own mind’,262 and ‘whoever acts contrary to this Sense and Conscience…is necessarily self-condemned’.263 It is in ‘self-condemnation’ and ‘self-approbation’ that ‘rectitude’ is experienced as ‘a law, as well as a rule to us; that it not only directs, but binds all, as far as it is perceived’.264 What it is that is according to reason ‘forces’ our assent and determines our approval, but rectitude ‘not only makes itself approved, but admired; not only admired, but loved’.265 Failure to do what it is that is right in itself is not only to be ‘self-condemned’ for going against our own mind and judgement, but to be ‘self-condemned’ for  Balguy, SFS, I.XVI, 289.  Balguy, TFMG, 84; LT, 375–376; 390. 259  Balguy, SFS, I.I, 4. 260  Ibid., I.XVI, 289. 261  Ibid., I.I,4. 262  Ibid., I.I.7. 263  Clarke, Discourse, 43. 264  Price, Review, 176. 265  Balguy, TFMG, 82. 257 258

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going against the essential affections of our own nature. For the Clarkeans, it is impossible to betray what we love, and ‘go on self-condemned, and be sentenced a criminal by…[our] own heart’ and ‘conscience’,266 without laying ‘waste’ to ‘ourselves’: vice pierces and wounds…It hurts…the man…plants anguish, uproar, and death in the soul…There is no object in nature so monstrous as a reasonable being defiled with guilt, living in contradiction to the remonstrances of his understanding, trampling on the authority of God, and opposing himself to the obligations of truth and righteousness.267

2.9  T  he Richness of Clarkean Reason and Perception On this basis, we can see why it is unhelpful to read the Clarkeans in the context of a Humean (or, Lockean and Hobbesian: see Chap. 1) limited definition of reason, rather than from the perspective of recta ratio:268 the rationalists’ overriding view seems to have been the inadmissible one that reason, conceived simply as a faculty which perceives necessary truth, carries us from the perception of the necessary truths of morality to the affection for virtue.269

However, in line with recta ratio, there is much more to what the Clarkeans meant by both ‘reason’ and ‘necessary truth’. For Clarke, ‘there is a Fitness…certain Circumstances to certain Persons, and an Unsuitableness of Others, founded in the Nature of Things’ and ‘What these Relations of Things absolutely and necessarily Are in Themselves, That also they Appear to be, to the Understanding of all Intelligent

 Balguy, SFS, I.I, 7.  Price, Review, 462–463. 268  Of course, one response here is that it is the Clarkeans’ own mathematical analogy that reduces the meaning of reason: see Chaps. 1 and 5. 269  W.D. Hudson, Ethical Intuitionism (London: Macmillan, 1967), 10. 266 267

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Beings’.270 To perceive what is fit to be done is to perceive not only each relation, and what is fitting to each relation, but what is fitting to the ‘Rule of Right or Equity’271 itself, because this is ‘the Very Nature of Things and their necessary Relations one to Another’.272 The rational perception of moral truth is live with God’s being and attributes, and so live with both God’s purposes in creating, and our purpose, as ‘the rational Part of God’s creation’,273 within creation to ‘permit and assist each other to enjoy in particular the several Effects and Blessings of the Divine universal Goodness’.274 For Clarke, in the operation of reason, we experience our responsibilities to reason qua our law, God’s law, and that of the created universe itself; we are thus bound to ‘acknowledge the Reasonableness and Fitness of…governing all…[our] Actions by the Rule of Right or Equity’,275 while appreciating that contravening the ‘eternal Law of Righteousness’276 is: acting contrary to…[our] own Reason and Knowledge: ’Tis an attempting to destroy that Order by which the Universe subsists: And ’tis also, by Consequence, offering the highest Affront imaginable to the Creator of All Things…277

The Clarkeans have been criticised for maintaining that ‘Approving an action is the same with discerning it to be right; as assenting to a proposition is the same with discerning it to be true’.278 However, because the rational perception of truth, including moral truth, is always live with all that reason is, the Clarkeans themselves were keen to answer the objection that the rational assent to truth was merely the ‘cool judgement of reason’.279 Inseparable from reason’s operation, and the truths we perceive with reason,  Clarke, Demonstration, 106.  Clarke, Discourse, 50–51. 272  Clarke, Demonstration, 108. 273  Clarke, Discourse, 173. 274  Ibid., 93. 275  Ibid., 50–51. 276  Ibid., 50. 277  Clarke, Demonstration, 116. 278  Price, Review, 169. 279  Ibid., 87. 270 271

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is the fact ‘that whenever we transgress truth and right, we immediately affront that God who is truth and right’,280 just as our concern for each of our responsibilities to ourselves, others and God as rational agents is inseparable from the operation of reason: ‘unavoidable to all beings who perceive truth’ is ‘that preference of happiness; that repugnance to pain; that discernment of moral obligation, and approbation of beneficence’.281 Hudson not only reduces reason in CER, but separates the that and the what of intrinsic rightness. What it is that we perceive to be right in itself with reason is what it is that is according to reason, and we experience all that reason is, and all that it means to act according to reason, in the very operation of reason itself. It is not that reason carries us from the perception of moral truths to ‘the affection for virtue’, as though our ‘rational affection’ as rational agents for the truths we perceive with reason to be according to reason can each be separated. With respect to benevolence, Price maintained that we have ‘an unavoidable consciousness of rectitude in relieving misery, in promoting happiness, and in every office of love and good-will to others’,282 and that we have ‘an immediate relish…for truth …candour, sincerity, piety…and many other…principles of conduct’.283 Our reaction to sincerity, piety, benevolence, and so on, is as it is because this is what it is that we perceive to be right in itself, and: ‘To behold virtue, is to admire it. To behold it in its intrinsic and complete importance, dignity, and excellence, is to possess supreme affection for it’.284 For Price, our ‘immediate relish’ for what it is that we perceive to be right in itself follows from the fact that: we cannot ‘perceive an action to be right, without approving it; or approve it, without being conscious of some degree of satisfaction and complacency’.285 Just as Price maintained that, as a result of our perception of rightness, and our consciousness of its ‘dignity and excellence’,286 we have ‘mental  Ibid., 143–144.  Ibid., 510. 282  Ibid., 325. 283  Ibid., 228–229. 284  Ibid., 91–92. 285  Ibid., 91. 286  Balguy, TFMG, 82. 280 281

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feelings’287 that ‘excite to action’;288 similarly Balguy maintained that we have a ‘moral Affection’289 ‘for Virtue, or Moral Goodness’.290 And this moral affection, because it follows from the perception of virtue, explains (contra Hutcheson), ‘Excitements to Election, or Grounds of Approbation’,291 without appealing to an antecedent ‘moral sense’. When we perceive benevolence as fitting to our relations with ourselves, others, and God, we experience the ‘Affection’ of ‘that Esteem, Admiration, Complacency which Virtue produces’,292 simply because, ‘Whatever is good…will produce the Affection either of Complacency or Desire, in such Beings as are capable and willing to attend to its Excellence’.293 Our affection for virtue is our affection for all that reason is qua recta ratio; and it is also our affection for what it is that is intrinsically right according to recta ratio; an affection which we possess as part of our ‘subjective motivational set’ as rational agents: to all moral Agents…Reason is both End and Rule; both Direction, and Excitation: That Rectitude, or Conformity to Truth, is as properly the ultimate End of an intelligent Agent, as Pleasure is of a sensible one.294

2.10  Conclusion This chapter has examined key criticisms of CER, not least the problem of supervenience, ‘queerness’ and ‘judgement externalism’. The Clarkean conception of conscience has been used to highlight the Clarkeans’ normatively thick conception of reason qua recta ratio. It has been possible to maintain that those criticisms of CER unnecessarily separate the that and the what of intrinsic rightness; a separation which is not warranted, as  Ibid., 97.  Ibid., 313. 289  Balguy, TFMG, 85. 290  Ibid., 82. 291  Ibid., 82. 292  Ibid., 83. 293  Ibid., 78. 294  Balguy, LT, 366. 287 288

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those criticisms presuppose, by the Clarkean distinction between our ‘original obligation’ to do that which is right in itself because it is right in itself, and our ‘additional motives’ to do that which is right in itself because it is according to our own interests, those of others, and God’s will. The Clarkeans are able to answer the problem of supervenience and ‘queerness’, because their understanding of the law of reason as that which governs God’s nature, human nature, and the created universe itself, explains why we should encounter intrinsic rightness as ‘fittingness’ to relations established by reason. Further, their understanding of reason qua recta ratio explains why we should encounter intrinsic rightness as such a ‘fittingness’ through the operation of our own reason. On the same basis, they are not ‘judgement externalists’: our desire to do that which is right in itself follows from our encounter with intrinsic rightness through reason, and this is not just an encounter with the fact that something is right in itself, but with what it is that is right in itself. Again consistent with recta ratio, for the Clarkeans, what it is that we perceive to be right in itself is what it is that we perceive with reason to be according to reason; namely, acting ‘fittingly’ to the relations we stand in to ourselves, others and God, so that we might satisfy the ‘tripartite’ duties we have to ourselves, to others, and to God as rational agents under the law of reason. Following Hutcheson and Hume, a central criticism of CER has been that the Clarkean account of reason and rational perception cannot establish the live intuitional bedrock for moral action, which explains both our excitement to moral action and our sense of the overridingness of moral norms. The Clarkean mathematical analogy has appeared particularly unhelpful here, because it suggests a reduction of reason and morality to the perception of potentially uninteresting facts. However, we have seen that the Clarkean use of the mathematical analogy is intended to be understood within the context of the tradition of Ciceronian right reason and Thomistic natural law explored in Chap. 1. For the Clarkeans, as well as the other Anglican figures previously examined in recta ratio, the immediate assent to all truth, both practical and theoretical, emphasised how the very operation of human reason is always live with all that reason is qua our law, God’s law, and that of the created universe.

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Further, we have seen how the Clarkeans, again consistent with recta ratio, used conscience to emphasise the fact that we cannot separate out from our encounter with moral truth our desire to ‘imitate’ God as the ‘fount’ and ‘origin’ of all truth; our ‘immediate relish’ for the ends of reason as the ends of our own rational nature; or our ‘self-approbation’ of the essential beauty (and ‘self-condemnation’ of the essential vileness) of what it means to satisfy (or to fail to satisfy) all that reason is qua recta ratio. Although the Clarkeans distinguished our ‘original obligation’ and ‘additional motives’ for moral action, this does not mean that they argued that moral knowledge was simply a matter of perceiving an ‘abstract’ truth with ‘dry’ theoretical reason, and that moral action consisted in accepting the motivation that (somehow) followed from that perception. The Clarkeans, like Hooker, denied any distinction between finding the live intuitional bedrock for moral action in reason or in human nature, because reason is the law of human nature, according to which the ‘natural law’ of human nature is a participation in the ‘eternal law’ of God. We experience the rational perception of intrinsic rightness, and our desire to satisfy what it is that is according to reason, as live with God and live with ourselves as a ‘necessity’ of our whole nature as rational agents. When the Clarkeans argued, according to our ‘original obligation’, that we must do that which is right in itself because it is right in itself, and that the perception of intrinsic rightness is itself a sufficient motivation for moral action, that sufficient motivation includes within it such experiences as our desire to imitate God, ‘self-approbation’ and ‘self-condemnation’. Thus, although the Clarkeans distinguished our ‘original obligation’ for moral action from such ‘additional’ motivations as a regard for divine command, critics of the Clarkeans must not conflate the normative drive to imitate God in an act of intrinsic rightness with the fearful desire to obey divine power. Likewise, the motivational force of self-love must not be confused with our normative drive to act with ‘moral beauty’ and ‘self-­ approbation’. ‘Self-approbation’, ‘self-condemnation’ and the desire to imitate God are part of the very operation of reason itself; they are internal to both the experience of intrinsic rightness and to what it means to do what it is that is right in itself because it is right in itself.

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Bibliographical Abbreviations John Balguy

DR

EOR First letter LT Second letter

SFS

TFMG TFMG.II Samuel Clarke Clarke-Collins

Demonstration

Discourse

Leibniz-Clarke

Remarks

Except EOR and SFS, all page references are to: John Balguy, A Collection of Tracts Moral and Theological: Placed in the Order wherein they were first published (London: 1734) Divine Rectitude: Or, a Brief Inquiry Concerning the Moral Perfections of the Deity; Particularly in respect of Creation and Providence (London: 1730) An Essay on Redemption, 2nd edn (Winchester: 1785) A Letter to a Deist (London: 1726) The Law of Truth. Or, the Obligations of Reason Essential to all Religion (London: 1733) A Second Letter to a Deist, Concerning a late Book Entitled, Christianity as Old as the Creation (London: 1731) Sermons on the Following Subjects, 2 Vols., 3rd edn (London: 1790) (referenced by volume, sermon, page) The Foundation of Moral Goodness (London: 1728) The Second Part of the Foundation of Moral Goodness (London: 1729) The Correspondence of Samuel Clarke and Anthony Collins, 1707–1708 (London: Broadview, 2011) (W.L. Uzgalis, ed.) A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, in Samuel Clarke, A Discourse Concerning the Being and Attributes of God, the Obligations of Natural Religion, and the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Religion, 10th edn (London: 1767) A Discourse Concerning the Unchangeable Obligations of Natural Religion, and the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Religion, in Samuel Clarke, A Discourse Concerning the Being and Attributes of God, the Obligations of Natural Religion, and the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Religion, 10th edn (London: 1767)10th edn (London: 1767) The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence, ed. H.G. Alexander (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1956) Remarks Upon A Book, Entitled, A Philosophical Enquiry Concerning Human Liberty (London: 1717)

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Sermons

Richard Price Review Review, 2nd edn Review, ed. Raphael SVS

Sermons by Samuel Clarke, D.D., in Eleven Volumes, 7th edn (London: 1749) (referenced by volume, sermon, page) A Review of the Principal Questions in Morals, 3rd edn (London: 1787) A Review of the Principal Questions and Difficulties in Morals, 2nd edn (London: 1769) A Review of the Principal Questions in Morals, ed. D.D. Raphael (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974) Sermons on Various Subjects, ed. William Morgan (London: 1816)

3 Conscience or Complacency? NeoKantianism, Deism, and Practical Reason

3.1  Introduction Englishmen of the eighteenth century were little inclined to regard the ideal man as a mere calculating machine without passions or affections, employed in mediating on the eternal relations of things in a universe purified of all emotion, or likely to accept a theory according to which infallibility and not impeccability constitutes the ultimate perfection, and the perfect man would be lost, not in the love of God or of his race, but in the profoundest mathematical speculations.1

In the previous chapter, I have attempted to answer part of Stephen’s concerns above by responding to both Humean and neo-Kantian criticisms of the Clarkeans. To borrow Michael Smith’s phrase,2 I have suggested that it is possible to pay the Clarkeans’ motivational (is/ought gap) and epistemological (problem of supervenience) ‘debts’ when we  Leslie Stephen, English Thought in the Eighteenth Century, 2 Vols. (New York, NY, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1876), vol.2, IX.14. 2  See Chap. 2. 1

© The Author(s) 2020 D. Mills Daniel, Ethical Rationalism and Secularisation in the British Enlightenment, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-52203-2_3

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look at their mathematical analogy in the context of recta ratio. In that context, it is not so obvious that their mathematical analogy eliminates ‘passions and affections’ from human beings, and ‘emotion’ from the ‘universe’, anymore than it entails that, in the moral life, ‘love of God’ and of human beings is ‘lost’ behind ‘mathematical speculations’. Consequently, in the previous chapter, it was possible to respond to traditional Humean criticisms of CER, as well as Kantian ‘heteronomy of the will’. The normativity of God’s will qua exemplar and self-approbation qua a concern for our own nature and judgement are non-heteronomous in CER because they are normative experiences that follow from, and directly concern, our ‘original obligations’ under the law of reason. However, emphasising what Balguy called the ‘internal’ obligations of conscience, does not yet address the Kantian criticism that CER is heteronomous because the human mind is imposed upon from without by an independent ‘realm of ethical fact’.3 It might well be the case that normative experiences, including the assent of our own judgement and peculiar ‘rational affections’, follow from, and directly concern, our encounter with objective moral truth. Nevertheless, these normative experiences are forced upon us from the outside. In CER, ‘Rational truths or truths of reason…exist independently of the will’ and ‘exist independently of the person’s mind’,4 and the Clarkeans do say (see below) that they necessarily ‘force’ our mind and will. So, at best, in CER, the human will gives a simple ‘yes or no’5—it either resists or acquiesces to the normative experiences that have been imposed upon it from the outside. For neo-­Kantians, there is no room for self-imposition in CER, or other intuitionist ethical theories. Where, ‘on the Kantian view, rational agency must be autonomous, in the sense that the requirements binding it are wholly self-­ generated and self-imposed’,6 an intuitionist would not ‘accept the idea  Stephen Darwall, The British Moralists and the Internal ‘Ought’, 1640–1740 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 327. See for further discussion of this criticism Chap. 2. 4  Christine Korsgaard, ‘The Normativity of Instrumental Reason’, in Internal Reasons, eds K. Setiya and H. Paakkunainen (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012), 204; 222. 5  J.B. Schneewind, The Invention of Autonomy: A History of Modern Moral Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 517–518. 6  Robert Johnson, ‘Value and Autonomy in Kantian Ethics’, in Oxford Studies in Metaethics, ed. Russ Shafer-Landau (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), vol.2, 140 (my italics). 3

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that moral requirements are self-legislated’.7 It is, ‘Because intuitionism locates moral principles externally to the will’, in ‘an order of intrinsic values’, that ‘it does not represent moral agents as legislators’.8 Indeed, intuitionists, like the Clarkeans, ‘do not believe in practical reason, properly speaking’.9 ‘Substantive moral duties…are apprehended by reason, not created by the exercise of reason’,10 so ‘what gives authority to the agent’s judgement of reasons…is that these reliably track independent normative facts’.11 As a result, a Clarkean agent is not an autonomous self-legislating neo-Kantian agent, he is simply someone who is ‘reliably caused to act in accordance with reasons’ due to ‘a sort of accident that his motivational wiring follows the pathways of reason’.12 Interestingly, Stephen Darwall and Christine Korsgaard criticise the Clarkeans not only for being heteronomous, but for being inconsistent in their heteronomy. Clarke and Balguy occasionally sound as if they are ‘anticipating Kant’s view…that obligation derives from the dictate of the agent’s own mind’.13 Korsgaard and Darwall14 cite the following quotations as instances of where Clarke and Balguy break from their ‘more usual practice’:15 INTERNAL OBLIGATION is a State of the Mind into which it is brought by the Perception of a plain Reason for acting…arising from the Nature, Circumstances, or Relations of Persons or Things…16 For the Judgement and Conscience of a Man’s own Mind, concerning the Reasonableness and Fitness of the Thing…is the truest and formallest  Andrews Reath, Agency and Autonomy in Kant’s Moral Theory (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006), 118, fn.23. 8  Ibid., 168, fn.33; 99; 168, fn.33. 9  Christine Korsgaard, Creating the Kingdom of Ends (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 316. 10  ‘Ethical Intuitionism and the Motivation Problem’ in Philip Stratton-Lake (ed.), Ethical Intuitionism: Re-evaluations (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2002), 235, fn.18. 11  Darwall, Internal ‘Ought’, 329. 12  Korsgaard, ‘Instrumental Reason’, 225. 13  Christine Korsgaard, The Sources of Normativity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 31. 14  Darwall, Internal ‘Ought’, 327–328; Korsgaard, Sources, 31–32. 15  Darwall, Internal ‘Ought’, 328. 16  TFMG, 68. 7

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Obligation…For no Man willingly and deliberately transgresses this Rule [‘of Right and Equity’]…but he acts contrary to the Judgement and Reason of his own Mind, and secretly Reproaches himself for so doing.17

Indeed, Korsgaard and Darwall not only argue that there is an ‘ambiguity’ within Clarke and Balguy concerning the above quotations, but an ‘ambiguity’ between the Clarkeans themselves. Apparently, Price disagreed with Clarke and Balguy in the quotations above.18 In response to the above from Balguy, Price maintained: obligation denotes that attraction or excitement which the mind feels upon perceiving right and wrong. But this is the effect of obligation perceived, rather than obligation itself.19

From a neo-Kantian perspective, the quotation from Price points to why the Clarkeans are ‘externalists’, because ‘normative facts’ are ‘independent of the operation of practical reason’.20 So far as the quotation from Price expresses the ‘usual’ position of CER, Clarke and Balguy are both internally inconsistent, and inconsistent with Price, when they appear to suggest that ‘normative force derives not from the intrinsic reasonableness of the action alone, but from the fact that the agent determines herself to do what is reasonable’.21 The Clarkeans cannot consistently appeal to the normative force of our own judgement, nor claim it as a formal obligation for moral action. In CER, we must do that which is right because it is right in itself, not because it is according to our own judgement: our own conscience only obliges so far as it reliably ‘tracks’ substantive moral truth. A key theme underpinning the criticisms above returns us to the quotation from Stephen: CER’s mathematical analogy shows that it is an ethical ‘theory according to which infallibility and not impeccability constitutes the ultimate perfection’. Thus, Frederick Beiser argues that a problem with CER is that it ‘regard[s] self-evidence as something we  Discourse, 43–44.  Darwall, Internal ‘Ought’, 328; Korsgaard, Sources, 32. 19  Review, 186. 20  Darwall, Internal ‘Ought’, 19–20. 21  Korsgaard, Sources, 32. 17 18

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already possess rather than something we must struggle to achieve’,22 just as Roger Crisp describes Clarke as a proponent of ‘the ‘“hotline view” of moral epistemology, according to which beliefs based on moral intuition are self-evident in the sense of self-guaranteeing or indefeasible’.23 In other words, we might say that the Clarkeans are complacent. Their argument that some things self-evidently ‘appear normative, and there is no reason to doubt that they are what they seem’24 stems from a lack of curiosity those untroubled by ‘moral uncertainties’.25 Their ‘circular’ insistence upon ‘the irreducible character of normativity’26 expresses an arrogant (and potentially dangerous: see Chap. 2) lack of concern for the often pressing, and difficult, nature of moral questions. For Korsgaard, the following quotation from Clarke27 displays both his lack of ‘worry’ about moral questions and his complacent lack of ‘manners’28 towards those who find themselves, due to the ‘exigencies of life’, lacking ‘confidence’ and worrying about what would be the right thing to do, and why:29 These Things are so notoriously plain and self-evident, that nothing but the extremist Stupidity of Mind, Corruption of Manners, or Perverseness of Spirit, can possibly make any Man entertain the least Doubt concerning them.30

The charge of complacency also gives rise to another tension in CER. In the previous chapter, I suggested that criticisms of the Clarkeans for circularity, contentlessness, and heteronomy often result from a failure to distinguish between our original obligations and additional motivations for moral action under recta ratio. God’s will qua arbitrary command and self-love qua desire for reward are described as non-moral additional  Frederick Beiser, The Sovereignty of Reason: The Defense of Rationality in the Early English Enlightenment (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996), 300. 23  Roger Crisp, ‘Sidgwick and the Boundaries of Intuitionism’, in Ethical Intuitionism, 60–61. 24  Korsgaard, Sources, 44. 25  G.J. Warnock, Contemporary Moral Philosophy (London: Macmillan, 1967), 16. 26  Korsgaard, Sources, 32. 27  Ibid., 39. 28  Ibid., 42. 29  Ibid., 40. 30  Clarke, Discourse, 31. 22

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motivations by the Clarkeans; however, God’s will qua exemplar and self-­ approbation are our original obligations to do that which is right in itself because it is right in itself under the law of reason. For example, the ought of ‘you ought to imitate God’ is an ought of reason: we only experience the desire to imitate God through the perceptive and reflective exercise of reason; acting in imitation of God is right in itself under the law of reason; all intrinsically right actions can be performed in imitation of God because the law of reason is an attribute of God; and so on. Whatever we make of this distinction, there remains the question of whether the Clarkeans consistently applied it themselves. When Henry Sidgwick claimed that Butler exhibited a ‘duality of practical reason’, he also suggested that the same ‘duality’ ‘appears confusedly’ in Clarke.31 Its ‘confused’ appearance in Clarke stems from his ‘doubleness of aim’: to establish the ‘immutable obligations of morality’, and to enforce them with the ‘belief ’ in ‘future rewards and punishments’.32 Scholars have agreed with Sidgwick as part of a wider agreement that Tindal was right to identify Clarke as a deist, whose opposition to deism was inconsistent with his own ethical rationalism.33 In CER, we only need our reason to immediately and self-evidently perceive what is right and wrong; and the perception of moral truth is a necessary and sufficient motivation for moral action. Having emphasised the fact that only immense ‘stupidity of mind’ can prevent human reason from perceiving intrinsic rightness, it is inconsistent for the Clarkeans to then say we are so fallen we cannot know moral truth without Christian revelation. Similarly, having emphasised the fact that virtue is ‘Self-Eligible’, it is inconsistent for the Clarkeans to argue that human beings are so fallen that we would not behave morally without ‘Gospel-Motives’: the revelation that God will reward virtue and punish vice. While Sidgwick views Clarke’s appeal to heavenly reward as something that ‘seriously’  Henry Sidgwick, Outlines of the History of Ethics, 4th edn (London: Macmillan, 1896), 198.  Ibid., 179. 33  Rivers, Reason, Grace, vol.1, 233, fn.129; vol.2, 79–81; Stephen Lalor, Matthew Tindal, Freethinker: An Eighteenth-Century Assault on Religion (London: Continuum, 2006), 120; Rosalie Colie, ‘Spinoza and the Early English Deists’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 20:1 (Jan., 1959), 29; Stephen, English Thought, vol.1, III.iii; vol.2, XII.25; John Redwood, Reason, Ridicule and Religion: The Age of Enlightenment in England, 1660–1750 (London: Thames and Hudson, 1976), 145–146; 208–209. 31 32

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­‘complicates…[his] task’,34 J.P. Ferguson calls it a ‘surprising’ retraction: ‘having exalted the place of morality…[he] now proceeds to retract what he has said…to show that after all, morality must be accorded a secondary position in relation to happiness’.35 The aim of this chapter is to respond to the tensions and criticisms above. In Part 1, it will be shown that the accusation of complacency in CER has been overstated, and that the meaning and place of conscience helps to demonstrate that moral knowledge and action are not straightforward, or passive, experiences in CER. As a result, in Part 2, it will be argued that Clarkean moral agents are not only required to engage actively with what it is that we perceive to be right in itself, but choosing and doing what it is that is right in itself requires a form of practical moral reflection. Consistent with our ‘original obligation’ to do what it is that is right in itself because it is right in itself, a Clarkean moral agent reflects upon ‘original’ or ‘internal’ ‘material’ of conscience, including our desire to imitate God, and the self-approbation of our own nature and judgement, as obligations ‘internal’ to conscience. Part 3, in response to Sidgwick’s ‘duality of practical reason’, will maintain that such ‘additional’ motivations as divine command, promises of heavenly reward, and our natural affections for ourselves and others, are also legitimate ‘materials of conscience’ within our practical moral reasoning.36 In CER, moral reflection and introspection, using both ‘original’ or ‘internal’ materials of conscience, and ‘additional’ or ‘external’ materials of conscience, is necessary in the world as a ‘state of trial’, where human reason is limited and ‘fallen’; it is also an essential feature of the process of moral development, where moral development is the divine purpose behind the world as a ‘state of trial’ in the first place.

 Sidgwick, Outlines, 179.  J.P Ferguson, Dr. Samuel Clarke: An Eighteenth Century Heretic (Kineton: The Roundwood Press, 1976), 29. 36  Here, I am borrowing from Whichcote, a key influence (with Cudworth and Cumberland) for the Clarkeans, as indicated in Chap. 2: ‘the three great instances of virtue [our tripartite duties], the…fundamentals of religion, the…materials of conscience, which are immutable, unalterable, and indispensable, that are settled in the very foundation of God’s creation [and ‘founded originally in the main foundation of God’]’ (Works, vol.3, LVI, 148; vol.4, LXXVI, 112 (my italics). 34 35

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Part 1 3.2  P  assive Perception, Active Consciousness, and Freewill In CER, there is something ‘passive’ at the heart of moral agency itself: namely, ‘the perception of moral good and evil’, ‘without’ which ‘there can be no moral agency’.37 Clarke is clear that ‘Assent to Truth’ is not ‘an Action or a Choice’,38 just as the ‘Perception of Ideas is No Action at all’;39 they are ‘something over which the Person has No Power’40 and are that ‘wherein the Mind is entirely passive’.41 However, Clarke is also clear that ‘Consciousness…[is] the reflex act by which I know that I think’,42 and that ‘Attention…or a Man’s chusing to fix his Thoughts on one Subject rather than another, is an Action’,43 and so, it is in ‘the direct act of thinking’,44 that the mind is no longer ‘merely passive’.45 It is in the context of consciousness and thinking as activities of the mind that we must understand the much-maligned Clarkean claims (see previous chapter) that, ‘So far therefore as men are conscious [my italics] of what is right and wrong, so far they are under an obligation to act accordingly’,46 and that ‘an agent’ can only ‘be justly denominated virtuous’ when ‘he acts from a consciousness [my italics] of rectitude, and with a regard to it as his rule and end’.47  Price, Review, 309.  Clarke, Remarks, 30. For the controversy between Clarke and Collins, see: Wayne Hudson, The English Deists (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2009), 98–102 and Enlightenment and Modernity, 27–34; 111–116; H.M. Ducharme, ‘Personal Identity in Samuel Clarke’, Journal of the History of Philosophy, 24:3 (Jul., 1986), 359–383; Ferguson, Clarke, 112–118; W.L. Uzgalis, ‘Introduction’, in Clarke-Collins, 9–36; James Harris, Of Liberty and Necessity: The Free Will Debate in Eighteenth-­ Century British Philosophy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2005), 46–63. 39  Clarke, Remarks, 7. 40  Ibid., 29–30. 41  Ibid., 7. 42  Clarke, Clarke-Collins, 90. 43  Clarke, Remarks, 21. 44  Clarke, Clarke-Collins, 108. 45  Clarke, Remarks, 21. 46  Clarke, Discourse, 43. 47  Price, Review, 310. 37 38

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It is not just that we perceive the ‘queer’ quality of intrinsic rightness which gives us ‘Reason or Motive’48 for action, but that we have reasons or motives for acting as a result of actively engaging with what it is that we perceive to be intrinsically right, whereby we experience all that reason is, and appreciate all that it means to do what it is that we perceive to be right in itself. While ‘assent’ is ‘forced’ and ‘approval’ ‘determined’, our perception of virtue, and our rational ‘self-approbation’ of virtue through perceiving it, are not purely passive experiences. Balguy maintained that, as virtue is ‘intrinsically worthy and excellent’, it produces a ‘real Affection…in all Minds that attentively consider it’.49 Clarke insisted that the differences good and evil, ‘the unalterable Rule of Right and Equity’, necessarily ‘determine the Judgment, and force the Assent of all Men that use any Consideration’.50 Price described the ‘power of intuition’, to which is owed belief in ‘all self-evident truths’, including ‘our moral ideas’, as: the mind’s survey of its own ideas, and the relations between them, and the notice it takes, by its own…intellective power, of what absolutely and necessarily is or is not true and false, consistent and inconsistent, possible and impossible in the natures of thing

Within CER, this ‘forced’ assent to what it is that we perceive to be right in itself lies at the heart of, but is only the starting-point for, moral agency. The fact that human beings do not simply perceive intrinsic rightness, but are conscious that they have perceived it, and actively engage with it, highlights how reason and rational perception in CER need not be read as merely thin, ‘neutral’, or passive. It also points to how practical moral reasoning is possible within CER. Clarkean freewill (see below) means that it is always our responsibility to choose and to act. However, these take place in a world where human reason is limited; consequently, practical reasoning is a necessary part of choosing and acting if we are to overcome our own limitations and be confident that we are choosing and acting appropriately.  Clarke, Clarke-Collins, 11.  Balguy, TFMG, 82 (my italics). 50  Clarke, Discourse, 44 (my italics). 48 49

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Clarkean Freewill Our active engagement, in conscience, with what it is that we perceive to be right in itself is an essential part of ‘Doing as we will’.51 For the Clarkeans, ‘doing as we will’ is our choice to do what it is that we perceive to be right in itself. As free agents, we are responsible for our choices. Returning to the Pauline language of conscience and to hegemonikon, we are a ‘law to’ ourselves, as a result of ‘being endowed with reason, and conscious of right and wrong’.52 For the Clarkeans, to will is ‘essentially Active’ because it signifies ‘actual exertion of the Self-moving power’.53 This is ‘a Principle or Power of beginning Motion’,54 which we possess as rational agents, who, unlike ‘the Motion of a Balance’ under weights,55 can act, rather than ‘barely…being acted upon’.56 While ‘motives’, including that of ‘obligation’, ‘may be the occasions of our putting ourselves into motion’,57 ‘any Reasons…whatever…may induce, incline or persuade; but…they have no natural Efficiency’:58 the impression made upon the mind by that motive, is the perceptive quality, in which the mind is passive: the doing of anything, upon and after, or in consequence, of that perception; this is the power of self-motion or action: which…in moral agents…we call liberty.59

What is most significant for the present discussion is that Clarkean freewill qua our freedom, and responsibility, to choose with reason, is a freedom and responsibility we possess in the world as a ‘state of trial’;60  Clarke, Remarks, 21.  Price, Review, 195 (my italics). 53  Clarke, Remarks, 9. 54  Remarks, 42. 55  Remarks, 12. 56  Remarks, 6. 57  Price, Review, 309 fn. 58  Balguy, LT, 373. 59  Clarke, Leibniz-Clarke, 97. 60  The Clarkeans’ shared understanding of the ‘state of trial’, as explored in this chapter, and the next, was consistent with the prevailing latitudinarian understanding of ‘fallenness’; see: Müller, Didacticism, 54–59; 176–180; Pfizenmaier, Clarke, 44–46; Alan Brinton, ‘The Passions as Subject Matter in Early Eighteenth-Century British Sermons’, Rhetorica, 10:1 (Winter 1992), 51–69; W.M. Spellman, John Locke and the Problem of Depravity (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988), 74–103. 51 52

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our reason is weak and, like our resolution to follow it, subject to confusion and temptation.

3.3  ‘Moral Certainty’ and the Limits of Human Reason In the previous chapter, Price was quoted on the single law of reason. From the fact that ‘Virtue…is necessarily one thing’, it follows that ‘the heads of virtue…agree…in requiring the same course of action’, so that no single virtue ‘can be annihilated without the most pernicious consequences to all the rest’.61 Consequently, the problem for human beings in the ‘state of trial’ is twofold: It is not…sufficient to satisfy us that an action is to be done, that we know it will be the means of good to others: we are also to consider how it affects ourselves, what it is in regard to justice, and all the other circumstances the case may involve need to be taken in, and weighed…before we can be capable of deducing demonstrably, accurately and particularly, the whole rule of right…we must possess universal and unerring knowledge. It must be above the power of any finite understanding to do this.62

In line with our active engagement with what it is that we perceive to be right in itself as a part of ‘doing as we will’, moral agents ‘judge what is or is not to be done’ by probing ‘the whole truth of every case’.63 They must be certain that they are acting for themselves, others and God in each act they perform as moral, because, according to the single law of reason, every act that accords with reason will satisfy each of the ‘tripartite’ duties it enjoins. However, human beings, in the world’s ‘state of trial’, have ‘defective knowledge’,64 leaving us often ‘in the dark’:65 ‘in the state of mankind and the world…we cannot but be in some uncertainty’66 about what we should do.  Price, Review, 279.  Review, 286. 63  Review, 277. 64  Review, 290. 65  Review, 282. 66  Review, 200. 61 62

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Price’s claim that ‘determining what is right or wrong, in many particular cases’,67 is frequently difficult helps to limit the accusations of complacency within CER, whereby we simply ‘see’ with mathematical certainty what we should do. Moreover, Price highlights how the Clarkeans were within recta ratio when they accounted for the lack of certainty in moral matters. Price, following Aquinas and other figures previously discussed in recta ratio,68 maintained that our lack of certainty does not include moral first principles, because these are ‘self-evident’.69 To gain assent, they need only to be understood, and so can be ‘used as axioms, the truth of which appears as irresistibly as the truth of those which are the foundation of Geometry’: “gratitude is due to benefactors; reverence is due to our Creator; it is right to study our own happiness; an innocent being ought not to be absolutely miserable; it is wrong to take from another the fruit of his labour,” and others of the like kind…70

Uncertainty does not lie in ‘primary principles’, but arises ‘when we come to consider particular effects’.71 It is in ‘single acts and particular cases’72 that we are ‘liable to frequent and unavoidable errors in our moral judgement’.73 Our ‘imperfect…discerning faculties’74 make us ‘liable to believe cases and facts and…actions, to be otherwise than they are; and…to form false judgements concerning right and wrong’.75 ‘The weakness of our discerning faculties’76 cannot cope with the ‘endless variety of cases’ and ‘ever changing’ ‘situations of agents and objects’; so, the single ‘universal law of rectitude…must be continually varying in its particular demands and obligations’.77 Our limited reason, in this complex  Review, 280.  See note 82 and Chap. 1. 69  Review, 282. 70  Review, 284. 71  Ibid. 72  Review, 280. 73  Review, 285. 74  Review, 282. 75  Review, 290. 76  Review, 283, fn. 77  Review, 277. 67 68

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and ever-changing situation, makes it hard for us to know what we should do, not least because our moral duties often appear to conflict. Pursuing others’ and our own happiness are duties, but (pursuit of ) ‘private and publick’ goods often seem to ‘interfere’ with each other, and to conflict with our ‘obligations to veracity, fidelity, gratitude, or justice’.78 Again, if we cannot know, in every instance, what are ‘good or bad for ourselves and others’, ‘our duty to God’, where our ‘property is lodged, or who our benefactors are’,79 doubt is inevitable, and we may ‘be rendered entirely incapable of determining what we ought to chuse’.80 Limited human reason means that, ‘our Ideas of moral Fitness are not always to be depended upon; as being sometimes obscure, and very often inadequate’.81 Consequently, and in line with latitudinarian thought in general,82 Clarke insisted that, in the world as a ‘state of trial’, when it comes to ‘Moral and Religious matters’,83 we must not expect a ‘demonstrative Force of reasoning, and even Mathematical Certainty’, but rather:  Review, 281.  Review, 285. 80  Review, 281. 81  Balguy, Second Letter, 336. 82  For the distinction between ‘moral’ and ‘mathematical’ certainty, see: Barbara Shapiro, A Culture of Fact, 1550–1720 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000) and Probability and Certainty in Seventeenth-Century England (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983); Henry van Leeuwen, The Problem of Certainty in English Thought, 1630–1690 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1963); Griffin, Latitudinarianism, 62–64; Müller, Didacticism, 46–52; R.H. Popkin, The History of Scepticism: From Savonarola to Bayle, revsd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 65–66; 208–218; G.A.J. Rogers, ‘Locke and the Latitude-Men: Ignorance as a Ground of Tolerance’, in Philosophy, Science, and Religion in England, 1640–1700, eds R. Kroll, R. Ashcroft and P. Zagorin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 230–252. Despite criticisms of complacency, therefore, the Clarkeans are in line with a number of latitudinarians, and other figures previously discussed in recta ratio. Such figures, following Aquinas and Grotius, accepted Aristotle’s maxim ‘that we cannot expect the same Degrees of Evidence, in Moral, as in Mathematical Sciences’ (Hugo Grotius, The Rights of War and Peace, 3 Vols., eds Jean Barbeyrac and Richard Tuck (Indianapolis, IA: Liberty Fund, 2005), II.XXIII.I.1; Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics, trans. W.D. Ross (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1954), I.3) and invoked the mathematical analogy but conceded that only a ‘moral certainty’ was possible in moral matters due to the limitations of human reason and the complexity of particular moral problems (see: Hooker, Laws, I.II.5; I.VI.1–5; I.VII.7; I.XII.1–3; Sanderson, Cases of Conscience, 133–134; Burnet, Second Remarks upon an Essay Concerning Human Understanding, in Remarks on Locke, 52–53; Cudworth, A Treatise, ed. Hutton, 178; Tillotson, Works, I.I.32–34 and The Rule of Faith, II.IV.1–2, in Works, Vol.III; Wilkins, Natural Religion, 4–25). 83  Clarke. Discourse, 290. 78 79

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such moral Evidence, or mixt Proofs from Circumstances and Testimony, as most Matters of Fact are only capable of, and wise and honest Men are always satisfied with, [and] ought to be accounted sufficient…84

To build our ‘moral certainty’ will require practical moral reasoning, as we consider ‘fair Appearance and Probability’,85 and: …to discover what is right in a case, we…extend our views to all the different heads of virtue, to examine how far each is concerned and compare their respective influence and demands…86

3.4  Practical Moral Reasoning It is helpful to think of the practical moral reasoning available in CER as that which concerns ‘material’ or ‘data’ from ‘outside’, and ‘material’ or ‘data’ from ‘inside’: conscience. Practical reasoning can happen in CER, as a result of the passive perception of intrinsic rightness, or as a means to experiencing that perception. ‘Outside’ practical moral reasoning87 includes using the faculties God gave us to judge of ‘Consequences’ as a means of deciding, so far as we are able, whether the action we have perceived to be, and actively engaged with as, right in itself can satisfy each of our ‘tripartite’ duties and so is right in itself. It would also include discovering the natural relations upon which rightness supervenes, again to confirm whether our understanding of the relations that obtained in the situation were sufficient to justify our passive experience of perceiving intrinsic rightness. Although, the Clarkeans maintain that it is with ‘immediate assent’, analogous to the slave boy in the Meno, that we perceive ‘Evil’ in ‘Barbarity, Injustice and Treachery’,88 limited agents, liable to error, must check their  Clarke, Demonstration, 11.  Clarke, Discourse, 290. 86  Price, Review, 286. 87  As Howard Ducharme put it, consistent with what is meant here by ‘outside’ and ‘inside’ practical moral reasoning, and the active engagement in conscience with what it is that we perceive to be right in itself: ‘fitness implies not only a relation that obtains, but an evaluation of that relation’ (‘The Moral Self, Moral Knowledge, and God: An Analysis of the Theory of Samuel Clarke’, D.Phil Thesis (Hilary Term, 1984), 112). 88  Clarke, Discourse, 49. 84 85

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moral judgements by confirming the relations that make the acts or principles in question ones of ‘Barbarity, Injustice and Treachery’. To use an example of Butler’s,89 while ‘it is counteracting the Truth of Things. To give causeless Pain to an innocent Person’, such that ‘there is a visible and odious Disagreement between Action, Agent, and Object’,90 if we learn that a person ‘suffering’ on account of another is not an innocent party, but a ‘villain’,91 our perception of, and reaction to, the situation can change. The ‘material’ of ‘outside’ practical reasoning is not only gathered subsequent to the experience of intrinsic rightness; ‘outside’ practical reasoning can happen before intrinsic rightness is perceived. We may face the question of whether, to borrow an example from Hume,92 it is fitting to give money to a beggar when it turns out that the money donated supports his alcoholism; or, of whether (returning to Price above, and the difficult questions of property and ownership that we can encounter) it is fitting to help an individual to gain entry to a car they are standing by, which they claim is theirs, but have been locked out of. In such cases, we might not perceive what is fitting, and even whether the fittingness in question is one that concerns a moral problem, until we have examined, and settled, as far as possible, the consequences, and natural features, of the instance at hand. ‘Inside’ practical moral reasoning means reflecting upon what we can be certain of, in conscience, about our experience of perceiving intrinsic rightness, whether that experience has happened as a result of ‘outside’ practical reasoning or prior to it. When we perceive intrinsic rightness, we are ‘conscious’, not only of what it is that we perceive to be right in itself, but of all that acting according to reason is. ‘Inside’ practical moral reasoning is that in which we, through reflection, continue to be conscious of, and to review, our various ‘pro-attitudes’ to what it is that is according to reason qua our law, God’s law and the law of the created universe: such as, our desire to imitate God, our awareness of ‘moral beauty’, ‘self-approbation’ and ‘self-condemnation’.  Butler, Analogy, Diss.II.5.  Bagluy, TFMG.II, 125. 91  Butler, Analogy, Diss.II.5. 92  Hume, Enquiry, ed. Selby-Bigge, II.I.143. 89 90

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Clearly ‘outside’ and ‘inside’ practical moral reasoning affect each other. What we experience as intrinsic rightness, upon the perception of it ‘inside’, determines what we expect to find in the situation ‘outside’. When we find that we are unable to understand everything about complex situations, or to know all of the consequences of our actions, and so whether the action is fitting to the relations we stand in to ourselves and to others and to God, we doubt our experience of intrinsic rightness. Whether we experience intrinsic rightness prior, or subsequent, to ‘outside’ practical reasoning, we are forced round in a circle of practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards.93 Within it, we repeatedly seek to  The process of practical moral reasoning in CER has been called upwards and downwards to illustrate (i) how, without faith, rational agents can be caught in a loop of practical moral reasoning on the basis of self-doubt, and (ii) how a range of ‘material’, including scripture and the promise of heavenly reward, is essential ‘material’ of, and for, practical moral reasoning in conscience (see chapter below). The end point of practical moral reasoning in CER is both the confidence that an action we have perceived to be right in itself is right in itself, and the decision to perform that action on the basis of that confidence. The moral agent who seeks to confirm his intuition of intrinsic rightness, so that he might choose to perform that action as an act of intrinsic rightness, thus reasons upwards to that endpoint. However, before reasoning upwards to that endpoint, the rational agent reasons downwards away from the action he has backed away from performing on the basis of self-doubt. In reasoning downwards the rational agent questions what he knows about the action: as an act of, for example, charity he is satisfied it helps others. He is also aware of such experiences as God’s voice, his own judgement, and the action’s ‘moral beauty’, which he has in, and as, conscience. In reasoning back upwards the moral agent seeks resolve to perform the action as an act of intrinsic rightness. He looks for the connections between what he considered in reasoning downwards and looks for further ‘material’ to support, where appropriate, his resolve. He thus considers, for example, that as the action is according to his own judgement, it is according to God’s will, because God gave him conscience. His creation by God with conscience is not only confirmed by the ‘voice’ he experiences in conscience but also by scripture. The fact that the action under consideration is according to God’s will is further confirmed by the fact that: an act of charity is consistent with the natural affections God created us with for others; God wills in scripture, not only what is best for his creation, but our loving charity for others towards that end; he experienced the desire to perform this act of charity in imitation of God when he first perceived it to be according to the law of reason. In reasoning upwards, the moral agent is not only satisfied that the act of charity is according to God’s will and in the interests of others, he also recognises that that which is according to his own judgement and God’s will is that which fulfils his responsibilities to himself: in performing the action under consideration the agent acts according to his own judgement, ‘self-approbation’, and what he experiences as a ‘necessity’ of his own rational nature; he is also aware that he avoids ‘self-­ condemnation’ and, in line with conscience’s ‘presages’, the future punishment of God. On the basis of reasoning back upwards, therefore, the moral agent can be confident that the act of charity under consideration is not just for others, but an act which fulfils his responsibilities to others and to himself and to God. The moral agent is thus able to perform the act under consideration with intention of ‘rectitude’ as an act of intrinsic rightness according to each of his ‘tripartite’ duties under reason. However, it is still the case that the moral agent may lack the resolve 93

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c­ onfirm the accuracy of our perception of intrinsic rightness, by reflecting on all that we experience—‘inside’ conscience—upon the perception of intrinsic rightness; alongside going over all that we know (or think we know)—‘outside’—about the situation. In Part 3, in response to Sidgwick’s duality of practical reason (see above), I shall argue that a reasoned faith is essential to breaking the circle of practical to act due to his awareness of his own capacity for error. Consequently, the process of practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards repeats itself until the moral agent is able to cross the rational ‘gap’ into decision and into action (see below). The process of practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards, as described above, does invite the criticism that it allows Locke’s enthusiast, on the basis of a supposed ‘internal light’ (Essay, IV.XIX.10), to justify the performance of any action as moral on the basis that, whatever is according to individual experience ‘inside’ conscience, is according to God’s will, and, therefore, also according to the best interests of others and himself. On the one hand, it is certainly the case in CER that, due to our limitations in the ‘state of trial’, human beings are not expected to be able to go further than the procedure of practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards. An individual moral agent cannot be certain that any action is one of ‘absolute virtue’, rather than mere ‘relative virtue’, because ‘mathematical certainty’ is beyond human beings in moral matters (see below). In the ‘state of trial’, when an agent intends, on the basis of practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards, that which is ‘materially’ virtuous in the performance of any act he chooses as moral, he has done all that can be reasonably expected of him. On the other hand, unlike Locke’s enthusiast, the Clarkean moral agent must always act with caution due to self-awareness of the capacity for error, and, in CER, ‘material’ considered ‘inside’ conscience does not take precedence over what the agent knows ‘outside’ about an action. Price argued that approval of ‘persecution’ and ‘self-murder’ indicated how ‘the practical errors of men…plainly [arise] from…speculative errors; from…mistaking facts, or not seeing the whole of a case; whence it cannot but often happen, that they will think those practices right, which, if they had juster opinions of facts and cases, they would unavoidably condemn’ (Review, 289). Thus, let’s say the act of charity I had been considering as right in itself was based on receiving stolen money. In CER my reasoning would now be faulty if I continued only to consider the action as an act of charity. In reasoning upwards and downwards concerning an act of charity which is reliant upon theft, I might consider that an act of charity founded on an act of injustice that also deprives others of happiness could not be performed in imitation of God. God acts as the perfection of the law of reason, so he always acts with justice and benevolence: ‘Divine benevolence is a disposition, not to make all indiscriminately happy in any possible way, but to make the faithful, the pious, and upright happy’ (Review, 433). As God, according to his nature, is governed by the law of reason, and to be governed by the law of reason is to act with justice, I could not be acting according to the law of reason in imitation of God if I prized this particular instance of utility over justice. If, then, I cannot be confident that I am acting in imitation of God, I cannot be confident that I am acting according to God’s will. As God wills what is best for his whole creation, I cannot be confident that performing this particular act of charity is acting for the best long-term interests of others. My lack of confidence that I am able to imitate God by performing this act of charity is supported by the fact that, when I consider the act of theft, I do not perceive it to be ‘fitting’ to deprive someone else of their own property, so that the thought that utility can compensate for injustice does not appear to be confirmed by my own judgement, or the judgement of God, or ‘self-approbation’, or any of the experiences I would normally associate, in conscience, with intrinsic rightness.

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moral reasoning upwards and downwards. Moral agents who seek to perform each moral action as acting for themselves and for others and for God, on the basis of a ‘moral certainty’, can only do so through faith, such that relevant ‘material’ for our ‘moral certainty’, attained through practical moral reasoning in, and under, conscience, includes such considerations as divine command, heavenly reward, our God-given instincts, and self-interest. In the meantime, in Part 2, I shall explore the ‘material’ already discussed as ‘internal’ to conscience: our own judgement and nature, the attractiveness of intrinsic rightness, ‘self-­approbation’ and ‘self-condemnation’.

Part 2 3.5  ‘Original’ Materials of Conscience: ‘Light of Nature’, ‘Law of Nature’, and ‘Practical Virtue’ As we saw in the introduction, such neo-Kantian critics as Darwall and Korsgaard claim there is a tension within CER, which is also one between Price, on one side, and Balguy and Clarke, on the other. While Balguy and Clarke argued that our own judgement of rightness is a ‘formal’ obligation upon us, which we experience upon perceiving intrinsic rightness, Price insisted that ‘the attraction or excitement which the mind feels upon perceiving right and wrong…is the effect of obligation perceived’ not ‘obligation itself’.94 However, if Darwall and Korsgaard quoted from Price beyond the passage they highlight as marking a tension between Price, Clarke and Balguy, the tension they identify would lessen: It is not exactly the same to say, it is our duty to do a thing; and to say, we approve of doing it. The one is the quality of the action, the other the discernment of that quality. Yet, such is the connexion between these, that it is not very necessary to distinguish them; and, in common language, the term obligation often stands for the sense and judgement of the mind concerning what is fit or unfit to be done.95  Price, Review, 186.  Review, 191–192.

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Price agreed with Clarke and Balguy that, ‘That is properly a law to us, which we always and unavoidably feel and own ourselves obliged to obey’,96 and so quotes with approval the very passages from Clarke which are at issue.97 Likewise, Clarke and Balguy agreed with Price, that although we may, in Hooker’s words, ‘seem makers’ of our law, we must always be careful to remember that, while we experience the law of reason as that which is according to our own judgement and nature, it is the law of reason itself that defines what it is that is according to reason, not our own limited faculty of reason. In response to Tindal’s deist appropriation of Clarke,98 Balguy (in line with Price’s distinction between ‘absolute’ and ‘practical’ virtue (see  Review, 177.  Review, 193–195; cf. Review, ed. Raphael, 118. 98  Tindal’s deism preserved vestiges of recta ratio, while pushing together Lockean and Clarkean intuition. Tindal’s ‘self-evident notions, which are the foundation of all knowledge, & certainty’ and all our ‘reasoning’ (Christianity as Old as the Creation: Or, the Gospel, A Republication of the Religion of Nature, 2nd edn (London: 1731), 170), correspond to Lockean simple ideas which are intuited as present in the mind, and as in agreement or disagreement with each other (Locke, Essay, IV.II.1). However, Tindal’s ‘self-evident Notions’ are the basis of ‘intellectual communication between God and Man’ (op.cit., 164). ‘Intuitive knowledge’ is ‘the knowledge of God himself, who sees all things by Intuition’ (ibid., 163), so while we ‘can as easily distinguish fit from unfit, as the eye can beauty from deformity’ (ibid., 26), ‘the eternal Reason, & unalterable Relations of Things’ (ibid., 266) ‘are the permanent voice of God’ (ibid., 27) and ‘our Reason for kind, tho’ not for degree, is of the same nature with that of God’ (ibid., 20). However, while appropriating Clarke, Tindal maintained: ‘the only innate Principle in Man is the Desire of his own happiness; and the Goodness of God requires no more than a right cultivating of this Principle’ (ibid., 333). Although, in Tindal, like Clarke, we ‘judge of the fitness and unfitness of actions’ (ibid., 22) according to our ‘relations’ to ourselves, others and God and ‘the duties resulting from these relations’ (ibid., 168), Tindal made the measure of ‘fittingness’ acting to ‘introduce into…[God’s] creation as much happiness as…[we] can’ (ibid., 255). Tindal saw his emphasis upon utility as consistent with Clarke’s Cumberland-inspired claim that God could have ‘no motive to create’ other than to ‘communicate…his goodness and happiness’ (ibid., 353). And it was with respect to the fact that the relations, satisfied by acting for happiness, were built into creation that Tindal made his most influential claim concerning Clarke. Tindal maintained that Clarke’s ‘original obligation’ made his position ‘true Deism’ (ibid., 337). According to Tindal, Clarke ‘favours Deism’ (ibid., 336): ‘Because if the eternal Reason of things is the supreme Obligation…if there’s any difference between it and external Revelation…[the former must be] the supreme…Rule’ (ibid., 336). If ‘external Revelation’ (ibid., 282) were not simply a ‘Republication’ of the ‘unchangeable’ law of reason, it would mean that the ‘Light’ (ibid., 178) God gave us to ‘judge soundly…in matters’ of religion and morality was insufficient for ‘The end for which God’ gave it (ibid., 22), and that it was reasonable for God to somehow ‘mend the eternal, universal Law of Nature’ (ibid., 175–176) by giving only a ‘small part of Mankind’ (ibid., 361) the positive institutions necessary for instruction and salvation. For Tindal, whenever Clarke denied the sufficiency of reason he contradicted his own representation of the law of reason as ‘irresistible’ 96 97

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below)) distinguished between ‘The Light of Nature, and the Law of Nature’.99 The latter is ‘Right Reason’,100 ‘That Law which results from the Eternal Reasons and Relations of Things’ that is ‘a compleat [sic] Rule of Action for all intelligent Creatures’, including ‘the Creator Himself ’.101 The former ‘signifies that Share, that Portion of Moral Truth, which Men are naturally capable of discovering’.102 While ‘Right Reason’ has ‘Sufficiency’ and ‘full Perfection’, ‘Reason as a Faculty in Man’103 is insufficient and ‘fallible’, due to ‘the poor Opinions, and precarious Perceptions, of weak Men’.104 While, according to ‘Right Reason’, there is ‘a compleat Rule of Life’ ‘called Human Duty’ that ‘comprehend[s] all the several Relations in which Men stand toward their Creator, their Fellow-­ Creatures, and Themselves’,105 ‘a clear Perception of that entire System of Relations, or Moral Truths, which constitute human Duty’,106 is beyond ‘imperfect’107 human reason. In some cases, ‘what is really fit, appears… unfit; and vice versa’;108 ‘By imperfect Understandings, the Relations of Things may be sometimes misperceived, sometimes not perceived at all.109 and ‘so absolutely perfect, as to take in everything that God requires of Mankind’ (ibid., 324). Tindal found in Clarke, and in ‘the judicious Mr. Butler’ (ibid., 253), support for the view that all human beings had to do to ‘discern their duty both to God & Man’ (ibid., 253) was ‘attend to the dictates of their Reason’ (ibid., 134) or ‘Conscience’ (ibid., 314), ‘the only Tribunal God has erected here on Earth’ (ibid., 93), so that even ‘An ignorant Peasant may know what is sufficient for him, without knowing as much as the learned Rector of St. James’s [i.e., Clarke]’ (ibid., 348). And the reason why knowledge of our duties should be available, even to one of the ‘meanest capacity’ (ibid., 253), without aid of revelation, is because the ‘relations’ that determine those duties are natural relations readily visible to human reason: ‘I can’t help thinking, but that…God’s Will is so clearly, & fully manifested in the Book of Nature, that…if the Book of Nature shews us in Characters legible by the whole world, the relation we stand in to God and our fellow-creatures, and the duties resulting from thence: for then it must teach us the whole of our duty’ (ibid., 24). 99  Balguy, Second Letter, 282. 100  Second Letter, 286. 101  Second Letter, 282. 102  Second Letter, 283–284. 103  Second Letter, 286. 104  Second Letter, 301. 105  Second Letter, 285. 106  Second Letter, 292. 107  Second Letter, 286. 108  Second Letter, 336. 109  Second Letter, 301.

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For Balguy, Tindal’s misappropriation of Clarke leads to the view that ‘the Law of Nature is, whatever any Man’s Reason or Faculty of Understanding, suggests to him’.110 Such a view is not warranted by Clarke, who emphasised the weakness of human reason (and human resolve (see below)) in the ‘state of trial’.111 Price, in stressing that duty and obligation are not the same as perception and approval, is only agreeing with Balguy that, ‘Our Faculty of Reason does not constitute the one a Good; but perceives it to be such’,112 because ‘the true Foundation of Virtue is not our Faculty of Reason, but the intrinsick Reasons and Relations of Things’.113 If this were not the case, human agents could ‘in no sense, ever do wrong’, so that ‘while we follow our own judgement we cannot err in our conduct’.114 There could not then be ‘objective rectitude’, ‘separate from, and independent of, the mind and its perceptions, to be enquired after and perceived’.115

The ‘Formal Obligation’ of Individual Judgement Of course, removing the tension between the Clarkeans themselves does not answer the wider neo-Kantian claim that there is a tension within CER itself; rather, Price, Balguy and Clarke, are included in that tension. However, it is possible to respond to that wider tension. The Clarkeans claimed that our ‘Assent is a formal Obligation upon every Man’.116 It follows that our own judgement of rightness is bound to be a ‘formal’ obligation in CER, due the weakness of human reason. Not only does the perception of human reason require active engagement with what it is that we perceive to be right in itself as part of ‘doing as we will’, but, as I have tried to illustrate with both ‘outside’ and ‘inside’ practical reasoning, our perception of intrinsic rightness itself involves finding out about the  Second Letter, 300.  Second Letter, 296–298. 112  Balguy, TFMG.II, 173. 113  TFMG.II, 184. 114  Price, Review, 299. 115  Review, 300. 116  Clarke, Discourse, 51. 110 111

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world around us, as well as what is happening inside us. Price echoes (without citing) Tillotson:117 ‘Our rule is to follow our consciences steadily and faithfully, after we have taken care to inform them in the best manner we can’.118 And Balguy makes it clear that: Whoever has a real Perception of any Truth, must unavoidably assent to it…but if he had never examined it, never taken it into his Thoughts; however clear and evident it might be in itself, it would be to him as nothing.119

Again, for the Clarkeans, human reason’s weakness in the ‘state of trial’ means that we do not merely wander through the world passively perceiving intrinsic rightness, as Korsgaard asserted, ‘wafting by’. Assent to moral truth is like ‘Assent to every Geometrical Demonstration’, in that it is immediate, but the former is also like the latter in requiring one’s ‘own Study’.120 Assent to moral (and mathematical) truth is unavoidable, but only for someone with ‘Patience or Opportunities to examine and consider Things…or…[who is] taught and instructed…by Others, concerning the necessary Relations and Dependencies of Things’.121 The weakness of human reason, and the effort required to overcome it, as far as that is possible, allows for practical moral reasoning in CER, and also some sense of ‘self-imposition’. But, this ‘self-imposition’ must be understood outside what Karl Ameriks and John Hare have called a ‘false trichotomy’: either normativity derives from divine command or an independent realm of ethical fact or self-legislation.122 Secular neo-­Kantianism maintains that what is, properly speaking, ‘formal’ is solely self-­constructed and self-imposed. CER is able to maintain that our own judgement is ‘formal’, because what we consider to be the right thing to do may not be  ‘We should be very careful to inform our consciences aright, that we may not mistake concerning our duty; or if we do, that our error and mistake may not be grossly wilful and faulty’ (Tillotson, Works, vol.2, XXXVIII, 335). 118  Price, Review, 301 (my italics). 119  Balguy, Second Letter, 300. 120  Clarke, Discourse, 42. 121  Clarke, Discourse, 42. 122  Karl Ameriks, ‘On Schneewind and Kant’s Method in Ethics’, Ideas y Valores, 45:102 (Dec., 1996), 48; John Hare, God’s Call: Moral Realism, God’s Commands, and Human Autonomy (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2001), 94–100. 117

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the right thing ‘materially’ or ‘substantively’ speaking. Human beings in the ‘state of trial’ are aware of their limitations and potential for error, and so, when they choose to will, in the Clarkean sense, they are imposing upon themselves the responsibility of, and standard for, acting; and they are doing so on the basis of a ‘moral certainty’ they have constructed through the ‘material’ of ‘outside’ and ‘inside’ practical moral reasoning. However, when Clarkean moral agents impose upon themselves the responsibility for acting, and choose with their own judgement and nature, they do not mistake their own potentially erroneous judgement for the standard, or creator, of moral truth. Returning to reasoning upwards and downwards, a moral agent, reviewing an instance of perceived intrinsic rightness, is always left in a quandary, even when the case seems clear, due to self-knowledge of the possibility for error. However, no human being, when he perceives intrinsic rightness, can escape the fact that he has judged something to be right in itself. For Balguy, an agent, under Tindal’s scheme, is worryingly unconcerned about self-doubt or the complexity of the situation that confronts him; Tindal’s moral agent can just choose to follow his own judgement, because it is his judgement. By contrast, a Clarkean agent may resolve to act because, even though moral reasoning upwards and downwards does not provide absolute mathematical certainty, he can at least be confident, through that process, that he has judged something to be right in itself, and that he has done his best to confirm his own judgement and to test the legitimacy of his experience. Further, even as the Clarkean moral agent resolves to do what he perceives to be right in itself, because it is according to his own judgement, he does not obey his own judgement simply because it is his own judgement; he intends more when he chooses to obey his own judgement than merely to follow his own judgement. For the Clarkeans, ‘The Rectitude of Actions must not only be perceived, but intended’.123 To ‘intend rectitude’ is to perform an action because it is right in itself, and to perform that action with the intention of satisfying each of our relations, according to the ‘nature of things’. Doing what it is that we perceive to be right in itself, because it accords with our own 123

 Balguy, TFMG.II, 183.

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judgement, can be an act in which rectitude is intended so far as: (a) we perform the action with, and from, the appreciation that it is right in itself for a rational agent to follow their own judgement; and (b) we intend, by choosing to act according to our own judgement, to satisfy, not only our duty to ourselves, but also our duty to others and God. For the Clarkeans, it is ‘absolutely right, that a being should do what the reason of his mind, though perhaps unhappily misinformed, requires of him’,124 because ‘that the Will be governed by the Understanding, whatever its Powers and Perceptions may be; is an eternal Dictate of Reason and Truth’.125 Although our own judgement is not the ground of moral distinctions, and it is our responsibility as moral agents to act, so far as is possible, consistent with what Price calls ‘abstract or absolute virtue’, we must also make allowances for ‘practical or relative virtue’.126 The latter is the leeway afforded to the ‘erroneous conscience’,127 and it is because our conscience is always potentially erroneous that our own judgement of rightness is always a ‘formal’ obligation in the world as a ‘state of trial’: What is it then that acquits and justifies an erroneous Agent? The Reasonableness of his Actions. For tho’ they are not conformable to the true Reasons of Things [Price’s ‘absolute virtue’; Balguy’s ‘Law of Nature’]…they are conformable to his own Reason and Judgement [Price’s ‘practical virtue’; Balguy’s ‘Light of Nature’]. And…by all the Reason in the World he is to be acquitted, and even commended, for following the best Light…he was able to get.128

Price thus maintained a hallmark of Thomistic theories of ‘erroneous conscience’:129  Price, Review, 303.  Balguy, LT, 414. 126  Price, Review, 297–298. 127  Balguy, LT, 414; Price, Review, 300. 128  Balguy, TFMG.II, 182. 129  For erroneous conscience, see: Michael Baylor, Action and Person (Leiden: Brill, 1977), 52–62; Timothy Potts, Conscience in Medieval Philosophy, new edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 54–60; Eric D’Arcy, Conscience and Its Right to Freedom (London: Sheed & Ward, 1961), 100–112; McAdoo, Caroline Moral Theology, 85–97; A.N. Prior, ‘The Virtue of the Act and the Virtue of the Agent’, Philosophy, XXVI:97 (Apr., 1951), 121–130. Prior appreciates that Price’s 124 125

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A man may, through involuntary error, approve of doing what he ought not to do, or think that to be his duty, which is really contrary to it…yet it is too, in this case, really his duty to act agreeably to his judgement.130

An act of ‘practical virtue’ is still ‘real virtue’, because (a) it is right in itself to follow our own reason: to do so is to act according to (a principle of ) reason; and (b) when choosing what we should do to act with rectitude, and so satisfy each of our ‘tripartite’ duties, a moral agent can hardly disregard the fact that he perceives something to be right in itself, and still expect to act reasonably, and so morally. Thus, according to Price: It is happy for us, that our title to the character of virtuous beings depends not upon the justness of our opinions, or the constant objective rectitude of all we do; but upon the conformity of our actions to the sincere conviction of our minds. A suspicion of the contrary, were it to prevail, would prove of very bad consequence, by causing us to distrust our only guide, and throwing us into a state of endless and inextricable perplexity.131

In the end, the individual who does that which he perceives to be right in itself because it is according to the reason of his own mind, does so morally, so long as his commitment to the fact of his own moral judgement is driven by a commitment to the law of reason itself. Thus, Clarke distinguished our ‘truest and formallest Obligation’, to follow our own judgement, from such ‘secondary and additional Obligation’ as ‘superior Power and Authority, and the Sanction of Rewards’;132 Clarke made our ‘formal’ obligation part of our ‘original Obligation’ to ‘the eternal Reason of Things’ qua our own law, God’s law, and the law of the created universe.

discussion of erroneous conscience, and related distinction between ‘absolute’ and ‘relative’ virtue, exhibits the influence of Butler and Balguy. 130  Price, Review, 191, fn. 131  Review, 302. 132  Clarke, Discourse, 43.

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3.6  Intending Rectitude: Matthew Tindal and Francis Hutcheson In CER, the likes of Tindal and Hutcheson highlight how it is possible to act according to the ‘internal’ ‘obligations of conscience’, which are part of our experience of rectitude, and of what it means to act according to rectitude, without intending rectitude. Tindal’s moral agent does not ‘intend rectitude’, when he acts out of fidelity to his own mind, because Tindal’s appropriation of Clarke suggests that all a moral agent has to be concerned about, when performing a moral action, is whether he has followed his own judgement. Tindal ignored the limitedness of human reason, and the fact that we are not just responsible for acting according to our own judgement, but for ensuring that that which we choose to do, according to our own judgement, is always acting for ourselves, others and God. Tindal thus disorders the process of practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards in the same way as Hutcheson. In opposition to the exaggerations of ‘the Sufficiency of Human Reason’ in ‘Deism’, Balguy maintained that it is not only ‘Reason’, but ‘the Appearance of Reason, that can justify the Choice of a moral Agent’:133 Error in itself can oblige nothing, and is nothing, but a mere imaginary Relation…yet so sacred is Truth, that it binds and attaches Men to its very Semblance. Even a false Copy shall be regarded and revered, where the Original is not to be had.134

Our own judgement of rightness is part of our experience of both ‘reason’ or ‘semblance’ of reason; so, also, is our perception, and approval, of the ‘moral beauty’ of intrinsic value. As part of ‘inside’ practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards, to check whether we are perceiving ‘reason’ or its ‘semblance’, we may return to the fact that, however we look at the situation, we continue to judge rightness and to experience the beauty of rightness. Although, we may still be acting only according to a ‘semblance’  Balguy, TFMG, 94.  Balguy, LT, 414.

133 134

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of reason, it was on the basis of ‘material’ ‘inside’ conscience that we were able to will the action as according to, and with intention of, rectitude. While Tindal distorts the process, by suggesting that acting with rectitude does not simply concern, but is defined by, acting according to individual judgement qua individual judgement, Hutcheson distorts the process because his emphasis on ‘moral beauty’ and ‘self-approbation’, in the form of a ‘moral sense’, suggests that ‘Moral good…signifies nothing distinct from a feeling of the heart, or nothing absolute and immutable and independent of the mind’.135 The Clarkeans maintained ‘that the perception of right influences our choice’, not least because we experience in, and through, conscience ‘a superior affection within’ for ‘those affections and actions themselves to which we give the denomination of ’ ‘Moral excellence’.136 Here, the Clarkeans accused Hutcheson of something like the ‘moral fetishism’ that was connected to ‘judgement externalism’ by critics of rational intuitionism (see previous chapter). Hutcheson’s theory that we possess a ‘desire of Moral excellence’, prior to the perception of it, makes ‘self-approbation’ and the attractiveness of virtue something distinct from ‘the objects themselves’, making self-­approbation, and our affection for virtue, a matter of self-gratification external to our experience of the intrinsic value of what it is that we perceive to be right in itself: Can the desire of the relish we have for particular objects, as distinct from the desire of the objects themselves, mean any thing, besides the desire of enjoying the pleasures attending it…can it therefore influence our actions any otherwise than by means of self-love?137

Hutcheson and Tindal distort the process of practical moral reasoning by making a part of our experience of rectitude the primary reason for acting, rather than rectitude itself. From the Clarkean perspective, their mistake can be explained with reference to the distinction between Acting According to Conscience (AATC) and An Act of Conscience (AAOC), and Price’s distinction between the ‘virtue of the act’ and the ‘virtue of the agent’.  Price, Review, 371, fn.  Ibid. 137  Review, 370–371, fn. 135 136

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3.7  ‘Virtuous Act’/‘Virtuous Agent’: Acting According to Conscience versus An Act of Conscience For the Clarkeans, reflection in conscience upon its various ‘material’ comes into every act an individual agent chooses to perform: a man cannot…but have some View and Design in everything he does. Even when he abandons himself most implicitly to the Brutal Guidance of mere Appetite and Passion…he does it with some View; and with a Consciousness, which Beasts have not, that he knowingly and deliberately chuses to aim at some mean and unworthy End.138

Despite all the ‘material’ at the agent’s disposal, he can choose (or will) contrary to virtue, and so contrary to himself and all that reason is; he can also choose to perform a ‘virtuous act’ qua AATC. Hutcheson’s and Tindal’s moral agents are AATC, because they are performing an action approved by conscience, on the basis of what they know, in conscience, that action to be qua according to their own judgement or ‘self-approbation’. However, in choosing to perform the action they are only AATC, because they intend nothing further than those aspects of conscience itself. A virtuous act qua AATC is to be distinguished from a virtuous act qua AAOC, because the latter is performed by a virtuous agent. Here the agent wills the same action, on the basis of the same ‘material’, but his intention is different: it is not the satisfaction of conscience qua individual judgement or qua self-approbation, but of all the materials of conscience. In other words, in performing an AAOC the moral agent intends rectitude itself. Thus, Price maintained that, from the perspective of ‘the virtue of the action’, ‘no particular intention is requisite; for what is objectively right, may be done from any motive bad or good’.139 With respect to ‘the virtue of the agent’, however, ‘the particular intention’, ‘whatever is true of the matter of the action’, ‘is what is most essential’, so that, in line with  Clarke, Sermons, III.V, 70.  Price, Review, 311.

138 139

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‘practical virtue’ and human limitedness, ‘what is objectively wrong’ can be performed with ‘virtue’, so long as the ‘intention’ ‘is rectitude’.140 I argue below that, just as reasons for acting ‘internal’ to rectitude can be performed without intending rectitude, reasons for acting described by the Clarkeans as ‘additional’ to our ‘original obligation’ can be performed with, or without, intention of rectitude. Thus, the Clarkeans are clear that an agent is not virtuous if he performs a ‘virtuous act’ qua AATC simply because he is aware, in conscience, that the act he performs is commanded by a superior being, is in his self-interest, or is in line with whichever of his ‘instinctive determinations’ is strongest. However, such considerations are relevant ‘material’ for conscientious reflection, so that they can, and will, figure within practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards in the world as a ‘state of trial’. Consequently, such considerations as ‘instinctive determinations’ and divine command become part of the basis upon which a fallible moral agent is able confidently (with a moral, as opposed to mathematical, certainty) to choose actions as according to, and in the performance of which he is able to intend, rectitude.

3.8  Fallenness and the ‘State of Trial’ In the world as a ‘state of trial’, limited human reason means that, ‘our Ideas of moral Fitness’ cannot always be depended on; they are ‘sometimes obscure, and very often inadequate’;141 also, human beings are often unprepared to overcome shortcomings and uncertainties through the efforts of practical moral reasoning and faith. The Clarkeans explain our lack of resolve through the fact that human beings are ‘fallen’.142 They are not interested in ‘the absurd Doctrine of Hereditary Guilt’,143 or even in explaining why the state of the world ‘came originally to be so corrupted’.144 Their use of the Fall is closer to J.N.D. Kelly’s interpretation of Clement of Alexandria, where Clement used the Fall to express the fact that human  Ibid.  Balguy, Second Letter, 336. 142  Second Letter, 307. 143  Second Letter, 287. 144  Clarke, Discourse, 122; see also: 7; 105. 140 141

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beings had inherited, if not original sin, then ‘a disordered sensuality which entails the dominance of the irrational element in our nature’;145 ‘creatures once made rational’146 are moved by ‘love of pleasure’:147 …the Principles of our Nature were originally balanced…But if that…was destroyed…in our first Parents…If their Passions were, by the Fall, raised and strengthened beyond their original Pitch, a correspondent Effect might be produced…in their immediate Descendants; and…the whole sinful Race.148

As a result of ‘this derivative Corruption’,149 we stand in the world as a ‘state of trial’, ‘Charge[d]’ with ‘Ignorance, Negligence, Perverseness, Stupidity’.150 Most people ‘are very backward and unapt to employ their Reason’, even to ‘fix their Attention upon moral Matters’, never mind ‘to apply themselves to the Practice of them’, through being consumed by the world’s ‘Business and the Pleasures’.151 Powerful ‘Appetites and Desires of Sense’ make it ‘very difficult for Men to withdraw their Thoughts from Sensual Objects’; the ‘Strength of Passions and Appetites’ means that even as they ‘do attend a little, and begin to see the Reasonableness of governing themselves by a higher Principle’, a ‘Variety of Temptations’ leads them back into ‘The Love of Pleasure’.152 The Fall not only explains disorders of ‘Mind, and…Body’,153 but those in creation itself. From the world having been created according to the law of reason, it follows that, just as rightness supervenes upon particular natural features, ‘the respective Fruits or Effects’ ‘of the eternal Rules of Piety, Justice, Equity, Goodness, and Temperance’, were  J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrine, 5th edn (London: Adam & Charles Black, 1977), 180.  Athanasius, De Incarnatione, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd Series, trans. A. Robertson; eds P. Schaff and H. Wace (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994), vol.4, 39. 147  Clement, Stromateis, in Ante-Nicene Fathers, eds A.  Roberts, J.  Donaldson and A.C.  Coxe (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994), vol.2, 544. 148  Balguy, Second Letter, 288. 149  Second Letter, 289. 150  Second Letter, 297. 151  Clarke, Discourse, 125. 152  Discourse, 125–126. 153  Balguy, Second Letter, 288. 145 146

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originally built into ‘the Nature of Things, and the Constitution and Order of God’s Creation’.154 However, following the Fall, ‘the natural Order of Things in the World is manifestly perverted’, so that, ‘though originally the…Order of God’s Creation’ was such, that rewards and punishments naturally followed virtue and vice, now: Virtue and Goodness are visibly prevented in great Measure, from obtaining their proper…Effect, in establishing Mens Happiness proportionable [sic] to their Behaviour and Practice…155

The limits, and corruptions, of the world as a ‘state of trial’ mean that human beings require assistance. The two types examined below are: God’s implanting in human nature ‘instinctive determinations’; and the ‘supernatural Helps’156 of divine command and the promise of heavenly reward, as they are experienced in conscience’s ‘presages’ and found, as ‘Gospel-Motives’,157 in scripture.

Part 3 3.9  ‘Additional’ Materials of Conscience: Self-Love and Benevoence  efore turning to the ‘additional’ support of ‘instinctive determinations’ B in the world as a ‘state of trial’, we must appreciate that, for the Clarkeans, rational agents do not need ‘instinctive determinations’ in order to have a regard, and even ‘affections’, for the ends of self-love and benevolence qua principles of reason. In line with the single law of reason and Clarke’s ‘original obligations’, Price (and Balguy)158 insisted that self-love and benevolence are principles  Clarke, Discourse, 103.  Discourse, 105. 156  Balguy, Second Letter, 305. 157  Balguy, First Letter, 15. 158  See: Balguy, TFMG, 77; 85; 88; 93; TFMG.II, 199–203. 154 155

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of action following the exercise of reason and belong only to human beings as agents possessing conscience or ‘the power of reflexion’.159 For them, such an insistence is part of their objection to Hutcheson’s moral sense, although it is also consistent with the Clarkean view that there is an essential difference between happiness and virtue, on the one hand, and vice and misery, on the other (see below). For the Clarkeans, Hutchesonian moral sense undermined recta ratio by making subjective human feelings, and the divine will which decided to create human beings with those feelings, the foundation of morals. Likewise, if ‘The desire of happiness for ourselves’, and the ‘inward sentiments’ by which ‘we are determined to make a distinction between publick happiness and misery; and to apprehend a preferableness of the one to the other’, ‘arises from senses and instincts given us’, this would mean that we only have affections for others and ourselves because of ‘our [created] frame’ and ‘arbitrary constitution’.160 Instead, Price maintained that the desire for happiness is part of the intuitively live bedrock of human beings qua rational agents, just as ‘The desire of knowledge…and the preference of TRUTH arise in every intelligent mind’.161 It is inconceivable that the ‘understanding can be indifferent to’ truth, just as ‘the eye’ cannot be indifferent to ‘light’ or the ‘ear’ to ‘harmony’.162 Similarly, ‘No being, who knows what happiness and misery are, can be supposed indifferent to them, without a plain contradiction’.163 Happiness and misery are not ‘objects in themselves indifferent’:164 we do not need an implanted sense to know ‘the nature of happiness’, nor to drive us to prefer the former to the latter. It is knowing what is ‘in’ happiness, according to ‘the nature of things and of beings’, that ‘determine[s]’ a rational agent ‘to seek it for himself’; and it is the same ‘nature of happiness’, as it ‘engage[s]’ a rational agent ‘to chuse and desire it for himself’, that ‘engage[s] him to approve it for others’.165  Price, Review, 372.  Review, 109–118. 161  Review, 115. 162  Ibid. 163  Review, 110. 164  Review, 113. 165  Review, 111; cf. ed. Raphael, 149. 159 160

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Price highlights how benevolence and self-love may be viewed as materials of conscience, because they are part of reason and rational reflection itself. Price maintained that ‘benevolence is essential to intelligence, and not merely an implanted principle or instinct’,166 and that ‘the most important of our desires and affections [including selflove] have a higher and less precarious original’167 than a Hutchesonian ‘implanted and factitious’168 sense. Indeed, Price insisted that, while ‘selflove, benevolence, and…love of truth’ are ‘affections’, the term is ‘properly’ used to ‘signify desires founded in the reasonable nature itself, and essential to it’.169

‘Instinctive Determinations’ Despite this emphasis upon self-love and benevolence qua rational affections and duties, the Clarkeans did concede the ‘ministerial and supplemental’170 role of ‘instinctive determinations’ in the world as a ‘state of trial’, as a ‘support’ for ‘the rational principle, or the intellectual discernment of right and wrong’:171 in men, the sentiments and tendencies of our intelligent nature are, in a great degree, mingled with the effects of arbitrary constitution…Rational and dispassionate benevolence would, in us, be [without ‘instinctive determinations’] a principle much too weak…utterly insufficient for the purposes of our present state…the same is true of our other rational principles and desires.172

God ‘wisely provided remedies’ for our ‘imperfections’ in the ‘state of trial’, ‘by annexing to our intellectual perceptions sensations and instincts,

 Review, 326.  Review, 124. 168  Review, 113. 169  Review, 117. 170  Review, 122. 171  Review, 95. 172  Review, 117. 166 167

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which give them greater weight and force’,173 and without which ‘The dictates of mere reason, being slow, and deliberate, would be otherwise much too weak’.174 ‘Instincts were planted in us as Auxiliaries to our Reason’;175 they ‘were given us in order to engage, assist and quicken us in a Course of virtuous Actions’, and ‘point out the Road to Virtue, and urge us unto it’.176 ‘Our natural desires’ for private and public good often carry us to acts of self-love and benevolence ‘without any rational reflexion’,177 but, in doing so, they become the opportunity for, and ‘material’ of, practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards. We may, for example, ‘infer from our having such an Instinct [as benevolence], that it is the Will of the Creator we should observe its Motions’.178 A Clarkean moral agent appreciates that, ‘It is truly and absolutely right, that a being should do…what, according to his best judgement, he is persuaded to be the will of God’,179 because God’s moral attributes mean that ‘God’s Will…obliges in virtue of Truth’.180 ‘Instinctive determinations’, looked at from the perspective of rectitude, can provide relevant materials for rational reflection and choice, so that a Clarkean moral agent is able, as a result of reasoning upwards and downwards, to choose or will rationally, with the intention of rectitude, an action to which he may have been at first prompted by ‘instinctive determinations’: A benevolent Instinct is a very proper Introduction to Virtue; it may lead us…by the Hand, till we arrive at a Conduct truly virtuous…that is founded on rational Principles; and even afterwards it may continue to quicken us in our Pursuits.181

 Review, 96.  Review, 117. 175  Balguy, TFMG, 191. 176  TFMG, 45. 177  Price, Review, 327. 178  Balguy, TFMG, 192. 179  Price, Review, 303. 180  Balguy, LT, 410. 181  Balguy, TFMG, 76. 173 174

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Thus, in the process of practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards, our ‘Obligation’ to the ‘Duty’ of, for example, benevolence can be ‘deduced’ from ‘the Rule of Right or Equity’:182 …Man, as he is a Man, is bound by the Law of his Nature, by common Humanity, to look upon himself as…Part…of that one Universal Body…which is made up of all Mankind: to think himself born and sent into the World on purpose, to promote the publick Good and Welfare of all his Fellow-Creatures; and consequently obliged, as the necessary and only Effectual Means to that End, to embrace them all with Universal Love, Charity, and Benevolence.183

The Clarkean moral agent, consistent with the single law of reason, appreciates that just as to fulfil the duty of benevolence answers ‘the Ends of his Creation’, and complies with the ‘highest…Obligations of his Nature’,184 this duty is also his duty to himself and to God: a human agent ‘cannot, without acting contrary to the Reason of his own Mind, and transgressing the plain Law of his Being, do willingly Hurt and Mischief to any Man’;185 and to contradict our own reason is to contradict God who put us in the world to act for others, by creating us ‘with Reason and Understanding for that very End’.186 However, our duty to benevolence can also, in the process of reasoning upwards and downwards, be ‘deduced from the Nature of Man’:187 our natural ‘desire to increase… Dependencies’ and ‘enlarge’ ‘friendships’; the fact that we ‘stand in Need of each other’s Assistance’ and ‘have the same Wants and Desires’.188 Clarkean moral agents are able to reason upwards from the fact that it was God who has ‘placed’ us in the ‘present State’,189 and who has ‘implanted in our Minds such Affections and Dispositions’  Clarke, Discourse, 50–51.  Clarke, Sermons, XI.I.4. 184  Clarke, Discourse, 58. 185  Discourse, 60. 186  Clarke, Sermons, XI.I.9. 187  Clarke, Discourse, 58. 188  Discourse, 59. 189  Clarke, Sermons, XI.I.4. 182 183

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for others, and appreciate their duty to benevolence from the perspective of what it means to act according to all that reason is, rather than simply their ‘instinctive determinations’ themselves: As all Men are obliged…by the necessary Circumstances and Condition of their Being, and…the original and natural Inclinations of their…Minds, to love and to do Good to each other…they are still further and more strictly obliged to the Practice of the same Duty, in Imitation of the Nature, and in Obedience to the Will and Law of God.190

 cting for Others and for Ourselves Without A Intending Rectitude For the Clarkeans, we can choose to act in our own best interest and that of others with intention of rectitude, not least because acting for ourselves and others is what it is that we perceive with reason to be according to reason: ‘Reasonable and calm self-love, as well as the love of mankind, is entirely a virtuous principle. Both are parts of the idea of virtue’.191 Happiness being ‘desirable in itself ’,192 ‘the pursuit of the happiness of others is a duty, and so is the pursuit of private happiness’.193 It is further the case that ‘instinctive determinations’ for ourselves and others are relevant ‘material’ when it comes to choosing what we should do qua right in itself. What it is that is right in itself is not only directly related to our ‘subjective motivational set’, but our ‘subjective motivational ‘set’, even when considered simply from the perspective of contingent God-given affective principles, features, for the Clarkeans, within practical moral reasoning. Moreover, the fact that we have an affectionate regard for our own and others’ interests, due to the operation of reason itself, points to why the Clarkeans, unlike Hutcheson and Hume, do not mine for the intuitively live bedrock of moral action in human nature rather than reason; for them, as for Hooker, ‘human nature’ and the ‘law of reason’ are synonymous.

 Sermons, XI.I.8  Price, Review, 327. 192  Balguy, First Letter, 35. 193  Price, Review, 280. 190 191

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Of course, just as it is possible to pursue self-love and benevolence with intention of rectitude as a ‘virtuous agent’, it is possible, in CER, to pursue them without it. We might intend, by doing that which we perceive to be right in itself, only the fulfilment of our own interests, or the interests of others, when intending rectitude means that we intend the fulfilment of our duties to ourselves and others and God. To choose to act solely because what it is that we perceive to be right in itself is fitting to our relations with ourselves or with others, is merely to perform a ‘virtuous act’ qua AATC. Here, the process of practical moral reasoning is distorted in the same way as it is within Tindal and Hutcheson, where the primary reason for acting is something that concerns rectitude, rather than rectitude itself. As part of the fact that, ‘The Good of others, or the Publick Good’ ‘may be pursued for the sake of Pleasure, and ought to be…for the sake of Virtue’,194 we might intend by an action simple gratification of our ‘instinctive desires’195 for self-love or benevolence. In the latter case, the Clarkeans, in line with their understanding of freewill, maintained that whenever an agent follows ‘mere Impulse’,196 even if it is ‘a happy instinct and bent of nature born with him’,197 they cannot, properly speaking, be thought of as performing an action. An agent must always choose or will what is, properly speaking, an action on the basis of rational reflection, and not passively succumb, like ‘Movements of a Clock, or the Vibrations of a Pendulum’.198 Thus, Balguy (and Price) contend that, although ‘natural Benevolence be a great Help to Virtue…of itself it is not Virtue’.199 It becomes virtue, ‘As far as…[a moral agent] cherishes and strengthens it by Reason and Reflection’, but until then ‘The natural Influence and Operation of it is, in him’ ‘the Creator’s Goodness, and not the Creature’s’.200 ‘Instinctive determinations’ cannot remove the requirements of a rational agent to choose with reason from the perspective of, and with the  Balguy, TFMG.II, 201.  Price, Review, 337. 196  Balguy, TFMG.II, 169. 197  Price, Review, 324. 198  Balguy, TFMG.II, 169. 199  Balguy, LT, 351. 200  LT, 350. 194 195

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intention of, rectitude. Moreover, our ‘instinctive determinations’, which exist to aid ‘fallen’ reason, cannot be merely indulged as though infallible, and must always be reflected upon with reason from the perspective of rectitude. It was by ‘God’s ‘Wisdom and Goodness’,201 that human beings were ‘implanted’ with ‘parental affection’, because, although a ‘higher degree’ of ‘Reason’202 would always carry us to ‘the Performance of so necessary a Duty’, ‘the Reflection of frail Man’ could not be depended upon so to do.203 However, our ‘natural affections’ may ‘rise too high’ and need to be ‘check[ed]’ by ‘Reason’, as with ‘a too affectionate and indulgent Parent’.204 Likewise (here Price acknowledges Butler’s influence), our natural desires, in seeking their own satisfaction, ‘are continually drawing us different ways’,205 often guiding us to actions that are not actually in our and others’ long-term best interests, being only actions which immediately gratify those desires themselves.206 For the Clarkeans, ‘Instinctive determinations’ are not more than ‘prompts’207 for reasoning and action, because agents in the ‘state of trial’ must always be on the guard against affections that, if not ‘corrupt’, are ‘partial’208 and ‘variable’,209 and so corruptible.

3.10  C  onscience’s ‘Presages’: The ‘Motives of Religion’ and Moral Development Below, we shall see how our experience, in conscience, of God’s will, and the prospect of future reward and punishment, are, like our ‘instinctive determinations’, ‘material’ for practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards. Again, like our ‘instinctive determinations’, such  Balguy, TFMG, 56.  Price, Review, 121. 203  Balguy, TFMG, 56. 204  Balguy, TFMG.II, 195. 205  Price, Review, 368, fn. 206  Price, Review, ed. Raphael, 193–194, fn. 207  Balguy, TFMG.II, 113. 208  Clarke, Discourse, 39. 209  Balguy, TFMG.II, 167. 201 202

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‘inducements’ for moral action as divine command and reward do not remove human responsibility for reflection and choice in the world as a ‘state of trial’. They are also ‘inducements’ that may be used appropriately, as a basis for acting with intention of rectitude, or, inappropriately, as a basis for acting without it. Familiar from the earlier discussion of conscience in recta ratio, the Clarkeans maintain that, in the ‘clamours of conscience’ about our conduct, we experience ‘dark fears and presages’, which are ‘anticipations of…doom’.210 Whenever we do wrong, we suffer the ‘pangs of remorse and self-reproach, the lashes of an awakened conscience’,211 whereby conscience spreads before us ‘the terrors of futurity’.212 From our ‘Consciousness, which Beasts have not’, we ‘knowingly and deliberately’ choose to do right or wrong: Hence arises that Judgement of Reflection, which we call Conscience; by which a man either approves or condemns his own past Actions, and apprehends that he shall…be approved or condemned by Him also to whom he must finally give account of himself.213

Conscience helps to supply ‘material’ for faithful practical moral reasoning, because it is in, and as, conscience that we experience God’s judgement and our prospects for reward or punishment. The ‘presages’ of conscience, our ‘domestic governor’,214 are to be ‘considered as the voice of ’215 God, because it is ‘conscience, which is continually foreboding a future state, and urging it powerfully on the minds of men’;216 it is in conscience that we are aware that ‘whatever sentence it really passes, is ratified in heaven’:217

 Balguy, SFS, II.III, 50–51.  Price, Review, 448. 212  Balguy, SFS, I.XIX, 357. 213  Clarke, Sermons, III.V, 70. 214  Balguy, SFS, II.III, 51. 215  SFS, I.XIX, 359. 216  SFS, I.XIX, 356–357. 217  SFS, I.III, 48. 210 211

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Whatever our consciences dictate to us, and we know to be right to be done, that…[God] commands more evidently and undeniably, than if by a voice from heaven we had been called upon to do it.218

Despite criticisms of the Clarkeans on the basis of complacency and normative thinness, conscience’s ‘presages’ are part of the Clarkean response to the extremes of Stoicism. The Clarkeans maintained that, while the ‘Stoicks’ were right ‘that Virtue is good in itself’,219 they were wrong to reason from that, ‘that it is therefore intirely [sic] self-sufficient’.220 In the world as a ‘state of trial’, we are ‘imperfect’ and ‘depraved’.221 It is ‘Men corrupt; Faculties neglected; Understandings depraved’,222 that make the ‘motives’223 of ‘future and supernatural reward’ ‘necessary’,224 to the ‘support and encouragement of virtue and religion among mankind’,225 ‘as they are a counter-bias to the propensities of corrupt nature, and greatly contribute to fix the mind, and to balance the temptations of sin and sense’.226 Again, while the Clarkeans maintained that human beings ‘cannot possibly avoid giving their Assent’ to moral truths in the same way as mathematical truths, our assent to any ‘certain and undeniable Truths’ requires that we ‘apply’ our ‘Minds to apprehend and study the Truth and Certainty of these Things’.227 The ‘two great Rules’ which God has given us in the ‘state of trial’, ‘Scripture’, and ‘Reason and Conscience’, which is ‘the Candle of the Lord’,228 help to reveal ‘the great Motives of Religion’229 for moral conduct: divine ‘Authority’230 and heavenly reward. The  Price, Review, 245.  Balguy, TFMG.II, 204. 220  Clarke, Discourse, 74. 221  Balguy, Second Letter, 304. 222  Second Letter, 298. 223  Balguy, SFS, II.VII, 130. 224  SFS, II.VII, 124. 225  SFS, II.VII, 125. 226  SFS, II.VII, 130. 227  Clarke, Discourse, 128–129. 228  Clarke, Sermons, II.XVI, 231. 229  Clarke, Discourse, 154. 230  Discourse, 128. 218 219

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‘Motives of Religion’ give the ‘Practice of Virtue…a sure Foundation’231 and help ‘To raise and stir up’ our ‘Attention’ to our duty.232 Divine command, and the prospect of reward or punishment, allow our moral duties to be ‘strongly impressed and inculcated upon’233 us, despite ‘dark and cloudy’ ‘Understandings’ and ‘Passions…rebelling against Reason’.234 The ‘Motives of Religion’ ‘persuade’ us to use our ‘natural Reason and Understanding’ to uncover moral truths which are ‘discoverable and demonstrable by right Reason’, and to ‘press’ us ‘effectually to the Practice of the plainest and most necessary Duties’.235

A ‘Duality’ of Practical Reason? I shall argue that the ‘presages’ of conscience are legitimate ‘material’ for practical moral reasoning. However, it is worth first considering a notable objection to such a viewpoint. In the previous chapter, it was argued that ‘self-condemnation’ and ‘self-approbation’ are ‘internal’ obligations that need not be confused with divine command or mere self-love. As the ‘presages’ of conscience directly concern both divine command and self-­ love, it might be argued that the ‘presages’ of conscience in CER return us to an understanding of conscience qua ‘bridging concept’. The ‘presages’ of conscience are ‘internal’ to conscience, but ‘external’ to rectitude, so the Clarkeans are ‘externalists’ insofar as they rely upon them as suitable motives for doing that which is right in itself. William Frankena, agreeing with Sidgwick’s ‘duality of practical reason’ (see above), maintained that Clarke believed ‘in two kinds of obligation and reasonableness’, because, although he stated that we do not have a ‘duty’ to ‘seek’ ‘happiness’, he also stated that it is not ‘rational for us to

 Discourse, 180.  Discourse, 128. 233  Discourse, 130. 234  Discourse 152. 235  Discourse, 128–129. 231 232

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be virtuous’, if it is ‘ultimately contrary to our own interest’.236 Frankena based his view on Clarke’s reaction to the Stoics: Virtue is truly worthy to be chosen…without any Respect to…Reward…[but it is] neither possible, nor truly reasonable, that Men, by adhering to Virtue, should Part with their Lives, if thereby they eternally deprived themselves of all Possibility of…Advantage from that Adherence.237

However, it is noteworthy that, in this quotation, Clarke is not talking about what it is reasonable for human beings to do, but what is reasonable in the ‘nature of things’. Frankena has read what Clarke meant by ‘reasonable’ in too thin a sense, and not in the context of what it means for something to be according to reason qua recta ratio. For Clarke, the fact ‘that there must be a’ ‘Future State of Rewards and Punishments’238 can be given as ‘a complete Demonstration’ from ‘the Consideration of the Moral Attributes of God’.239 On the basis of God’s moral attributes, it is ‘reasonable’ to expect a ‘future state’ in which virtue is rewarded and vice punished, because it is according to the law of reason itself: ’Tis absolutely impossible…that the whole Design of an infinitely Wise…Just, and Good God…should be nothing more than to keep up eternally a Succession of new Generations of Men, and those in such a corrupt, confused…State… without any clear and remarkable Effect of the great and most necessary Differences of Things, without any sufficient Discrimination of Virtue and Vice by their proper and respective Fruits…without any final Vindication of the Honour and Laws of God, in the proportionable [sic] Reward of the Best, or Punishment of the Worst of Men.240

 William Frankena, ‘Sidgwick and the History of Ethical Dualism’, in Essays on Henry Sidgwick, ed. B. Schutz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 180. 237  Clarke, Discourse, 108–109. 238  Discourse, 113. 239  Discourse, 111. 240  Discourse, 110. 236

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When Balguy and Price maintained that private and public happiness are part of our duties to ourselves and others, consistent with the essential difference between happiness and misery, they were agreeing with Clarke: Death and Life, Pain and Pleasure, Happiness and Misery, men cannot but distinguish; and must of necessity always pursue the one, and endeavour to avoid the other. Yet in these very things is originally founded the Difference of Moral Good and Evil…241

Above, we saw that, for Clarke, the natural effects of virtue and vice were originally built into creation, but that the natural order was disturbed by human beings in the Fall. When God promises reward, he acts, in the context of human freewill in the world as a ‘state of trial’, to restore that original order. His promise of reward for virtue and punishment for vice is consistent with the law of reason (which is also to say the plan of divine providence), according to which the world was made, and according to which virtue and happiness, vice and misery, are essentially divided. As Balguy put it: Virtue and Vice are essentially opposite…it is not possible that the same Treatment should suit the Votaries of each. Between Virtue and Happiness, Vice and Happiness, there is…a Natural and Moral Connexion. A vicious Man cannot, in the Nature of Things, be happy; and if he could, the righteous Governor of the World would not finally suffer it…It would appear to Him a direct Misapplication…of Happiness…To bless the Impenitent and Incorrigible, must be…repugnant to the Rectitude and Purity of his Nature. The eternal Reasons of Things, which constitute the sacred Rule of Righteousness, will not admit of it.242

While ‘Vice must be the Object of…[God’s] extreme Abhorrence. The Perfection of his Understanding heightens its Deformity, and renders it infinitely offensive’;243 as possessors of divine reason ourselves, that which we perceive in virtue and vice is comparable:  Clarke, Sermons, VII.VII, 93.  Balguy, DR, 246. 243  DR, 247. 241 242

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We are plainly conscious of more than the bare discernment of right and wrong, or the cool judgement of reason concerning the nature of actions. We often say of some actions, not only that they are right, but that they are amiable; and of others, not only that they are wrong, but odious and shocking.244

For Price these ‘effects in us’,245 as a result of the perception of rightness, do not arise from a Hutchesonian sense, but are consistent with the ‘ESSENTIAL DEMERIT’ of ‘Vice’ and the fact that ‘virtue is in itself rewardable [sic]’.246

Inseparable Experiences in Conscience While we have seen that, for the Clarkeans, we experience ‘self-­ approbation’ and ‘self-condemnation’ as ‘internal’ ‘Obligations of Conscience’, in conscience, ‘self-condemnation’ and ‘self-approbation’ are also inseparable from conscience’s ‘presages’. ‘Conscience’ is the ‘inward Judgement’ that all ‘necessarily pass’ on ‘their own Actions’, so that: There is no Man, who at any Time does good…but the Reason of his own Mind applauds him…and no Man…[who] does Things base and vile…but at the same Time…condemns himself…The one is necessarily accompanied with good Hope and Expectation of Reward; the other, with continual Torment and Fear of Punishment.247

Due to the inseparability of ‘self-condemnation’ and ‘self-approbation’ and conscience’s ‘presages’, each is always part of how we experience ourselves as agents, ‘capable of Accounting for what…[we] do; being worthy of Blame or Commendation, either of Punishment or Reward’.248 Clarke puts it in Pauline terms. Conscience’s ‘presages’, ‘self-condemnation’ and ‘self-approbation’, are each part of ‘Conscience bearing Witness’, and so of  Price, Review, 87.  Review, 88. 246  Review, 129. 247  Clarke, Discourse, 120 248  Clarke, Sermons, VII.XV, 222. 244 245

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what it means for us to have, and to experience, ‘Right Reason’ as a ‘Rule’ we have ‘to walk by’ qua a ‘Law unto’ ourselves.249 Consequently, conscience’s ‘presages’, ‘self-condemnation’ and ‘self-approbation’ are each part of what we experience as moral judgement: That is properly a law to us, which we always and unavoidably feel and own ourselves obliged to obey; and which, as we obey or disobey it, is attended with the immediate sanctions of inward triumph and self-applause, or of inward shame and self-reproach, together with the secret apprehensions of the favour or displeasure of a superior righteous power, and the anticipations of future rewards, and punishments…That has proper authority over us…which, if we refuse submission, we transgress our duty…and expose ourselves to just vengeance. All this is certainly true of our moral judgement, and contained in the idea of it [my italics].250

It is because conscience’s ‘presages’ are inseparable from ‘self-­condemnation’ and ‘self-approbation’, that it is possible to reason from our experience of ‘the promises and prospects of futurity’,251 to our ‘original obligation’: The [internal] Obligations of Conscience ought not to be confounded with those which arise from the Punishments denounced against Disobedience. The former, however distinct, are indeed implied in the latter. For, as Punishment necessarily implies Guilt; so Guilt necessarily implies a Breach of some antecedent Obligation.252

However, it is also possible to reason the other way: Rewards and punishments suppose…moral obligation, and are founded upon it…A reward supposes…obligation subsisting previously…A person without any light besides that of nature, and supposed ignorant of a future state of rewards and punishments and the will of the Deity, might discover these by reasoning from his natural notions of morality and duty.253  Sermons, VII.XV, 222.  Price, Review, 177–178. 251  Balguy, SFS, II.VII, 130. 252  Balguy, LT, 390. 253  Price, Review, 176. 249 250

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Our being able to reason from our ‘natural notions’ in conscience to ‘futurity’, which we also experience in conscience, is consistent with the essential difference between virtue and happiness, vice and misery, pointing to the fact that it is possible to act with consideration of ‘futurity’ from the perspective of, and with the intention of, rectitude.

A Starting Point for Moral Development Thus, Balguy is in line with the Clarkean position254 when he maintained that ‘Right Action, and profitable Action, are very distinct Ideas’,255 while objecting to Shaftesbury’s claim that, ‘There is no more of Rectitude, Piety, or Sanctity in a Creature…reform’d’, ‘thro [sic] Hope merely of Reward, or Fear of Punishment’, than there is ‘Meekness’ in a ‘chain’d’ ‘Tyger’.256 In the ‘state of trial’, most people are ‘in an Infant-State of Virtue’.257 The world is a ‘state of trial’, because our responsibility in it, in the face of ‘difficulties and temptations’,258 is to develop ‘virtuous habits’ in place of ‘vicious’ ones, and thereby mature into a fully-developed moral ‘character’ with an ‘anxious, attentive, and constant exercise of virtue’,259 rather than ‘habitual Carelessness’.260 Divine authority and heavenly reward are ‘requisite’ for our moral development: they are a means for the ‘Teaching’ and ‘Instruction’ of ‘Men’ in the ‘infinite Importance of these great Truths’.261 The Clarkeans thus maintained that, while ‘the reasons of things’ is virtue’s only ‘true foundation’, there are such ‘motives and reasons’ as ‘the will of God’ and ‘self-interest’, leading us to it, and supporting ‘the  T.H. Irwin considers a ‘“Kantian” conception of motivation’ to underlie what he calls Balguy’s’ principle of subtraction’: where self-interestedness motivates any action it ‘subtracts’ from that action’s moral ‘worth’ However, Irwin argues that Balguy contradicts his own ‘principle of subtraction’ when he criticising Shaftesbury. The following discussion helps to solve the ‘surprising’ tension Irwin finds in Balguy (‘Possibility of Moral Motivation’, 169–170). 255  Balguy, LT, 377. 256  Shaftesbury, Inquiry, 55. 257  Balguy, First Letter, 37. 258  Price, Review, 347. 259  Review, 348–349. 260  Clarke, Discourse, 128. 261  Discourse, 128–129. 254

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practice of it in the world’.262 Such ‘Inducements…commit them into the Hands of Virtue, to be taught and instructed by her ever after’, so that: He who removes out of the Ways of Vice into the Ways of Virtue, wholly from a Regard to his own Safety and Welfare, may, and probably will, if he continue therein, be influenced afterwards by higher Considerations…what wonder if a Man, who embraces Virtue upon any Principle, discover the Beauty and Excellency of it sooner than he who is wallowing in Sin and Sensuality?263

However, just as divine command and heavenly reward help to emphasise the ‘infinite Importance’ of moral truths, they remain, for a fully-­developed moral agent, part of the experience of moral judgement, and of the essential difference of right and wrong, even as he looks at them from the perspective of, and with the intention of, rectitude. In CER, an agent performs merely a ‘virtuous act’ qua AATC when his primary reason for acting was only eternal reward promised in conscience, for ‘’tis mean and mercenary to pursue those Advantages alone’.264 Likewise, it is only AATC if an individual obeys his conscience simply because he experiences the command of a superior will in conscience. However: ‘Where the Fitness of Things is dark and dubious, and the Divine Command clear and certain; can it be any Question, whether the former is not to be measured by the latter?’265 Although divine command and heavenly reward are ‘requisite’ ‘material’ in the world as a ‘state of trial’ for moral reasoning and moral development, a fully-developed moral character will no longer be simply AATC when he acts with recognition of divine command and eternal happiness, but performing AAOC qua ‘virtuous agent’. The agent with underdeveloped moral character may pursue virtue simply for reward; he may also, like Epictetus’ fly on the chariot wheel axle, admire the dust he kicks up, thinking that it is his reaction to vice and virtue that constitutes the essential difference between right and  Price, Review, 405–406.  Balguy, First Letter, 16. 264  First Letter, 20. 265  Balguy, Second Letter, 336. 262 263

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wrong. However, the fully-developed moral agent appreciates that it is because he has been ‘constituted’ a rational agent by God that he perceives virtue with reason, and experiences what, by the ‘nature of things’, belongs to virtue and vice: [The ‘perception of good and ill desert’] Considered merely, as principle of the natures which God has given us, or a determination interwoven with our frame, it implies a declaration from the author of our minds, informing us how he will deal with us, and upon what the exercise of his goodness to us is suspended…But, considered as a necessary perception of reason, it proves with the evidence of demonstration what the supreme reason will do; what laws and rules it observes in carrying on the happiness of the universe; and that its end is, not simply happiness, but happiness enjoyed with virtue.266

The fully-developed moral agent thus overcomes the apparent divide between ‘duty’ and ‘happiness’, by fully integrating all his motives for virtue as constitutive of his mature moral character. As a result, he only seeks his own good, the good of others, and conformity to God’s will from the perspective of the law of reason and the divine scheme of providence itself. He does not give up his regard for happiness or God’s eternal reward; rather, he understands that ‘The Foundation of Virtue is Truth, and the Foundation of Happiness, Virtue’.267 Of course, to appreciate, and to act as though, ‘Truth, Virtue, and Happiness’ ‘may…be looked upon as one and the same End’,268 is itself, in the ‘state of trial’, an act of faith; even as it is one based upon what it is reasonable to expect ‘moral Obligations’ to be ‘certainly and necessarily…attended with,’269 according to the essential nature of virtue and vice. For this reason, the fully-developed moral agent does something ‘sublime’, whenever he chooses each of his moral acts as an acting for himself and others and God, according to the single law of reason and ‘Christian

 Price, Review, 133.  Balguy, TFMG, 103. 268  TFMG, 103. 269  Clarke, Discourse, 99. 266 267

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Morality.’270 Thus, does religion ‘elevate the mind; and such is the force and majesty it gives to virtue…[in] contemplation of the divine administration and goodness’,271 so that: It is…surprising, that extending our care to the whole of our existence, acting with a view to the final welfare of our natures…elevating our minds above temporal objects out of a regard to blessed immortality…should have been ever in any degree depreciated [as ‘self-love’ ‘destitute of moral goodness’]. If anything gives dignity of character…this does. If anything is virtue, this is. Especially; as the very reward expected is itself virtue; the highest degree of moral improvement; a near resemblance to God; opportunities for the most extensive beneficence…admission into a state into which nothing that defileth can enter, and the love and hope of which imply the love of goodness.272

3.11  F aith, Moral Reasoning, and Self-Imposition I have tried to show how the charge of complacency against the Clarkeans has been overstated; how some form of practical moral reasoning, and even ‘self-imposition’, is possible within CER; and that this form of practical moral reasoning involves reasoning about, and from, such considerations as human affections and divine will, without making the Clarkeans ‘externalists’. Clarkean use of the ‘state of trial’ has, following Tindal, been called ‘elitism’.273 However, while some Clarkean language about the ‘additional’ support needed by the ‘Bulk and common Sort of Mankind’274 can appear elitist, the Clarkeans were mainly discriminating between such rare individuals as ‘Socrates, and Plato, and Cicero’,275 and everybody else. Even Socrates, who was the wisest because he said he knew nothing,276 was  Balguy, Second Letter, 293.  Price, Review, 246. 272  Review, 331–332. 273  Müller, Didacticism, 57, fn.57. 274  Clarke, Discourse, 147–148; Balguy, First Letter, 36–37; Price, Review, ed. Raphael, 172. 275  Discourse, 162. 276  Price, SVS, 176. 270 271

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unable to learn the law of reason like learning the ‘alphabet’,277 due to the limits of finite faculties in a complex world. However, whatever one makes of the charge of ‘elitism’, the Clarkean ‘state of trial’ does highlight the limitations in the charge of complacency, where the Clarkeans are supposed not to be ‘worried’ about the ‘normative question’, ignoring the fact that ‘our confidence’ can be ‘shaken’ by ‘the exigencies of life’.278 Indeed, for Clarke, it is in the Christian religion that our moral and religious duties no longer appear to be separate, nor to be mere ‘Matters of Speculation and Dispute’, rather than ‘Rules of Action’.279 Christian revelation is a revolution in our approach to morality, because it prevents ‘Precepts…however evidently reasonable and fit’ from being looked upon as simply human ones280 and the subject of ‘speculative Reason’.281 Morality is no longer a matter of ‘nice and tedious disputes’,282 but concerns ourselves, others and God, consistent with all that reason is. It is as Christianity reveals the full ‘majesty’ of what it means to do our moral duty that human beings (as Korsgaard requires)283 are prepared to lay down their lives for it: Nor does it appear in History that any Number of Socrates’ or Plato’s Followers were convinced of the Excellency of true Virtue, or the Certainty of its final Reward, in such a Manner as to be willing to lay down their Lives for its Sake, as Innumerable of the Disciples of Christ are known to have done.284

Of course, it is easy to allow the promise of reward (not least because of the Clarkeans’ own language) to interfere with what it means, morally  Balguy, Second Letter, 337.  Korsgaard, Sources, 40–42. 279  Clarke, Discourse, 153. 280  Discourse, 150. 281  Discourse, 130; 150. 282  Clarke, Sermons, VII.VII, 104. 283  ‘…people do not regulate their actions, love, hate, live, kill, and die for mathematical truths. So Clarke’s account can leave us completely mystified as to why people are prepared to do these things for moral truths’ (Korsgaard, Sources, 12). 284  Clarke, Discourse, 151. 277 278

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speaking, for the ‘Disciples’ to have laid down their lives for virtue with that belief. For the Clarkeans, certainty of future reward, in the fully-­ developed moral agent, is a confidence which the agent has placed in the intrinsic worth of virtue itself. While Christianity confirms the promise of eternal reward, it is not added arbitrarily either to the essential difference between virtue and vice, or into human moral consciousness itself: the Best and Wisest Men…in the Heathen World, did believe in general a Judgement to come…they who had not capacity, to prove this Truth…by Arguments of strict Reasoning…were convinced in their minds by that natural Conscience of Right, which God had implanted in them, that God, who governed all things, would…in this World or in another, reward every man according to his Works.285

The mature Clarkean moral character includes divine command, and prospects of reward and punishment, in his practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards; and values, and believes in, the prospect of eternal reward from the perspective of the value of virtue itself, rather than the other way around.286 The Clarkean moral agent is one who acts both faithfully and morally on the basis of his own experience and reasoning. However, it is not just the case that the Clarkean moral agent acts faithfully and morally, but that that reasoned faith is necessary for him to act as a moral agent without debilitating doubt about what he should do in the world as a ‘state of trial’. And, it is because the Clarkean moral agent is a faithful moral agent that there is a further sense in which, outside the ‘false trichotomy’, ‘self-imposition’ is possible within CER.

Faithful Practical Moral Reasoning Clarkean moral agents can use practical moral reasoning to confirm whether actions under consideration are acts which can be performed with the intention of rectitude. However, in practical moral reasoning 285 286

 Clarke, Sermons, IX.IX, 120.  Clarke, Discourse, 4–5.

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upwards and downwards, they are not just using all the ‘material’ at their disposal to check whether an action to which, for example, benevolent affections leads them, is one of rectitude; in seeking to confirm that the action in question is one of rectitude, they are seeking to confirm that it is, indeed, one of benevolence. According to the single law of reason, every moral act will be acting for ourselves and for others and for God. Thus, in practical moral reasoning, a Clarkean moral agent seeks to confirm whether an act is one of benevolence, by checking if it is one of justice; and we seek to confirm it is one of justice, by checking if it is one of self-interest, and so on. In CER, the problem for any moral agent remains human limitedness in the ‘state of trial’. No matter what the ‘material’ of our practical moral reasoning is, and the efforts we go to in order to ensure that our actions are acting for ourselves, others and God, we are left with the fact that our highest attainable point of knowledge is ‘knowledge of our ignorance’.287 To discover what is right in a case, we must ‘extend our views to all the different heads of virtue’, but this is a struggle without ‘universal and unerring knowledge’; moreover, satisfying each of our ‘tripartite’ duties in every act we choose as moral does not seem possible, not least because, due to our limited knowledge, satisfying one appears to ‘interfere’ with satisfying the others.288 It is here that we can see why the Tindal-esque reading of Clarke is overstated. As noted in the introduction to this chapter, there has been agreement with Tindal that Clarke is ‘inconsistent’,289 when he maintains that human reason is sufficient to establish demonstrative knowledge of God’s attributes, but insufficient for anything other than a ‘moral certainty’ when it comes to our particular duties in the world as a ‘state of trial’. However, we can now see that the room the Clarkeans allowed for practical moral reasoning towards a ‘moral certainty’, is actually the same room Tindal himself left for doubt:

 Balguy, SVS, 176.  Price, Review, 286. 289  Rivers, Reason, Grace, vol.2, 79–81; see note 33. 287 288

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If Men, according to the best of their understanding, act for their common good, they…govern themselves by the same rule [as] God…their will is the same with his…they concur in the same design with him; and should they, in some nice & difficult cases, mistake in applying the rule…in being intirely govern’d by it, they have done all that God requires; who, having made Men fallible, will not impute to them want of infallibility: And the best way not to mistake, in applying this rule, is to consider duly all circumstances, & follow what upon the whole seems best.290

It is consistent with the single law of reason, and God’s nature and will, that, ‘whatever is right and reasonable in itself; whatever is truly beneficial to ourselves and others, we are sure must be his will’,291 and that whatever tends to God’s ‘glory…the benefit of our fellow-creatures, or the welfare of ourselves, must be morally good, and therefore our duty’.292 Thus, Clarkean moral agents may well task themselves with the ‘common Good’, as that which is fitting to their relations with themselves and others and God; but they took seriously the ‘nice and perplexed Cases’,293 where ‘the Bounds of Right and Wrong may…be somewhat difficult to determine’.294 A limited agent may be concerned that they have misunderstood what is in the common good, when they cannot fathom all of the consequences of their actions for themselves and for others and for God. A limited agent may worry that potentially corrupt affections have led him to an act which is not actually for the long-term common good, but which only guarantees short-term happiness. To act on the basis of what ‘seems best’ requires the efforts and struggles of practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards, and of faith. Only on the basis of faith can moral agents intend rectitude in every act they choose as moral; only on this basis can they commit themselves to acts which they are confident are acts of justice, as acts to which they are likewise committed as acts of benevolence. It is only on the basis of faith that they can commit themselves to acts which they are confident are acts  Tindal, Old as Creation, 254.  Balguy, SFS, II.XVIII, 316. 292  SFS, I.XIV, 252. 293  Clarke, Discourse, 36. 294  Discourse, 66. 290 291

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of benevolence as likewise acts of self-love; and so on. It is in faith that moral agents can trust to God that, whenever they are doing what ‘seems best’, they are always acting for themselves and for others and for God, according to the single law of reason and the divine nature which wills what is best for his creation: No one of the several virtues can be annihilated without the most pernicious consequences to the rest. This…appears from what happens in the present state of things; but, in the final issue…the harmony between them will be found much more strict. Whatever exceptions may now happen, if we will look forwards to the whole of our existence, the three great ­principles of the love of God, the love of man, and true self-love, will always draw us the same way…295

When the Clarkeans (like Butler) claim that ‘self-love’ and ‘virtue’, in ‘the final distribution of things’, ‘perfectly coincide’,296 they are not dividing practical reason, but allowing it to cohere. This sought-for coherence is only possible in faith. It is in faithful practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards that an agent is able to supplement what he cannot know ‘outside’, about all the consequences of the action, with what he knows ‘inside’ about that action as one approved by conscience. The faithful moral agent accepts that, despite limitations, he has done his best to ensure that he is doing what ‘upon the whole seems best’. Consequently, he is able to trust to what he was able to foresee about the action, and all that he experiences in, and as, conscience about the action, and give his intention of rectitude into divine providence itself. As Price put it, ‘Ignorance’ has a ‘tendency to teach us the calmest acquiescence’ and ‘the profoundest subjection’ to ‘Providence’: We know not how the world ought to be governed. It is enough to know that it is well governed. Let us rest in this…give up our affairs to the direction of higher wisdom…refer ourselves entirely to the care of that great and

 Price, Review, 279.  Clarke, Discourse, 109; Balguy, First Letter, 36; Price, Review, 279; Joseph Butler, Fifteen Sermons, in Works, vol.2, III.12. 295 296

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good Being who presides over all events, and whose ways are past finding out.297

Faithful moral agents appreciate that ‘Willing and doing belong to us’,298 but also that what they know, and do, concerns ‘only one small Portion’ of the ‘whole Scheme of Providence’, which is the ‘Design worthy of infinite Wisdom, Justice and Goodness’,299 ‘utterly incomprehensible to our narrow Minds’.300 In faith, moral agents can trust that, as long as they act with a ‘sincere…regard to Truth and Virtue’,301 they are acting according to the plan of divine providence, and able to intend rectitude qua acting for themselves and for others and for God in every act they choose as moral.

Rational Faith and Self-Imposition However, faith is not itself a given or without ‘trial’ in the current world. Faithful moral agents teach themselves ‘patience’ and ‘humility’, through acceptance of ‘ignorance’, meaning that their faith is not easily won. They must overcome the short-term, worldly, attachments of their affections; what appear to be the ‘natural effects’ of virtue and vice in the world as a ‘state of trial’; and the fact that, ‘we know nothing at present otherwise than in part, and can only see…through a glass darkly’.302 In the ‘state of trial’, there is no ‘absolute certainty’, even about ‘the great truths of religion’.303 But, there is a variety of ‘evidence’ for the faithful moral agent to reflect upon: God calls us to Repentance, by the continual Witness which he gives to himself in the Works of Creation, in the reason and nature of Things, in the essential Differences of Good and Evil, in the voice of Conscience, in the dispensations of Providence, in his Mercies and Judgements…in the  Balguy, SVS, 179.  SFS, II.XX, 361. 299  Clarke, Discourse, 103. 300  Balguy, Second Letter, 320. 301  Clarke, Sermons, III.XIII, 184. 302  Balguy, SFS, II.VII, 120. 303  SFS, II.XV, 273. 297 298

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Works and Preaching of Christ and his Apostles, in the Promises and Threatenings [sic] of the Gospel.304

However, such ‘evidence’ does not make us ‘infallibly sure’305 of what we believe, just as conscience’s ‘presages’ are not ‘irresistible motives’306 for faith and moral action. Conscience’s ‘presages’, and the other ‘evidence’ of religion, provide ‘grounds’ for creatures with a ‘rational nature’307 to develop, and to act upon the basis of, a reasoned faith. But, God does not ‘over-rule our wills, or act in our stead’.308 In conscience’s ‘presages’, ‘God operates in our minds, and influences our will’,309 by providing ‘rational inducements’310 for virtuous behaviour. But consistent with human freewill, this influence does not make an agent a ‘passive instrument’.311 By allowing us to be ‘determined by evidence alone’ in our ‘religious enquiries’, God has made ‘a co-operation of God and man’,312 in which we are responsible for working out ‘our own Salvation’.313 As faithful moral agents act without ‘infallible certainties’;314 but, in the ‘state of trial’, on the basis of ‘the liberty of our minds, and the freedom of our wills’,315 there continues to be a sense in which ‘self-­imposition’ is possible within CER. Clarkean moral agents are responsible, not only for working out what they ought to do, but, in the moment of faithful choice, for imposing upon themselves the standard for acting on the basis of what is right ‘conformably to the reason of their own minds’,316 even as they intend by their action more than simply acting according to their own judgement.  Clarke, Sermons, V.VI, 81.  Balguy, SFS, II.XV, 274. 306  SFS, II.XV, 276. 307  SFS, II.XV, 274. 308  SFS, II.XX, 358. 309  SFS, II.XX, 356. 310  SFS, II.XX, 356. 311  SFS, II.XX, 351. 312  SFS, II.XX, 353. 313  SFS, II.XX, 363. 314  SFS, II.XV, 276. 315  SFS, II.XX, 359. 316  SFS, II.XV, 274. 304 305

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A useful illustration here is J.R. Searle’s observation that the ‘operation of rationality’ presupposes a ‘gap between the set of intentional states on the basis of which I make my decision, and the actual making of the decision’; and the ‘gap between the decision and the action’.317 Although any sense of Clarkean ‘self-imposition’ cannot look like neo-­ Kantian ‘self-imposition’ inside the ‘false trichotomy’, the Clarkean moral agent does impose a standard for action upon himself, which he simultaneously appropriates. The Clarkean moral agent does not create ‘absolute’ or ‘objective virtue’, but the fully-developed Clarkean agent intends ‘objective virtue’ through acts of ‘relative’ or ‘practical virtue’. He is satisfied that the actions he chooses as moral are at least ‘practical virtue’, through building a ‘moral certainty’ based on various ‘materials’ he reflects upon in conscience, and with the aid of which he attempts to take up a number of different perspectives on the action in question from the point of view of each of his ‘tripartite’ duties. Unable to be certain about the ‘absolute virtue’ of the action from the perspective of each of his duties, the fully-developed moral agent self-knowingly wills an act of ‘practical virtue’ with the intention of ‘absolute virtue’, on the basis of what ‘appear[s], all things considered, BEST’.318 In doing so, upon crossing the gap into decision and action, the Clarkean moral agent has not only appropriated rectitude as a standard for acting; he has also imposed upon himself the particular conditions he finds in that action as those which meet that standard for acting: Though there were no different degrees of [‘objective’] right and wrong…there would still be the same room left for an infinite variety of degrees of virtue…in agents; and…in actions…relatively to the intentions and views of reasonable beings, or as signs and effects of their regard to absolute virtue.319

All Clarkean moral agents act with intention of rectitude on the basis of a moral certainty they were responsible for building through practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards. As a result: (i) an erroneous  J.R. Searle, Rationality in Action (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001), 14.  Price, Review, 201. 319  Review, 355. 317 318

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conscience qua faulty moral judgment is possible, but excusable, so long as the agent only chooses to act after having gone through the process of moral reflection; (ii) the process of moral reflection, as it is carried out by particular moral agents, in particular circumstances, explains why agents will or choose moral acts of the same form (for ourselves, others, and God) qua absolute virtue, but of relative substance qua practical or relative virtue: the proper Objects about which the Virtue of Charity is to be employed, are Things indifferent, concerning which God has given no plain Commandment; or such Matters of Opinion, wherein sincere men may with equal regard to Truth and Virtue, follow their different judgements and conscience;320 Beneficence, in general…is…a duty…it is only with respect to the particular acts and instances of it that we are at liberty…Relieving a miserable object is virtue, though there may be no reason that obliges a person to select this object in particular…321

3.12  Choosing and the Integrity of Persons Given what has been discussed above, it does not seem right to say, with neo-Kantian critics, that, in CER, ‘the will simply says yes or no’,322 and that it cannot explain how ‘ethical thought and discourse is essentially action-guiding’.323 Similarly, it does not seem right to say that CER ‘detaches’ the ‘yes or no’ from ‘human desires or sentiments’.324 In CER, it is not the will that is ‘moved’ to a ‘yes or no’, but the individual person, who includes, within her ‘yes or no’, ‘material’ that relates to both ‘instinctive determinations’ and ‘affections’ aroused by the operation of reason. In CER, conscience is that through which we monitor the maturity of our moral character: in it, we ‘examine’ the extent to which we are merely  Clarke, Sermons, III.XIII, 184.  Price, Review, 198; 203. 322  Schneewind, Autonomy, 517–518. 323  Darwall, ‘Motivation Problem’, 270. 324  Beiser, Sovereignty, 311. 320 321

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AATC or performing AAOC, such that ‘God and conscience have…the throne’:325 What we most love…engages most of our attention. If…we would know whether virtue and conscience rule within us, we must examine which way the main current of our thoughts runs…what, in settling all our schemes and resolutions, we dwell most upon and take most into consideration.326

But conscience, in line with to hegemonikon and St. Paul’s ‘law to ourselves’, is not only that through, and in, which we ‘examine’, it is also that through, and as, which we ‘judge, decide, direct, command’ and ‘model and superintend our whole lives’: The conscience of a man is the man; the reflecting principle is our supreme principle. It is what gives our distinction as intelligent creatures…whenever we act contrary to it, we violate our natures, and are at variance with ourselves.327

The Clarkeans, in line with Aquinas, Cudworth, Shaftesbury and Butler,328 agreed that although, as Addison put it in celebration of the progress made by Lockean epistemology: we divide the soul into several powers and faculties, there is no such division in the soul itself…it is the whole soul that remembers, understands, wills, or imagines.329

As Clarke made clear, ‘Every…volition, and…thought is the imagination, will, and thought, of that whole thinking substance which I call

 Price, Review, 378.  Review, 376. 327  Balguy, SVS, 208 (my italics); Price, Review, ed. Raphael, 214. 328  Aquinas, Summa., I–II, Q.17, A.5; Cudworth, A Treatise, ed. Hutton, 166–171; Shaftesbury, Characteristics of Men Manners, Opinions, Times, ed. Lawrence E. Klein (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 76–78; 131–135; 173; 230; Butler, Analogy, I.VI.12; 12 fn.; Diss.II.4. 329  Joseph Addison, The Spectator, No.600, in The Works of Joseph Addison, 6 Vols., ed. G.W. Greene (Philadelphia, PA: J.A. Lippincott & Co., 1883), vol.6. 325 326

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myself’.330 And whatever ‘Motives or Reasons’ we consider an individual agent has to choose from, as a basis for crossing the ‘gap’ into decision, and into action, it is not those which ‘determine an Action’; ‘’Tis the Man, that freely determines himself to act’.331 So, the Clarkeans can explain why the perception of intrinsic rightness is unavoidably normative within our own active moral consciousness. Inseparable from the perception of rightness, is a ‘consciousness’ of, and ‘affection’ for,332 its intrinsic beauty; inseparable from our ‘affection or inclination to rectitude’333 is its liveness with God’s being, and our desire to imitate him, as the ‘origin’ of all truth; and also inseparable from our ‘affection or inclination to rectitude’ are ‘self-condemnation’ and ‘self-­ approbation’, in which we experience rightness as according to our own judgement and the ‘necessity’ of our own rational nature. When the Clarkeans are asked, ‘what induces’ the ‘Will’ of an individual agent ‘to take Counsel of his Understanding?’,334 the real question: what is the individual person’s reason for choosing with their own judgement, as if it ‘were not the very Essence of a rational Action!’.335 When it is asked why the will should be inclined by the rational perception of moral truth, the Clarkeans can ask: does an individual have no reason to choose with their own judgement; ‘self-approbation’; their experience of superior command; self-interest; and so on? The fully-developed moral agent will not make the primary reason for doing that which is right in itself the fact that it is according to his own judgement, or ‘self-approbation’, or superior command, and so on; a fact which highlights why the Clarkean will does more than give a straightforward ‘yes or no’ in the world as a ‘state of trial’. However, these considerations are not only part of the Clarkean moral agent’s practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards; the Clarkean moral agent still experiences the normative force of all such considerations as part of what it  Clarke, Clarke-Collins Correspondence, 180.  Clarke, Remarks, 11. 332  Price, Review, ed. Raphael, 186–187. 333  Review, 315. 334  Balguy, TFMG, 83. 335  TFMG, 83. 330 331

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means to have moral judgement, and of what it means to act according to all that reason is, even as he considers their normative force from the perspective of (and wills acts in accordance with them with the intention of ) rectitude. In either case, the Clarkeans still seem able to wonder why, as ‘I will; I act’,336 there should be something ‘mysterious in a man’s chusing to follow his judgement and desires’,337 whether that individual goes on to will that action as AAOC qua ‘virtuous agent’, or simply as a ‘virtuous act’ qua AATC.

3.13  Conclusion This chapter addresses one of the most pervasive criticisms of the Clarkeans: that they were complacent. This charge is based on the view that they simply asserted that human beings self-evidently and passively perceive intrinsic rightness. In response, this chapter has established both the limits of human reason in CER, where the world is conceived as a ‘state of trial’, and the Clarkean understanding of moral development. In opposition to neo-Kantian criticisms, it has been possible to find room for some form of practical moral reasoning within CER, and, in opposition to Humean criticisms, the practical moral reasoning available to CER concerns, and is informed by, various ‘material’, including: scripture and divine command; experiences internal to the exercise of reason and conscience, such as our desire to imitate God, ‘self-approbation’; and ‘material’ internal to our ‘subjective motivational set’, as created rational agents, such as our implanted antecedent affections for ourselves and others. The present chapter on CER points to certain limits in the ‘internalist’ and ‘externalist’ distinction,338 when approaching the Clarkeans.  Price, Review, 306.  Review, 308, fn. 338  For the classic discussions of the distinction between ‘internalism’ and ‘externalism’, see: W.D.  Falk, ‘“Ought” and Motivation’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, New Series 48 (1947–1948), 111–138; Williams, ‘Internal and External Reasons’, 101–113; William Frankena, ‘Obligation and Motivation in Recent Moral Philosophy’, in Perspective on Morality: Essays of 336 337

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Gary Jaeger, for example, refers to Clarke as representing the view of ‘non-relative externalism’. In summarising it, Jaeger quotes from John McDowell, who speaks to a central feature of the Clarkean position: ‘…the dictates of reason are there anyway, whether or not one’s eyes are opened to them’.339 Price maintained: Nor would it be more extravagant to conclude that men have not speculative reason, because of the diversity in their speculative opinions, than it is to conclude, they have no powers of moral perception, or that there is no fixed standard of morality, because of the diversity in men’s opinions, concerning the fitness or unfitness, lawfulness or unlawfulness, of particular practices.340

It seems intelligible to refer to the Clarkeans as ‘non-relative externalists’, when this means that, in CER, ‘reasons are there anyway, [so] it does not matter whether an agent recognises them or not’.341 However, on the basis of the discussion of CER above, it is difficult to refer to the Clarkeans as ‘non-relative externalists’, if that means, for them, ‘reasons are features of the world…not of an agent’s mind or motivational set’.342 It is simply

William K. Frankena, ed. K.E. Goodpaster (Indiana, IA: University of Notre Dame Press, 1976), 49–73. For further refinements of ‘internalism’ and ‘externalism’, and for differences of opinion over in what sense particular philosophers, including, for example, Hobbes and Kant, can be described as ‘internalists’ or ‘externalists’, see, as well as the discussion of ‘judgement externalism’ in Chap. 2: Thomas Nagel, The Possibility of Altruism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978), 7–12; David Brink, Moral Realism and the Foundations of Ethics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 37–80; Derek Parfit, ‘Reasons and Motivation’, in Internal Reasons, 343–372; John McDowell, ‘Might There Be External Reasons?’, in Internal Reasons, 73–88; Korsgaard, ‘Skepticism about Practical Reason’, 54–57; Stephen Darwall, Philosophical Ethics (Oxford: Westview Press, 1998), 106–108; Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, ‘Mackie’s Internalisms’, in A World Without Values: Essays on John Mackie’s Moral Error Theory, eds R. Joyce and S. Kirchin (London: Springer, 2010), 55–69; John Robertson, ‘Internalism, Practical Reason, and Motivation’, in Varieties of Practical Reasoning, ed. E. Millgram (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001) 127–152. 339  John McDowell, Mind and World (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996), 91; Gary Jaeger, Repression, Integrity and Practical Reasoning (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 59. 340  Price, Review, 289. 341  Jaeger, Practical Reasoning, 58. 342  Ibid., 77.

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not clear exactly what it means to say that, in CER, ‘reasons exist in a world distinct from agents’ minds’.343 Jaeger appreciates that the latter view of Clarke and ‘non-instrumental externalism’ are part of Korsgaard’s reading of Kant, where his ethical theory rivals others in ‘his day’, including Clarke and Price.344 For Korsgaard, and other neo-Kantian critics like Darwall, the problem is not, in more Humean terms, that modern and early modern intuitionism makes its objective moral truth independent of an individual’s desires, but of her practical reason itself. In CER, moral qua mathematical truth concerns a distant neo-Platonic ‘realm’ of ‘intrinsic value’,345 ‘which exist independently of the will’ and ‘of the person’s mind’.346 It is not simply the case that what is right is right independent of contingent human opinion, but that ‘Intuitionists do not believe in practical reason, properly speaking’.347 Morality is not about an individual’s thoughts, feelings, or even reasoning, it is a ‘a branch of theoretical reason’,348 where human beings must rely on receiving moral truth from this neo-Platonic realm via ‘pure intellect’.349 However, when moral and mathematical truth are analogous, we are left ‘in need of a reason to be rational’.350 If trying to explain why it is wrong to harm an innocent person is the same as trying to explain why 2 + 2 = 4, then the answer in each case is just that it self-evidently is. But, in moral questions, if we cannot say why an action is right, then we cannot say what our reason to perform it is, and so what makes it rational to do what is right. As a result, just as intrinsic rightness concerns a neo-­ Platonic realm external from an individual’s own reason, the reason why a rational agent is motivated to act according to reason qua intrinsically right is external to whatever constitutes that action’s intrinsic rightness.  Ibid., 58; 59 (my italics).  Ibid., 67. 345  Darwall, Internal ‘Ought’, 327; Reath, Agency and Autonomy, 99; 168, fn.33; Jaeger, Practical Reasoning, 58. 346  Korsgaard, ‘Instrumental Reason’, 204; 222. 347  Korsgaard, ‘Skepticism about Practical Reason’, 55. 348  Ibid., 55. 349  Darwall, Philosophical Ethics, 54. 350  Korsgaard, ‘Instrumental Reason’, 222. 343 344

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That is, when we cannot say why an action is right, we cannot explain why we are (or should be) choosing to perform it. In the first place, such externalism strays into ‘moral fetishism’ and the ‘problem of supervenience’ (see previous chapter). In the second place, it means that rational agency is less about agency than mechanism: If all we mean is that the person is reliably caused to act in accordance with reasons, we fail to capture what is rational about the person. His actions may be rationally appropriate, but not because he sees that they are so: it seems to be a sort of accident that his motivational wiring follows the pathways of reason.351

In response to these neo-Kantian criticisms, we have seen that moral perception, in CER, is not about an unexplained succumbing to the perception of overriding normative truth. Contra Korsgaard, the Clarkeans do explain ‘how reasons get a grip on the agent’, and ‘why a rational agent must care about doing what is right’, not least because they do, in fact, explain what it is that a moral agent ‘recognises’ ‘as reasons’352 for acting according to the law of reason qua recta ratio. Of course, it is consistent with Ameriks’ and Hare’s ‘false trichotomy’ response to ‘secular neo-­ Kantianism’, that the Clarkean explanation of why our ‘motivational wiring follows the pathways of reason’ may not be satisfactory to a neo-Kantian critic; but that does not mean that the Clarkeans do not give one. In CER, our response to reason is not, as Korsgaard puts it above, an ‘accident’, but a matter of our creation. However, our creation as agents possessed of reason does not mean that we are ‘reliably caused to act in accordance with reasons’. The Clarkean understanding of freewill prohibits any language of ‘cause’ when it comes to human choice, due to its mechanistic associations. More than this, the limits of human reason in the ‘state of trial’ mean that we cannot simply trust our intuition of intrinsic rightness and our responses, in conscience, to what may, in the  Ibid., 225.  Ibid., 223; 224; 225.

351 352

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end, turn out to be only a ‘semblance’ of reason. Further, human beings are not able to perceive rightness as soon as we are born into the world as a ‘state of trial’. As we mature, mentally and morally, we must be ‘instructed’ in the relations that determine ‘fittingness’, remaining attentive to our schooling, and our own experiences in conscience, if we are to appreciate what it is that is according to reason qua recta ratio. Indeed, it is not the case, in CER, that human moral development has to begin with the recognition of, properly speaking, moral reasons for acting. Disordered passions and limited reason make the development of ‘virtuous habits’ essential to an individual’s understanding of, and commitment to, her duty. However, the development of such habits can begin from choosing to act, because to do so is to obey divine command, or to act according to natural affection, rather than because to do so is to act according to reason qua recta ratio. Thus, while the Clarkeans avoid what is, in their own terms, ‘externalism’, one reason why they often appear ‘externalist’ is because CER, in a certain sense, allows the process of moral development to begin with (while the process of moral development also consists in the movement away from) the externalist perspective of an underdeveloped moral character. The immature moral agent may begin to perform ‘virtuous acts’ qua AATC, in order to obey God’s will; such an agent may start on the path of virtue, and moral development, with the ‘externlist’ opinion that ‘moral command arises from a source outside the agent’,353 and, for the Clarkeans outside reason qua recta ratio itself. However, the mature moral agent does not (as Korsgaard describes the ‘dogmatic rationalist view’) conform ‘to a principle independent of the mind’.354 Rather, she regards the opportunity to act with intention of rectitude as a reason for acting. Acting to satisfy each of her ‘tripartite’ duties are (as Korsgaard requires above) the ‘certain’ ‘considerations’ she ‘recognises’ ‘as reasons’, and where the agent reflectively considers an action to satisfy each of her tripartite duties, it is the fact that it can be willed for herself and others and God 353 354

 Korsgaard, Kingdom, 316.  Korsgaard, ‘Instrumental Reason’, 226.

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that explains her choice of action qua reasons for action under the law of reason qua recta ratio. As we have seen (i) the fully-developed Clarkean moral agent (in Korsgaard’s language) ‘cares’ about what is right, and is ‘gripped’ by what it is that is according to reason qua recta ratio, because she appreciates that all of the ‘reasons or motives’ she has as a created rational agent are satisfied by choosing to do what it is that is right in itself according to reason. But also (ii) each of the ‘reasons or motives’ she has for action as a created rational agent become, for the mature moral agent in the ‘state of trial’, the ‘material’ with which, using practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards, she ensures that she is able to act with, and according to, reason when she chooses to do what it is that she perceives to be right in itself. Unlike the ‘externalist’ minded immature moral agent, the mature moral agent, in crossing the rational ‘gap’ into decision and action, does not ‘conform’ to something ‘independent’ or ‘distinct’ from their own mind. The mature moral agent chooses, or, in Clarkean terms, wills, to act according to a law she recognises as the law of her own nature and judgement, as well as the law of God and of the created universe. Further, because even the mature moral agent lacks certainty in the world as a ‘state of trial’, she not only chooses to appropriate that law, but imposes it upon herself: as a ‘virtuous agent’, she wills a ‘virtuous act’ qua AAOC as ‘materially’ the right thing to do according to the law of reason qua recta ratio, while accepting it may be only ‘procedurally’ the right thing to do, on the basis of her own faithful practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards. Returning to the charge of complacency, it has been seen above that it was not just, as Korsgaard argues, Aristotle and Kant, who discussed moral education as necessary to encourage human beings ‘to listen to reason’.355 Of course, listening to reason does not mean the same in CER as it does in neo-Kantianism: in the former, it includes, for example, the experience, and reflective consideration, of intrinsic ‘moral beauty’, God’s nature and will, and the consequences of our actions for ourselves and  Korsgaard, ‘Skepticism about Practical Reason’, 63.

355

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others. In CER, to act with, and according to, reason means to choose to do what it is that one perceives to be right in itself, so far as one is satisfied, on reflection, that by choosing to act according to one’s potentially mistaken perception of intrinsic rightness, one is able to satisfy each of one’s ‘tripartite’ duties under reason qua recta ratio. In CER, ‘to listen to reason’, and to be trained to do so, includes the reflective consideration, in conscience, of ‘material’ from ‘inside’ conscience (such as, ‘self-­ approbation’ and the desire to imitate God), and from ‘outside’ conscience (such as scripture and antecedent natural affection). Listening to reason in CER is to engage actively in, and through, conscience with all that we experience in the rational perception of intrinsic rightness, and properly to incorporate ‘outside’ ‘material’ into one’s practical reasoning to help to guard against the possibility for error. We can be trained ‘to listen to reason’, on the basis of such (external) ‘prompts’ and ‘inducements’ as scriptural promises of reward and antecedent natural affection. Such ‘prompts’ and ‘inducements’, in the world as a ‘state of trial’, enable us to understand what it means ‘to listen to’, and to act according to, reason qua recta ratio, by drawing us on to the path of virtue and so the process of developing moral character. While listening to reason may not mean the same in neo-Kantianism and CER, it is nonetheless the case that the Clarkeans would have been able to concur with Korsgaard’s Kant when he says we are ‘imperfectly rational’, so that ‘Human beings must be taught, or habituated to listen to reason’, in an effort to establish ‘ideals of character’, whereby ‘A person with a good character will be…one who responds to the available reasons in an appropriate way’.356 Thus, in CER, the only ‘necessity’ concerning human action is ‘moral necessity’, which, ‘in philosophical strictness…[is] no necessity at all’, but only a ‘figurative’ way of expressing that, at the point of moral maturity, ‘a goodsssw being, continuing to be good, cannot do evil; or a wise being, continuing to be wise, cannot act unwisely’.357

356 357

 Ibid., 62–63.  Clarke, Leibniz-Clarke, 99.

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  Bibliographical Abbreviations John Balguy DR

Divine Rectitude: Or, a Brief Inquiry Concerning the Moral Perfections of the Deity; Particularly in respect of Creation and Providence (London: 1730) EOR An Essay on Redemption, 2nd edn (Winchester: 1785) First letter A Letter to a Deist (London: 1726) LT The Law of Truth. Or, the Obligations of Reason Essential to all Religion (London: 1733) Second letter A Second Letter to a Deist, Concerning a late Book Entitled, Christianity as Old as the Creation (London: 1731) SFS Sermons on the Following Subjects, 2 Vols., 3rd edn (London: 1790) (referenced by volume, sermon, page) TFMG The Foundation of Moral Goodness (London: 1728) TFMG.II The Second Part of the Foundation of Moral Goodness (London: 1729) Except EOR and SFS, all page references are to: John Balguy, A Collection of Tracts Moral and Theological: Placed in the Order wherein they were first published (London: 1734) Samuel Clarke Clarke-Collins

Demonstration

Discourse

Leibniz-Clarke

Remarks

The Correspondence of Samuel Clarke and Anthony Collins, 1707–1708 (London: Broadview, 2011) (W.L. Uzgalis, ed.) A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, in Samuel Clarke, A Discourse Concerning the Being and Attributes of God, the Obligations of Natural Religion, and the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Religion, 10th edn (London: 1767) A Discourse Concerning the Unchangeable Obligations of Natural Religion, and the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Religion, in Samuel Clarke, A Discourse Concerning the Being and Attributes of God, the Obligations of Natural Religion, and the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Religion, 10th edn (London: 1767)10th edn (London: 1767) The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence, ed. H.G. Alexander (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1956) Remarks Upon A Book, Entitled, A Philosophical Enquiry Concerning Human Liberty (London: 1717)

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Richard Price Review Review, 2nd edn Review, ed. Raphael SVS

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Sermons by Samuel Clarke, D.D., in Eleven Volumes, 7th edn (London: 1749) (referenced by volume, sermon, page) A Review of the Principal Questions in Morals, 3rd edn (London: 1787) A Review of the Principal Questions and Difficulties in Morals, 2nd edn (London: 1769) A Review of the Principal Questions in Morals, ed. D.D. Raphael (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974) Sermons on Various Subjects, ed. William Morgan (London: 1816)

4 Conscience or Moral Sense? The Contest for Enlightenment in Scotland

4.1  Introduction In this chapter we turn to Scotland; however, our themes remain conscience, ethical rationalism, and Samuel Clarke, each of which, as we shall see, played a prominent role in the Douglas affair: a controversy central to the Scottish Enlightenment. The Douglas affair resulted from the performance of John Home’s play Douglas in Edinburgh in December 1756. The affair still features prominently in studies of eighteenth-century Scotland, not least due to the historical significance of the figures who were embroiled in it. On the side opposing the performance of Douglas, were orthodox Calvinists, including John Witherspoon: an orthodox clergyman who would go on to become the only cleric to sign the American Declaration of Independence, and the President of what is now Princeton University. The side supporting Douglas consisted of individuals who remain some of the most famous people associated with eighteenth-century Scotland, including: Hugh Blair (later Professor of Rhetoric, University of Edinburgh); Alexander Carlyle (later Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland); Adam Ferguson (later Professor of Moral © The Author(s) 2020 D. Mills Daniel, Ethical Rationalism and Secularisation in the British Enlightenment, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-52203-2_4

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Philosophy, University of Edinburgh); the judge, philosopher, and historian, Lord Kames (Henry Home); the historian William Robertson (later Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and Principal of the University of Edinburgh); and, the philosopher, David Hume. Each of these played an active role in promoting Douglas: Hume dedicated his Four Dissertations (London: 1757) to John Home; Carlyle and Ferguson wrote tracts defending Douglas from orthodox Calvinist criticism; Robertson, Carlyle and Blair provided Home with textual revisions to drafts of Douglas; and, Kames, along with each of the individuals mentioned above, took part in rehearsals for the play.1 Of course, the Douglas affair receives attention in modern scholarship, not simply as a result of the people embroiled in it, but because of what was supposed to be at issue during the controversy. Orthodox Calvinists were appalled that Douglas was both written by a clergyman and supported by clergymen. Home, along with Robertson, Carlyle, Ferguson, and Blair were not just members of Scotland’s literati, but also leading members of the Moderate party within the Scottish church (Kirk). Moreover, these Moderate clergymen were promoting a stage-play at a time when the theatre was banned in Scotland due to the influence of Calvinism. For the orthodox, the Moderates’ support of the theatre, contrary to both the law and traditions of Scottish Calvinist society, demonstrated that they were ‘modern infidels’ who preferred that which was modern and secular over that which was traditional and Christian. Consequently, they attempted to have the author of Douglas, as well as his supporters, censured by the Kirk.2 As a result of the orthodox reaction against Douglas, scholars have often cited the affair in support of the view that the Scottish Enlightenment consisted of a rivalry between two groups in eighteenth-century Scotland,  See: Richard B. Sher, Church and University in the Scottish Enlightenment (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1985), 74–92; Adrienne Scullion, ‘The Eighteenth Century’, in A History of Scottish Theatre, ed. Bill Findlay (Edinburgh: Polygon, 1998), 80–136; Ernest C.  Mossner, The Forgotten Hume (New York, NY: AMS Press, 1967), 38–66 and The Life of David Hume, 2nd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980), 356–369. 2  See: Mossner, Life of Hume, 360–364; Sher, Church and University, 78–86; John R. McIntosh, Church and Theology in Enlightenment Scotland: The Popular Party, 1740–1800 (East Linton: Tuckwell Press, 1998), 87–89. 1

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who also represented two rival groups within the Kirk.3 On one side, were the literati, who were either clerical members of the Moderate party or lay figures (such as Kames, Hume, and Adam Smith) who supported, and enjoyed the support of, that party. Hume, for example, described the Moderate party as ‘my friends’.4 On the other side, were orthodox Calvinists, who were members of the ‘Popular’ party: a party which opposed the Moderates within the Kirk, and who criticised the work of both lay and clerical literati. For example, prior to the Douglas affair members of the Popular party attempted to have both Hume and Kames censured by the Kirk for their philosophical writings.5

4.2  T  he Scottish Enlightenment Paradigm: ‘Enlightened’ Literati verses Religious ‘Conservatives’ Looked at from the perspective of two warring factions, the Douglas affair emerges in scholarship as a skirmish within a wider battle central to the Scottish Enlightenment itself: the battle between the ‘enlightened’ Moderates and the ‘conservative’ Popular party. It has been described as ‘the moderate literati’s first act of open opposition to Kirk traditionalism’;6 within which the Moderates supported a series of ‘enlightened’ ideals against traditionalist orthodox Calvinism: the Douglas affair … established that the future direction of the Church of Scotland and of Scottish society as a whole would be toward cultural and intellectual freedom, religious moderation, and respect for … all branches  As well as the works cited below, for a review of this approach in Scottish Enlightenment scholarship, see: David Allan, Virtue, Learning and the Scottish Enlightenment (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1993), 1–13; Thomas Ahnert, The Moral Culture of the Scottish Enlightenment, 1690–1805 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014), 1–16. 4  David Hume, ‘To Allan Ramsey, June 1755’, Letter no. 112, in Letters, vol.1, 224. 5  See: Mossner, Life of Hume, 336–355; Lisa A.  Freeman, Antitheatricality and the Body Politic (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017), 162–169; Sher, Church and University, 65–74; McIntosh, Church and Theology, 17–18, 69–73. 6  Fania Oz-Salzberger, Translating the Enlightenment: Scottish Civic Discourse in Eighteenth-Century Germany (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 96. 3

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of the arts and sciences. It signified … the triumph of the Moderate ideal of a polite ministry leading Scotland down the path to enlightenment.7

In the above, Sher equates ‘Moderate’, ‘literati’, and ‘enlightenment’, and makes particular ideals characteristic of what it means to be in the category ‘enlightened Moderate literati’. These include: commitment to cultural, intellectual, and religious ‘freedom’ and ‘moderation’; support for ‘polite’ literature and learning; and ‘respect’ for ‘all branches of the arts and sciences’. And, of course, when ‘the values of progress, politeness, toleration’8 are the values of Scottish moderatism and the Scottish Enlightenment, then the antithesis to ‘enlightened Moderate literati’ becomes that of ‘orthodox or Popular conservative’. As a result, the orthodox Calvinists who opposed Douglas and its Moderate supporters can be described as ‘bigots’,9 whose ‘religious prejudice’ and ‘narrow-­mindedness’,10 along with their ‘pessimistic view of human nature’,11 blocked what Sher calls in the quotation above ‘the path to Enlightenment’.12 Increasingly, however, contemporary scholarship highlights problems with viewing the Scottish Enlightenment era in general, and the Douglas affair in particular, in terms of a rivalry between enlightened Moderate literati and orthodox conservatives. For example, it has been pointed out that the Popular party was the largest party in eighteenth-century Scotland, and that it was not a ‘party’ in the modern political sense. It opposed the 1711 Patronage Act supported by the Moderates, which restored the landed gentry’s right to appoint church ministers. Members of the Popular party favoured some form of ‘popular’ vote to select church ministers (hence the party’s name). Although everyone who identified as ‘Popular’ opposed the Patronage Act (and the Moderate party for supporting it), there was a great diversity of opinion within such a large ‘party’ on other theological and  Sher, Church and University, 86.  Ronnie Young, ‘“Sympathetick Curiosity”: Drama, Moral Thought, and the Science of Human Nature’, in The Scottish Enlightenment and Literary Culture, eds Ralph McLean, Ronnie Young and Kenneth Simpson (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2016), 115–136. 9  Mossner, Life of Hume, 361. 10  Mossner, Forgotten David, 45–46. 11  Jennifer A.  Herdt, Religion and Faction in Hume’s Moral Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 89. 12  Sher, Church and University, 86. 7 8

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cultural matters13—in the same way that there was diversity amongst those who identified as ‘Whig’ throughout the eighteenth century. The Popular party’s size and diversity limits the extent to which it is possible to speak in terms of a single Popular or orthodox viewpoint, absolutely opposed to everything the enlightened Moderate literati stood for, except on the issue of church patronage. And, even then it is not the case that all members of the Popular party agreed on the form selecting church ministers should take.14 Moreover, the separation between Moderate and Popular over the issue of patronage has been used to question what it means to think of the former as enlightened and the latter as conservative. Support for the Patronage Act betrays what scholars have identified as a Burkean conservatism within moderatism, which insists that a social and ecclesiastical hierarchy, with an elite at its top, is the best means of ensuring the progress and stability of both church and state.15 When the ‘enlightened’ value of tolerance is presented as a hallmark of Moderate progressiveness in opposition to ‘bigoted’ Popular intolerance and traditionalism we must remember that it was not just the orthodox who attempted to censure their opponents. For example, the Moderates successfully expelled the orthodox minister, Andrew Gillespie of Inverkeithing, from the Kirk (see Part 1, Section 1 below), because he refused to support the Patronage Act. John McIntosh, Daniel Howe, and in particular, Thomas Ahnert16 have pointed to other ways in which both the orthodox and the Moderates confound the categories ‘enlightened Moderate literati’ and ‘Popular  See: McIntosh, Church and Theology, 19–91; Sher, Church and University, 16–18, 47–52.  See: McIntosh, Church and Theology, 92–103, 126–136; Sher, Church and University, 48–49. 15  Martin Fitzpatrick, ‘The Enlightenment, Politics and Providence: Some Scottish and English Comparisons’, in Enlightenment and Religion, 64–74; John Dwyer, ‘The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Moderate Divines’, in New Perspectives in the Politics and Culture of Early Modern Scotland, eds John Dwyer, Roger A. Mason, and Alexander Murdoch (Edinburgh: John Donald, 1982), 308–315; Ian D. L. Clark, ‘From Protest to Reaction: The Moderate Regime in the Church of Scotland, 1752–1805’, in Scotland in the Age of Improvement, eds Nicholas T. Phillipson and Rosalind Mitchison (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1970), 208–224; Sher, Church and University, 53–54, 187–192, 262–263. 16  McIntosh, Church and Theology, 34–40; Daniel W.  Howe, ‘John Witherspoon and the Transatlantic Enlightenment’, in The Atlantic Enlightenment, eds Susan Manning and Francis D. Cogliano (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), 61–79; Ahnert, Moral Culture, 95–121 and ‘Clergymen as Polite Philosophers: Douglas and the Conflict between Moderates and Orthodox in the Scottish Enlightenment’, Intellectual History Review, 18:3 (2008), 375–383, https://doi. org/10.1080/17496970802319276. 13 14

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conservative’. Contrary ‘to what is commonly assumed’, in ‘some respects the orthodox were even more ‘rationalist’ than the Moderates’.17 If a ‘positive and comprehensive view of natural religion’ is a mark of being enlightened, then the orthodox appear to be more enlightened than the Moderates: ‘orthodox Calvinist theorists were in fact generally far more confident of the capacity of human reason to arrive at various religious truths’.18 And, just as the orthodox were more ‘optimistic’, and the Moderates less ‘confident’, about human reason than ‘what is commonly assumed’,19 so are the Moderates more theologically conservative. Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ is the most famous example of a wider commitment to the law of ‘unintended consequences’ amongst the literati. Here, human beings contribute to God’s providential scheme for the universe, not by choosing their actions on the basis of a rational consideration of consequences, but by acting instrumentally on the basis of such God-­ given natural affections as sociability and self-love. It is the literati, not the orthodox, that appear to be the inheritors of a ‘conservative’ Calvinist providential determinism and anti-rationalism.20 Thus, contemporary scholarship indicates how orthodox and literati viewpoints are too diverse and complex to be summarised under such categories as ‘enlightened’ and ‘conservative’. Recent discussion of the Douglas affair also points to the difficulty of characterising that controversy as a disagreement between enlightenment progressivism and orthodox conservatism. Orthodox opposition to Douglas arose, not from a blind commitment to the traditions of Scottish Calvinism, but because the Moderate and Popular parties had different understandings of the role of reason in moral and religious questions;21 rival political economies,

 Ahnert, Moral Culture, 94, 93.  Ibid., 93, 94. 19  Ibid., 93. 20  See: Allan, Virtue, Learning, 127–128, 204–218; Ahnert, Moral Culture, 86–93; Sher, Church and University, 43–44, 73; Colin Kidd, ‘Subscription, the Scottish Enlightenment, and the Moderate Interpretation of History’, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 55:3 (2004), 502–519, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022046904009996 21  See note 16. 17 18

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as well as ecclesiastical polities;22 and opposing pictures of what it meant to be a patriotic Scot after the 1707 Act of Union.23 This chapter agrees with current scholarship that a range of issues— not least differences over rationalism and church patronage—informed orthodox opposition to Douglas. However, it goes beyond current scholarship by highlighting how orthodox opposition to the literati over such issues as rationalism and church patronage was made through a rhetoric of conscience, employed both during, and prior to, the Douglas affair. By orthodox rhetoric of conscience, I mean the rhetorical contrast orthodox writers made between themselves as ethical rationalists, who propounded a theory of rational conscience, and the literati as sentimentalists, who propounded an affective theory of the moral sense. It was through the rhetoric of conscience that orthodox writers made their central criticism of the literati: their preference for ‘moral sense’ over ‘conscience’ exposed the fact that they were anti-rationalist, elitist, and irreligious ‘modern infidels’. At the same time, the orthodox rhetoric of conscience had another purpose: it deliberately subverted the categories ‘enlightened Moderate literati’ and ‘Popular conservative’. Orthodox rhetoric contrasted the literati as ‘modern infidels’, who developed their ‘new’ theory of an affective moral sense, with the orthodox as ‘conscientious fools’, who propounded their ‘old-fashioned’ theory of rational conscience. Through such rhetoric, orthodox writers were deliberately promoting the ‘enlightened Moderate literati’ versus ‘Popular conservative’ paradigm. The literati were self-conscious participants in an ‘enlightened age’: they chose moral sense over conscience, precisely because they had advanced beyond the orthodox in modern learning and social status. Meanwhile, the orthodox preference for conscience over moral sense demonstrated that they were outdated religious conservatives: their commitment to conscience was  Freeman, Antitheatricality, 147–188 and ‘The Cultural Politics of Antitheatricality: The Case of John Home’s “Douglas”’, The Eighteenth Century, 43:3 (2002), 210–235. 23  Yoon Sun Lee, ‘Giants in the North: Douglas, the Scottish Enlightenment, and Scott’s Redgauntlet’, Studies in Romanticism, 40:1 (2001), 109–122, https://doi.org/10.2307/25601490; Philip Connell, ‘British Identities and the Politics of Ancient Poetry in Later Eighteenth-Century England’, The Historical Journal, 49:1 (2006), 161–192, https://doi.org/10.1017/ S0018246X0500508X. 22

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their commitment to the traditional Scottish Calvinism that contemporary polite society ridiculed as old-fashioned. However, the orthodox used their rhetoric of conscience to promote the ‘enlightened Moderate literati’ verses ‘Popular conservative’ paradigm, only so that same rhetoric could subvert it. Orthodox writers ironically described themselves as bigoted and unenlightened Calvinistic fools in order to destabilise the association of ‘modern’ and ‘enlightened’. According to orthodox rhetoric, it was precisely because the literati were ‘modern’ that they ‘conservatively’ promoted the rights and privileges of the elite members of polite society over those of ordinary people. By contrast, it was because the orthodox ‘foolishly’ and ‘conservatively’ clung to their old-fashioned belief in conscience, that they had an enlightened optimism in the power of human reason and supported the popular election of church ministers.

4.3  Samuel Clarke and John Witherspoon Drawing out the orthodox rhetoric of conscience, adds to our understanding of the Douglas affair: it helps to place that affair in the context of orthodox rationalism, and opposition to the Patronage Act, along with their deliberate subversion of such categories as ‘enlightened’ and ‘conservative’. It also explains why such orthodox writers as Witherspoon appealed to Sir Isaac Newton’s friend and defender against Gottfried Leibniz: Samuel Clarke. Clarke is rarely referenced in current studies of eighteenth-century Scottish Calvinism.24 It is unsurprising, therefore, that Witherspoon’s appeal to Clarke in the build-up to the Douglas affair has not been noticed elsewhere. When Clarke is mentioned in current studies, the references are brief and clarificatory, following Witherspoon’s later discussion of Clarke in his posthumously published ‘Lectures on Moral Philosophy’25 (delivered as part of Witherspoon’s Moral Philosophy course at Princeton).  See: Gideon Mailer, John Witherspoon’s American Revolution (Chapter Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2017); Howe, ‘Transatlantic Enlightenment’; Young, ‘Sympathetick Curiosity’; Freeman, Antitheatricality and ‘Cultural Politics’; Jeffry H. Morrison, John Witherspoon and the Founding of the American Republic (Notre Dame, IA: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005). 25  See: L. Gordon Tait, The Piety of John Witherspoon: Pew, Pulpit and Public Forum (Louisville, KY: Geneva Press, 2001), 199; Ahnert, Moral Culture, 55, 115; McIntosh, Church and Theology, 169; J. Walter McGinty, ‘An Animated Son of Liberty’: A Life of John Witherspoon (Bury St Edmunds: Arena Books, 2012), 124–126. 24

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Witherspoon’s later ‘reference to Dr Samuel Clarke’ in the ‘Lectures’ has been called ‘most surprising’, demonstrating that he had ‘come to see…[such] views as less challenging to his own’.26 J.W. McGinty’s expression of ‘surprise’ is consistent with the enlightened Moderate literati verses Popular conservative paradigm. As Gideon Mailer notes, ‘scholars have described… [Witherspoon’s] career as Janus-­faced’:27 the orthodox Calvinist of Scotland, was not the same as the university president of America. The former criticised the religious liberty and tolerance the latter would go on to endorse by signing the Declaration of Independence. For McGinty, L.G.  Tait, Mark Noll, Jonathan Israel, and in particular, Douglas Sloan, the later Witherspoon ‘Innocently—or perhaps consciously…was beginning to feel the effects of the Scottish Enlightenment’.28 That is, the revised position of the later Witherspoon is best explained in terms of his own personal paradigm shift, from conservative to enlightened. And, it is that same personal paradigm shift that explains his favourable discussion of Clarke in his American lectures. As we saw in Chap. 1, Clarke was an Anglican clergyman, who was celebrated in the eighteenth century by such luminaries as Joseph Butler, Adam Smith, and Voltaire. As a close friend of Sir Isaac Newton, he translated his Optics, and defended Newtonianism in the Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence. Clarke was also a rationalist, who became associated, through his Boyle Lectures, with an a priori demonstration for the existence of God, and his insistence that all human beings immediately and self-evidently perceive moral truth with our reason in the same way that we ‘see’ that 2 + 2 = 4. Moreover, although Clarke developed his rationalist ethics and natural theology in explicit opposition to deism, he was himself often regarded as religiously heterodox. The church authorities in England attempted to have him censured for Arianism, while his followers  McGinty, Life of Witherspoon, 124.  Mailer, American Revolution, 179. 28  Tait, Piety of Witherspoon, 28; Mark A. Noll, ‘The Irony of the Enlightenment for Presbyterians in the Early Republic’, Journal of the Early Republic, 5:2 (1985), 149–175, https://doi. org/10.2307/3122950; Douglas Sloan, The Scottish Enlightenment and the American College Ideal (New York, NY: Teachers College Press Columbia University, 1971); Jonathan Israel, Democratic Enlightenment: Philosophy, Revolution, and Human Rights, 1750–1790 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 468. 26 27

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emphasised latitudinarianism to the extent that they argued for greater tolerance of Protestant dissenters.29 Clarke’s associations with an optimistic natural theology, Newtonianism, and tolerant latitudinarianism mean that he represents the values commonly associated with the enlightened Moderate literati as opposed to Popular conservatives.30 Indeed, in the first edition of the literati’s short-­ lived literary journal, the Edinburgh Review, Adam Smith mentions Clarke, along with John Locke, Lord Shaftesbury, Francis Hutcheson, and Joseph Butler, as one of ‘The original and inventive genius[es] of the English’ who have advanced philosophy.31 No wonder McGinty considers Witherspoon’s reference to Clarke as part of his supposed personal paradigm shift, or ‘broadening outlook’.32 As Noll points out, Clarke’s ‘Anglican vision’ was distinctive in eighteenth-century America, as in eighteenth-century Britain, for its ‘anti-Calvinism’ and ‘respect for the new science of the eighteenth century’.33 If Clarke’s values are closely aligned with those of the enlightened Moderate literati, then it was only as Witherspoon became more enlightened and less orthodox that his opposition to the literati could give way to his endorsement of Clarke. In this book, Witherspoon’s appeal to Clarke in his American ‘Lectures’ is not ‘surprising’, because Witherspoon, and other orthodox writers, had already appealed to Clarke in the build-up to the Douglas affair. More than this, it will be argued that the appeal to Clarke is a feature of the orthodox rhetoric of conscience: it was an aspect of their rationalism and opposition to the Patronage Act, and another way in which they  See: Gascoigne, Cambridge in the Enlightenment, 115–141; R.K.  Webb, ‘The Emergence of Rational Dissent’, in Enlightenment and Religion, 12–41; Ingram, Reformation Without End, 44–57, 86–88. 30  See: McIntosh, Church and Theology, 9, 21. 31  Adam Smith, “A Letter to the Authors of the Edinburgh Review”, Edinburgh Review, no.1 (Edinburgh: 1756), in The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith, eds W. P. D. Wightman and J. C. Bryce (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980), vol.3, 250. For the history of the literati’s Edinburgh Review, see: Sher, Church and University, 68–72. 32  McGinty, Life of Witherspoon, 125. 33  Mark A. Noll, America’s God (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 121. 29

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deliberately subverted the categories ‘enlightened’ and ‘conservative’. For Witherspoon and other members of the Popular party, the appeal to Clarke (along with, for example William Shakespeare and Joseph Addison) demonstrated that the orthodox were themselves schooled in the polite literature of the ‘enlightened age’. It also allowed them to represent the literati as less enlightened than themselves by suggesting that the literati were more parochial: while the orthodox appealed to figures like Clarke and Addison, known throughout the enlightened world, the literati took their ideas from works which were only celebrated in Scotland. Although the appeal to Clarke, like the orthodox rhetoric of conscience, has been neglected, an appreciation of both clarifies what was at issue during the Douglas affair, where this included orthodox attempts to distinguish themselves from the literati as rationalist anti-elitists whose Calvinism and traditionalism were consistent with ‘enlightenment’, if that term was properly conceived. Part 1 below looks at the orthodox rhetoric of conscience as it appeared during opposition to Douglas (Section 1) and in the controversy over church patronage (Section 2). In Section 1, the key figures are Witherspoon and Lord Dreghorn (John Maclaurin), as they were the leading orthodox pamphleteers against Douglas. In Section 2 the key figures are Witherspoon, the lead-author of the so-called ‘Popular manifesto’ on the issue of patronage, and an orthodox imitator of Witherspoon, Andrew Moir. While the discussion focuses on these three figures, references are also made to other orthodox authors and pamphlets.34 Part 2 examines Witherspoon’s appeal to Clarke, and places it in the context of the orthodox rhetoric of conscience employed during, and in the build up to, the Douglas affair. Again, while Witherspoon is the focus of discussion, other orthodox writers who appealed to Clarke are also referenced.

 Assuming each anonymous pamphlet is written by a different author, this article references twenty-four works by (up to) sixteen orthodox writers. 34

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Part 1: Section 1 4.4  R  ationalism, Calvinism, and the Douglas Affair For John Witherspoon and Lord Dreghorn’s uncle—the influential Popular theologian, John Maclaurin—conscience is a God-given rational faculty that grants all human beings the ‘natural’ capacity to appreciate the essential difference between right and wrong.35 It is also God’s ‘deputy’ and ‘vicegerent’, an ‘inward court’ and ‘tribunal’, which ‘denounces’ our sin, as not just wrong in itself, but as ‘breaches of the law of God’.36 Following Calvin,37 for these orthodox theologians, it is the human possession of conscience which signifies the difference between human beings qua rational creatures made in the image of God from the rest of ‘brute’ creation. Conscience enables us to know God’s will, and to know the consequences of obeying and disobeying God’s will in the life to come. Conscience also enables us to satisfy God’s will, by giving us the capacity to act according to the objective moral law willed by God, raising us above sensitive creatures who act merely on the basis of natural instinct. It is in conscience that we begin to experience the normative claim of objective moral truth as part of a desire to love, and to be loved by, God by being true to ourselves as rational creatures made in his image.38 However, for Witherspoon and Maclaurin (again in line with Calvin)39 our encounter, in conscience, with moral truth and divine judgement is simultaneously our encounter with sinfulness. As Mailer points out, orthodox conscience did not mean that human beings possessed innate  See: John Maclaurin, Sermons and Essays. By the late Reverend Mr. John M’Laurin. One of the Ministers of Glasgow, 2nd edn (London: 1772), 60–61, Eighteenth Century Collections Online; John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon, D.D., L.L.D., late President of the College at Princeton, New Jersey, 3 vols. (Philadelphia, PA: William. W. Woodward, 1800), vol1., 101, 292, 296, 328; vol.2, 487, Eighteenth Century Collections Online. 36  See: Maclaurin, Sermons, 258, 362; Witherspoon, Works, vol.1, 101, 109; vol.2, 306, 608. 37  See: John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. H.  Beveridge (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2008), 1.15.2; 2.2.12; 2.2.17; 2.2.22; 2.8.1. 38  See: Maclaurin, Sermons, 58–59, 338, 392–393, 397, 445; Witherspoon, Works, vol.1, 101, 464, 485, 560; vol.2, 177. 39  See: Calvin, Institutes, 2.2.24–25, 2.7.11, 2.2.27, 2.8.1. 35

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moral knowledge.40 Although Witherspoon ‘may say with St Paul’ that all human beings have the moral law ‘written in their hearts’ (Romans 2:15) in ‘natural conscience’, that ‘natural’ knowledge of right and wrong means ‘there is as much light remaining with us since the fall, as to shew, that we are out of the way, but not to bring us back to it again’.41 ‘Natural conscience’ allows even ‘comparatively blind’42 fallen creatures to recognise the essential difference between right and wrong, but it also ‘declare[s]’ each individual ‘corrupt’.43 Natural conscience is reflective self-awareness of weakness and sinfulness: our own guilty conscience warns us that we can never ‘perfectly’ fulfil the moral law, and that, even if we could, we could never do enough to earn or to explain God’s love for us as insignificant and fallen sinners.44 In order to function effectively, therefore, ‘natural conscience’ must be ‘in some measure awakened by’ grace.45 Our ‘awakened conscience’ tells us that a commitment to moral duty is not possible or sufficient without God’s gracious forgiveness and love and our own regeneration in faith. Of course, conscience ‘awakened’ into the Christian faith does not become infallible or passive. ‘It is very certain that natural conscience, when awakened by the word of God, will both restrain from sin, and excite to duty’, just as it ‘denounces vengeance against the breaches of the law of God’.46 Nonetheless, just as genuine ‘regeneration’ requires the experience of grace and painstaking commitment to conscience ‘awakened by the word of God’, it is faith and unmerited grace which reassure us that God loves us and will reward some of us in a life to come.47 Without ‘divine mercy’ and ‘the promised strength of divine grace’ as a ‘salve’ to ‘the reproaches’ of our ‘wounded conscience’, we would not have the strength to resist temptation, and to tread the narrow road of moral duty; we would instead be ‘over-borne by the  Mailer, American Revolution, 33–36.  Witherspoon, Works, vol.2, 306. 42  Ibid., vol.1, 328. 43  Ibid., vol.2, 306. 44  See: Maclaurin, Sermons, 338; Witherspoon, Works, vol.1, 118, 197, 243, 468, 475, 485; vol.2, 526. 45  Witherspoon, Works, vol.1, 118. 46  Ibid., vol.1, 101 47  Ibid., vol.1, 93–101. 40 41

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strength of corruption’ that ‘vitiate the peace of…[our] minds’ as ‘the guilt of sin lays hold of the conscience, and its power is both felt and lamented’.48 For the orthodox, conscience had a series of positive connotations. It was the Kirk’s traditional Calvinist language, which emphasised the relation between faith and morality, while crediting individuals with the ability to experience God’s judgement, and to know the moral law, on the basis of a God-given natural faculty. The orthodox rhetoric of conscience, employed during the Douglas affair, emphasised these positive connotations of conscience, and contrasted them with the supposedly negative connotations of a moral sense. Thus, in one of Dreghorn’s parodies of Douglas—The Philosopher’s Opera (Edinburgh: 1757)—Satan visits Scotland to attend the first performance of Douglas, because he has heard it is a play written by the clergyman Mr. Jacky (John Home), and supported by other clergymen. Satan observes that his previous attempts to gain influence in Scotland were thwarted by ‘ministers’ who ‘made conscience (as the phrase was in those days) of doing their duty’.49 However, that old ‘phrase’ ‘conscience’ has now passed away; Satan finds that the clergy are devoted to ‘new books’ by ‘Mr. Genius’ (a parody of Hume), whom ‘Mr. Mask’ (a parody of Carlyle) describes as our ‘one author of note’.50 Mr. Mask also introduces Satan to ‘Mr. Moral Sense’ (a parody of Francis Hutcheson), whom he describes as ‘another’, with Mr. Genius, ‘who has a great many disciples’.51 Hutcheson, sometimes known as the ‘father of the Scottish Enlightenment’,52 was, of course, a leading figure in eighteenth-century Scottish society, associated with the literati and the ‘moderate’ cause. Although he had died ten years before Douglas, his philosophical works  Ibid., vol.2, 526, 493.  [John Maclaurin, Lord Dreghorn], The Philosopher’s Opera [Edinburgh]: [1757], 9, Eighteenth Century Collections Online. 50  Ibid., 12. 51  Ibid., 13. 52  Thomas D.  Campbell, ‘Francis Hutcheson: “Father” of the Scottish Enlightenment’, in The Origins and Nature of the Scottish Enlightenment, eds Roy Hutcheson Campbell and Andrew S. Skinner (Edinburgh: John Donald, 1982), 167–185. 48 49

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and teaching as Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow were a leading influence on the literati embroiled in that affair. Hutcheson was also a minister of the Kirk who gave his nuanced support for the Patronage Act in a way which ‘articulated the attitudes of the emerging moderate interest in the church’.53 The rhetorical value of ‘Mr. Moral Sense’ for Dreghorn is, then, multi-­ layered. By making the exaggerated claim that all of the literati were ‘disciples’ of Hutcheson and Hume, he is able to claim that they are interested in ‘new books’ and ideas at the cost of that which is ‘old’.54 The Moderate Scottish clergy use the term moral sense instead of conscience in the same way that they now follow Hutcheson and Hume rather than making ‘conscience (as the phrase was in those days) of doing their duty’.55 Of course, the phrase ‘made conscience…of doing their duty’56 suggests the further rhetorical value of contrasting conscience with moral sense. As indicated above, the orthodox viewed conscience as a rational faculty through which we are aware of both the moral law and the judgement of God. However, Hutcheson and Hume had developed their respective sentimentalist theories of a moral sense in explicit opposition to ethical rationalism, not least Samuel Clarke’s. In Hume’s famous is/ought passage, Clarkean ethical rationalism is almost certainly one of the ‘the vulgar systems of morality’ targeted for making the mistake of drawing an ought from an is, and for failing to appreciate that ‘the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceived by reason’.57 According to Clarke, ‘Iniquity is the very same in Action, as Falsity or Contradiction in Theory’.58 It is ‘Absurd’ to admit that 2 + 3 = 5 and to deny that 5 = 2 + 3 in the same way that it is ‘Unreasonable’ to deny the Golden Rule, and to claim that I should not treat another person how I

 Fitzpatrick, ‘Politics and Providence’, 74.  Dreghorn, Opera, 13, 4. 55  Ibid., 9. 56  Ibid., 9. 57  Hume, Treatise, 3.1.2.27. For Hutcheson’s identification of an is/ought gap, in stated opposition to Clarke, see Chap. 2, and, for example: Hutcheson, Essay, ed. Garrett, 142, 180. 58  Clarke, Discourse, 54. 53 54

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would expect them to treat me.59 For Hutcheson and Hume, Clarke’s analogy between mathematics and morals is simply a disanalogy. The ‘cool assent of the understanding’60 might explain why we assent to the is truth of the principle of non-contradiction; however, that ‘cool assent’ cannot supply the premise for the normative claim that we ought to act with equity. Clarke not only jumps from ‘it is reasonable to act with equity’ to ‘we ought to act with equity’, he is unable to explain the human experience of normativity itself. As Hutcheson put it, our theoretical reason may tell us that ‘an hundred stones is greater than one’ in the same way that it tell us ‘an hundred Felicities is a greater Sum than one Felicity’.61 However, reason alone cannot explain our interest in piling together stones or felicities. Similarly, reason cannot explain why we differentiate, morally speaking, between helping as many people as possible gain felicities and building ‘Heaps’ of stones.62 According to Hutcheson and Hume, instead of Clarke’s ‘vulgar’ ethical rationalism, moral philosophy must posit: (i) an antecedent natural affection for benevolence; and (ii) a ‘moral sense’ that approves of benevolent action. (i) explains why we are motivated to perform actions that help others and (ii) explains why we approve of such actions as moral acts.63 In criticising Clarkean ethical rationalism, neither Hutcheson or Hume denied reason a (at least instrumental)64 role in ethical decision-­ making; nor is their theory of a moral sense necessarily incompatible with moral objectivism,65 or, in Hutcheson’s case at least, a rational theory of conscience.66 Nonetheless, both had argued for sentimentalism with language which alarmed their orthodox opponents. For example, their claim that virtue ‘consists in Benevolence’67 suggested that right and wrong  Ibid.  Hume, Treatise, 1.1.136. 61  Hutcheson, Essay, 225–226. 62  Ibid. 63  See, for example: Hutcheson, Inquiry, 1.1.15, 2.1, 2.7.1; Essay, ed. Garrett, 9, 136, 142, 158, 179; Hume, 5.2.183, 9.1.221, 1.1.136 and Treatise, 2.3.3.4, 3.1.2.1, 3.1.2.27. 64  Although, see Chap. 2, note 19. 65  See: Chap. 2, note 20. 66  See: Chap. 1, note 335 on Hutcheson’s use of to hegemonikon, and later influence of Butler on his theory of ‘moral sense’. 67  Hutcheson, Essay, 116; see, for example: Hume, Enquiry, ed. Seldby-Bigge, 5.2.183–184. 59 60

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consist solely in utility, with Hutcheson apparently even coining the now familiar utilitarian mantra: ‘the greatest Happiness for the greatest Numbers’.68 Hutcheson compared our ‘moral sense’ with our ‘Sense of Beauty’,69 while Hume famously contended that ‘reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of, the passions’.70 Both made happiness the measure of right and wrong, and the passion for happiness the motivational ground for moral conduct. In doing so, they relativized happiness (and so morality) to each individual’s desire for whatever they find beautiful or pleasurable. At least, that is the accusation Dreghorn used the rhetoric of conscience to make. In The Philosopher’s Opera, Mr. Moral Sense, consistent with Hutcheson’s emphasis upon benevolence, repeatedly utters ‘how I love all and every one of you!’71 However, it is also the case that Mr. Moral Sense has ‘an unbounded benevolence’ for ‘wine’ and uses that to explain the fact that he is permanently inebriated.72 Indeed, upon seeing ‘Moll’ the kitchen maid, he declares ‘I will lie with her’, and attempts to force his advances upon her, with the justification, ‘My instinct prompts me to lie with her’.73 However, even Satan is offended by such conduct, and intercedes declaring, ‘I’ll teach your instinct better manners’.74 Mr. Genius (or Hume) is also pleased to act upon instinct rather than making ‘conscience’ of his ‘duty’. In portraying Mr. Genius’s licentiousness, Dreghorn highlights another layer of the orthodox rhetoric of conscience: in preferring Hutcheson’s and Hume’s new moral sense over old-fashioned Calvinist conscience, the literati have not just turned their back on an ethical realist conception of the moral law, but on Christianity. Thus, Satan is delighted by the influence of Hume in Scotland, and ‘drinks to his health’, because he is aware that ‘new books’ are ‘commonly my very good friends’.75 Indeed, he has read Hume’s books ‘with great  Hutcheson, Inquiry, 2.3.8.  Ibid., 1.1.15. 70  Hume, Treatise, 3.1.2.27, 2.3.3.4. 71  Dreghorn, Opera, 14. 72  Ibid., 14. 73  Ibid., 15. 74  Ibid., 15. 75  Ibid., 12. 68 69

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delight’, because they support suicide, deny God’s existence and a future state, and maintain there is no difference ‘twixt right and wrong but what custom has introduced’.76 And, just as Satan recognises ‘How much am I obliged to’ Hume for his influence in Scotland, another character, ‘Mrs. Presbytery’ (in other words, the Kirk itself ), declares her love for him. In doing so, she complains of her ‘first husband’ ‘Mr. John Calvin’. He had brought up Mrs. Presbytery’s ‘sons’ to have a ‘starch’, ‘stiff’, and ‘ridiculously grave’ ‘manner’, whereas now, under the influence of Hume, ‘they have put off the old man entirely’, ‘they swear, they drink, they whore so handsomely… I scarce know them to be my own children’.77 Ministers who ‘made conscience (as the phrase was in those days) of doing their duty’78 are ‘starch’ and ‘stiff’,79 and enemies of Satan. They rigidly and ‘ridiculously’80 believe that certain things are always wrong to do, and that wrongdoing will be punished in a future life. However, in the Kirk under the Moderates, ministers no longer need to be concerned with such things: Mr. Genius tells them that there is no future judgement to worry about, and Mr. Moral Sense assures them that right and wrong can be relativized to individual desire. Consequently, they are able to welcome Satan into Scotland.81

 Ibid., 13, 15. For the claim that the Moderate clergy’s support for Douglas was the inevitable consequence of their support for Hume, who argued for the ‘lawfulness of suicide’ and the ‘mortality of the soul’, see also: [Anon.], The Usefulness of the Edinburgh Theatre Seriously Considered. With a proposal for rendering it more beneficial (Edinburgh: 1757), 5, Eighteenth Century Collections Online; [John Haldane], The Players Scourge: or a detection of the horrid prophanity [sic] and impiety of stage-plays, and their wicked supporters; and especially of the nine prophane pagan priests, who were present at acting the tragedy of Douglas [Edinburgh?]: [1757], 3, Eighteenth Century Collections Online. 77  Dreghorn, Opera, 5 (my italics). 78  Ibid., 9. 79  Ibid., 5. 80  Ibid., 5. 81  For the theme of Satan being welcomed into Scotland as a result of the Moderate clergy’s support of Douglas, see also: [Anon.], The Apostle to the Theatre His Garland. An excellent new song, to the tune of, De’il stick the minister [Edinburgh?]: [1757?], 2–3, Eighteenth Century Collections Online; Haldane, Players Scourge, 1–8; [Anon.], The Infernal Council. An Excellent New Ballad. To the Tune of, The Devils Were Brawling, &c. [Edinburgh]: [1757], Eighteenth Century Collections Online. 76

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4.5  ‘Modern Infidels’ and the Moral Sense Like Dreghorn, Witherspoon employed the rhetoric of conscience during the Douglas affair: As the growth or decay of vegetable nature is often so gradual as to be insensible; so in the moral world, verbal alterations, which are counted as nothing, do often introduce real changes, which are firmly established before their approach is so much as suspected. … Should we everywhere put virtue for holiness, honour, or even moral sense for conscience, improvement of the heart for sanctification, the opposition between such things and theatrical entertainments would not appear half so sensible.82

His rhetoric of conscience, like Dreghorn’s, makes the exaggerated claim that the literati, as a group, adopted the Hutchesonian and Humean sentimentalist theory of an affective moral sense. And, again like Dreghorn, it does so in order to make the preference for moral sense over conscience indicative of a hedonistic and secularising worldliness underpinning moderatism itself. We have already seen why Witherspoon should insist that the literati’s preference for ‘moral sense’ over ‘conscience’ is more than a mere ‘verbal alteration’.83 For him, conscience was part of our awareness that: ‘All real Christians are, and account themselves pilgrims and strangers on the earth, set their affections on things above, and have their conversation in heaven’.84 Conscience reminds human beings that our true happiness lies beyond this world, along the narrow path of Christian duty; a journey which requires regeneration in faith and grace, as well as recognition of the objective moral law, and the experience of God’s judgement, provided in our own conscience. As the Christian ethical appreciation of ‘holiness’ and ‘sanctification’ are inextricably associated with conscience, the literati’s exchange of ‘conscience’ for ‘moral sense’ demonstrates that the literati are ‘modern  John Witherspoon, Serious Enquiry into the Nature and Effects of the Stage (Glasgow: 1757), 7 (my italics), Eighteenth Century Collections Online. 83  Ibid., 7. 84  Ibid., 25. 82

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infidels’, who prefer ‘new’ ideas (like moral sense) from ‘modern essays’, rather than those (like conscience) which are to be found in ‘Scripture’ and the Church ‘fathers’.85 However, their preference for moral sense over conscience has still further significance. The literati are ‘modern infidels’, because, in prioritising that which is modern and profane over that which is traditional and religious, they make ‘virtue,’ ‘honour’, and ‘improvement’86 worldly, rather than Christian ethical, ideals. To live a moral life no longer requires, as Witherspoon described it elsewhere, ‘regeneration, repentance, conversion, or call it what you will…a very great change from the state in which every man comes into the world’.87 Instead, the literati’s sentimentalism suggests that we simply indulge that which we come into the world with, and that which is aimed at the things of this world: our natural, fallen passions. As a result, they not only deny the religious dimensions of the moral life, but encourage immorality by making passion and instinct the guide of human conduct rather than reason and conscience. Part of Witherspoon’s objection to Douglas was that ‘worldly’ sources of entertainment, like the theatre, undermine the human capacity to marshal our affections towards a ‘higher end’ under the ‘higher’, ‘rational powers’ of our nature.88 Instead, they inflame ‘fallen’ passions to such an extent that they ‘fatigue the mind’ and so put ‘the voice of natural conscience, that is, the voice of God in them’ to ‘sleep’.89 In such a state, we behave more like animals than rational creatures: we not only act at random, according to how our affections are tempted by various material goods, but pursue those goods as though they could bring us ultimate satisfaction as human beings.90 Thus, Witherspoon suggested that the literati’s support for the theatre, and its pernicious consequences, was the inevitable result of the literati adopting the secularising and hedonistic sentimentalism of Hutcheson and Hume; the same sentimentalism which had encouraged them to  Ibid., 17, 7.  Ibid., 7. 87  Witherspoon, Works, vol.1, 94. 88  Witherspoon, Serious Enquiry, 53. See also: 14–15, 41, fn. 89  Ibid., 19, 40, 14. 90  See: Witherspoon, Serious Enquiry, 18–20, 43, 50–51. 85 86

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‘everywhere put…moral sense for conscience’91 in the first place. The literati’s sentimentalism ignores the fact that human passions are fallen, and so will seek worldly pleasure without the guidance of reason and conscience, and the support of faith and grace. Of course, like Dreghorn, Witherspoon’s rhetoric of conscience has a still further layer: the literati’s commitment to a sentimentalist moral sense, as opposed to rational conscience, not only encourages worldliness and immorality, but springs from the worldliness and immorality of the literati themselves. They have adopted Hutcheson’s and Hume’s sentimentalism, celebrated modern expressions like moral sense, and worldly entertainments like Douglas, because they are, ‘unwilling to think that even their duty as Christians should constrain them to be at odds with the delicacies of life, or the polite and fashionable pleasures of the age’.92 Instead, the literati use their sentimentalist moral sense to justify acting howsoever their fallen passions happen to lead them, ‘according to the principles of modern relaxed morality’.93 The preference for moral sense over conscience betrayed the fact that the sentimentalism underpinning the former was motivated by ‘that friendship of the world, which is enmity with God’.94 Consequently, it was as the literati supported the worldly entertainment of Douglas, and ‘everywhere put…moral sense for conscience’,95 that they encouraged ‘indulging sensual gratifications’,96 leading to the ‘decay’97 of the Kirk and Scottish society as a whole: ‘If Scotch clergymen may, with impunity, not only write plays, but go to see them acted here…the religion and manners of this country are entirely changed’.98

 Witherspoon, Serious Enquiry, 7.  Ibid., 34. 93  Ibid., 6. 94  Ibid., 59. 95  Ibid., 7. 96  Ibid., 20. 97  Ibid., 7. 98  Dreghorn, Opera, iv. 91 92

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Part 1: Section 2 4.6  ‘Politeness’ and the Controversy Over Church Patronage During the Douglas affair, Witherspoon and Dreghorn both employed the rhetoric of conscience to contrast an orthodox commitment to making ‘conscience…of doing their duty’99 with the acolytes of Mr. Moral Sense and Mr. Genius amongst the literati. The latter were ‘modern infidels’ who preferred new books and ideas (especially Hutcheson’s and Hume’s) to traditional Christian books and ideas (especially Calvin’s). They denied that which Witherspoon and Dreghorn regarded as fundamental aspects of Calvinist Christian ethics, inextricably associated with conscience (what I call referents of conscience: see Chaps. 3 and 5), including the experience of divine judgement, moral objectivism, the awareness of fallenness, and the need for faith and grace. Another prominent way in which they drew attention to the literati’s worldliness and immortality was to represent them as social climbers. Unlike a traditional Scottish Calvinist minister, they gave up their Christian ethical ideals and neglected their parishes in order to pursue the power, prestige, and ‘filthy lucre’ of fashionable gentlemen.100 The criticism of the literati here is twofold. They followed Mr. Moral Sense and Mr. Genius, and reduced right and wrong to whatever ‘custom authorises and fashion justifies’,101 because it was fashionable to think in that way. The literati’s worldly and gentlemanly ambition meant that they would support whatever was the prevailing fashion in ideas, as in clothes,  Ibid., 9.  [John Maclaurin, Lord Dreghorn,], The Deposition, or Fatal Miscarriage: A Tragedy [Edinburgh]: [1757], 11, Eighteenth Century Collections Online. See also: [Anon.], The Immorality of Stage-­ Plays in General, and of The Tragedy called Douglas, in Particular (Edinburgh: 1757), 19–24, Eighteenth Century Collections Online; [Presbytery of Edinburgh], Admonition and Exhortation by the Reverend Presbytery of Edinburgh to All Within Their Bounds (Edinburgh: 1757), 1–2, Eighteenth Century Collections Online; ‘J–n H–ne’ [John Haldane], Players Scourge, 3–4 and The Second Part of The Players Scourge Exhibited to the World [Edinburgh?]: 1758), 1–15, Eighteenth Century Collections Online; ‘A.B.’, Douglas, a Tragedy, Weighed in the Balances, and Found Wanting (Edinburgh: Printed for W.  Gray and W.  Peter, 1757), 1–19, Eighteenth Century Collections Online; [Anon.], The Second Part of the Apostle to the Theatre His Garland [Edinburgh]: [1757], 3–4, Eighteenth Century Collections Online. 101  Witherspoon, Serious Enquiry, 23. 99

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because they are captivated by ‘the shining thoughts that are applauded in the world by men of taste’.102 At the same time, they insisted that ‘there is no difference ’twixt right and wrong but what custom has introduced’,103 not only because it was fashionable to do so, but because in doing so they were establishing themselves within the elite group that decides what is fashionable and so moral. Thus, according to Witherspoon and Dreghorn, the literati were not only ‘entirely’ changing, but seeking to take control over, ‘the religion and manners of’ Scotland.104 Here, orthodox criticisms during the Douglas affair carried on a theme running throughout Popular opposition to Moderate support for the Patronage Act. For the orthodox, Moderate support for Douglas meant that they were aligning themselves with the fashionable and aristocratic tastes of polite society, because they aspired to be a part of it. Likewise, in their support for the Patronage Act, the Moderates were portrayed as favouring the rights and privileges of aristocrats over those of ordinary people again because they aspired to be aristocratic themselves. Importantly, it is not just the case that the controversies over patronage and Douglas shared the theme of aristocratic elitism; rather, in both the controversies over patronage and Douglas, the orthodox employed the rhetoric of conscience to criticise the Moderates for that aristocratic elitism.

4.7  D  efending the ‘Common People’: ‘Conscientious Fools’ and ‘Liberty of Conscience’ Four years before Douglas, Witherspoon used the rhetoric of conscience in his controversial satire of Moderate clergymen: Ecclesiastical Characteristics: Or, the Arcana of Church Policy (Glasgow: 1753). In this work (and the Popular supporter Andrew Moir’s imitation of it), the Moderate position on patronage is consistent with the fact that a Moderate clergyman is ‘endeavour[ing] to acquire as great a degree of politeness in his carriage and behaviour, and to catch as much of the air and manner of a fine gentleman, as  Ibid., 26.  Dreghorn, Opera, 13. 104  Ibid., iv. 102 103

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possibly he can’.105 As a would-be gentleman, a Moderate clergyman is bound to support patronage, because he has ‘hatred and abhorrence of the common people’106 while he ‘endeavour[s] to please, those of high rank’.107 The Moderate preference for moral sense over conscience is a further manifestation of the fact that they seek, as aspiring gentlemen, to ‘be very unacceptable to the common people’.108 ‘The moral Sense’ is one of those ‘smooth and easy Terms’109 of ‘the fine arts’110 that was ‘so harmoniously sung by’ the aristocratic ‘lord Shaftsbury [sic], and…so well licked into form and method, by the late immortal Mr. H[utcheson]’.111 The Moderate preference for moral sense over conscience demonstrates that they are au fait with the latest polite literature, and that they are on the side of the ‘governing’ not the ‘governed’, ‘the masters’ rather than ‘the servants’.112 By exchanging traditional and biblical religious language for ‘modern discoveries’113 (such as, conscience for moral sense), the Moderates are purposefully, and exclusively, gentrifying the religious ethos of Scotland, and making it ‘unintelligible’114 to ordinary people. Now, moral and religious ideas—like the right of patronage—are the ‘peculiar’ and ‘exclusive privilege’ of the Moderates’ gentlemanly elite, unavailable to the ‘vulgar’.115 While the Moderate preference for moral sense over conscience symbolised the fact that they ‘despise the multitude’,116 the orthodox

 [John Witherspoon], Ecclesiastical Characteristics: or, The Arcana of Church Policy, 4th ed. (Glasgow: 1755), 36, Eighteenth Century Collections Online. 106  Ibid., 53. 107  Ibid., 61. 108  Ibid., 27. 109  [Andrew Moir], A Letter to the Author of the Ecclesiastick Characteristicks, or Arcana of Church Policy (Glasgow: 1754), 9, Eighteenth Century Collections Online. 110  Witherspoon, Arcana, 22. 111  Ibid., 39. 112  Ibid., 52. 113  Ibid., 22. 114  Ibid., 41. 115  Ibid., 22, 66. 116  Ibid., 48. 105

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commitment to conscience over the moral sense explained why ‘They please the people’.117 Witherspoon (and Moir) contrasted the Moderates as gentlemanly and fashionable proponents of the moral sense with the orthodox as ‘conscientious Fools’.118 Like ordinary people, and ‘Conscience, upon which they pretend to act’, the orthodox are ‘stiff and inflexible’,119 embarrassing to themselves and others in polite society due to their lack of ‘grace and beauty’.120 The orthodox, like ‘the bulk of mankind’, are ‘weak’ and ‘narrow-minded people’, restrained by a ‘narrow conscience’, which prevents them from appreciating mere ‘good-humoured vices’ and ‘social pleasures’.121 Popular party supporters suffer from a ‘want of taste’,122 not least because they ‘pretend a scruple of conscience at doing what appears to their disordered intellects to be what they call sinful’.123 Both the orthodox and ordinary Scottish people are excluded from polite society, because their traditional Calvinism means that they are foolishly committed to a straightforward and inelegant belief in what the fashionable people regard as the ‘deluded Votaries’ and ‘groundless Imaginations’ that accompany ‘Conscience’: ‘Hell, Damnation, and the like’.124 However, as ‘conscientious fools’, the orthodox are not just like the ordinary people; they are committed to them. It is by foolishly and unfashionably holding to their belief in conscience that the Popular party refuse to make morality and religion the preserve of an aristocratic elite. Witherspoon’s Arcana was written in the wake of ‘the Inverkeithing case’, when the orthodox clergymen, Andrew Gillespie, made a stand against patronage by refusing to accept the Moderate, Andrew Richardson, as minister for the vacant parish of Inverkeithing. Richardson had been appointed as the new clergymen by the patron of the parish, Captain  Ibid., 61.  Ibid., xiv; Moir, Letter, 9. 119  Witherspoon, Arcana, 66. 120  Ibid., 22. 121  Ibid., 21–22. 122  Ibid., 22. 123  Ibid., 52. 124  Moir, Letter, 9. 117 118

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Philip Anstruther. Not only was Gillespie expelled from his office, but when he appealed to the Kirk against his expulsion, the Moderate party produced their Reasons of Dissent (1752). This document, written under the lead-authorship of Robertson, became known as the ‘Moderate manifesto’, and successfully prevented any attempts to show leniency towards Gillespie within the Kirk.125 Crucially, in their Reasons of Dissent, the Moderates criticised ‘liberty of conscience’ for allowing an individual, ‘sheltered under’ ‘the name of conscience’, to acquire ‘at once a right of doing whatsoever is good in his own eyes’.126 ‘Liberty of conscience’ and ‘the right of private judgement’ can easily become an excuse for an individual to undermine legitimate governing authority within the church or state by ignoring its laws. Civil and ecclesiastical authorities must inhibit liberty of conscience in order to preserve ‘public order’ and to prevent ‘anarchy and confusion’.127 In response to the Reasons of Dissent, the Popular party produced their own ‘manifesto’, Answers to the Reasons of Dissent (1752), under the lead-­ authorship of Witherspoon. Here, the Popular party charged the Moderates with ‘pompus[ly]’128 seeking, in God’s place, an ‘absolute dominion’ over the minds of their ‘inferiors’ in both spiritual and civic life.129 The denial of ‘liberty of conscience’ made ‘inferior’ people answerable to their earthly ‘superiors’ in moral and religious matters rather than to the ‘awful tribunal’ of God.130 Conscience, in ‘rational creatures of God’, is the capacity for ‘every man’, even social and ecclesiastic ‘inferiors’, to be ‘told’ God’s will.131 It is the responsibility of ‘every’ Christian to be ‘always acting with a conscientious regard to the will  See: Sher, Church and University, 52–57; McIntosh, Church and Theology, 103–120; Mailer, American Revolution, 78–81; Annals of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, for the Final Secession in 1739 to the Origin of the Relief in 1752 (Edinburgh: John Johnstone, 1838), 222–231, HathiTrust Digital Library. 126  Reasons of Dissent from the judgement and resolution of the Commission, March 11, 1752, in Annals, 234. 127  Ibid., 234. 128  Answers to the Reasons of Dissent from the Sentence of the Commission in the Case of Inverkeithing, March 11, 1752, in Annals, 257. 129  Ibid., 249–250, 252. 130  Ibid., 246. 131  Ibid., 246. 125

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of God and Christ, according to his best views of it’.132 ‘Liberty of conscience’, in this sense, does not grant the individual ‘a right of doing whatever is good in his own eyes’, ‘in a lawless sense’, when (as with Dreghorn’s Mr. Moral Sense and Mr. Genius) our eyes are ‘darkened by irregular passions and appetites’.133 Instead, liberty of conscience is ‘a right of doing what, upon serious attention and consideration, appears to him good in the eyes of God and Christ’.134 Such ‘liberty of conscience’ ‘is not only the right of every reasonable creature of God, and disciple of Christ, but it is his indispensable duty to exercise it’, free from the judgement and coercion of those, like the Moderates, who require their fellow Christians to be ‘putting out his own eyes, which God has given him, and blindly following the guidance of other men’.135 Witherspoon’s rhetorical contrast between conscience and moral sense in his Arcana followed the Popular defence of liberty of conscience in their 1752 ‘manifesto’. The literati are bound to prefer moral sense over conscience, because the latter threatens their aristocratic hierarchy by guaranteeing even the ‘inferior’136 people the capacity for, and so right of, self-direction. The literati’s Hutchesonian and Humean moral sense may have made the belief in conscience and eternal punishment look ridiculous in modern polite society, but that is only because they want to deny that ordinary people are capable of their own autonomous experiences of moral and religious truth. On these terms, the orthodox are happy to be ‘conscientious fools’: their commitment to conscience is only made to look foolish by the sophisticated and oligarchical literati, who likewise wish to dismiss ordinary people as foolish and inferior, so that they might better justify governing over them. In this case, a foolish commitment to conscience is the best way of defending the rights and freedoms of ordinary people from the literati’s aristocratic oppression.

 Ibid., 253.  Ibid., 253. 134  Ibid., 253. 135  Ibid., 253. 136  Ibid., 246. 132 133

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The Literati’s ‘Cabal’ of ‘Gentlemen’ The self-characterisation conscientious fools, as employed during the controversy over patronage, is consistent with the rhetoric of conscience during the Douglas affair, as discussed in Part 1, Section 1.137 First, the orthodox are conscientious fools because their commitment to conscience over moral sense, and their opposition to such ‘fashionable diversions’138 as the theatre, makes them look unrefined when compared with the literati. The Moderate acolytes of Mr. Moral Sense and Mr. Genius are fashionable, impious, and self-indulgent gentlemen, schooled in modern literature and learning. However, orthodox minsters, who make ‘conscience…of doing their duty’, are awkward and old-fashioned, the ‘stiff’, ‘starch’, and ‘ridiculously grave’ adherents of an out-dated belief in moral duty, divine punishment, and conscience, ‘as the phrase was in those days’.139 Here, the orthodox are represented both as those who have chosen ‘spiritual improvement’ over ‘politeness’ and a ‘fashionable education’,140 and those who resemble ordinary people. Like ‘the bulk of mankind’,141 orthodox Calvinists are ‘stiff and precise’ ‘incapable of joining in polite conversation, being ignorant of the topics upon which it chiefly turns’, and possess a ‘rusticity of carriage, or narrowness of mind, than which nothing is more contemptible in the eyes of the rest of mankind’.142  Indeed, the Moderates’ successful denial of liberty of conscience in ‘the Inverkeithing case’ was part of the reason why the orthodox continued their rhetorical contrast between conscience and moral sense during the Douglas affair: it was another opportunity to defend liberty of conscience (‘as the phrase was in those days’ [Dreghorn, Opera, 9]), while also accusing the Moderates of hypocrisy. The Moderates ‘expel’ Gillespie ‘from our society, /Because he set his conscience ’gainst the law’, but now those same Moderates defend themselves from censure, avoiding the question: ‘And is there no law against the stage?’ (Dreghorn, Deposition, 12). See also: [John Witherspoon], A Serious Apology for the Ecclesiastical Characteristics (Edinburgh: 1763), 43–44, Eighteenth Century Collections Online; Haldane, Players Scourge, 7; [Anon.], An Address to the Synod of Lothian and Tweedale, Concerning Mr Home’s Tragedy and Hume’s Moral Essays (Edinburgh: 1757), 5, Eighteenth Century Collections Online. 138  Witherspoon, Serious Enquiry, 66. 139  Dreghorn, Opera, 5; 9. 140  Witherspoon, Serious Enquiry, 65–66. 141  Ibid., 35. 142  Ibid., 66. 137

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Second, the literati’s support for Douglas, and preference for moral sense over conscience, demonstrated their disdain, as aspiring gentlemen, for ordinary people. Just as the moral sense was only understood by those fortunate, and ‘enlightened’,143 enough to be schooled in fashionable polite literature, the theatre was an entertainment reserved for ‘those in higher life, and more affluent circumstances than the bulk of mankind’.144 By defending modern forms of sophisticated entertainment, and invoking fashionable terms from ‘modern philosophers’145 and aristocrats, the Moderates not only made orthodox Calvinism look old-fashioned and foolish, they also demonstrated their gentlemanly distaste for that which is ‘common’ and ‘ordinary’.146 If ‘there is no more in morals than’ the literati’s moral sense qua ‘a certain taste and sense of beauty and elegance’,147 then morality and religion are not only ‘confined to the duties of social life’, but the marks of a moral and religious life are simply those of aristocratic ‘polished luxury’,148 unavailable to ordinary people. Moreover, during the Douglas affair, as in the controversy over patronage, orthodox rhetoric made the literati’s preference for moral sense over conscience symptomatic of their desire to make morality and religion inaccessible to ordinary people, in order that they might exercise control over them. In 1754, the Select Society, an exclusive debating club, was founded in Edinburgh, and included amongst its members such Moderate church ministers as Robertson and Ferguson, as well as such lay philosophers as Hume and Smith. The fact that the Moderate party sought to signify their own privileged status, by referring to themselves as ‘select’, helped to support orthodox accusations that the Moderates aspired to gentlemanly status, set apart from the ordinary person. It also furthered the Popular contention that the Moderates, in seeking to be fashionable gentlemen, sought to exercise their own entitled sense of power over the people of Scotland. The  Ibid., 69.  Ibid., 35. 145  Ibid., 36. 146  Ibid., 64. 147  Ibid., 37 148  Ibid., 59. 143 144

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Moderates not only followed what was fashionable when they exchanged conscience for moral sense and supported the theatre; they sought to be the arbitrators of fashion: Some years ago, a few gentlemen in this town assumed the character of being the only judges in all points of literature; they were and still are styled geniuses, and lately erected what they called a select society, which usurps a kind of aristocratical government over all men and matters of learning.149

Within orthodox rhetoric, therefore, the literati’s preference for moral sense over conscience was symptomatic of the same impulse which saw them support the Patronage Act and Douglas: their desire to dominate the ordinary people as an aristocratic and intellectual elite, who were making a grab for power over Scottish society as a ‘cabal’ of ‘gentlemen’.150 Meanwhile, the orthodox preference for conscience over moral sense was presented as symptomatic of the same impulse which saw them oppose the Patronage Act and Douglas: their desire to protect Scottish society from the ‘dictatorial’ ‘authority’ of a ‘club of gentlemen’, who were seeking to ‘usurp’ the religious, moral, and cultural life of Scotland, by controlling church patronage, as well as ‘learning’ and ‘manners’.151

Part 2 4.8  The Orthodox Appeal to Samuel Clarke The orthodox rhetoric of conscience contrasts moral sense with conscience as a means of contrasting the literati as ‘modern infidels’ with the orthodox as ‘conscientious fools’. As modern infidels, the literati ignore the religious traditions and ‘inclinations of the common people’152 of Scotland, in order that they may have power over Scottish society, as fashionable gentlemen  [John Maclaurin, Lord Dreghorn], Apology for the Writers against the Tragedy of Douglas, With Some Remarks on that Play (Edinburgh: 1757), 4, Eighteenth Century Collections Online. 150  Dreghorn, Opera, iv. 151  Dreghorn, Apology, 4; Opera, iv. 152  Witherspoon, Arcana, 47. 149

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celebrated in the polite world of profane literature. As conscientious fools, the orthodox preserve the religious traditions of Scotland; in doing so, they serve, and represent, the religious needs and ‘inclinations of the common people’, and thereby protect Scottish society from the pernicious consequences of secularisation and aristocratic elitism. On the one hand, orthodox rhetoric contains a contrast familiar from Scottish Enlightenment scholarship: the contrast between the categories enlightened Moderate literati and Popular conservative. Witherspoon explicitly described the literati as ‘enlightened’, ‘tolerant’, ‘modern’, ‘infidel’, ‘philosophers’, in contrast with the orthodox as ‘narrow-minded, bigotted [sic], uncharitable’, ‘inflexible’, ‘zealots’.153 On the other hand, the orthodox rhetoric was intended to destabilise such terms. The self-description conscientious fools is ironic: by foolishly and conservatively adhering to their old-fashioned belief in conscience, it is the orthodox who best manifest the ideals of a supposedly ‘enlightened age’,154 supporting liberty of conscience, and the freedom of ordinary people from aristocratic oppression. The next section examines another aspect of the rhetoric of conscience employed during, and prior to, the Douglas affair: the appeal to Samuel Clarke. Witherspoon’s appeal to Clarke was an aspect of his rhetoric of conscience, which included distinguishing the orthodox as conscientious fools from the literati as modern infidels. The appeal to Clarke by Witherspoon, and other orthodox writers, was another way in which they used their rhetoric of conscience to contest such categories as ‘enlightened’ and ‘conservative’.

Samuel Clarke: Conscientious Fool In his Arcana, Witherspoon does not explicitly call Clarke a conscientious fool, but he portrays him as one. Like the Scottish Calvinists, and the ordinary people they represent, it was once possible to speak ‘honourably’ of Clarke and his opinions; but now, with Scottish learning and manners 153 154

 See: Witherspoon, Serious Enquiry, 69, 36–37; Arcana, 18, 25.  Witherspoon, Serious Enquiry, 69.

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under the influence of the literati, even students at ‘university’ are ‘wise’ enough not to do so.155 As a result, the literati not only single out ‘Dr. Samuel Clark [sic]’ for ‘derision’, they do so because he is a ‘numscull [sic]…wholly ignorant of the moral sense’.156 Clarke is a conscientious fool because, like the orthodox, he does not support the moral sense, and is, as such, an unfashionable figure open to ‘derision’ by the new and enlightened ‘men of taste’: [the Moderate literati] desire it to be remembered, that the present fashionable scheme of moral philosophy is much improved in comparison of that which prevailed sometime ago…[because] Virtue does not now consist in acting agreeably to the nature of things, as Dr. Clarke affirms….157

In this quotation, Witherspoon is alluding to the most famous feature of Clarke’s ethical rationalism: his use of the analogies of sight and mathematics. He is also alluding to the fact that Hutcheson and Hume had explicitly criticised Clarke for his use of that analogy. Thus, in the above quotation, ‘fashionable’ has a threefold connotation: 1. Clarke is unfashionable because he is out of favour with the prevailing taste, where that prevailing taste is determined by the domineering literati. In rejecting Clarke, the literati are ‘improving’ (that is, overthrowing) the past, and thereby demonstrating their aristocratic power over ethics and culture. 2. Clarke is unfashionable because he does not think that it is possible to reduce right and wrong to fashion: ‘Eternal moral Obligations…[are] in perpetual Force, merely from their own Nature, and the abstract Reason of Things’.158 According to Clarke, moral truths are analogous with mathematical truths because they are both truths determined by the law of reason itself. Just as no will, whether human or divine, can make 2  +  2  =  5, so no will can make it right to harm an innocent ­person. These are unchangeable truths determined by ‘the nature of  Witherspoon, Arcana, 42, fn.  Ibid. 157  Ibid., 51. 158  Clarke, Discourse, 90–91. 155 156

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things and the reason of the case’, and are, as such, built into the fabric of reality itself.159 For Witherspoon, the Hutchesonian and Humean rejection of Clarke parallels their preference for moral sense over conscience, just as the orthodox appeal to Clarke parallels their preference for conscience over moral sense. In dismissing Clarke’s ethical rationalism, Hutcheson and Hume, and their literati ‘disciples’, deny the objective nature of moral truth. As a result, they pretend that all they need to do to be moral is to indulge their passions and affections, while simultaneously relativizing morality to whatever they egotistically deem to be tasteful and fashionable. Thus, Witherspoon remarks sarcastically, it is a ‘pity…that the moral sense was not started a little earlier’, so that such ethical rationalists as ‘Grotius’ could have avoided the ‘gross’ ‘blunder’ of representing ‘moral virtue’ as ‘stiff and rigid,’ rather than ‘yielding as water…[and] easily…beaten into what shape you please’.160 By contrast, in appealing to Clarke, the orthodox stressed their commitment to objective moral truth as part of their belief in rational conscience: Conscience, upon which they pretend to act, is, of all things, the most stiff and inflexible; and cannot, by any art, be moulded into another shape than that which it naturally bears: whereas the whole principles of moderation are most gentle and ductile, and may be applied to almost all purposes imaginable.161

In the controversies over patronage and Douglas, we have seen how orthodox rhetoric repeatedly characterised the Popular party, their ‘common’ supporters, and their rational theory of conscience as ‘stiff’, ‘precise’, ‘starch’, ‘inflexible’, ‘narrow’, ‘rigid’. In Witherspoon’s Arcana, ethical rationalists like Grotius, and by implication Clarke, are described in the same terms: their commitment to ‘the eternal…and immutable laws of  See: Clarke, Demonstration, 106–119; Discourse, 34, 43, 50–76.  Witherspoon, Arcana, 54. 161  Ibid, 66. 159 160

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morality’162 means that they are just as uncompromising, as ‘stiff and rigid’,163 about moral duty. Moreover, Clarke is stiff and rigid in another rhetorical sense. Like the orthodox and their ordinary supporters, he is open to the ‘derision’ of polite society, because he is unschooled in contemporary literature and learning: a ‘numscull…wholly ignorant of the moral sense’.164 3. Clarke is unfashionable because his ethical rationalism guarantees all human beings, not just fashionable social elites, access to moral truth. Clarke’s use of the analogy between mathematical and moral truth included his use of the analogy of sight. Human beings qua rational creatures immediately and self-evidently ‘see’ or intuit the answer to basic problems in mathematics, in the same way that we immediately and self-evidently ‘see’ basic moral truths. It is ‘by the natural and necessary Perception of his own Mind and Conscience’ that ‘every man…clearly discerns [the] essential Difference between Good and Evil’.165 As Clarke famously put it, such moral truths as the golden rule: are so notoriously plain and self-evident, that nothing but the extremest [sic] Stupidity of Mind…can possibly make any Man entertain the least Doubt concerning them. For a Man endued with Reason, to deny the Truth of these Things; is the very same Thing…as if a Man that understands Geometry…should…perversely contend that the Whole is not equal to all its Parts…166

Clarke’s ethical rationalism maintained that moral truth is an objective universal standard, not just applicable in all times and places, but knowable by all human beings in all times and places. It is unsurprising, therefore, that Witherspoon should have appealed explicitly to Clarke in his Arcana, in the same way that he employed the Clarkean analogy with  Ibid., 54.  Ibid. 164  Ibid., 54, 42, fn. 165  Clarke, Sermons, vol.2, 77. 166  Clarke, Discourse, 31–32. 162 163

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sight in the Answers to the Reasons of Dissent published two years earlier (see above). The appeal to Clarke is consistent with the orthodox defence of the ‘right’ to ‘liberty of conscience’, on the basis that, as ‘reasonable creatures’, all human beings have the God-given capacity to ‘see’ moral and religious truth with their own ‘eyes’.167 Indeed, appreciating (1)–(3) above, explains why Witherspoon (and other orthodox writers) appealed to Clarke, while describing the literati as committed followers of Leibniz.168 In the Clarke-Leibniz Correspondence, Clarke had objected to Leibniz’s principle of sufficient reason for replacing ‘liberty’ of will with ‘universal necessity and fate’. If human beings must always act in accordance with a ‘reason sufficient’ then that reason becomes the irresistible cause of the subsequent action, not the free choice of the agent themselves. As a result, individuals are no longer ‘free agents’, with our own ‘self-motive principle’ and ‘power of acting’; instead, all individuals behave mechanically: when the ‘reason, or principle’ is heavier on one side, the human being moves accordingly and automatically, like ‘weights’ in a ‘balance’.169 Clarke was the defender of liberty against Leibniz. And, as we have seen above, the orthodox cast themselves in the same role against the literati. No wonder that the orthodox should imply that Clarke, like themselves, was a conscientious fool, while describing the literati as followers of Clarke’s opponent, Leibniz. In doing so, orthodox rhetoric was once again making the literati’s Hutchesonian and Humean rejection of Clarke the parallel of their preference for moral sense over conscience. The sentimentalist moral sense (of which Clarke was ‘wholly ignorant’)170 was criticised for reducing human agents to unthinking ‘brute’ creatures. Without a Clarkean objective standard of right and wrong, known  Answers to the Reasons of Dissent, 253.  See: Witherspoon, Arcana, 38, 41, 43; Moir, Letter, 8–9; George Anderson, An Estimate of the Profit and Loss of Religion, Personally and Publicly Stated: Illustrated with References to Essays on Morality and Natural Religion (Edinburgh: 1753), 45–53, Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Anderson’s appeal to Clarke (and Leibniz), in a work written in explicit opposition to Kames’s Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion (Edinburgh: 1751), is noteworthy for being contemporaneous with Witherspoon’s Arcana. It was also Anderson who led the orthodox attempts to have Hume and Kames censured by the Kirk (see note 5). 169  Leibniz-Clarke, 45, 98–99. 170  Witherspoon, Arcana, 42, fn. 167 168

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through rational conscience, to guide human behaviour, the literati’s moral sense encourages human beings to act automatically and egoistically, driven by the ‘weights’ of their fallen desires and instincts. Moreover, the sentimentalist moral sense helped the literati to gain ascendancy over ordinary people by denying them liberty of conscience. Without a Clarkean objective standard of right and wrong, known through rational conscience, the literati could argue, not only that right and wrong can be ‘beaten into any shape you please’,171 but install themselves as the aristocratic elite who decides into which ‘shape’ right and wrong are ‘beaten’.

4.9  S  amuel Clarke, Joseph Addison, and William Shakespeare: The Subversion of ‘Enlightened’ and ‘Conservative’ Of course, because Witherspoon portrayed Clarke as a conscientious fool—and used the self-designation conscientious fool to subvert such categories as enlightened and conservative—it follows that the appeal to Clarke was also part of that subversion. In this case, Witherspoon subverted such categories not only by using the unfashionable ‘numscull’172 Clarke to show that the orthodox were, in actual fact, the enlightened defenders of liberty, but also to indicate that they were the enlightened readers of polite literature. On the one hand, Clarke’s ethical rationalism is as naive and out-dated as the Scottish Calvinism of orthodox conscientious fools. On the other hand, Clarke and the orthodox only appear to be foolish because ‘the religion and manners of this country’ have been ‘abandoned to’ a new ‘club of gentlemen’, who, in exercising their ‘aristocratical government’ over Scotland, have left its ‘literature’ and ‘learning’ in a ‘deplorable’ state.173 With respect to the second point, it was of great rhetorical significance for Dreghorn that Hume not only criticised Clarke in his philosophical writings, but also, during the

 Ibid., 54.  Ibid., 42, fn. 173  Dreghorn, Opera, iv; Apology, 4. 171 172

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Douglas affair, spoke dismissively of William Shakespeare; while, at the same time, Carlyle spoke jokingly of Joseph Addison. In 1757, Hume used the publication of his Four Dissertations to praise Home and to advertise Douglas. He dedicated his new work to ‘The Reverend Mr. Hume [sic], Author of Douglas, a Tragedy’, whom he praised as possessing ‘the true theatric [sic] genius of Shakespear [sic] and Otway, refined from the unhappy barbarism of one, and the licentiousness of the other’.174 In the same year, Carlyle wrote his own defence of the performance of Douglas in reaction to orthodox opposition: An Argument to Prove that the Tragedy of Douglas Ought to be Publickly Burnt by the Hands of the Hangman (Edinburgh: 1757). As the title suggests, Carlyle’s pamphlet was satirical in tone, and opened with the lines: Joseph Addison, Esq; was certainly drunk, when he laid it down as a maxim, in one of his spectators [sic], “that a perfect tragedy is the noblest production of human nature.” His opinion, I know, but too universally prevails; and I am aware of the dangers that attend writing against received maxims.175

In response to these remarks, Dreghorn bemoaned: Shakespear [sic] of late is so much decried…Addison, till those gentlemen appeared, was universally esteemed as the finest writer ever England produced [but]…If you believe them, there are ten errors in every page of his Spectators.…They have taken so great pains to inculcate this doctrine, that now every boy at school, if you praise Mr Addison, will perk it in your face, and tell you, that he is not a correct writer.176

In the first place, we should note the similarity between Dreghorn’s remarks on Addison and Shakespeare, and Witherspoon’s on Clarke: Addison and Shakespeare, like Clarke, were once held in esteem in  David Hume, Four Dissertations (London: 1757), v–vi.  Alexander Carlyle, An Argument to Prove that the Tragedy of Douglas Ought to be Publickly Burnt by the Hands of the Hangman (Edinburgh: 1757), 3, Eighteenth Century Collections Online. 176  Dreghorn, Apology, 4–5. 174 175

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Scotland, but now, thanks to the influence of the literati, they are made to look so foolish and ridiculous even school-boys can dismiss them. In the second place, we should note that Dreghorn’s remarks about Addison are, of course, disingenuous. Hume may have spoken of Addison’s essays as ‘agreeable Triffling’177 in an often-cited private letter, but he, along with the rest of the literati, spoke of Addison in their published writings in glowing (though not uncritical) terms.178 Famously, Hume even went so far as to predict that the works of Addison would outlive those of Locke.179 Despite Dreghorn’s claim to the contrary, therefore, Scottish Enlightenment scholarship has long pointed to the literati’s ‘cult of Addisonian politeness’.180 Addison’s and Richard Steele’s The Guardian, The Tatler, and most importantly, The Spectator, were published in Scotland, where there was a preoccupation with ‘imitating the tone and manner of Addison and Steele’.181 Of course, ‘imitating’ Addison and Steele had a dual signification: the literati not only aimed to imitate their style of writing, but its purpose. Addison’s and Steele’s Mr. Spectator declared that his aim was to bring: ‘philosophy out of closets and libraries, schools and colleges, to dwell in clubs and assemblies, at tea-tables and in coffee-houses’.182 Introducing ‘ordinary people’ to ‘polite’ ideas

 Hume, ‘To William Strahan, February 1772’, Letter no. 468, in Letters, vol.2, 257.  See, for example: David Hume, ‘Of Simplicity and Refinement in Writing’ and ‘Of the Standard of Taste’, in Essays Moral, Political, and Literary, ed. Eugene F. Miller (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, 1987); Hutcheson, Essay, 5; Hugh Blair, Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, in Joseph Addison and Richard Steele: The Critical Heritage, ed. Edward A.  Bloom and Lillian D.  Bloom (London: Routledge, 1986); the appeals to Addison throughout Lord Kames, Elements of Criticism, 2 vols., ed. Peter Jones (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, 2005); and compare Adam Smith’s critical remarks in The Theory of Moral Sentiments, 6th ed. (London and Edinburgh: 1790) 5.i.7, with Smith’s praise of Addison in his unpublished university lectures: ‘Lecture 10’, Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Letters, in The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith, vol. 4, ed. J.C. Bryce (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983). 179  David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding in Enquiries, Section 1.4. 180  Allan, Virtue, Learning, 6. 181  David Daiches, The Paradox of Scottish Culture: The Eighteenth-Century Experience (London: Oxford University Press, 1964), 77. 182  ‘C.’ [Joseph Addison], The Spectator, no.10, Monday, March 12, 1711 in, The Works of Joseph Addison, ed. George Washington Greene, 6 vols. (London: Routledge, 1887) vol.5, 42. 177 178

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bred ‘self-confidence’:183 it gave people from all walks of life the sense of their own standing and respectability within modern society. At the same time, it encouraged all individuals to ‘cultivate moderation and restraint’184 as a mark of their standing and respectability when dealing with each other. The literati, through their Select Society, writings, and positions within the Scottish universities and Kirk sought to advance Scottish manners and learning in the same way as Mr. Spectator, where the aim was also a ‘polite’ society, consisting of educated, decorous, and ‘public-­ spirited citizens’.185 The hope for Addisonian politeness in both England and Scotland was that it ‘would actually help establish a new kind of society—peaceful, prosperous and pleasant’.186 Dreghorn, like modern scholarship, was aware of Addison’s popularity amongst the literati.187 His disingenuousness about that popularity was an attempt to appropriate Addison from the literati, in a way that was alive to what David Daiches’s called ‘the paradox of Scottish culture’ in the eighteenth century: [the literati] were in their way patriotic Scotsman … but they felt that the way for Scotsmen to demonstrate their national greatness was to avoid in their writing the language they naturally spoke and write a carefully composed English standard.188

 Nicholas Phillipson, ‘Politics, Politeness and the Anglicisation of Early Eighteenth-Century Scottish Culture’, in Scotland and England, 1286–1815, ed. Roger A. Mason (Edinburgh: John Donald, 1987), 233. 184  Phillipson, 234. 185  Peter Jones, ‘The Polite Academy and the Presbyterians, 1720–1770’, in New Perspectives, 176. 186  David Allan, Scotland in the Eighteenth-Century: Union and Enlightenment (London: Routledge, 2002), 131. 187  Dreghorn writes: ‘Let the reader compare Voltaire and Hume, with Shakespear [sic] and Addison, and give preference to the former, if he can’ ‘we contend, that he who likens this author to Shakespear, might as well (to use the words of a correct writer) compare a molehill to Teneriffe [sic]’ (Apology, 5; 7); an imitation of Hume’s essay ‘Of the Standard of Taste’, which was first published in Four Dissertations, the work that included the dedication to Home to which Dreghorn was objecting. Tellingly, Dreghorn is imitating a passage in which Hume praised Addison: ‘Whoever would assert an equality of genius and elegance betwixt Ogilby and Milton, or Bunyan and Addison, would be thought to defend no less an extravagance, than if he had maintained a molehill to be as high as Teneriffe…Though there may be found persons, who give the preference to the former authors; no one pays attention to such a taste; and we pronounce without scruple the sentiment of these pretended critics to be absurd and ridiculous’ (Four Dissertations, 209–210). 188  Daiches, Paradox of Scottish Culture, 22. 183

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For Daiches, the literati’s patriotism expressed itself in a desire to beat the English at their own game. The literati admitted that Englishmen had previously been preeminent in literature and learning; however, they also described themselves as ‘revolutionary’ figures who had broken with the past, and were creating a ‘new age’ in literature and learning formed under their leadership from the self-declared ‘Athens of the North’.189 As Hume put it: Is it not strange that, at a time when we have lost our Princes, our Parliaments, our independent Government, even the Presence of our chief Nobility, are unhappy, in our Accent & Pronunciation, speak a very corrupt Dialect of the Tongue which we make use of; is it not strange, I say, that, in these Circumstances, we shou’d really be the People most distinguish’d for Literature in Europe?190

However, as Daiches, and other commentators,191 have pointed out, Hume’s boast about Scottish preeminence is ‘paradoxical’: First, if the literati’s achievement is the adoption of ‘English rights and manners’192 above their ‘very corrupt Dialect’, in what sense is their achievement an ‘anglicisation’ that undermines their own Scottish heritage? This question is made particularly pointed by the literati’s ‘demands’ that to ‘become a member of the literary Establishment’, Robert Burns ‘should write a more conventional kind of poetry’, rather than in Scotch dialect.193

 See note 191.  Hume, ‘To Gilbert Elliot of Minto’, Letter no.135, in Letters, vol.1, 255. 191  For both these ‘paradoxes’, and how they relate to the literati’s commitment to Addisonian politeness, fear of ‘Scotticisms’, and self-description as ‘radical’ and ‘enlightened’, see, as well as the works cited immediately above and below: Kenneth Simpson, The Protean Scot (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1988); 2–9, 103, 180; Sher, Church and University, 108, 213–215, 255–261; William C. Lehman, Henry Home, Lord Kames, and the Scottish Enlightenment (Springer: Dordrecht, 1971), 48–57; Mossner, Forgotten Hume, 64–66 and Life of Hume, 370–406; Nicholas Phillipson, ‘Adam Smith as Civic Moralist’, in Wealth & Virtue: The Shaping of Political Economy in the Scottish Enlightenment, eds Istvan Hont and Michael Ignatieff (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 179–202. 192  Allan, Virtue, Learning, 6. 193  Daiches, Paradox of Scottish Culture, 10. 189 190

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Second, if ‘the Athens of the North’ rests on successful ‘anglicisation’ it appears that Scots, like Hume in the above quotation, will always be concerned about their own ‘unhappy…Accent & Pronunciation’: the fear that they either cannot fully adopt the Addisonian language of politeness and learning, or that, even when they can, they will always be regarded as inferior to the English who already inhabit that language. Thus, it should be remembered that part of the reason why Hume supported Douglas as better than Shakespeare, and why the literati worked so hard to have the play performed in Edinburgh, was that David Garrick had refused it for the London stage.194 As Dreghorn mockingly put it, ‘Old Shakspear [sic], Otway, and the rest/Must fly the concert-hall’: With DOUGLAS I to London went, And made no little racket; But booby Garrick and his crew Point-blank refus’d to act it.195

Dreghorn’s appropriation of Addison and defence of Shakespeare, like Witherspoon’s appeal to Clarke, were intended to play upon the above paradoxes and insecurities. If the literati’s claims to preeminence rested on their assimilation of, and improvement upon, Addisonian politeness, and what Adam Smith in 1756, with explicit reference to Clarke, called the ‘English genius’,196 then their rejection of the ‘genius’ of Shakespeare, Addison, and Clarke undermined their own claims to preeminence. According to orthodox rhetoric, therefore, a regard for Shakespeare, Addison, and Clarke signalled the fact that Scotland was once, before the literati’s influence, appropriately invested in the enlightened world of polite literature. It valued the advances in ideas and learning made by such figures as Clarke and Addison, while remaining committed to that which was classic and timeless, as represented by Shakespeare (and, of course, Calvin). Now, Scotland is encouraged to thinks of itself as  See note 1.  [John Maclaurin, Lord Dreghorn,], The Stage or the Pulpit: A Sermon. Sung by the Reverend author of Douglas the first night he went to see his own play represented. To the tune of Gill Morice [Edinburgh?][1756?], 3, Eighteenth Century Collections Online. 196  See note 31. 194 195

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‘enlightened’ by its literati, who act ‘the beau and the scholar’ and ‘boast’ of their part in the ‘triumphs’ ‘of this enlightened age’, which is ‘a revolution of knowledge and learning’ over ‘the labours of our predecessors’.197 However, the ‘revolution’ has, in reality, only been effected by the literati’s powerful ‘aristocratical’ and ‘dictatorial club’, whose ‘authority’ makes the people of Scotland ‘afraid’ to point out that their country’s new ‘knowledge and learning’ is ill-informed and small-minded.198 For Witherspoon and Dreghorn, the literati have derided Clarke, Shakespeare, and Addison because they cannot understand them: they instead derive their ideas from ‘dictionaries, grammars, and spelling-­ books’ designed for ‘every blockhead’.199 The ‘modern’, and supposedly ‘enlightened’, ideas of the literati rest on ‘superficial knowledge’ ‘aquire[d] from Magazines, Reviews, and Dictionaries’, and ‘other helps to the slothful student’.200 Indeed, the literati are so ‘slothful’ and ‘blockhead[ed]’ that their writings not only ‘borrow from modern printed poems’,201 but from the old-fashioned authors they ‘deride’: the literati may well prefer ‘heathen’ authors over the church ‘fathers’ and ‘scripture’,202 but they have taken their quotations of ‘antient [sic] heathen authors’ second-­ hand, and already ‘translated’, from the Cambridge Platonist and ethical rationalist, Ralph Cudworth; and, if not from him, from ‘books, not above the size of an octavo’.203 For Witherspoon and Dreghorn, therefore, ‘the taste of the country is at an end’,204 not because the literati emphasise ‘learning’, but because they lack learning: ‘Much study is a great enemy to politeness in men’,205 so that: ‘the taste of the country seems to be in a deplorable situation, being

 Witherspoon, Serious Enquiry, 69.  Dreghorn, Opera, iv; Apology, 4. 199  Deghorn, Apology, 5. 200  Witherspoon, Serious Enquiry, 69. 201  Witherspoon, Arcana, 33. 202  Ibid., 27, 40. See also: Haldane, Players Scourge, 1–8 and Players Scourge II, 1–15; A.B., Found Wanting, 6; 14–15; [Anon.], Immorality of Stage-Plays, 1–9. 203  Witherspoon, Arcana, 41. 204  Dreghorn, Opera, iv. 205  Witherspoon, Arcana, 39. 197 198

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abandoned to a club of gentlemen, who are as unable as they are willing to direct it’.206 Moreover, according to Witherspoon and Dreghorn, ‘It is not only unnecessary for a Moderate man to have much learning, but he ought to be filled with a contempt of all kinds of learning’.207 Such ‘contempt’ is manifested when they boast of themselves as ‘revolutionary’ and preeminent in the ‘enlightened age’208 within works ‘by a set of men who owe their title of geniuses to the courtesy of Scotland alone’.209 The literati may well celebrate ‘Scots authors’210 and ‘our Scotch Shakespear’211 and reckon them superior to Addison, Clarke, and the real Shakespeare, but the former are new authors, who owe their present fame to the applause of their own country; meanwhile, the latter are classic authors, who owe their long-­ term and ongoing fame to the applause of the whole world. In this context, the literati’s denial that the literary merit of authors like Shakespeare ‘May ne’er go out of fashion’212 is the parallel of their denial that Clarke’s objective moral truth is ‘settled for all ages’:213 by ‘dictatorial[ly]’ insulating Scottish society from objective standards, and longstanding traditions, in literature and morality the literati’s ‘cabal’214 can engender a parochial and inward-looking society which is easier for them to control.  Dreghorn, Opera, iv. Similarly, in response to Adam Ferguson’s defence of Douglas, The Morality of Stage-Plays Seriously Considered [Edinburgh: 1757]), Thomas Harper remarked: ‘he [Ferguson] seems more Master of Language, than of Logick, and to have studied more the Smoothness of his Stile, than the Truth of his Narrative, or the Force of his Arguments’ (Some Serious Remarks on a Late Pamphlet, entituled [sic], The morality of stage-plays seriously considered. In a letter to a lady (Edinburgh: 1757), 2, Eighteenth Century Collections Online). Likewise, the anonymous Usefulness of the Edinburgh Theatre (3–4) played upon the rhetoric of orthodox ‘stiffness’ compared with Moderate superficiality: ‘May we not also flatter ourselves with the hopes, that our promising young clergy, freed at length from the trammels of Presbyterian stiffness, which have so long and so miserably cramped every sublimer [sic] genius of our church, will now set about the improvement of pulpit-eloquence, by transfusing the flowery-buskined rhetoric of the stage into the solemn harangues of the pulpit’. 207  Witherspoon, Arcana, 38. 208  Witherspoon, Serious Enquiry, 69. 209  Dreghorn, Opera, iv. 210  Witherspoon, Arcana, 42. 211  [Anon], The Apostle to the Theatre His Garland, 1. 212  Dreghorn, Opera, 20. 213  Witherspoon, Arcana, 24. 214  Dreghorn, Opera, iv; Apology, 4. 206

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So, much, then, for the ‘narrow-minded, bigotted, uncharitable’215 orthodox: it is the literati who are ‘uncharitable’ to their intellectual forebears, and who are ‘narrow-minded’ and ‘bigotted’ enough to dismiss thoughts and thinkers on the basis that they are not brand new, and come from beyond the Scottish border. Thus, Witherspoon’s appeal to Clarke highlights how the orthodox self-designation conscientious fools was deliberately insincere, much like, in Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield, Uriah Heep’s protestations that he is ever so ‘’umble’. It is also rhetorical inverted snobbery. For the orthodox, the literati are like the nouveaux riche:216 they not only uncritically accept whatsoever happens to be fashionable but mistake their own parochial and garish tastes for that which is enlightened, and mock that which is truly classic and refined because they cannot understand it. The orthodox willingly accept that they are ‘conscientious fools’ to such a ‘club of gentlemen’. They cannot fathom why the literati exchange Clarke and Addison for Mr. Genius, conscience for Mr. Moral Sense, and Shakespeare for Mr. Jacky and Douglas. However, it is by preferring such foolish and old-fashioned literature and learning that the orthodox are better judges of taste than the literati, even when it comes to the enlightened world of polite literature the literati have parochially claimed for themselves. On these terms, the orthodox are bound to be appear like ‘fools’, but only because the entire world of modern learning is made to look foolish if Clarke, Shakespeare, and Addison can be summarily dismissed.

 See: Witherspoon, Serious Enquiry, 69, 36–37; Arcana, 18, 25.  As Ian Clark points out, ‘the majority of the clergy of both [Moderate and Popular] parties was drawn from exactly the same strata of society, and … owed their livings to the same relatively small circle of landed proprietors, businessmen and government officers’ (‘Moderate Regime’, 202). Like Kames, Dreghorn would become an ennobled Scottish advocate; he was also the son of the famous Scottish mathematician and Newtonian, Colin Maclaurin, Fellow of the Royal Society. Similarly, Witherspoon had been a student at the University of Edinburgh at the same time as Carlyle, Robertson, and Ferguson (Mailer, American Revolution, 92; Jeffrey R. Smitten, The Life of William Robertson (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2017), 100). It is unsurprising, therefore, that Witherspoon’s and Dreghorn’s rhetoric attempted to criticise their peers both for being both too ‘refined’ and for not being refined enough. 215 216

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4.10  Conclusion We have seen how Popular party supporters used the rhetoric of conscience during, and in the build up to, the Douglas affair to support their ‘melancholy view… of the state of religion among us at present …when God has been excluded from many moral systems, and the whole of virtue confined to the duties of social life’.217 On the one hand, the literati’s preference for moral sense over conscience revealed the fact that they were ‘modern infidels’, who sought the aristocratic power and worldly pleasures of fashionable gentlemen. As such, the preference for moral sense was both symbolic and symptomatic of a secularising, egoistic, and elitist attitude that underpinned the literati’s support for Douglas, the Patronage Act, and Hutchesonian and Humean sentimentalism. On the other hand, the orthodox preference for conscience over moral sense revealed that they were ‘conscientious fools’, who prioritised the traditional duties and beliefs of ministers of the Scottish Kirk. As such, the preference for conscience was both symbolic and symptomatic of the orthodox commitment to Calvinism, moral objectivism, and the ordinary person’s right to freedom from aristocratic oppression. In establishing the orthodox rhetoric of conscience, this chapter has drawn attention to, and explained, the orthodox appeal to Clarke as a feature of that rhetoric. In doing so, it resists the view that Witherspoon’s references to Clarke in his American ‘Lectures’ are evidence of his increasingly enlightened, and less conservative, outlook: Witherspoon’s later appeal to Clarke, and support for liberty of conscience, were consistent with his orthodox rhetoric of conscience. As a result, this chapter supports recent attempts to resist the ‘enlightened Moderate literati’ versus ‘Popular conservative’ paradigm within Scottish Enlightenment studies. The orthodox rhetoric of conscience confirms the view that orthodox ethical rationalism and opposition to patronage makes the contrast between such categories as ‘enlightened’ and ‘conservative’ unstable in eighteenth-century Scotland. Indeed, this chapter suggests that the reason why contemporary scholarship has found such categories as ‘enlightened’ 217

 Witherspoon, Serious Enquiry, 59.

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and ‘conservative’ to be unstable is precisely because the orthodox used their rhetoric of conscience, including the appeal to Clarke, to subvert those categories at the time. Of course, looked at in the context of the previous chapters on Clarke and his followers in England, the further point here is that the Scottish Calvinists not only appealed to Clarke, but made criticisms of Hutcheson and Hume that mirrored those of the English (and in Price’s case, Welsh) Clarkeans.218 And, more than this, that both groups do so whilst emphasising a rational theory of conscience over an affective moral sense— which, in Balguy’s case even included lamenting the influence of Shaftesbury over Hutcheson.219 I have argued previously that a greater emphasis upon conscience within Clarkean ethical rationalism makes it possible to respond to leading criticisms of it derived from Hutcheson and Hume. In this chapter, a greater emphasis upon conscience helps to uncover the appeal to Clarke made by orthodox Calvinists in their opposition to Hutcheson, Hume, and the Scottish literati. Consequently, the orthodox rhetoric of conscience indicates that it is not just conscience, but the Scottish Calvinists themselves, that are an important, though neglected,220 feature of the contest between ethical rationalism and sentimentalism in the British Enlightenment.221

 See Chaps. 2 and 3. Like the Scottish Calvinists, Balguy criticised Hutcheson, and Price criticised Hutcheson and Hume, for encouraging subjectivism, voluntarism, and egoism, and for not only making human beings into animals, acting merely on the basis of instinct, but for making moral responsibility a possibility in ‘brute’ animals, rather than the distinctive characteristic of human beings qua creatures made with reason and conscience in the image and likeness of God. See: Balguy, TFMG, 46–47; 50–51; 62–63; TFMG.II, 152; Price, Review, 8–12; 60–62; 95–105. 219  Balguy, TFMG, 66. 220  Some leading discussions of the rivalry between ethical rationalism and sentimentalism in eighteenth-­century Britain have focused on the disagreement between Clarke, Balguy and Price, and Hutcheson and Hume, and neglected the parallel contest in Scotland: Korsgaard, Sources; Gill, British Moralists; Beiser, Sovereignty of Reason; Darwall, Internal ‘Ought’; Schneewind, Autonomy; Edward Andrew, Conscience and its Critics (Toronto: Toronto University Press, 2001). 221  The main body of this chapter is based on: Dafydd Mills Daniel, ‘Modern Infidels, Conscientious Fools, and the Douglas Affair: The Orthodox Rhetoric of Conscience in the Scottish Enlightenment’, The Journal of Religion, 100:3 (July 2020), 327–360. https://doi.org/10.1086/708939. 218

5 The Secularisation of Conscience

5.1 Introduction …your conscience is not a law…God and reason made the law, and have placed conscience within you to determine…like a British judge…who makes no new law, but faithfully declares that law which he knows already written.1

It follows from each of the preceding chapters, that conscience in Clarkean ethical rationalism, Scottish Calvinism, and the wider tradition of recta ratio possessed what we might call multiple referents. For example, conscience is an intuitive moral faculty, and the word itself denotes our capacity for intuiting intrinsic rightness. It is ‘by the natural and necessary Perception of his own Mind and Conscience’ that ‘every man…clearly discerns [the] essential Difference between Good and Evil’.2 At the same time, As God created human beings with

 Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, in The Works of Laurence Sterne, 4 vols. (London: 1815), vol.1, 147–148. 2  Clarke, Sermons, II.VI, 77. 1

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conscience as ‘our governing Principle, our supreme Guide’,3 we also always experience conscience as our own judgement, and God’s ‘voice’.4 Thus, conscience is not just intuitive, but reflective, and not just cognitive, but conative. Conscience is ‘That inward Judgement’ ‘all Men’ ‘necessarily pass’ on ‘their own Actions’,5 as well as ‘God’s deputy’6 and ‘Vicegerent’.7 Thus, to contravene conscience is to be ‘necessarily self-­ condemned’ for acting ‘contrary’ to our own ‘mind’;8 and, to suffer ‘the lashes of an awakened conscience’,9 which are ‘dark fears and presages’10 of God’s future judgement, because ‘whatever sentence it [conscience] really passes, is ratified in heaven’.11 Moreover, it is not just that conscience means a faculty of intuition, our own reflection or judgement, and our experience of God’s voice and judgement upon us. Rather, it is the case that conscience possess those referents, because it is in and as conscience that we experience the moral law as the law of reason qua recta ratio. Thus, it is in and as conscience that we are aware that rightness is determined by the law of reason qua the law of God’s being; the law of our nature and judgement; and, the law according to which the world was made. As such, it is not only in and as conscience that we intuit rightness qua fittingness to the law of reason qua our law, God’s law, and the law of the created universe, but it is in conscience that we reflectively consider our actions from the perspective of each of the tripartite moral duties that the law of reason enjoins: duties to ourselves as rational creatures created by God; to others as our fellow rational creatures within creation; and to God as creator and moral governor of the world for whom the moral law is an ‘attribute’. In other words, conscience has multiple referents because the paradigm of conscience is the paradigm of recta ratio. Within conscience,  Balguy, TFMG.II, 194.  Balguy, SFS, I.XIX, 359. 5  Clarke, Discourse, 120. 6  Balguy, SFS, I.III, 48. 7  Price, SVS, 149. 8  Clarke, Discourse, 43. 9  Price, Review, 448. 10  Balguy, SFS, II.III, 50–51. 11  SFS, I.III, 48. 3 4

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moral agents are reflectively concerned with performing acts of intrinsic rightness, where what it is that is intrinsically right is satisfying each of our tripartite duties under the law of reason qua recta ratio. Accordingly, it is in conscience that we monitor both our intentions in acting (are we aiming to satisfy all of our duties?) and the natural features of the action (is it one which can reasonably be performed as intrinsically right qua for ourselves and others and God?). Similarly, conscience is our consciousness that acts of intrinsic rightness are acts according to our own judgement and God’s will, in the best interests of others and ourselves. It is in conscience that the experience of our own judgement, God’s judgement, and rational affections for others, God, and ourselves are part of our experience of intrinsic rightness, and part of the ‘material’ we reflectively consider in conscience when thinking about which actions we can legitimately choose or will as moral. Now, the suggestion that the paradigm of conscience is the paradigm of recta ratio, explains why tensions within the early modern rational discourse of conscience are bound to connect with tensions in recta ratio itself. For example, the rational discourse of conscience suggests that conscience is authoritative, because ‘Conscience’ was ‘given to every particular man…to be as God unto him’;12 as such, it supplies the basis for treating individual judgement as self-sufficient. However, in line with the quotation from Laurence Sterne above, the rational discourse also maintains that conscience is potentially erroneous: conscience is not itself the rule or standard of recta ratio; conscience is the potentially fallible human judgement of what is according to the rule that is given to conscience by God. Thus, according to Robert Sanderson (like William Perkins, and returning to the associations between conscience and the Socratic daemon: see Chap. 1), ‘Conscience is placed in the middle…beneath God, but above Man’. Consequently, conscience ‘receiveth a diverse condition…for it hath the condition of a power regulating, or of a thing regulated’. Due to its ‘diverse condition’, conscience must be ‘taken into a double consideration’ concerning its ‘double obligation…the Active and 12

 Sanderson, Cases of Conscience, 36.

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passive’. ‘The Active obligation of conscience’ is for ‘humane Acts’ to be made in ‘conformity’ to conscience ‘as a rule over them’; ‘The passive obligation of the Conscience is that by which it is obliged to conform itself to the Divine Will, to which as to a Rule it is subjected’.13 Conscience’s ‘diverse condition’ creates tensions within the rational discourse, which I shall argue in this chapter contributed to conscience’s secularisation: (a) it is not just that there is a ‘passive obligation’ of conscience, but that to which conscience is passively obliged is that which conscience passively receives, when conscience is considered authoritatively as God’s ‘Hand-maid’. If conscience is God’s ‘Preacher of his eternal Law…[that] dictate[s] to…[an individual] what he ought to do’,14 such that, as Whichcote put it, ‘No man can Command his Judgment; therefore every Man must Obey it’,15 then whatever our individual judgement happens to be has the authority of God. The rational discourse of conscience can be used to make fidelity to individual judgement part of respecting the fact that God ‘alone’ is ‘the Lord of Conscience’.16 (b) the ‘Active obligation’ of conscience concerns not just our obligation to conform ourselves to the dictates of conscience, but our responsibility, as Tillotson put it, to ‘be careful to inform our Conscience aright’.17 Here it seems that while God ‘alone’ is ‘the Lord of Conscience’, we are also responsible for controlling, and correcting, it, and that it is possible that ‘Conscience’, which God has given us in his ‘stead’, to ‘sometimes…embrace only the shadow of a Law’.18 The difficulty for conscience qua British judge who has erroneously applied the law is with what measure it is able to correct its mistake.  Ibid., 37–38.  Ibid., 36–37. 15  Whichcote, Aphorisms, No.871. 16  Sanderson, Cases of Conscience, 38. 17  Tillotson, Works, vol.2, II.XXXVIII, 335. 18  Culverwell, Light of Nature, 57. 13 14

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There is scripture, but, as Sanderson pointed out, with reference to the central Pauline text on conscience, ‘Scripture…is not the sole and Adequate Rule of Conscience’, ‘for otherwise the Gentiles who have not the Scripture should have no Rule for their Conscience’.19 There is reflecting upon the ‘natural law’ with ‘natural reason’, but, as Taylor famously contended, human ‘reason is not the law, or its measure’ and, ‘besides this, reason is such a box of quicksilver that it abides nowhere…it looks to me otherwise than to you who do not stand in the same light that I do’.20 While in (a) the rational discourse informs the deistic use of the status of ‘conscience’ as justification for treating individual judgement as self-­ sufficient; in (b), the rational discourse also supplies the basis for treating conscience as merely limited individual judgement. Of course, Taylor’s description of reason as ‘a box of quicksilver’ return us to the tensions within post-restoration natural law theory identified by such scholars as John Spurr, Knud Haakonsse, Frederick Beiser, and Michael Crowe. Taylor points to the fact that the lack of clarity about the nature and authority of conscience amongst Anglican figures propounding recta ratio is consistent with tensions within an Anglican tradition of recta ratio about reason itself. As with conscience above, Spurr has pointed out that reason might mean the mere process of reasoning, as well as something emotive rather than merely calculative; it might be a divine deiform seed, or simply an individual’s own judgement. And, more importantly, that each of these uses of reason were not rival definitions, but emphasised variously by individual thinkers as they employed the term. Moreover, those uses of the term reason were combined when the term reason was employed both by post-Restoration divines who wanted to defend the authority of scripture from a deistic emphasis upon the authority of natural reason, and vice a versa. The fact that defenders of revealed religion used reason in a similar way to its detractors meant that the former unintentionally gave ground to the latter.21  Sanderson, Cases of Conscience, 119–120.  Taylor, Ductor, II.I.i.31. 21  Spurr, ‘“Rational Religion”, 563–585. 19 20

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I have argued that it is possible to use conscience to place the Clarkeans within an Anglican tradition of recta ratio; and that within that context we can respond to a number of leading Humean and neo-Kantian criticisms of their mathematical analogy. However, we can see how, in line with Spurr, the Clarkeans’ mathematical analogy does seem to undermine recta ratio from within by giving the impression—in fact, stating— that human reason, functioning discursively, is a measure of, indeed is an encounter with, moral and religious truth. In Chap. 1, we saw that Locke is one central figure associated with the move from recta ratio to scientism that for its critics is the secularising legacy of the Enlightenment era. The Clarkeans, and, before them such figures as John Wilkins, John Tillotson, and Matthew Hale, tried to convey recta ratio Christian metaphysics through uses of conscience and the mathematical analogy. Thus, unlike Locke, they did not (obviously or consistently) reduce conscience to individual judgement, reason merely to a human faculty, or reduce the status of mathematics to a construct of the human mind. However, while Locke may have been criticised for his nominalism and rejection of innate ideas, he was: (a) a fundamentally important figure, even when aspects of his thought were criticised; not least because: (b) he epitomised themes within early modern Anglican latitudinarianism itself. Human knowledge is limited in scope; we must rely in our life only on probability or moral certainty (see Chap. 3) which we can reach by reasoning neutrally about the evidence and information available to us; that moral certainty will make us tolerant and modest when dealing with others, and makes each individual responsible for critically analysing all truth claims they make and that they hear others make. Where the claim that probability is the guide to life is famously Lockean,22 scholars have pointed to how that claim is consistent with debates about what it means to establish morally certain as opposed to mathematically certain evidence in the fields of religion (Tillotson),

 Of course, I am here adapting Joseph Butler’s Lockean claim, ‘probability is the very guide of life’ (Analogy, Introduction.4). For the influence of Locke on Butler, see: Terence Penelhum, ‘Butler and Human Ignorance’, in Joseph Butler’s Moral and Religious Thought: Tercentenary Essays, ed. Christopher Cunliffe (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), 117–139. 22

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science (Wilkins), and law (Hale) prior to, as well as under the influence of, Locke.23 23  Leeuwen, Problem of Certainty, 121–125; Shapiro, Culture of Fact, 132–133 and Probability and Certainty, 103–104; Griffin, Latitudinarianism, 108; Jason Vickers, Invocation and Assent: The Making and Re-Making of Trinitarian Theology (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2008), 162; Pfizenmaier, Clarke, 19–20; G.R. Cragg, Reason and Authority in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1964), 1–28; John Marshall, ‘John Locke and Latitudinarianism’, in Philosophy, Science, and Religion, 263–264; G.A.J. Rogers, ‘Locke’s Essay and Newton’s Principia’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 39:2 (Apr.–Jun., 1978), 217–232; Margaret Osler, ‘John Locke and the Changing Ideal of Scientific Knowledge’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 31:1 (Jan.–Mar., 1970), 3–16. Shapiro suggests that the distinction between ‘moral’ and ‘mathematical’ certainty, and so the latitudinarian emphasis upon rational enquiry and ‘decision making’, were a ‘revitalisation’ of the ‘moral probabilism’ of Anglican casuists like Sanderson, Perkins and Taylor (Probability and Certainty, 105–106). Discussions of Anglican casuistry have, like Shapiro, argued that it emphasised individual responsibility through moral probabilism (see: Dennis Klink, Conscience, Equity and the Court of Chancery in Early Modern England (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010), 184–188; Meg Lota Brown, Donne and the Politics of Conscience in Early Modern England (Leiden: Brill, 1995), 45–61; A.J.  Joyce, Richard Hooker and Anglican Moral Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 200–213). On the one hand, Anglican casuistry emphasised individual responsibility for ‘unbiased’ evidence-­based reflection, (Shaprio, Probability and Certainty, 106), so that it finds parallels in Locke’s rejection of syllogism (see below), and the latitudinarian contention that a ‘mathematical’ certainty need not be sought, so long as, in ethics, religion, as in science, ‘a reasoned calculation of probabilities’ was pursued on the available evidence (ibid., 105). On the other hand, Locke’s rejection of syllogism highlighted one problem for Anglican casuistry: the syllogistic understanding of conscience within Anglian casuistry stood in the way of the individual responsibility emphasised by Anglican casuists. For Locke’s rejection of the syllogism as a rejection of casuistry, which was yet a greater means to the emphasis upon self-responsibility found within Anglican casuistry, see: Locke, Essay, I.IV.22; IV.XVII.1–8; Tully, ‘Governing Conduct’, 12–71; Edmund Leites, ‘Casuistry and Character’, in Conscience and Casuistry, 119–133; for a wider discussion of the rejection of syllogism, see: David Owen, Hume’s Reason (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 3–8; 12–17). The relationship between Anglican casuistry and Locke’s rejection of syllogism suggests how it is possible to position the Clarkean understanding of conscience and intuition, and distinction between ‘moral’ and ‘mathematical’ certainty, within the tradition of Thomistic conscience. Positioning the Clarkeans within that tradition is consistent with Shapiro’s claim that the latitudinarian distinction between ‘mathematical’ and ‘moral’ certainty had affinities with Anglican casuistry, where, when it comes to Anglican casuistry, ‘Everywhere, the Thomist tradition predominates’ (McAdoo, Caroline Moral Theology, 66; Wood, Casuistical Divinity, 68). It is, moreover, consistent with discussions of Butlerian conscience. Kirk maintained that Butler stood, with the likes of Sanderson and Taylor, in ‘the consistent English tradition’ of Thomistic conscience (Kirk, Conscience, 380), even as Leites suggests that Butler’s (Clarkean) claim that ‘we see intuitively at first what is our duty’ (Fifteen Sermons, VII.14) demonstrates ‘Butler’s easy dismissal of the need for casuistry’ (‘Casuistry and Character’, 128). The Clarkeans (see Conclusion) agreed with the description of conscience by Butler that, for Kirk (Conscience, 381), demonstrated Butler’s place within the Thomistic tradition: ‘There is a superior principle of reflection or conscience in man, which distinguishes between the internal principles of his heart as well as his external actions…pronounces determinately some actions to be in themselves evil, wrong, unjust’ (Fifteen Sermons, II.10). Likewise, both Butler’s and the Clarkeans’ ‘easy dismissal’ of casuistry in terms of intuition

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In other words, then, there are tensions within what I have called the tradition of recta ratio over the meaning and status of reason and conscience,24 and placing the Clarkeans within such a tradition (as I have tried to do in this book), does not respond to the associations between their mathematical analogy and the secularising legacy of the Enlightenment, when the mathematical analogy as employed within that tradition (at least as far back as Hugo Grotius), had already been associated with ‘the laicisation of natural law’.25 It might be the case, in response did not underpin complacency, or the idea that moral knowledge was the entirely passive perception of potentially uninteresting facts. Rather, their emphasis on intuition was intended to emphasise, as with Locke’s rejection of syllogism, and in-keeping with Anglican casuistry, that all ‘Reasoning’ in the present state of ‘Mediocrity and Probationership’ (Essay, IV.XIV.2) is a self-­ responsibility that ‘requires Pains and Application’, (Essay, I.II.10) as well as liability for error. Indeed, the present discussion of the active nature of moral consciousness within CER highlights the extent to which the Clarkeans agreed with Locke that, ‘Our Knowledge…has a great Conformity with our Sight, that it is neither wholly necessary, nor wholly voluntary’ (Essay, IV.XIII.1). 24  A good example of this, related to Butler’s and the Clarkeans ‘equivocal’ rational/affective language concerning conscience below, is Thomas Burnet: discussed in Chap. 1, as someone who invoked ‘natural conscience’ in his opposition to Locke’s rejection of innate ideas, his understanding of ‘conscience’ has been associated with the understanding of ‘moral sense’ in Shaftesbury and Hutcheson: Carey, Contesting Diversity, 166–167; Christel Fricke, ‘Moral Sense Theories and Other Sentimentalist Accounts of the Foundation of Morals’, in The Cambridge Companion to the Scottish Enlightenment, eds Alexander Broadie and Craig Smith, 2nd edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), Ch.7. 25  The phrase ‘the laicisation of natural law’ is borrowed from Michael Crowe (‘The “Impious Hypothesis”: A Paradox in Hugo Grotius?’, in Grotius, Pufendorf and Modern Natural Law, ed. Knud Haakonssen (Farnham: Dartmouth Publishing Co., 1999), 34). Crowe voices the wider grounds for ‘laicisation of natural law’ criticism of CER: it made use of an analogy that had itself contributed to ‘the laicisation of natural law’ because ‘Mathematics does not…depend upon the will of God’ (ibid., 32), so that ‘mathematical models’ became a means of asserting human ‘independence’ and self-sufficiency (ibid., 30–34; see also: Crowe, Changing Profile, 229–234). For Hutcheson’s and Hume’s use of the mathematical analogy, and related use of the epithet ‘Newtonian’, and how this competed with Clarke’s Newtonianism and use of the mathematical analogy, see: Jane McIntyre, ‘Hume: Second Newton of the Moral Sciences’, Hume Studies, XX:1 (April, 1994), 1–18. For an example of how Hutcheson thought it possible (consistent with his Newtonian subtitle to the first edition of the Inquiry (1725)) to ‘introduce a Mathematical calculation in Subjects of Morality’, see: Inquiry, II.III. xi–xv. Like Hutcheson, the subtitle to Hume’s Treatise reads: ‘Being An Attempt to introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning Into Moral Subjects’. For the status of the mathematical analogy in the likes of Grotius, Pufendorf, Hobbes, Locke, Hutcheson and Hume, see also: G.H.  Sabine, A History of Political Theory (London: George G.  Harrap & Co.,1963), 425–429; N.E. Simmonds, ‘Grotius and Pufendorf ’, in A Companion to Early Modern Philosophy, ed. Steven Nadler (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002), 210–224; Richard Tuck, ‘Grotius and Seldon’, in The Cambridge History of Political Thought, 1450–1700, eds. J.H.  Burns with Mark Goldie (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 499–529; Perez Zagorin, Hobbes and the Law of Nature (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009), 16–20; Kydd, Reason and

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to Humean criticisms (see Chap. 2), that the Clarkeans did not employ an (as it were) either metaphysically or normatively thin conception of reason, but that does not mean that they, like the Restoration divines Spurr discusses above, were not, even unintentionally, part of the thinning out of reason, as its meaning changed from recta ratio to ratiocination.26 In the below, I shall discuss further the secularisation of conscience by focusing on tensions within the recta ratio rational discourse of conscience. In doing so, I shall argue that the secularisation of conscience is principally its fragmentation, and that we can appreciate many of the influences that led to conscience’s fragmentation when we look, not just at Clarkean conscience, but conscience within Adam Smith, the theological utilitarians, the Cambridge Platonists, and Joseph Butler, with whom the next section starts.

5.2 J oseph Butler, Cambridge Platonism, and Heart It is manifest great part of common language, and…common behaviour over the world, is formed upon supposition of…a moral faculty; whether called conscience, moral reason, moral sense, or divine reason; whether considered as a sentiment of the understanding, or as a perception of the heart; or, which seems the truth, as including both.27

Some scholars have viewed the above passage (what I call Butler’s equivocation) as emblematic of his lack of interest in the controversy between CER and Hutchesonian sentimentalism, and even his sympathy Conduct, 4–40; Bedford, op.cit., 78–80; David Sepkoski, Nominalism and Constructivism in Seventeenth Century Mathematical Philosophy (New York, NY: Routledge, 2007), 8–10; Haakonssen, Natural Law and Moral Philosophy, 37–43; 51–58; Emily Carson, ‘Locke and Kant on Mathematical Knowledge’, in Intuition and the Axiomatic Method, eds Emily Carson and Renate Huber (Dordrecht: Springer, 2010), 2–20; Blackstone, Hutcheson, 3–4; Murray Forsyth, ‘The Place of Richard Cumberland in the History of Natural Law Doctrine’, Journal of the History of Philosophy, 20:1 (Jan., 1982), 23–42; Marshall Missner, ‘Hobbes’ Method in Leviathan’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 38:4 (Oct-Dec., 1977), 607–621. 26  See Chap. 1. 27  Butler, Analogy, Diss.II.2.

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for the sentimentalist position.28 Butler’s language of ‘a sentiment of the understanding’ and ‘perception of the heart’ is reminiscent of Blaise Pascal’s ‘order of the understanding’ and ‘order of the heart’;29 and it is noteworthy that just as Butler’s equivocation has been used to point to his agreement with sentimentalism over CER, Pascal’s distinction has been used to illustrate the difference between CER and the sentimentalism of Hutcheson and Hume.30 Moreover, it is with reference to Pascal’s distinction that Martin Griffin separates such latitudinarians as Tillotson from the original ‘latitude-men’: the Cambridge Platonists. In doing so, Griffin is consistent with two ways of discussing the Clarkeans relative to the Cambridge Platonists: (1) the former unlike the latter successfully employed a non-reduced or non-secularised conception of reason qua recta ratio as opposed to mere demonstrative reasoning; or (2) both the Clarkeans and the Cambridge Platonists were part of the process by which reason came to be reduced or secularised, but that process is in greater evidence in the former than the latter.31 In either case, the point is much the same as Griffin’s: it was by resolving divine faith into moral certainty that, while ‘the Cambridge Platonists divinised reason, the Latitudinarians rationalised divinity’: the latitudinarians differentiated the objects of faith (supernatural truth) and reason qua ratiocination (natural truth), but not the ‘processes’, so that the former was approached in the same manner, with the same speculative or scientific methods, as the latter.32 However, the Cambridge Platonists placed the true ground of faith in the order of the heart, rather than the order of the understanding. For them, faith was part of ‘divinised reason’ rather than speculative  See: Penelhum, Butler, 5; Hudson, Intuitionism, 29; Darwall, Internal ‘Ought’, 248–249; Gill, British Moralists, 178; Schneewind, Autonomy, 348. 29  Blaise Pascal, Pensées, trans. A J Krailsheimer (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966), I.XXIII.298; II.II.423. 30  MacIntyre, After Virtue, 53–55. 31  For the grounds, and limits, of such a use of Pascal, see: Susan James, Passion and Action (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2003), 233–252; Ernst Cassirer, The Platonic Renaissance in England, trans. J.P. Pettegrove (Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1953), 42–65; Müller, Didacticism, 19–20; 51–54. For separations between the Clarkeans and the Cambridge Platonists in terms of (2) see Beiser, as cited below, and Gill, British Moralists; for (1) see: William Whewell, Lectures on the History of Moral Philosophy (Cambridge: Deighton, Bell, and Co., 1862), 96–99; 115–118. 32  Griffin, Latitudinarianism, 101. 28

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reason, so that Cambridge Platonic, as opposed to latitudinarian, reason and faith were operations of the entire personality, rather than ‘mere ratiocination and discursive thinking’.33 Of course, categorising Hutcheson, Hume, Butler, and the Cambridge Platonists amongst the ‘order of the heart’ and the Clarkeans amongst ‘the order of the understanding’, returns us to the latter’s use of the mathematical analogy. While Hutcheson, Hume, and (apparently)34 Butler prefer a sentimentalist ‘heart’ over a rationalist ‘understanding’ as the sources of normativity, the rationalist Cambridge Platonists were nonetheless adamant that reason and truth, including moral and supernatural truth, concerned more than ‘mere logic-chopping’,35 just as ‘No man is renewed by his knowledge only’.36 According to Whichcote, ‘God is not enjoyed by bare notion and speculation, but by imitation and resemblance’,37 and so ‘Religion is not satisfied with a bare profession and partial reformation’.38 Instead, ‘bare speculation, knowledge and notion, is very little in the way of virtue’,39 and true ‘knowledge’ must ‘go forth into act’.40 The Clarkean invocation of the mathematical analogy restrains how far they can be read as saying with Whichcote that, ‘Religion doth possess and affect the whole man’,41 rather than merely an individual’s discursive reason. While, for the Clarkeans, our passive perception of intrinsic rightness begins our engagement with what it is that is right in itself independent of human desires and sentiments, for the Cambridge Platonists, ‘the insight and vision of reason comes only as a result of action, from having the right commitment of will and living according to it’.42  Ibid., 100.  For more on the basis of the separation between Butler and the Clarkeans, and why I think it is possible to read Butler as a proponent of CER, see the Conclusion. 35  W.R. Inge, The Platonic Tradition in English Religious Thought (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1926), 49. 36  Whichcote, Works, vol.3, LV, 126. 37  Ibid., vol.4, LXXXVII, 299. 38  Ibid., vol.4, LXXXIV, 240. 39  Ibid., vol.4, LXXXVII, 290. 40  Ibid., vol.3, LV, 126. 41  Whichcote, Aphorisms, No.956. 42  Beiser, Sovereignty, 169. 33 34

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In response to the separation of the Clarkeans into the order of the understanding, we have already seen (in Chap. 2) that the Clarkeans maintained, with Whichcote, that ‘Goodness is not without Delight and Choice’.43 Clarkean conscience highlights how the Clarkeans agreed with Whichcote that ‘It lies upon us to awaken ourselves to the knowledge God hath made us to, by serious consideration, impartial self-­examination, and free communication one with another’,44 so that it is only: When the Principles of our Religion become the Temper of our Spirits…we are truly religious…the only way to make them become so, is, to reason ourselves into an Approbation of them…nothing, which is the Reason of Things, can be refused by the Reason of Man; when understood.45

It is also possible to respond to the use of Pascal’s distinction by following Susan James’ observation that, while, for the Cambridge Platonists, ‘we experience intellectual joy when we will correctly rather than when we merely understand’, this does not mean that CER has to maintain that reasoning is unemotional; rather, they could, as with James’ reading of Descartes, maintain that ‘reasoning excites emotion’ and is ‘shot through with joy and desire’.46 In line with James’ understanding of Cartesian intellectual emotion, Price refers to ‘mental feelings’, precisely when making use of Butler’s equivocation (although it should be noted that Price does reverse Butler’s wording): The truth seems to be…in contemplating the actions of moral agents, we have…a perception of the understanding, and a feeling of the heart; and…the latter, or the effects in us accompanying our moral perceptions, depend on two causes. Partly, on the positive constitution of our natures: But principally on the essential congruity or incongruity between moral ideas and our intellectual faculties.”47

 Whichcote, Aphorisms, No.5.  Whichcote, Works, vol.3, LIV, 124 45  Whichcote, Aphorisms, No.28. 46  Ibid., 229; 205. 47  Price, Review, 96. 43 44

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The fact that the Clarkeans appealed to a normative concern for God-­ given ‘instinctive determinations’, and for the natural affections we experience as a result of our encounter, in conscience, with moral duty, limits the use of Pascal’s distinction, and makes it difficult for Butler’s equivocation to justify the separation of Butler and the Clarkeans. For example, Butler’s equivocation is itself consistent with the emotive language of conscience’s ‘presages’, found in Butler, the Clarkeans, and the other Anglican thinkers discussed in recta ratio, where conscience is (as we have seen) described as ‘wounded’, ‘terrified’, providing ‘lashes’, and so on. Moreover, despite the fact that the Clarkeans objected to Hutcheson’s reduction of moral qualities to Lockean secondary qualities, it was difficult for the Clarkeans to avoid such analogies as colour and taste in their own writings.48 As Hudson notes, with reference to Cudworth’s ‘higher intellectual instinct’, there are bound to be flashes of sentimentalism within rational intuitionism, consistent with the fact that: if, as our rationalist authors thought, a rational being…has…‘real’ affection leading him to practise virtue, reason must be more than a simple faculty which discovers the truth or falsity of propositions…It must also be a kind of love or desire—to quote Butler, a ‘perception of the heart’…[and] ‘a sentiment of the understanding’.49

Conscience and Heart The language of Butler’s equivocation not only hints at Pascal’s distinction, it also hints at Roms.2:14–15,50 and so at the principal reason why the language of the heart and of the understanding are part of the rational discourse of conscience in both Butler and the Clarkeans. It is the ‘law written on our heart’, with ‘conscience bearing witness’, which makes us, returning to the associations between conscience and to hegemonikon,51 a  See: Clarke, Discourse, 42; Balguy, TFMG.II, 155; Price, Review, ed. Raphael, 73.  Hudson, Intuitionism, 10. 50  Rivers also draws this connection (Reason, Grace, vol.2, 218–220). 51  The further parallel here is that to hegemonikon was ‘located in the heart’ (A.A. Long, Stoic Studies Berkeley, CA: University of California, 1996), 243). 48 49

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‘law to ourselves’. The language of the heart within the rational discourse of conscience does not refer to isolated parts of an individual, his affections or his reason, his will or his understanding, but rather to the whole person, and all that we experience, and for which we are responsible, as individual human beings. As Sanderson put it: ‘Conscience is the hearts [sic] consciousness’.52 Butler’s equivocation does not mark a divide with CER, or the rational discourse of conscience more generally; it speaks to their shared understanding, as rational theorists of conscience, of ‘the whole system…of affections, (including rationality,) which constitute the heart, as this word is used in scripture and on moral subjects’:53 “I will give My laws in your hearts, and in your minds will I write them:” [Hebs.10:16; Jer.31:33] that is, you shall be governed by the law of natural and essential equity…that law which is put into every man’s nature…Our mind being thus furnished with a holy rule, and conducted by a divine guide, is called conscience; and is the same thing which in scripture is sometimes called, “the heart”.54

5.3 T  ensions in the Rational Discourse of Conscience Even though Butler’s equivocation is not that surprising, given that the rational discourse of conscience in recta ratio itself contained ‘equivocal’ language, Butler’s equivocation is still significant as a means of highlighting tensions within that rational discourse. Hume, as part of the controversies between the rationalists and sentimentalists, made the deliberately contentious statement that, ‘Reason is wholly inactive and can never be the source of so active a principle as conscience’.55 We have seen how conscience in CER was part of demonstrating why, and how, reason was not, contra Hume, wholly inactive. However, the Clarkean use of conscience, in the context of a dynamic  Sanderson, Cases of Conscience, 4.  Butler, Fifteen Sermons, XII.8. 54  Taylor, Ductor, I.I.i.8. 55  Hume, Treatise, 3.1.1.10. 52 53

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understanding of reason qua recta ratio, as well as an understanding of reason qua limited human faculty, does create tensions within their understanding of conscience. A dynamic understanding of reason is always in danger of subsuming conscience. If human reason and rationality can alone denote our reflective and perceptive moral capacities, and our ability to understand God’s nature and will, we might wonder what role conscience fulfils, except as expressing our immediate emotional experience of God’s judgement, our guilt and anxiety concerning a future state, and our own self-­condemnatory sense of wrongdoing. The same point can be made the other way around. We have seen that the Clarkeans limit the powers of human reason in the world as a ‘state of trial’, even to the extent that our practical and intimate experiences of God’s and our own judgement in conscience can take precedence over speculations concerning the rational moral order. In a world of human weakness, where conscience is still efficacious, and its assurances are to be trusted, a greater stress appears to be laid on its emotional, as opposed to rational, aspects. Indeed, for John Henry Newman (who took Butler as an influence) conscience qua ‘a voice, or the echo of a voice, imperative and constraining’, is always emotional.56 The rationalists’ discourse of conscience might make conscience appear superfluous, except in its capacity to convey our emotional responses to good and bad behaviour; and it is due to the emphasis it receives in such a capacity, over and above limited human reason,57 that the extent to which conscience can be represented as rational, rather than affective, is not clear. Indeed, if conscience has presages, and is a witness to God (God’s voice within us), as well as to our feelings of shame and guilt, it would appear to be much closer to the latter than the former. Balguy captures something of this uncertainty when he stated: ‘whether we mean by conscience merely the

 John Henry Newman, An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent (Notre Dame, University of Notre Dame Press, 1979), 99–100. 57  Thus, Ernest Mossner (Bishop Butler and the Age of Reason (Bristol: Thoemmes, 1990), 123–124) thinks that Butler’s equivocation expresses his doubt that reason is ‘infallible’, because it must also, in conscience, rely on divine ‘inspiration’. 56

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operation of our intellectual faculty, or an instinctive principle superadded thereto’.58 Likewise, Clarke maintained that God: has endued…[us] with Reason and natural Conscience, to distinguish between Good and Evil; and to forewarn…[us], as it were by an inward and perceptual Instinct, of the certainty of a future Judgement.59

5.4 T  he Naturalisation of Conscience: Adam Smith and the Theological Utilitarians Henry Sidgwick claimed that Butler’s influence made it easier for conscience to be read naturalistically. Butler’s equivocation might be seen as supporting Sidgwick’s claim that, in Butler, ‘the cognitive element of the moral consciousness fell into the background’, such that, through the rise of evolutionary ethics, ‘the proof that the moral impulse was derived seemed to afford at least presumptive evidence that its authority was usurped’.60 In light of what has been said above, Sidgwick’s contention is overstated. Not only did both Butler and the Clarkeans (rather than just ‘Clarke’ as Sidgwick states) treat the moral faculty ‘as really a faculty of “intuition” or rational apprehension of right and wrong’,61 but both also treated conscience, and so the ‘rational apprehension of right and wrong’ itself, in a way which might be described as pushing ‘the cognitive element of moral consciousness…into the background’. While Sidgwick is right to point to the influence of Butler’s equivocation in the context of conscience’s naturalisation, it is not possible to ignore, alongside Butler, not only the influence of Hutcheson’s moral sense (as on the likes of Smith and the theological utilitarians discussed below), but also the tensions within the rational discourse of conscience itself. It is possible to explore the nuanced agreement with Sidgwick’s claim through a necessarily brief discussion of Adam Smith, David Hartley, and  Balguy, SFS, I.XIX, 358.  Clarke, Sermons, I.XIV, 213. 60  Henry Sidgwick, ‘The Theory of Evolution in Its Application to Practice’, in Essays on Ethics and Method, ed. M.G. Singer (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000), 12–13. 61  Ibid., 12; 12, fn.1. 58 59

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the eighteenth-century theological utilitarianism of John Gay, Edmund Law, Daniel Waterland and William Paley.62

Adam Smith For Dugald Stewart, ‘Butler himself has not asserted the authority and supremacy of conscience in stronger terms than Mr. Smith’.63 Stewart based his view of Smith upon the latter’s own Butler-esque equivocation: it is not that feeble spark of benevolence which nature has lighted up in the human heart…capable of counteracting…self-love. It is a stronger power, a more forcible motive…It is reason, principle, conscience, the inhabitant of the breast, the man within, the great judge and arbiter of our conduct.64

Smith’s ‘impartial spectator’ thus bears the familiar hallmarks of the rationalists’ conscience, with its referents. While the impartial spectator is formed through sympathetic engagement with others, it is a much higher tribunal than society; it is ‘the tribunal of their own consciences’,65 with conscience denoting, not only that through which we have ‘appeal to a still higher tribunal…the all-seeing Judge of the world’,66 but that through which we experience virtue as both our law and God’s law, and suffer divine punishment and self-condemnation for failing to act virtuously:

 The theological utilitarians provide their own circle of influence: in the ‘Preface’ to his Observations on Man (London: 1749), David Hartley credited John Gay’s ‘Dissertation’ with suggesting to him the theory of association; Gay’s ‘Dissertation’ was prefixed to Law’s translation of Archbishop King’s An Essay on the Origin of Evil (London: 1731); Law originally dedicated his translation to Waterland; and Paley dedicated The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy (London: 1785) to Law, and enjoyed the patronage of Waterland, and, particularly, Law; see: Edmund Paley, An Account of the Life and Writings of William Paley (London: 1825; republished Gregg International Publishers, 1970); Gascoigne, Cambridge in the Enlightenment, 128–129. 63  Dugald Stewart, The Philosophy of the Active and Moral Powers of Man, in The Works of Dugald Stewart, 7 Vols. (Cambridge: Hilliard and Brown, 1829), vol.5, 214. 64  Smith, TMS, III.iii.6. 65  Ibid., III.ii.32. 66  Ibid., III.ii.33. 62

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Since [‘our moral faculties’]…were plainly intended to be the governing principles of human nature, the rules which they prescribe are to be regarded as the commands and laws of the Deity, promulgated by those vicegerents which he has thus set up within us…Those vicegerents of God within us, never fail to punish the violation of them, by the torments of inward shame, and self-condemnation.67

However, while Stewart is satisfied with the Butlerian pedigree of Smith’s ‘impartial spectator’, Stewart adds the following caveat: It is only to be regretted that, instead, of the metaphorical expression…man within the breast…he had not made use of the simpler and more familiar words reason and conscience. This mode of speaking was…obtruded upon him, by the theory of sympathy…[and] has the effect…of keeping out of view the real state of the question, and…to encourage among inferior writers a figurative or allegorical style…68

Stewart has reservations about the imprecision of Smith’s language of ‘this inmate of the breast, this abstract man, the representative of mankind and substitute of the Deity, whom Nature has constituted the supreme judge of all their actions’.69 As with Butler’s own equivocation, such imprecision makes it more difficult to convey, and will perhaps help to undermine, claims about conscience’s authority and supremacy. However, the further point here is that while others would agree with Stewart that Smith’s language is imprecise, they would say that such imprecision was not ‘obtruded upon him’ by his theory of sympathy, but rather by the need to dress it in the familiar trappings of the rational  Ibid., III.v.6.  Stewart, Active and Moral Powers, 214. Ironically, Stewart echoes Smith’s comments on Shaftesbury, where Shaftesbury’s discussion of ‘duality of soul’ (see Chap. 1), which Smith criticised, has been read as suggesting Smith’s ‘impartial spectator’ (Brown, Adam Smith’s Discourse, 51–52): ‘…ornaments…in language…are…apt to make ones [sic] stile dark…Lord Shaftesbury is…most liable to this error. In the third volume of his works, talking of mediating and reflecting within one-self he contrives an innumerable number of names for it each more dark than another as, Self-conversation, forming a plurality in the same person etc.’ (Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, Lecture 2.8–16, in The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith, vol.4, eds J.C. Bryce and A.S. Skinner (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976). 69  Smith, TMS, 2nd edn, III.ii, in Works, 130 fn. 67 68

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discourse of conscience. Smith, in his descriptions of the impartial spectator, picked up on a central tension within the rational discourse of conscience: that it is ‘partly of immortal, yet partly too of mortal extraction’.70 One question is where Smith lays the emphasis in his theory of the impartial spectator, and if his references to the divine aspects of conscience are merely lip service to tradition. Smith, as Edmund Burke put it: ‘seeks for the foundation of the just, the fit, the proper, the decent, in our most common and most allowed passions; and making approbation and disapprobation the tests of virtue’.71 Thus, while Smith is aware that some passions, such as grief or selfishness, can be overpowering, and reach a ‘high pitch’, he argues that they are moderated by sympathy.72 As a result, society emerges as the place within and through which our moral capacities are formed, as we gain a greater understanding of ourselves, and appreciate the value of others’ individuality, through sympathetic engagement. For Smith, therefore: A moral being is an accountable being…An accountable being…must give an account of its actions to some other…Man is accountable to God and his fellow-creatures. But though he is…principally accountable to God…he must…conceive himself as accountable to his fellow-creatures, before he can form any idea of the Deity.73

As a result of Smith’s understanding of sympathy, it has been suggested that, within the ‘Smithian model, moral faculties are summoned by the world’,74 so that Raphael can discuss Smith’s theory of conscience as the precursor of Freud’s superego, because it is ‘built up in the mind as a reflection of the attitudes of society’.75 Indeed, Henry Bitterman insists that any ‘non-empirical’ elements in Smith are inert references, even to the extent that:  Smith, TMS, III.ii.32.  Quoted by Raphael and Macfie, Introduction, Works of Adam Smith, 28. 72  Smith, TMS, I.i.1–iv.10. 73  Smith, TMS, III.iii.3, 2nd edn, in Works, 111 fn. 74  Michael Shapiro, ‘Eighteenth Century Intimations of Modernity: Adam Smith and the Marquis de Sade’, Political Theory, 21:2 (May, 1993), 283. 75  D.D. Raphael, Adam Smith (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), 41. 70 71

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It is possible there is an element of deliberate deception in Smith’s remarks about religion…Perhaps he succeeded in misleading posterity, where he intended only to appease the pious among his contemporaries.76

Whether or not one would wish to go so far as Bitterman,77 Raphael points out that Smith incorporated a more traditional view of conscience into his discussion of sympathy in subsequent editions of TMS, not least because he wished to strengthen his account of the individual’s sense of right and wrong, even if it should be contrary to public opinion.78 In doing so, we can see why Adam Ferguson suggested that Smith confused conscience and sympathy,79 and why, returning to Sidgwick, such a confusion helped (if it was not, in Smith, already an instance of ) conscience to its naturalisation. Thus, Charles Darwin, who also followed Butler’s equivocation in using ‘conscience’ and ‘moral sense’ synonymously, quoted Smith’s understanding of sympathy in his discussion of the evolution of conscience (even as a theoretical possibility in animals), on the basis of social instincts and developed intellectual faculties.80 And William Hazlitt, who claimed Butler and Smith as influences, replaced conscience with imagination, thereby effecting a ‘transmutation’81 of conscience, within which the capacity for individual agency is secularised to the extent that, as Stewart feared, even the term conscience is replaced by those familiar from Smith: imagination and sympathy.82  Henry Bitterman, ‘Adam Smith’s Empiricism and the Law of Nature’, The Journal of Political Economy, 48:5 (Oct., 1940), 710. 77  For responses to the position Bitterman represents, see: Lisa Hill, ‘The Hidden Theology of Adam Smith’, European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 8:1 (Spring, 2001), 1–29 and Laurence Dickey, ‘Historicising the “Adam Smith Problem”: Conceptual, Historiographical, and Textual Issues’, The Journal of Modern History, 58:3 (Sept., 1986), 579–609. 78  D.D. Raphael, The Impartial Spectator: Adam Smith’s Moral Philosophy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2009), 32–42. 79  Adam Ferguson, ‘Of the Principle of Moral Estimation’, in Adam Ferguson: Selected Philosophical Writings, ed. Eugene Heath (Exeter, Imprint Academic, 2007). 80  Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1981), I, 70–106; 81. 81  Uttara Natarajan, Hazlitt and the Reach of Sense: Criticism, Morals, and the Metaphysics of Power (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 83. 82  For the influence of Butler and Smith on Hazlitt’s understanding of imagination and sympathy, see: ‘On Self-Love’ and ‘My First Acquaintance With Poets’, in Literary Remains of the Late William 76

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The Theological Utilitarians Among the theological utilitarians, Law, in line with Sidgwick, demonstrates that the theological utilitarians viewed Butler’s equivocation as making conscience friendly to their own associationist reading of conscience: Moral Sense or Conscience, (as the meaning of that Word is well fix’d by Mr. Butler)…is…Rule and Obligation. As a natural Instinct, it directs us to approve such Actions as tend to produce Happiness in others, and so is a Rule whereby we determine all such Actions to be virtuous, as it gives us pain or makes us uneasy at the Neglect of these Actions…[it] obliges us to pursue them, or makes the practice of them absolutely necessary to our Happiness: Which is the true meaning of the Word Oblige.83

Hartley, like Law and Waterland (see below), exhibited the influence of Butler’s equivocation through his synonymous use of conscience and moral sense. Indeed, Hartley, who was a friend of Butler’s,84 spoke of conscience in Butlerian terms, emphasising ‘the divine Signature of Conscience’,85 and the fact that, ‘This Moral Sense…carries its own Authority with it’,86 while also arguing for ‘the Deduction of all our moral Judgements, Approbations, and Disapprobations, from Association alone’.87 Waterland highlights how, again in line with Sidgwick, once conscience was made susceptible to an associationist/evolutionary reading, it was not only the nature and authority of conscience within the rational discourse that was undermined, but ethical realism itself:

Hazlitt, ed. Harold Bloom (New York, NY: Chelsea House, 1983), 280; 283–284; 290 and An Essay on the Principles of Human Action (London: 1805), 62–68; 231–246. 83  Edmund Law, in Archbishop King, An Essay on the Origin of Evil, 2nd edn, 2 Vols., trans. Edmund Law (London: 1732) vol.1, 86–87. 84  See: Tennant, Butler’s Philosophy, 124–125. 85  David Hartley, Observations on Man, His Frame, His Duty, and His Expectations, 2 Vols. (London: 1749), vol.2, 284. 86  Ibid., vol.1, 497. 87  Ibid., 499.

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Since it has been shewn…Moral Obligations…built upon…supposed Fitnesses…resolve at last into Conscience or the Moral Sense, and…that this Sense is not of Nature’s forming but acquir’d by Custom…’tis evident that its Determinations can be no certain Rule to act by, no solid Foundation to build Morality upon.88

While Hartley, Law and Waterland help to provide support for Sidgwick’s position, they also indicate why agreement with his understanding of Butler’s influence upon conscience’s naturalisation must be moderated. Not only must Hutcheson’s influence also be considered, alongside tensions within the rational discourse of conscience itself, but the robust Lockean epistemology of theological utilitarianism must also be included. Within theological utilitarianism, Lockean epistemology shows itself, with or without Butler, capable of subsuming Clarkean conscience and Hutchesonian moral sense, and thereby undermining both CER and Hutchesonian sentimentalism themselves. Such theological utilitarians as Waterland and Paley refer to Hutcheson and Hume in support of their associationist interpretation of conscience.89 However, even if Waterland thought that the associationist reading of conscience or moral sense was the logical consequence of (if it was not already contained in) Hutcheson’s theory, he was also clear that, ‘there is no Necessity of recurring to a [Hutchesonian] Moral Sense, or natural Principle of Benevolence’, because it is possible to show how that which Hutcheson took to be natural affections ‘may be all acquired upon the Hypothesis of Self-love, and that only being natural’.90 Likewise, Hartley, while invoking the language of conscience familiar from the rational discourse, rejected not only the Clarkean conscience, so far as it concerned ‘the eternal Reasons and Relations of Things’, but also the Hutchesonian moral sense, so far as it concerned ‘a moral Instinct…a Disposition producing in us moral Judgements concerning Affections and Actions’.91  Daniel Waterland, The Nature, Obligation, and Efficacy, of the Christian Sacraments Considered, 2nd edn (London: 1730), 43. 89  See: Waterland, Christian Sacraments, 38–40; Paley, Moral and Political Philosophy, 13–14. 90  Waterland, Christian Sacraments, 37. 91  Hartley, Observations on Man, vol.1, 498. 88

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The theological utilitarians objected to Clarke’s ‘fitness’, when the Clarkean understanding of a rational moral order appeared to make something other than the will of God, with its sanction of reward and punishment, the immediate criterion of virtue. For the theological utilitarians, ‘fitness, without relation to some end, is scarce intelligible’,92 so that the Clarkeans were mistaken when they suggested that anything could be fit or unfit (and that human beings could be under an obligation to act accordingly), without regard to how it tended towards the end of human happiness in obedience to divine command. With respect to Hutchesonian sentimentalism, as opposed to Clarkean rationalism, such theological utilitarians as Law93 and Gay left room for a somewhat rhetorical use of ‘moral sense…and public affections’.94 However, the problem with Hutcheson’s theory of the moral sense was that it had fallen back into the doctrine of innate ideas,95 which Locke had refuted. Hutcheson did not need to rely on ‘occult qualities’ to understand the moral sense, because ‘our approbation of morality, and all affections whatsoever, are finally resolved into reason pointing out private happiness’.96 So what seems to us to be an innate moral sense is really just acquired through association: a constant Habit of approving virtuous Actions for the sake of their good Tendency towards private Happiness…[so that, eventually, we are] pleased with them, when no such Tendency is apprehended’.97

 John Gay, ‘Dissertation Concerning the Fundamental Principle and Immediate Criterion of Virtue’, in The English Philosophers from Bacon to Mill, ed. E.A. Burtt (New York, NY: Random House, 1939), 776. 93  ‘Instinct, affection, Moral Sense, &c, may seem to imply, that these are all innate…whether the Deity has implanted these Passions, Instincts, and Affections in us, or has framed and disposed us in such a manner…that we shall necessarily acquire them; they’ll be alike natural…in either Sense’ (Law, Origin of Evil, 87). 94  Gay, ‘Dissertation’, 771. 95  Ibid., 771. 96  Ibid., 771. 97  Waterland, Christian Sacraments, 41. 92

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While Law and Gay thought it might be acceptable to suppose a moral sense, provided we deny that it is innate or implanted,98 Paley (like Waterland above) is more dubious about the expression. Paley agreed that what is called the ‘moral sense’ is explained by the ‘process of association’, and so by our ‘habit of approving’ of virtuous acts;99 but he also maintained ‘that there exist no such instincts as compose what is called the moral sense, or that they are not now to be distinguished from prejudices and habits’.100 According to Paley: it is not a safe way of arguing, to assume certain principles as so many dictates, impulses, and instincts of nature, and then to draw conclusions from these principles, as to the rectitude or wrongness of actions…I suspect, that a system of morality, built upon instincts, will only find out…excuses for opinions and practices already established…will seldom correct or reform either.101

Paley (like Bentham)102 grouped together ‘the existence of a moral sense; of innate maxims; of a natural conscience; that the love of virtue and hatred of virtue are instinctive; or the perception of right and wrong intuitive…[as] only different ways of expressing the same opinion’.103 Each of these falls foul both of Lockean epistemology and of his rejection of the syllogism:104 that is, they become means of preventing individuals from engaging with, and taking responsibility for, themselves and the world around them by protecting particular beliefs, people and institutions from analysis and criticism.

 Gay, ‘Dissertation’, 785.  Paley, Moral and Political Philosophy, 13–14. 100  Ibid., 16. 101  Ibid, 16. 102  Jeremy Bentham, An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996) (J.H. Burns and H.L.A. Hart, eds), II.14 fn. 103  Paley, Moral and Political Philosophy, 9–10. 104  See note 23. 98 99

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5.5 Liberty of Conscience What Paley highlights is that an account of the secularisation of conscience qua naturalisation, with which Sidgwick is concerned, must also include another aspect of conscience’s secularisation: the perhaps more familiar story of how conscience was, in the eighteenth century, ‘transforming itself from a Christian liberty into a natural right and as such into a political demand’.105 On the one hand, the use of conscience to defend the right of, and responsibility for, private judgement is consistent with the rational discourse of conscience; as John Dunne notes, ‘Political autonomy had been understood from the first to be autonomy of conscience’.106 On the other hand, like Butler’s equivocation, it reveals tensions between conscience’s referents within the rational discourse, which contributed not only to Sidgwick’s naturalisation of conscience, but to the secularised reduction of conscience to individual judgement. For Brad Gregory and Anthony Low, Milton asserted his radical Protestantism in Paradise Lost, when he speaks of conscience as the ‘Umpire Conscience’, instituted in each individual by God, such that the individual’s understanding of religious and moral norms depends entirely and directly upon divine inspiration.107 The rational discourse of conscience likewise emphasised conscience’s divine nature, and so implied the autonomous efficiency of a human capacity. Moreover, although the rational discourse of conscience maintained an objective measure for conscience, the individual nature of conscience, and so our means of judging that measure, meant that any disagreements about the correct moral and religious outlook should be tolerated, because conscience was the individual’s God-given means of discerning truth. Thus, for Whichcote, ‘A Man has as much Right to use his own Understanding, in

 Anthony Lincoln, Some Political and Social Ideas of English Dissent, 1763–1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1938), 182. 106  John Dunne, The City of the Gods (Notre Dame, IA: University of Notre Dame Press, 1965), 210. 107  Gregory, Unintended Reformation, 215; Anthony Low, Aspects of Subjectivity: Society and Individuality from the Middle Ages to Shakespeare and Milton (Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne University Press, 2003), 141. 105

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judging of Truth; as he has a Right to use his own Eyes, to see his way’;108 and, for Price (whose Discourse was the target of Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France), the American and French Revolutions mean that ‘the dominion of priests [is] giving way to the dominion of reason and conscience’,109 precisely because they were founded on ‘The right to liberty of conscience in religious matters’, which is a ‘sacred right’.110 In Scotland, we have seen in Chap. 4 that the Calvinist, John Witherspoon, appealed to both Clarke and conscience in the controversies between orthodox Calvinists and the Scottish literati. During one of those controversies, over church patronage, he had criticised the literati and Moderate churchmen for their laxity concerning the Westminster Confession; however, at the same time, the view of conscience which Witherspoon took from the Confession underpinned his support for liberty of conscience in the controversy over church patronage, and subsequent to it, as the only clergyman to sign the American Declaration of Independence. Thus, in his Ecclesiastical Characteristics (Glasgow: 1753), Witherspoon lampooned the ‘Moderate Man’ as viewing ‘rigid adherence to the Confession of Faith’ as an unnecessary and offensive ‘hedge of distinction’, which treats ‘those that differ from the church’ uncharitably.111 In 1785, Witherspoon wrote the preface to the principles of a new system of Presbyterian Church government in America, which, quoting the Westminster Confession, maintained: ‘God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men[’]…Therefore, the synod reassert the rights of private judgement…and call for full freedom of religion for all.112

Thus, it is not surprising that Tindal felt able to appropriate Butler, Clarke, and the rational discourse of conscience more generally, when justifying his support for the supremacy of an individual’s own reason  Whichcote, Aphorisms, No.40.  Richard Price, A Discourse on the Love of Our Country (London: 1790), 50. 110  Ibid., 34. 111  Witherspoon, Ecclesiastical Characteristics, 13. 112  Quoted by, Tait, Witherspoon, 20. 108 109

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over revelation.113 Such dissenting and secularising consequences of the rational discourse of conscience perhaps reached their fullest expression in Thomas Paine’s declaration (in a book written in support of Price: see Chap. 1) that, ‘My own church is my own mind’; reason and conscience have become associated with private judgement, which the individual must always be at liberty to exercise authoritatively as a measure of truth, in order that ‘he be mentally faithful to himself ’.114

5.6 T  he Fragmentation of Conscience’s Referents For the Clarkeans, conscience was not authoritative because it was the individual’s own judgement, or God’s, but because it was both, and because both were determined by the rational moral order. Conscience was intimately our own, yet also from God; our own judgement, but God’s judgement on us; our individual judgement of what is right, but also humanity’s universal judgement, according to the rational moral order. The degree of individual autonomy, afforded by the rational discourse of conscience in CER, avoided divine command submissiveness, but never amounted to self-sufficiency: it placed the authority of individual conscience within each of its referents. To interpret conscience as simply private judgement, therefore, misrepresents its meaning within the rational discourse, but highlights the fact that, as individual consciences differ, ultimately conscience could only be reliably reduced to one of its referents, our own judgement, to which even the Clarkeans sometimes (although in the context of reasoning upwards and downwards and human moral development) normatively retreated. Thus, the naturalisation of conscience, and its secularised reduction to individual judgement, are not just, returning to Paley, connected to each other; they both concern tensions between conscience’s referents within the rational discourse which made that discourse difficult to sustain.  For Tindal, Clarke, and Butler, see: Chaps. 1 and 3, Part 2.  Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, in Thomas Paine: Political Writings, ed. B. Kuklick, revd edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 268. 113 114

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What I have called the referents of conscience might be understood today as different ways of understanding conscience. There is the conscience qua individual judgement of Article 14 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights; or the religious conscience, conscience qua God’s will, which, for Newman, ‘is the creative principle of religion’, because it draws us before God, impressing upon our ‘imagination…the picture of a Supreme Governor’.115 Modern invocations of conscience divide conscience, by defining it in relation to only one of its referents, and so reinforce the ambiguity of the term: the conscience under discussion may be, for example, religious, political, or Freudian. Conscience’s referents in the rational discourse meant that conscience was not reducible to a collocation of societal and parental influence; individual feeling and judgement; or divine command. However, the rational discourse of conscience also suggested that each of these was, if not the grounds for moral norms, an important element of our experience of moral norms, as aspects of our reflective moral consciousness and formal moral education. The basis for using the term ‘conscience’ to refer to just one of its referents can be sought in the rational discourse of conscience, so far as that discourse itself provided the means for describing conscience as divine inspiration, fallible human judgement, rational intuition and our (acquired or otherwise) emotional responses to specific behaviour. Bibliographical Abbreviations John Balguy DR

EOR First letter LT Second letter

SFS

Divine Rectitude: Or, a Brief Inquiry Concerning the Moral Perfections of the Deity; Particularly in respect of Creation and Providence (London: 1730) An Essay on Redemption, 2nd edn (Winchester: 1785) A Letter to a Deist (London: 1726) The Law of Truth. Or, the Obligations of Reason Essential to all Religion (London: 1733) A Second Letter to a Deist, Concerning a late Book Entitled, Christianity as Old as the Creation (London: 1731) Sermons on the Following Subjects, 2 Vols., 3rd edn (London: 1790) (referenced by volume, sermon, page)

 Newman, Grammar of Assent, 101.

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The Foundation of Moral Goodness (London: 1728) The Second Part of the Foundation of Moral Goodness (London: 1729) Except EOR and SFS, all references are to: John Balguy, A Collection of Tracts Moral and Theological: Placed in the Order wherein they were first published (London: 1734)

TFMG TFMG.II

Samuel Clarke Clarke-Collins

Demonstration

Discourse

Leibniz-Clarke

Remarks Sermons

Richard Price Review Review, 2nd edn Review, ed. Raphael SVS

The Correspondence of Samuel Clarke and Anthony Collins, 1707–1708 (London: Broadview, 2011) (W.L. Uzgalis, ed.) A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, in Samuel Clarke, A Discourse Concerning the Being and Attributes of God, the Obligations of Natural Religion, and the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Religion, 10th edn (London: 1767) A Discourse Concerning the Unchangeable Obligations of Natural Religion, and the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Religion, in Samuel Clarke, A Discourse Concerning the Being and Attributes of God, the Obligations of Natural Religion, and the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Religion, 10th edn (London: 1767)10th edn (London: 1767) The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence, ed. H.G. Alexander (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1956) Remarks Upon A Book, Entitled, A Philosophical Enquiry Concerning Human Liberty (London: 1717) Sermons by Samuel Clarke, D.D., in Eleven Volumes, 7th edn (London: 1749) (referenced by volume, sermon, page) A Review of the Principal Questions in Morals, 3rd edn (London: 1787) A Review of the Principal Questions and Difficulties in Morals, 2nd edn (London: 1769) A Review of the Principal Questions in Morals, ed. D.D. Raphael (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974) Sermons on Various Subjects, ed. William Morgan (London: 1816)

6 Conclusion

6.1 Introduction At the beginning of this book, I identified three features of Enlightenment thought: the three features which, for its critics, lay at the heart of Enlightenment rationalism, and which continue to underpin its problematic legacy: (a) The naturalisation of reason (b) The absolute authority of the individual as constructor of value (c) The privatisation of value I also discussed why the British Enlightenment ethical rationalism represented by Samuel Clarke and his followers has been regarded as exemplifying (a)–(c). And, in the final chapter, explored their contribution to the secularisation of conscience, alongside such figures as Joseph Butler, Adam Smith, and the theological utilitarians.

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At the same time, we have seen that Clarke and his followers were not (in Blake’s memorable phrase) ‘laughing’ at conscience up their ‘sleeve’.1 The Clarkeans were using conscience to place themselves within a broad (and loose) Anglian tradition of Thomistic natural law and Ciceronian recta ratio, which had Thomistic, Platonic, Stoic, and even Calvinist influences and elements that were not always successfully combined, or combined in the same way, by different thinkers. Within that tradition reason is not a naturalised Lockean/Hobbesian/Humean ‘calculating’ faculty, but instead, recta ratio: the law of human minds, God’s mind, and the created universe itself. And, as a result, conscience within that tradition had (what I have termed) referents. Although the Clarkeans, have been associated with (a)–(c) as secularising features and effects of Enlightenment rationalism, the Clarkeans used their rationalist theory of conscience (with its referents) to resist (a)–(c) within moral and religious thought of their own day. We saw aspects of this resistance in Chaps. 2 and 3, in the response of Samuel Clarke, John Balguy, and Richard Price to both Matthew Tindal’s deism and Francis Hutcheson’s moral sense. However, we paid particular attention to it in Chap. 4 where, in the Scottish Enlightenment, John Witherspoon and other Scottish Calvinists appealed directly to Clarke and their own rational theory of conscience to oppose Francis Hutcheson’s and David Hume’s sentimentalism. Clarkeans in eighteenth-century Britain used conscience to defend against what they regarded as the secularising consequences of deism and sentimentalism, where, as we saw in Scotland, the former was presented as contiguous with the latter (not least thanks to the figure of Lord Shaftesbury). Deists, like Tindal, and sentimentalists, like Hutcheson and Hume, changed the meaning and nature of conscience, and, in doing so, threatened the entire structure of realist Christian metaphysics into which Clarke and his followers considered the category of conscience (with its peculiar referents) to be embedded. The fact that the Clarkeans discussed in this book considered the category of conscience to carry particular metaphysical baggage, and so peculiar referents, makes sense in light of the range of figures discussed in Chap. 1 as part of the tradition of recta ratio. Those figures not only help  See: William Blake, The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake, ed. D.V. Erdman, rvsd edn (New York, NY: Random House, 1988), 613. 1

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to explain why the Clarkeans invoked conscience to defend against secularisation, but also (as we saw particularly in Scotland) why they characterised any attempt to re-define conscience as evidence of secularisation. The variety of figures explored in Chaps. 1 and 5, including Lord Shaftesbury, the Cambridge Platonists, Anglican casuists, illustrate the wider associations between conscience and recta ratio taken forward by the Clarkeans. Moreover, despite differences between these figures, each of them used conscience (with its referents) to respond to what they regarded as the secularising (a)–(c) influence of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke; an influence which, for their critics, was apparent in the way they undermined recta ratio by reducing reason to ‘mere reckoning’; normativity to positive command; and, conscience to only one of its referents: individual judgement.2 Where one of the overarching claims of this book has been that conscience was inextricably connected with recta ratio metaphysics, such that to invoke conscience was to assert that metaphysics, and to alter conscience was to threaten it, it makes sense: (1) that Hobbes and Locke, in challenging aspects of recta ratio metaphysics, should reduce the meaning of conscience; (2) that opponents responding to the challenge of Hobbes and Locke should emphasise the multiple referents of conscience as part of its recta ratio metaphysical baggage; (3) that Hume and Hutcheson in challenging aspects of recta ratio should reduce the meaning of conscience; and (4) that the British Clarkeans, in responding to the challenge of Hutcheson and Hume, should invoke conscience, with its referents, while referring to Hutcheson and Hume in the same critical breath as Hobbes and Locke.3  For conscience, see: Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. I. Shapiro (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010), I.VII, 41–43; II.XXIX, 194–195 and De Cive, in Man and Citizen, ed. B. Gert, trans. C.T. Wood, T.S.K. Scott-Craig and B. Gert (Anchor, 1972), XII.2; John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, ed. P.H.  Nidditch (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979), I.III.7–8. And, for reason and normativity, see: Chap. 1, note 25. 3  See: John Balguy, The Foundation of Moral Goodness and The Second Part of the Foundation of Moral Goodness, in A Collection of Tracts Moral and Theological: Placed in the Order wherein they were first published (London: 1734), 66; 144–150; Richard Price, A Review of the Principal Questions in Morals, ed. D.D. Raphael (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974), 15; 61–62; 481–483. Of course, there is an important distinction here: Balguy is critical of aspects of Locke and Hutcheson, in the same way that Price is of Locke, Hutcheson, and Hume. However, (unlike Hobbes) they also emphasise their indebtedness to, and praise of, Locke, while also speaking favourably of Hutcheson and Hume. 2

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Exploring conscience’s referents in this book, has also been the opportunity to respond to some of the leading criticisms of the Clarkeans. For the most part, those leading criticisms are connected, and so have been treated together in Chaps. 1, 2, and 3; however, it is possible to characterise them as ‘laicisation of natural law’, ‘Humean’, and ‘Kantian’. In either case, they comprise some of the best known criticisms within moral philosophy, each of which has been aimed explicitly at Clarke, Balguy, and Price, including: the is/ought gap, fact/value distinction, the problem of supervenience and queerness, moral fetishism, and heteronomy of the will. These criticisms often rest on the Clarkeans’ use of the analogy between mathematics and morals, and, as a result, are often closely aligned to the secularising (a)–(c) criticisms of Enlightenment rationalism. The Clarkeans’ mathematical analogy has been found to be a particularly egregious example of (a) the naturalisation of reason, underpinning (b)–(c) the absolute authority of the individual and the privatisation of value. The argument of this book has not been that Clarkean ethical rationalism is tension-free, and so can entirely overcome its leading criticisms, or entirely disassociate itself from the Enlightenment’s mixed legacy. Nonetheless, the argument has been that they are better placed than we think to respond to leading criticisms, and to what has been regarded as the Enlightenment’s secularising (a)–(c) legacy, once we explore their rational discourse of conscience in the context of their moral and metaphysical realism. Below, I shall draw together some key themes in response to (a) the naturalisation of reason; (b) the absolute authority of the individual as constructor of value; and, (c) the privatisation of value.

6.2 The Naturalisation of Reason The Clarkeans’ mathematical analogy has been associated with the naturalisation of reason, because it confuses abstract reason and truth with practical reason and truth. If human beings could just get our abstract and theoretical reasoning right, we would get our morality right. The claim that knowing “x is wrong” is the same thing as knowing “2 + 2 = 4” appears to separate the Clarkeans from any moral epistemological or

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motivational interest in ‘theology’ or ‘human nature’ (see Chaps. 2 and 3). If human reason promises access to moral truth in the same way as mathematical truth then divine will, individual judgement, religious experience, human feeling, facts about human nature, facts about the world are contingencies that are just as irrelevant in ethics as they are in mathematics. As Leslie Stephen put it: it was Clarke’s ambition, as it has substantially been the ambition of other metaphysicians, to expound a theory of human conduct which should be entirely independent of any observation of human nature. Morality must not be “subjective.” That means, it must be independent of the idiosyncrasies of individuals. Clarke translates this into the statement: Morality must be independent of the character of the race. He wished to elevate morality into the sphere of pure mathematics, or, what he held to be equivalent, of absolute truth, where the promptings of passion and the lessons of experience should be entirely excluded.4

However, unlike Stephen, the Clarkeans did not think it necessary to contrast ‘the sphere’ of ‘absolute truth’ with ‘the promptings of passion and the lessons of experience’, when recta ratio—the law of reason which determines intrinsic rightness—is the law of God’s mind and the law of human nature and the law of the created universe itself. In Clarkean ethical rationalism (CER), conscience has peculiar referents, because it is an intuitive and reflective faculty through which human beings experience reason qua recta ratio: our law, God’s law, and the law of the created universe itself. Thus, in response to the problem of supervenience, the Clarkeans can explain why intrinsic rightness supervenes upon particular natural features: when the moral law is the law of reason qua recta ratio, it follows that the moral law enjoins ‘tripartite’ duties upon human beings: duties to ourselves as rational creatures created by God; to others as our fellow rational creatures within creation; and to God as creator and moral governor of the world for whom the moral law is an ‘attribute’.  Leslie Stephen, English Thought in the Eighteenth Century, 2 Vols. (New York, NY, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1876), vol.2, IX.9. 4

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For the Clarkeans, to do that which is right in itself is to satisfy our ‘tripartite’ duties to ourselves, others, and God under the law of reason. However, because they argued that those duties were enjoined by ‘the single law of reason’ qua recta ratio, they insisted that an intrinsically right action was one which satisfied all of our moral duties under reason. That is, a fully-developed moral agent would regard acts of benevolence as also ones of justice, obedience, and self-concern (and vice versa), consistent with the fact that an intrinsically right action under the law of reason is one which satisfies the law of reason qua the law of human nature, God’s nature, and the created universe itself (see Chaps. 2 and 3). It follows from the above, that, despite the analogy with mathematics, the draw of moral truth is not a single, unanalysable experience (of, for example, the ‘queer’, contentless, and abstract quality of intrinsic rightness). Instead, the encounter with moral truth, in conscience, consists of a number of normative experiences directly related to what it means to do that which is right in itself in satisfaction of our ‘tripartite’ duties; and it is the richness of those experiences that, together, convey both the complex quality of intrinsic rightness,5 and our various motivations for intrinsically right moral action. When doing that which is right in itself means satisfying ‘tripartite’ duties under reason qua recta ratio, then the normative experiences of (for example) self-approbation, individual judgement, the desire to act for others, and to imitate God, are pro-attitude states intrinsic to the perception of rightness, and, as such, internal motivations  I am not the first to observe that the Clarkeans should, and sometimes did, understand rightness as a ‘complex’ quality—despite the emphasis, particularly in Price, upon the fact that our ‘ideas of right and wrong are simple ideas’ (Review, 16; 50); see also, Balguy’s, Divine Rectitude: Or, a Brief Inquiry Concerning the Moral Perfections of the Deity; Particularly in respect of Creation and Providence (London: 1730), criticised by, for example, Thomas Bayes in his Divine Benevolence (London: 1731) for not adequately defining ‘rectitude’. See: Raphael, ‘Introduction’ in Review, ed. Raphael, xxv–xxxi; Stratton-Lake, ‘Introduction’, in Ethical Intuitionism, 11–18; Joseph Fletcher, Situation Ethics (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1966), 26–28 and ‘Virtue is a Predicate’, The Monist, 54:1 (Jan., 1970), 76–77. While Hume criticised CER for failing to appreciate that ‘A moral action…is a complicated object’ (An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, in Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding and Concerning the Principles of Morals, eds L.A. Selby-Bigge, with P.H. Nidditch (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975), Appendix I.238), Balguy did suggest that ‘Moral Fitness is either immediately self-evident, as in simple Duties; or demonstrable, as in complex ones’ (Moral Goodness, Part 2, 149), and also, in light of the ‘positive Rewards’ of ‘Virtue’, ‘set before us’ by ‘Revelation’, and ‘those Advantages and Enjoyments which naturally flow from Virtue’, Balguy referred to ‘that complex Good, which is meant by a blessed Immortality, of whatsoever Ingredients it may consist’ (A Letter to a Deist, in Collection, 9–10). 5

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for doing that which is right in itself because it is right in itself according to the law of reason. Accordingly, conscience (to borrow from G.E. Moore) is that through, and in, which we experience the moral as a ‘complex whole’. Within human moral consciousness, our normative experiences of what it means to do that which is right in itself according to our ‘tripartite’ moral duties forms an ‘organic unity’, whereby each experience forms an essential part of the experience of the moral whole itself, so that the fully-developed moral agent will only approve as right those actions which unify or satisfy each experience. When the Clarkeans’ mathematical analogy is understood in the context of their recta ratio moral theology, God’s will, human experience, feeling, and judgement, are not irrelevant ‘data’ but ‘materials of conscience’ (see Chap. 3), which, contra Stephen, does mean that morality has something to do with ‘the character of the race’, in the same way that Richard Hooker used the phrases ‘human nature’ and ‘law of reason’ synonymously. When the Clarkeans say that something is intrinsically right they mean that it is objectively right according to the law of reason; and, as such, moral truths are truths of reason like mathematical truths: truths which no will, human or divine, can alter, because they concern ‘the nature of things’ or the fabric of reality itself. However, moral truths are dis-­ analogous with moral truths in the sense that they concern the ‘morally certain’ purpose rather than simply the ‘mathematically certain’ order of the divinely-created universe; and, it is in the context of purpose, that reason has definite normative value and content, such that the phrase “to do that which is intrinsically right” is synonymous with “to act according to reason”. On the one hand, therefore, the Clarkeans would have agreed with Moore that, ‘Good is good and that is the end of the matter’.6 In Joseph Butler’s terms (which Moore made an epigraph), ‘Everything is what it is and is not another thing’: that which is intrinsically right, is just that which is intrinsically right—it possess what Price explicitly calls a ‘simple’ and so irreducible quality. On the other hand, they would also have agreed with Moore’s emphasis in the following remark:  G.E. Moore, Principia Ethica (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968), 6.

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I should never have thought of suggesting that goodness was “non-­natural”, unless I had supposed…it was “derivative” in…that, whenever a thing is good…its goodness…“depends on the presence of certain non-ethical characteristics” possessed by the thing in question…if a thing is good…then that it is so follows from the fact that it possesses certain natural intrinsic properties, which are such that from the fact that it is good it does not follow conversely that it has those properties.7

Despite Alasdair MacIntyre’s view to the contrary, the Clarkeans would have been able to agree that, ‘statements about what is good…just are a kind of factual statement’.8 Moral statements are about the nature of human beings and the world as they were created by God according to reason qua the eternal law of his own nature. In CER, that which is right in itself is that which is according to the law of reason, and that which is right in itself would remain right in itself whether rational agents ignored the law of reason or (like ‘brute’ creatures) did not have access to it. However, returning to Stephen, this does not mean that moral truth lives in a ‘pure’ mathematical realm, such that, as Stephen Darwall put it, ‘reasons for acting…depend on nothing internal to the agent’,9 or, as Christine Korsgaard put it, the Clarkeans make the mistake ‘of locating morality in the metaphysical properties of actions, rather than in the motivational properties of people’.10 While the foundation of rightness is not utility or divine or human will, creatures created with a rational nature, in a world made according to the law of reason, will encounter the law of reason as something, and it will be as something that exists in, and concerns, both the world and themselves. The law of reason determines that justice, equity, charity and so on are right in themselves; ­however, justice, equity and charity exist as something in the world, such that they are what we encounter in the world, and in ourselves, as, for example, innocence and suffering, sympathy and gratitude. What it is  G.E. Moore, ‘A Reply to My Critics’, in The Philosophy of G.E. Moore, 2 vols., ed. P.A. Schilpp (Lasalle: Open Court, 1968), Vol.2, 588. 8  Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue, 2nd edn (London: Duckworth, 1985), 148. 9  Stephen Darwall, The British Moralists and the Internal ‘Ought’, 1640–1740 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 328. 10  Christine Korsgaard, Creating the Kingdom of Ends (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 67. 7

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that is determined by the law of reason is what it is that we encounter in the world as fitting to relations that are themselves determined by reason. Happiness and divine command might not be the grounds of rightness, but they are what Price called the ‘subject-matter of virtue’: that with which we are concerned as rational agents, within a world made by God according to reason, as we try to satisfy our duties to ourselves, to others and to God as our purpose within such a divinely-ordered world.

6.3 Individualism and Privatisation Conscience as a ‘complex whole’ also helps to illustrate how Clarkean conscience could be used to resist, not just (a) the naturalisation of reason, but also (b) the absolute authority of the individual as constructor of value and (c) the privatisation of value. As discussed in Chaps. 1 and 5, there are two main reasons why the Clarkeans have been associated with (b) and (c). First, their support for liberty of conscience, most famously in the controversies over Clarke’s trinitarianism; Benjamin Hoadly’s Bangorian sermon (in which Balguy was one of the pro-Hoadly pamphleteers); and, Price’s support for the American and French Revolutions. Similarly, in Scotland, we saw (Chap. 4) how John Witherspoon and the Popular party defended liberty of conscience in their opposition to the Patronage Act and support for the American Revolution. If conscience is that through which each individual is capable of encountering God and intrinsic moral truth, then each individual should be left free to follow their own conscience qua (b) absolutely authoritative for themselves, such that (c): value becomes the province for an individual’s own conscience, not the public sphere. Second, through their use of the mathematical analogy and its connection with the fact/value distinction. As we know (Chap. 2), Clarke appears to have been one of the principal targets of Hume’s is/ought gap; and while the is/ought gap is not the same as the fact/value distinction, they are connected in Hume: the wider point of that passage was to deny the Clarkean claim that the rational intuition of moral qua mathematical facts could answer what Korsgaard calls ‘the normative question’. It is

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here that critics of both the Enlightenment’s legacy and rational intuitionism point to how the mathematical analogy, coupled with the naturalisation of reason, descends into moral nihilism. The attempt to draw an analogy between mathematical and moral truth only serves to illustrate the distinction between contingent moral and universal mathematical truth claims, consequently, the mathematical analogy is self-defeating. That is, the Clarkeans drew the mathematical analogy because they regarded mathematics as part of a Newtonian scientific rationalism that was capable of discovering and assessing truths about reality; however, because their own analogy highlights the dis-analogy between mathematics and morals the analogy itself suggests that moral claims are not truth-­ apt: moral claims are the province, not of scientific rationalism, but of the individual’s own private conscience. Both ways of associating the Clarkeans with the absolute authority of an individual’s privatised conscience return us to the exaggerated language used to describe the Clarkeans as ‘naïve’11 and ‘confused’12 ‘philosophers’, ‘incomparably’ weaker than their ‘sentimentalist’ contemporaries,13 whose moral thought was a ‘failure’14 that rested upon the ‘dogmatism’ and ‘bluster’ of ‘the ‘“hotline view”, according to which beliefs based on moral intuition are self-evident in the sense of self-guaranteeing or indefeasible’.15 Such criticisms of the Clarkeans both express, and rest upon, the charge of complacency, whereby CER is reduced to the assertion that human beings passively, and self-evidently, perceive intrinsic rightness with the certainty with which we see the truth of basic mathematical problems. However, by responding to the charge of complacency in this book (Chap. 3), it becomes more difficult to dismiss the Clarkeans as thinkers

 Frederick Beiser, The Sovereignty of Reason: The Defense of Rationality in the Early English Enlightenment (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996), 298. 12  John Finnis, Natural Law and Natural Rights, 2nd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 42. 13  Korsgaard, Kingdom, 37, fn.12. 14  Finnis, Natural Law, 40. 15  Roger Crisp, ‘Sidgwick and the Boundaries of Intuitionism’, in Ethical Intuitionism: Re-evaluations, ed. Philip Stratton-Lake (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2002), 60–61. 11

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who ‘naively’ assert the view that human beings move through the world passively perceiving self-evident moral truth. In the first place, the genuine intuition of moral truth is always active as opposed to passive, and there are no such things as moral knowledge and moral motivation without active, reflective, moral consciousness. Moreover, even when the Clarkeans draw an analogy between mathematics and morals, that analogy includes a distinction between basic truths and general principles that are self-evident (but even then only to enquiring and attentive minds), and more complicated mathematical and moral problems which require even greater attentiveness, application, reflection, experience, and study (see Chap. 3). In the second place, we have seen that the mathematical analogy contains an important dis-analogy; an Aristotelian dis-analogy, consistent with other figures within recta ratio, which admits that an absolute, ‘mathematical certainty’ is not possible in ethical questions, where we must rely on a practical, ‘moral certainty’ (Chap. 3). It is simply not the case, therefore, that the Clarkeans regard the intuition of intrinsic rightness as ‘naively’ and ‘dogmatically’ ‘indefeasible and ‘self-guaranteeing’, not least because they think our intuitions of intrinsic rightness either are erroneous or that we must assume that they are as we reflect upon them.16 Consequently, the Clarkeans emphasise moral education and moral development, and the need for practical moral reflection and introspection, as limited and fallen moral agents rely on religious and moral instruction to help them to develop virtuous habits of behaviour, and to help them as a reference point when reasoning about particular actions. Thus, returning to the experience of rightness, in conscience, as a ‘complex whole’: on the one hand, a fully-developed moral agent is responsible for ‘intending rectitude’ in every action she chooses as moral, which means that she must: (i) assess her actions from the perspective of  Thus, this study suggests it is possible to draw CER into aspects of Robert Audi’s re-appraisal of Rossian intuitionism, where, the mathematical analogy aside, fallibilism and reflective endorsement are possible and necessary within intuitionism, because we must often reason to moral principles we regard as self-evident after they have been arrived at; support these supposedly self-evident moral principles through inferential reasoning rather than the simple appeal to indefeasible intuition; and so have good or bad grounds for reflectively endorsing them qua self-evident (Moral Knowledge and Ethical Character (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 33–55). 16

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each of her ‘tripartite’ duties to herself and to others and to God, and (ii) only will or choose as moral those actions which she is confident will satisfy all of those duties in order to fulfil her own purpose as a rational agent within a world made by God under reason. On the other hand, in the world as a ‘state of trial’, where she is both limited and fallen, a fully-developed moral agent cannot act with ‘mathematical certainty’; she cannot be absolutely certain that her action is one of ‘material virtue’ or ‘abstract’ rightness, she can only be confident or morally certain about her action’s ‘practical’ or ‘relative virtue’ on the basis of her own conscientious moral reasoning and moral upbringing (see Chap. 3). Where moral agents are responsible for fulfilling their ‘tripartite’ duties under reason, but, at the same time, cannot be mathematically certain about which actions fulfil their ‘tripartite’ duties, it is not possible or permissible to privatise conscience, or to make conscience authoritative for the individual in such a way that it is disinterested in, or inaccessible to, other rational creatures, including God. In CER, a human agent (like a sentimentalist or deist) may attempt to justify their actions on the basis that they have Acted According to Conscience (AATC), and so claim that they followed their conscience because they were certain it was according to God’s command, their own judgement and affections, or the utility of others. But it is the responsibility of a moral agent to perform Acts of Conscience (AOC): that is, only to cross what J.R.  Searle calls the rational ‘gaps’ (see Chap. 3) between decision and action when they are satisfied, on the basis of conscientious reflection, that the action under consideration satisfies all of their moral duties. The right to freedom of conscience, and so the freedom to disagree about the right thing to do in any given situation, always concerns the duties from which that right is derived. Thus, the Clarkean moral agent understands that her capacity to make demands of herself— and her right to have those demands respected by others—is also always her capacity to have demands made upon her by others, and by God. Consequently, the individual’s right to be self-directing includes the entitlement of others to expect the individual actively to consider, and to be responsive to, their demands, and demands made by God.

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Likewise, from this perspective, conscience resists privatisation. The Clarkeans accept that it is difficult for human beings with limited (and, for them, fallen) reason always to be certain that an act they choose as moral on the basis of conscientious reflection satisfies each of their ‘tripartite’ duties under reason. As such, unlike Locke’s religious enthusiast, where conscience is a self-justifying ‘inner light’, the Clarkean moral agent must always act with caution due to self-awareness of the capacity for error. Here, ‘material’ considered ‘inside’ conscience (such as, the normative experiences of our own, or God’s, judgement) does not take precedence over what the agent knows ‘outside’ about an action. For example, Price argued that approval of ‘persecution’ and ‘self-murder’ indicated how: the practical errors of men…plainly [arise] from…speculative errors; from…mistaking facts, or not seeing the whole of a case; whence it cannot but often happen, that they will think those practices right, which, if they had more just opinions of facts and cases, they would unavoidably condemn’.17

It is the responsibility of moral agents to incorporate ‘material’ from ‘outside’ conscience into their conscientious moral reasoning, where such ‘material’ will include, for example: the opinion of others, religious teachings, moral theories, past events, social traditions, and so on; precisely the same material that has helped to give human agents a moral education as part of the process of developing from an immature to mature moral agent (see Chap. 3). As such, the public sphere cannot be one from which religious and ethical viewpoints are excluded. Although the individual conscience does not create value, conscience gives individuals the freedom, and responsibility, to enact value on the basis of their own conscientious reflection. A public sphere with various religious and ethical voices prevents us from becoming complacent about what it means to fulfil our moral duties. It encourages each individual to participate actively in a society which adjudicates between various voices as we seek

17

 Richard Price, A Review of the Principal Questions in Morals, 3rd edn (London: 1787), 288–289.

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as many up to date resources as possible to inform our understanding of what it means to perform a genuine Act of Conscience (AOC).

6.4 Joseph Butler’s Reasoning Rather than viewing ourselves as privatised and absolutely authoritative constructors of value, a CER conception of human agency is one in which, by receiving the divine gift of reason, we are able to recognise ourselves as active, and self-responsible, participants in a realm of meaning, of and within which we stand neither as creators nor passive subjects. As a result, I argued in Chap. 3 that, contrary to Kantian criticisms, there was room for some form of practical moral reasoning (or at least moral reflection and introspection) and self-imposition in Clarkean rational intuitionism. What I called practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards may not seem like a particularly adequate form of practical reasoning qua reflection and introspection, not least because it is unavoidably circular: a cycle of reviewing relevant ‘material’, and the connections between them, where the reasoning itself does not appear to establish either the grounds of rightness or the reason for acting. Indeed, a related problem here is that it seems a mature Clarkean moral agent must always have more than one motive for acting (self-concern and obedience and benevolence), when it is not clear: (1) if that is possible and/or (2) whether, in that case, conscience functions more like moral reasoning qua retrospective rationalisation in Jonathan Haidt’s ‘social intuitionism’. Presumably, Haidt would approve of the Clarkeans’ ethical pluralism, when he argues it is the denial of ethical pluralism (for example, the reduction of morality to a ‘single vision’ of ‘harm and fairness’) that underpins the secularising legacy of Enlightenment rationalism (see Chap. 1). For Haidt, unlike the Clarkeans, we are ethically pluralist as a result of evolution, which has caused humans to develop ‘automatic’, ‘intuitive reactions’ to instances of care, fairness, loyalty, authority and sanctity.18 One of Haidt’s interests is in how we employ moral reasoning to justify or rationalise having these moral intuitions, not least when they  Jonathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind (London: Penguin, 2013), 53; 146–149.

18

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run counter to the values we say we possess—for example, the avowed atheist who nonetheless refuses to sign away their soul to another human being in exchange for money.19 Arguably, conscience—or what I have called, for the Clarkeans, conscientious moral reasoning upwards and downwards—becomes the place that we ‘struggle to construct post hoc justification for those [moral] feelings’ as we try and explain our ‘strong gut feelings about what is right and wrong’.20 In which case, conscientious moral reasoning is rather like F.H.  Bradley’s definition of ‘Metaphysics’: ‘the finding of bad reasons for what we believe upon instinct’.21 Nonetheless, in the context of CER at least, that process of reflection and introspection in conscience is not unimportant: it is part of the reflective system of resolve, necessary for crossing ‘gaps’ into rational decision and action. Practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards is also part of the process of moral development, where the agent with a fully-developed moral character, on the basis of reflecting upon all that she experiences in, and as, conscience, has not only increased self-­ awareness, but, as such, has gained a heightened awareness of everything for which she is responsible, and of all the relations of which she is a part, as a rational agent. Moreover, whether it is a particularly helpful or convincing form of practical moral reasoning, it does show that the practical moral reasoning available to the Clarkeans may at least be the same as that available to Joseph Butler. This is significant because while some neo-Kantian critics maintain that CER, as a form of rational intuitionism, does not admit room for practical moral reasoning ‘properly speaking’,22 they also offer proto-Kantian readings of Butler. I would suggest (developing the comparison between Butlerian and Clarkean conscience in Chap. 5) that the same form of practical moral reasoning either must or must not be available to both Butler and the Clarkeans, because they held the same theory of conscience.  Ibid., ch.2.  Ibid., 55; 58. 21  Cited by Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays, revsd edn (London: Routledge, 1995), 56. 22  Korsgaard, Kingdom, 316. 19 20

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Proto-Kantian readings of Butler often draw on two well-known passages; the same two passages that are often supposed to mark Butler’s break with CER: his distinction between strength and authority and his empirical method.23 Both have been read as indicating Butler’s ‘pledge to avoid reliance on intuitionistic metaphysics’,24 as part of the most influential and perceptive ‘analysis of self-legislation as the core of morality’ ‘until Kant’.25 In describing his empirical method, Butler pledged to start from the nature of human beings, rather than Clarke’s ‘abstract’ nature of things.26 Moreover, his distinction between strength and authority suggests that Butlerian conscience is ‘self-authorising’27 in a way Clarkean intuitive reason is not. While, in CER, the individual’s will is impinged upon by an external overriding authority—the independent ‘realm’ of normative fact—which intuitive reason ‘reliably track[s]’,28 Butler is able, in proto-Kantian terms, to conceive ‘of the will, as the capacity to make demands of oneself’.29 It is noteworthy that proto-Kantian interpreters of Butler, like Darwall, admit that there are Clarkean aspects of Butler which confuse his  See: J.  David Velleman, ‘The Voice of Conscience’, in Self to Self: Selected Essays (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 111; Barbara Herman, The Practice of Moral Judgement (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), 200, fn.25; Christine Korsgaard, The Sources of Normativity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 104; J.B. Schneewind, ‘The Use of Autonomy in Ethical Theory’, in Reconstructing Individualism: Autonomy, Individuality, and the Self in Western Thought, eds T.C.  Heller, et  al. (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1986), 65; Darwall, Internal ‘Ought’, 18; 269–217. For the contrast between Butler and CER on the basis of these passages, see also: Rachel Kydd, Reason and Conduct in Hume’s Treatise (New York, NY: Russell & Russell, 1964), 36; D.D. Raphael, ‘Bishop Butler’s View of Conscience’, Philosophy, Vol. XXIV:90 (July, 1949), 219–238; Nicholas Sturgeon, ‘Nature and Conscience in Butler’s Sermons’, The Philosophical Review, Vol.85:3 (July, 1976), 316–356; Alasdair MacIntyre, A Short History of Ethics, rvsd edn (London: Routledge, 2002), 106. 24  Darwall, Internal ‘Ought’, 269. 25  J.B.  Schneewind, ‘The Use of Autonomy in Ethical Theory’, in Reconstructing Individualism: Autonomy, Individuality, and the Self in Western Thought, eds T.C.  Heller, et  al. (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1986), 65. 26  Joseph Butler, Fifteen Sermons, Preface.7, in The Works of Joseph Butler, 2 Vols., ed. William Gladstone (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1897), vol.2. 27  Stephen Darwall, ‘Conscience as Self-Authorizing in Butler’s Ethics’ in C. Cunliff (ed.), Jopseh Butler’s Moral and Religious Thought: Tercentenary Essays (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), 209–241 and Internal ‘Ought’, 260. 28  Darwall, Internal ‘Ought’, 327. 29  Ibid., 20. 23

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Kantianism and proto-Kantian aspects of the Clarkeans, which confuse their Clarkeanism (see Chap. 3). So, why do Butler and the Clarkeans both have Clarkean and proto-Kantian aspects? The answer is not, as is claimed, that they are internally inconsistent,30 but that insufficient attention has been paid to the Clarkean conscience and what they call ‘practical’ or ‘relative’ virtue in the world as a ‘state of trial’ (see Chap. 3). The principal difference between Butler and the Clarkeans (which he tells us when describing his empirical method)31 is that his ethical writings will not reason from Clarkean ‘abstract virtue’ to ‘practical virtue’, but assume the former and be focused primarily on the latter. As J.B. Schneewind admits, one limit with the proto-Kantian reading of Butler is that where he ‘sees in self-governance only the explanation of our responsibility for our actions, Kant sees in it as well our responsibility for the principle that makes them right and wrong’.32 It follows from the discussion in this book that Butler stands in the tradition of recta ratio with the Clarkeans: actions are right and wrong according to Clarkean ‘objective’ or ‘abstract’ virtue. For him, the ‘moral law’ is God’s ‘attribute’, and, as such, was the guiding principle ‘of that goodness in the sovereign Mind, which gave birth to the universe’.33 Thus, when critics claim that Butler (like the Clarkeans) ‘affords no answer to the question, “What is the distinguishing quality common to all right actions?”’,34 they have only neglected the answer he supplies, which is the same as the Clarkeans: the ‘distinguishing quality common to all right acts’ is that they are an acting for ourselves and for others and for God, according to our ‘tripartite’ duties under the law of reason qua our law, God’s law, and the law of the created universe itself.35  Ibid., 248; Korsgaard, Sources, 31.  Butler, Fifteen Sermons, Preface.7 32  Schneewind, ‘Use of Autonomy’, 69. 33  Butler, Fifteen Sermons, XIV.17. 34  James Mackintosh, On the Progress of Ethical Philosophy, ed. William Whewell, 4th edn (Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black, 1872), 123–124. For this criticism, see also: A.N. Prior, Logic and the Basis of Ethics (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1949); Stephen, English Thought, vol.2, IX.51. 35  As Schneewind points out, in Butler’s Fifteen Sermons, the sermons are organised in such a way as to deal in turn with each of the ‘tripartite’ duties to ourselves, others, and God (The Invention of Autonomy: A History of Modern Moral Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 343, fn.24; 343). According to Butler: ‘an infinitely perfect Mind may be pleased, with seeing his 30 31

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Moreover, Butler has the same conception of moral development in the world as a state of trial as the Clarkeans. And, it is this Clarkean conception of moral development that explains the ‘notorious’36 ‘cool hour passage’. Here, Butler argues that ‘ideas’ of ‘happiness’ ‘ought to prevail’ over Clarkean and Shaftesburian ideas of ‘order, and beauty, and harmony, and proportion’.37 Thus, the ‘cool hour passage’ has been used to separate Butler from the Clarkeans, not least on the basis of its apparent hedonism.38 However, it has not been noticed that Butler is talking about a maturing moral agent, and that the self-interest in question is based upon ‘gospel-motives’ and conscience’s ‘presages’. The Clarkeans, as we have seen (Chap. 3), agreed with Butler that such non-moral religious motives are necessary to encourage us to embark upon the path of virtue and moral development when, in the state of trial, we might otherwise be confused and uncertain about both our motives for virtuous action and what the objectively virtuous action is in any particular case. In opposition to both neo-Kantian criticisms of the Clarkeans and the proto-Kantian reading of Butler, it is not just, as Darwall argues, in Butler that conscience ‘enables an agent to step back from actual motives (principles of action) and ask: What motive should I act on?’.39 According to Butler and the Clarkeans, the underdeveloped moral agent can start on the path of virtue and moral development by choosing to perform ‘materially virtuous’ acts qua AATC, simply because to do so is to follow his own judgement or in his own self-interest; and, more than this, in the world as a ‘state of trial’, even the fully-developed moral agent accepts that the actions she chooses as moral may not be ‘materially’ the right creatures behave suitably to the nature which he has given them; to the relations which he has placed them in to each other; and to that, which they stand in to himself: that relation to himself, which, during their existence, is even necessary, and which is the most important one of all’ (Analogy, I.II.3), so that we must, ‘Consider then what is the latitude and compass of the actions of man with regard to himself, his fellow-creatures, and the Supreme Being?’ (Fifteen Sermons, II.21). 36  Ralph Wedgewood, ‘Butler on Virtue, Self-Interest, and Human Nature’, in P. Bloomfield (ed.), Morality and Self-Interest (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 195. 37  Butler, Fifteen Sermons, XI.21. 38  See: A.R.  White, ‘Conscience and Self-Love, in Butler’s Sermons’, Philosophy, 27:103 (Oct., 1952), 329–344; H.A.  Prichard, Moral Obligation (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1949), 97; L.T. Hobhouse, Morals in Evolution, 6th edn (London: Chapman and Hall, 1929), 571; Sidgwick, Outlines, 196; Wedgwood, ‘Butler on Virtue’, 191. 39  Darwall, Internal ‘Ought’, 280.

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thing to do, even as she intends rectitude in the performance of them on the basis of her own practical moral reasoning. It is not the case, in opposition to Darwall’s proto-Kantian reading, that ‘Butler’ merely ‘defines conscience formally, not by its connection to an independent order’,40 just as it is not the case, in opposition to Darwall’s neo-Kantian criticisms of CER, that limited human ‘reason’, in either Butler or the Clarkeans, ‘reliably track[s]’ ‘external’ ‘independent normative facts’.41 Rather, we have seen that what Darwall thinks is only possible for Butlerian conscience is also the case for Clarkean conscience; in both Butler and CER, mature moral agents are responsible, in the world as a ‘state of trial’, for seeking, through ‘practical reasoning’, ‘guidance by considerations that we can reflectively endorse’.42 Although the understanding of ‘self-imposition’ and ‘reflective endorsement’ in Butler and CER will not be the same as in neo-Kantianism, because, in the former, unlike the latter, ‘values’ are not ‘created by human beings’,43 it is noteworthy that Korsgaard discusses conscience qua a ‘knowing together’ as evidence of the fact that ‘the idea that a moral motive is one approved in reflection did not originate with Kant’.44 Thus, Korsgaard herself indicates why a non-reduced understanding of the meaning and place of conscience in Butler and the Clarkeans is important, if we are to interpret them effectively. Both Butler and the Clarkeans would have agreed with Korsgaard that, ‘The mind’s authority does not depend upon the experience of…negative moral emotions, but it absolutely implies it’.45 In a way directly relevant to the ‘self-condemnation’ and ‘presages’ that, for both, we experience in, and as, conscience, Korsgaard argues that it is in the fact that we ‘impose sanctions’ and ‘punish ourselves, by guilt and regret and repentance and remorse’ that we can discover the power of ‘a person’s own mind’ ‘to

 Ibid., 279.  Ibid., 327. 42  Ibid., 329. 43  Korsgaard, Sources, 112. 44  Ibid., 92; 93, fn.2. 45  Ibid., 151. 40 41

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require things of ourselves’.46 Of course, Korsgaard wants to call such ‘legislative authority’ ‘voluntarist’: if we suffer for being immoral…our nature is in a position to punish us…by the voluntarist criterion of authority that means…our nature has authority over us, and is in a position to give us laws.47

However, in CER it does not appear necessary to call our experience of such ‘legislative authority’ ‘voluntarist’, although it could be called AATC, and lack of a mature moral character, whenever a rational agent does not get further than, in Hooker’s language, ‘seeming’ to herself to be the maker of law. In opposition to the proto-Kantian reading, ‘Practical reasoning’ in Butler is not ‘entirely formal’;48 but, at the same time, in both Butler and the Clarkeans there is a point in the process of moral development, and practical moral reasoning upwards and downwards, where conscience will, and must, be understood formally and embraced as a formal principle (see Chap. 3).

6.5 C  ontemporary Ethical Realism and Christian Metaphysics The discussion of conscience in this book hints at greater points of contact between Butler and CER, just as it has discussed direct points of contact with Witherspoon. The Clarkeans’ theory of conscience has also been used to mitigate against leading criticisms of them, and to reflect on their own role in conscience’s secularisation. But, of course, giving prominence to Clarkean conscience in this book, is not the same as arguing that we have to accept their theory of conscience or their recta ratio metaphysics. It is one thing to say that conscience carried metaphysical baggage for the Clarkeans as proponents of recta ratio, and another to say

 Ibid., 151.  Ibid., 66, fn.37. 48  Darwall, Internal ‘Ought’, 329. 46 47

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that conscience entails that metaphysical baggage, or that the Clarkeans have convinced us that all ethical theories must carry that baggage: One of the fundamental problems of a rationalism like Clarke’s or Balguy’s is that it fails to distinguish between the reasons for an obligation within a system of morality and the reasons for accepting the system of morality in the first place…[CER] provide[s] reasons for holding moral principles and acting according to them only if we already accept the general moral system of which they are a part.49

Frederick Beiser, in the above quotation, asks whether the Clarkeans can avoid ‘conventionalism’.50 Similarly, as we saw in Chap. 5, a problem for the Clarkeans is that their emphasis on the affective aspects of conscience, coupled with their emphasis on moral education and moral development, gives grounds for R.M. Hare’s view that intuitionists (and here he names Butler) have mistaken conscience for a faculty which intuits objective moral truth when it is actually constructed in us by convention: our society and upbringing.51 Thus, as for Beiser above, the Clarkeans are open to something like Gilbert Harman’s argument for moral relativism:52 if we see the truth of a particular moral theory, only because it is already conventional to us, then there is no need to posit some extra ‘queer’ metaphysics, non-natural properties like ‘fittingness’, or a ‘mysterious’ faculty, like conscience, which grants us access to them:53 our ‘inference to the best explanation’ is that everyone’s moral conscience is relativised by and to convention. Although they fall somewhat outside the scope of this book, Beiser’s criticism above points to two lines of enquiry that can develop from it: First, the question of where conscience might fit today in contemporary ethical theories which are realist (and which occasionally even  Beiser, Sovereignty, 306.  Beiser, Sovereignty, 290. 51  Hare, Language of Morals, 77 and Moral Thinking: Its Levels, Method and Point (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981), 45–46. 52  Gilbert Harman, The Nature of Morality: An Introduction to Morality (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1977), Ch.1. 53  For these criticisms of rational intuitionism, see Chap. 2. 49 50

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re-­ adopt mathematical and perceptual analogies), but without the Clarkeans’ metaphysics. It might be possible for moral conscience to avoid relativism, if we consider it as part of David Enoch’s ‘robust realism’, or what it means to take up Hilary Putnam’s ‘ethical perspective’; after all Putnam insists that it is possible both to claim ‘objective validity’ for our ‘judgements’ and to recognise ‘that they are shaped by a particular culture’.54 Putnam’s ‘ethical standpoint’ reminds us that the empirical sciences presuppose their own values (‘coherence and simplicity and the like’),55 and that these values are the ‘lenses’ through which they seek (and assume that there is such a thing as) a ‘“right description of the world”’.56 At the same time, we do not have to make the mistake of confusing mathematical and moral certainty; or, as Putnam puts it, of ‘equating objectivity with description’. Description is one, but not the only ‘function of language’, and crucially, it is not the only one to which such objective questions as, ‘“Is this way of achieving this function reasonable or unreasonable? Rational or irrational? Warranted or unwarranted?” apply’.57 Enoch makes a similar point when emphasising the fact that human beings cannot avoid being involved in a ‘deliberative project’ qua ‘essentially deliberative creatures’: ‘We cannot and should not avoid asking ourselves what to do, what to believe, how to reason, what to care about’.58 Our ‘deliberative project’ is comparable to the ‘explanatory’ project of an empirical scientist, but should not be confused with it. The scientist believes that the world is ‘explanation-friendly’; similarly, when we deliberate about what to do we believe the universe is ‘deliberation-friendly’. For example, when deliberating about which career path to take, or which university to go to, part of the reason why those deliberations can be such a struggle is that we think the choice is not ‘arbitrary’; our deliberation will deliver the right answer. The answer to our practical deliberations will not look the  Hilary Putnam, The Collapse of the Fact/Value Dichotomy, and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004), 45. 55  Ibid., 31. 56  Ibid., 32–33. 57  Ibid., 33. 58  David Enoch, ‘An Outline of an Argument for Robust Metanormative Realism’, in Oxford Studies in Metaethics, 34. 54

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same, and cannot be approached through the same methods, as the scientist’s theoretical explanations; but, in both cases, in embarking on the project in the first place, we are searching for, and committed to the belief that there is, an objectively right answer to both our deliberative and explanatory projects. In neither case, is the answer ‘arbitrary’.59 Developing Putnam and Enoch, it might be the case that conscience is what we are doing, not when we are trying to describe or explain, but when we are engaged in a ‘deliberative project’. So, although neither Enoch nor Putnam use the term, there might still be a place for conscience qua deliberative as opposed to explanatory reasoning; conscience is us asking ourselves ‘what to do, what to believe, how to reason, what to care about’,60 as we search for (in Clarkean terms) ‘morally’, if not ‘mathematically’, ‘certain’ answers to these objective questions. Second, returning to Beiser above, it is not obvious that Clarke and Balguy do ‘fail’ to take account of the difference he identifies—indeed, failure to take account of that difference was a criticism they had for deism. Clarke and Balguy did think that we learn moral right and wrong in a particular religio-cultural context, and they were quite comfortable with that, precisely because their context was one they believed had the potential to become universal: liberal Protestantism grounded in the New Testament text itself. Where CER maintains both that the world is created and that it is fallen, the need for moral education does not undermine a commitment to the rational moral order in favour of conventionalism; it is consistent with the fact that fallen and limited human ‘Reason…is exercised, improved, and enlightened by Revelation’.61 The above quotation takes us full circle. For the Clarkeans, as for the critics of the Enlightenment’s legacy in Chap. 1, reason is not a naturalised human calculative faculty, with its parameters set by a ‘this-­ worldliness’, that either denies revelation and religious experience are truth-evaluable, or else declares them falsities. The fact that ‘Reason…is exercised, improved, and enlightened by Revelation’ in CER reminds us  Ibid., 32–36; 46.  Ibid., 34. 61  John Balguy, A Second Letter to a Deist, Concerning a late Book Entitled, Christianity as Old as the Creation, in Collection, 295. 59 60

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that Clarkean ethical rationalism is a moral theology, grounded in a realist Christian metaphysics, so that analysing the Clarkean conception of conscience, recta ratio, and moral development in the world as a ‘state of trial’, also becomes the opportunity to reflect further, not just on their doctrine of creation and fallenness, but on the place for the incarnation and the atonement in their ethical rationalism: The more I consider, the more I am convinced, that many Arguments, many Truths, both Moral and Religious, which appear to us the Products of our Understanding, and the Fruits of Ratiocination, are, in reality, nothing more than Emanations from Scripture, Rays of the Gospel imperceptibly transmitted, and, as it were, conveyed to our Minds in a Side-Light: That many of our Deductions and Discoveries, which we are apt to look upon as Oracles of our Reason, would be found, if they were fairly traced, entirely owing to certain Hints borrowed from Revelation…Even the Virtuousi of your [Tindal’s] Sect are this way indebted to those inspired Writings which they disown and reject. The Gospel has enlightened even Them, however insensible they may be of the Favour. I shall take the Liberty to affirm, that the best Part of that Knowledge which they ascribe to the Light of Nature, is really supernatural; and, perhaps, it may be said, that they fight Christianity with its Own Weapons.62

Thousands of years after the gospel the intuitive immediacy, the ‘Clearness and Distinctness’,63 with which we assent to certain moral and religious truths dulls the fact that they were revealed. If deists were sincere, the fact that they have been brought up in an explicitly Christian society would moderate their claim that the mere possession of unredeemed reason makes individual’s self-sufficient. Of course, disingenuous ‘Deists, Now, in Places where Learning and right Reason are cultivated, are well able to discover and explain all the Obligations and Motives of Morality without believing any Thing of Revelation’.64 However, a sincere deist would  Ibid.  Samuel Clarke, A Discourse Concerning the Unchangeable Obligations of Natural Religion, and the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Religion, in Samuel Clarke, A Discourse Concerning the Being and Attributes of God, the Obligations of Natural Religion, and the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Religion, 10th edn (London: 1767) 10th edn (London: 1767), 163. 64  Ibid., 161. 62 63

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admit that the apparent intuitive self-evidence of Christ’s teachings points to the ‘Marks of a Divine Original’65 in both the teachings and the teacher. For Clarke and Balguy, the testimony of Christ’s miracles, and the fact that his own disciples died in his name, give us a moral certainty that he was the incarnate son of God. But so too does the fact that the teachings of this individual crucified as a criminal in first-­century Palestine spread to, and irreversibly influenced, the whole world. Of course, the Christian religion appears to be a republication of the truths of natural religion: the divine son of God brought those truths to us, and awoke them in us, and, in doing so, gave us the means to develop in our divine image qua rational creatures. The fact that the Christian message has spread across the world, and that modern deists find it easy to assent to the (low church) ‘fundamentals’ of Christ’s teachings, gives them (quite literally) reason for believing in the truth of Christian revelation: Christianity neither abrogates nor discountenances the least Tittle [sic] of the Law of Nature: On the contrary, as it sets the whole in the strongest Light; so it earnestly recommends and inculcates, above all Things, the Observation of it. Those additional Rules, and subsidiary Precepts, which we find intermixed, are not intended to supply the Defects of the Law; for there are none such: nor to improve, or exalt it; for that is impossible: but are designed merely to help our Infirmities, and bring us back to that Line of Duty from which we had swerved. By the Aids of the Gospel, Men are enabled and inclined to act conformably to that glorious Rule [of ‘right reason’]; to recover, in some measure, the Dignity of their Nature, and walk worthy of their high and heavenly Vocation.66

65 66

 Ibid., 174.  Balguy, Second Letter, 323.

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Index1

A

Acting According to Conscience (AATC), 157–159, 167, 177, 189, 191, 195, 288, 294, 296 Act of Union (1707), 207 Adams, John, 32 Addison, Joseph, 189, 211, 236–244 Ahnert, Thomas, 205 American Declaration of Independence, 21, 201, 272 American Revolution, 2n2, 32, 39, 272, 285 Ameriks, Karl, 20n64, 152, 194 An Act of Conscience (AAOC), 157, 158, 177, 189, 191, 196 Analogy (mathematical), 8, 10–12, 34, 36, 39, 41, 42, 52, 56, 58, 73, 76, 87, 94, 101, 123n268,

127, 132, 134, 143n82, 193, 216, 232, 234, 252, 254, 254n25, 257, 280, 282, 283, 285–287, 287n16, 298 Analogy (sight), 39, 73, 76, 232, 234, 235 Anglicanism, 54n214 Annet, Peter, 33 Ansbach, wife of George II, 26 Anthony Ashely Cooper (Lord Shaftesbury), 3–5, 210, 264n68, 278, 279 A priori/a posteriori knowledge, 11, 38, 110–112 Aquinas, Thomas, 47, 50, 57, 66, 142, 143n82, 189 Arianism, 37n119, 209 Aristotle, 143n82, 196

 Note: Page numbers followed by ‘n’ refer to notes.

1

© The Author(s) 2020 D. Mills Daniel, Ethical Rationalism and Secularisation in the British Enlightenment, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-52203-2

335

336 Index

Atheism, 13–15, 107 Audi, Robert, 287n16 Ayer, A.J., 25 B

Bacon, Francis, 4, 13 Balguy, John, 32, 33, 35, 39, 44, 55n222, 75, 89, 90n100, 126, 132–134, 139, 148, 149, 151–154, 155n129, 156, 161, 167, 173, 176, 176n254, 246, 246n220, 261, 278, 279n3, 280, 282n5, 285, 297, 299, 301 Balguy, Thomas, 33 Bangorian controversy, 2n2, 29, 33, 39 Bayes, Thomas, 32, 33 Beiser, Frederick, 36, 37, 42, 87, 88, 134, 251, 297, 299 Benevolence, 46, 80–82, 84, 96–100, 106, 113–117, 119, 125, 126, 147n93, 161–167, 182, 183, 216, 217, 263, 282, 290 Bentham, Edward, 33 Bentham, Jeremy, 5n10, 15–19, 19n62, 45, 78, 88n91, 270 Berlin Isaiah, 15, 15n45 Bitterman, Henry, 265, 266, 266n77 Blackburn, Lancelot, 33 Blair, Hugh, 201, 202 Blake, William, 3–5, 5n10, 7, 13–18, 16n45, 36, 38, 278 Boyle, Robert, 27, 38, 38n121

Bridging concept (conscience as), 95–97, 100, 171 British Enlightenment, 1–3, 24, 246, 277 Burke, Edmund, 32, 265, 272 Burnet, Thomas, 55, 55n222, 254n24 Butler, Joseph, 26, 33, 67, 67–68n335, 69, 87n87, 92, 136, 145, 155n129, 168, 184, 189, 209, 210, 252n22, 253n23, 254n24, 255–264, 261n57, 266–268, 266n82, 271, 272, 277, 283, 290–297 C

Calvin, John, 212, 222, 241 Calvinism, 202, 203, 211, 225, 229, 245 Cambridge Platonists, 43, 44, 242, 255–258, 256n31, 279 Carlyle, Alexander, 201, 202, 214, 237, 244n216 Casuistry, 253n23, 254n23 Categorical imperative, 16, 19, 19n62, 93 Chillingworth, William, 28, 28n82 Christian metaphysics, 252, 278, 296–301 Church of England, 28 Church of Scotland, 203 See also Kirk Cicero, 45–47, 102n151, 118, 179 Clark, J.C.D., 2n2, 29 Clarke, Samuel, 3, 75, 133, 201, 230–244, 262, 277

 Index 

Clarkean ethical rationalism (CER), 5n10, 26–34, 37, 41, 42, 61n275, 73, 76–95, 98–100, 105, 111, 119, 125–127, 132, 134–139, 142, 144, 146–147n93, 148, 151, 152, 156, 167, 171, 177, 179, 181, 182, 186, 188, 191–197, 215, 216, 246, 247, 254n23, 254n25, 255, 256, 257n34, 258, 260, 268, 273, 280, 281, 282n5, 284, 286, 287n16, 288, 290–292, 292n23, 295–297, 299, 300 Clarke-Collins correspondence, the, see Collins, Anthony Clement of Alexandria, 159 Collins, Anthony, 38, 138n38 Common notions, 53–57, 59 Consciousness, 51, 74, 100, 125, 138–139, 158, 169, 181, 190, 249, 254n23, 260, 262, 274, 283, 287 Creation, 9, 48, 49, 67, 99–105, 116, 117, 121, 124, 137n36, 146–147n93, 149n98, 160, 173, 184, 194, 212, 248, 281, 300 Crisp, Roger, 135 Crowe, Michael, 251, 254n25 Cudworth, Ralph, 67–70, 137n36, 189, 242, 259 Culverwell, Nathaniel, 43, 43–44n138 Cumberland, Richard, 43, 43–44n138, 96, 137n36

337

D

Daemon, 53, 53n204, 69, 70, 249 Daiches, David, 239, 240 Darwall, Stephen, 88, 92, 92n114, 133, 134, 148, 193, 284, 292, 294, 295 Darwin, Charles, 266 Dawkins, Richard, 25, 25n78 Deism, 14, 27, 37, 37n119, 38, 44, 136, 149n98, 209, 278, 299 Deontological ethics, 16 Descartes, Rene, 4, 258 Douglas affair, 201–204, 206–208, 210–223, 228, 228n137, 229, 231, 237, 245 E

Edinburgh Review, 210, 210n31 Egoism, 8, 13–15, 18, 246n218 Emotivism, 25 Empiricism, 7, 8, 12 Enlightenment, 1–71, 79, 87, 88, 252, 254, 277, 278, 280, 286, 290, 299 Enlightenment rationalism, 15, 17–19, 21, 22, 27, 39, 79, 87, 88, 277, 278, 280, 290 Enoch, David, 298, 299 Epistemology, 43, 135, 189, 268, 270 Equity, 11, 46, 113–117, 160, 216, 260, 284 Essences (real and nominal), 6, 9, 10 Ethical pluralism, 290

338 Index

Ethical rationalism, 2n2, 3, 24, 27, 31, 44, 79, 83, 136, 201, 215, 216, 232–234, 236, 245, 246, 246n220, 277, 300 Ethical realism, 55n222, 267, 296–301 Expressivism, 77 F

Fact/value distinction, 25, 25n78, 77, 79, 280, 285 Faith, 4, 16, 28–30, 44, 146n93, 147, 148, 159, 178–181, 183–188, 213, 214, 219, 221, 222, 256, 257 Fallenness (of human beings), 140n60, 159–161, 222, 300 Ferguson, J.P., 137 Finnis, John, 36, 37, 87, 88, 106 Frankena, Willam, 171, 172 Franklin, Benjamin, 32 Freewill, 32, 139–141, 167, 173, 186, 194 French Revolution, 2n2, 32, 39, 272, 285 G

Gay, John, 263, 263n62, 269, 270 Gillespie, Andrew, 205, 225, 226, 228n137 Golden Rule, 34, 215, 234 Gregory, Brad, 271 Griffin, Martin, 256 Grotius, Hugo, 45, 143n82, 233, 254

H

Haakonssen, Knud, 42, 43, 251 Haidt, Jonathan, 16, 17, 36, 87, 88, 88n91, 290 Hale, Matthew, 252, 253 Happiness, 18–20, 22–25, 22n72, 36, 74, 80–82, 84–86, 93, 95, 114, 115, 117, 125, 137, 142, 143, 147n93, 149n98, 162, 166, 171, 173, 176–178, 183, 217, 219, 267, 269, 285, 294 Hare, John, 20n64, 152, 194 Hare, R.M., 297 Harman, Gilbert, 297 Harm principle, 23 Hartley, David, 262, 263n62, 267, 268 Hazlitt, William, 266, 266n82 Heteronomy of the will, 92–94, 132, 280 Hoadly, Benjamin, 29, 29n85, 29n87, 30n91, 31–33, 31n99, 39, 39n125, 40, 285 Hobbes, Thomas, 4, 5, 5n10, 8–14, 18, 36, 78, 192n338, 279, 279n3 Home, Henry (Lord Kames), 202 Home, John, 201, 202, 214, 237 Hooker, Richard, 28, 100, 102, 128, 149, 166, 283, 296 Howe, Daniel, 205 Hudson, W.D., 99, 125, 259 Hume, David, 5n10, 27, 36, 67–68n335, 76–79, 78n22, 83–88, 87n87, 88n91, 92, 92n114, 93, 101, 106, 127, 145, 166, 202, 203, 214–218,

 Index 

218n76, 220–222, 229, 232, 233, 236–238, 239n187, 240, 241, 246, 246n218, 246n220, 254n25, 256, 257, 260, 268, 278, 279, 279n3, 282n5, 285 Humean criticisms, 3, 79, 88, 90n100, 91, 131, 132, 191, 252, 255 Humean Theory of Motivation (HTM), 77, 88 Hutcheson, Frances, 5n10, 27, 31n99, 32, 33, 55n222, 67, 67–68n335, 69, 75–83, 78n22, 78n23, 87, 87n87, 88, 90, 90n100, 92, 101, 106, 126, 127, 156–158, 162, 166, 167, 210, 214–217, 215n57, 220–222, 232, 233, 246, 246n218, 246n220, 254n24, 254n25, 256, 257, 259, 262, 268, 269, 278, 279, 279n3 Hutchesonian criticisms, 79 I

Innate ideas, 9n25, 12, 44, 52, 55, 55n222, 56, 252, 254n24, 269 Instinctive determinations, 159, 161, 163–168, 188, 259 Intrinsic rightness, 35, 39, 41, 73, 89, 90n100, 94–128, 136, 139, 144–148, 146–147n93, 151–153, 190, 191, 193, 194, 197, 247, 249, 257, 281, 282, 286, 287 Intuition, 34, 35, 39–41, 43, 50, 52–53, 56, 59, 62, 73–128,

339

135, 146n93, 149n98, 194, 248, 253–254n23, 262, 274, 285–287, 287n16, 290 Irwin, T.H., 35, 176n254 Is/ought gap, 27, 36, 76, 78n23, 79, 87, 89, 93, 95, 106, 131, 215n57, 280, 285 Israel, Jonathan, 2n2, 209 J

Jefferson, Thomas, 32 Jesus Christ, 31, 54n214 Justice, 11, 30, 38, 46, 51, 60, 61n275, 98, 104, 107–109, 141, 143, 147n93, 160, 182, 183, 282, 284 K

Kant, Immanuel, 5n10, 15–21, 15–16n45, 19n62, 20n64, 21n66, 55n222, 69, 78, 88n91, 93, 99, 133, 192n338, 193, 196, 197, 293, 295 Kantian criticisms of the Clarkeans, 132 Kelly, J.N.D., 159 Kirk, 202, 203, 205, 214, 215, 218, 221, 226, 235n168, 239, 253n23 See also Church of Scotland Korsgaard, Christine, 92, 92n114, 133–135, 148, 152, 180, 193–197, 284, 285, 295, 296

340 Index L

Latitudinarianism, 28, 39, 210, 252 Law of nature, 46, 52, 57, 96, 101, 109, 110, 117, 118, 148–151, 149n98, 154, 301 Law, Edmund, 263, 263n62, 267–270 Leibniz, Gottfried, 26, 208, 235, 235n168 Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence, 26, 209 Liberty of conscience, 29, 39, 41, 223–227, 228n137, 231, 235, 236, 245, 271, 285 Locke, John, 4–15, 16n45, 18, 28, 28n82, 29, 34, 36, 55, 55n222, 78, 79, 87n87, 147n93, 210, 238, 252, 252n22, 253, 253–254n23, 254n24, 254n25, 269, 279, 279n3, 289 Low, Anthony, 271 Luther, Martin, 28, 29 M

MacIntyre, Alasdair, 18n56, 23, 87, 284 Mackie, J.L., 91, 93 Maclaurin, John (Lord Dreghorn), 211 Maclaurin, John (theologian), 212 Malthus, Thomas, 32 Materialism, 14, 15, 24 Mathematics/mathematical analogy, 8, 10–12, 34, 36, 39, 41, 42, 52, 56, 58, 73, 76, 87, 94, 123n268, 127, 132, 134,

143n82, 193, 216, 232, 234, 252, 254, 254n25, 257, 280, 282, 283, 285–287, 287n16, 298 Maxwell, John, 96, 100 McDowell, John, 192 McGinty, J.W., 209, 210 McIntosh, John, 205 Metaphysics, 86, 252, 278, 279, 291, 292, 296–301 Mill, John Stuart, 15–16n45, 19, 22, 23 Milton, John, 271 Moderate party, 202–204, 206, 226, 229, 244n216 See also Kirk Moir, Andrew, 211, 223, 225 Moore, G.E., 92, 283 Moral agency, 41, 138, 139 Moral certainty, 143n82, 144, 148, 153, 182, 187, 252, 253n23, 256, 287, 298, 301 Moral duties (tripartite), 70, 97n131, 98, 133, 143, 171, 180, 213, 228, 234, 248, 259, 282, 283, 288, 289 Moral excellence, 157 Moral fetishism, 87–90, 99, 157, 194, 280 Moral obligation, 74, 115, 119, 125, 175, 178, 232, 268 Moral reasoning upwards and downwards, 144–148, 153, 156, 159, 164, 165, 168, 181–184, 187, 190, 196, 290, 291 Moral relativism, 297

 Index 

Moral sense, 55n222, 67–68n335, 76, 79–83, 87n87, 88, 106, 126, 157, 162, 207, 214–217, 219–221, 224, 225, 227–230, 228n137, 232–236, 245, 246, 254n24, 255, 262, 266–270, 278 Moral sentiment (the theory of ), 84–87 More, Henry, 52 Motive(s), 19, 24, 74, 75, 82, 86, 87, 90, 99, 115, 139, 140, 158, 170, 171, 176, 178, 190, 196, 263, 290, 294, 295 N

Naturalisation of conscience, 262–263, 271, 273 Naturalisation of reason, 24–25, 34, 71, 277, 280–286 Natural law (Thomistic), 41–45, 127, 278 Natural notions, 30, 59, 60, 95, 107–109, 111, 114–117, 175, 176 Natural religion, 14, 98, 206, 301 Neo-Kantianism, 152, 196, 197, 295 Newman, Henry, 261, 274 New natural philosophy, 3–5, 7, 8, 24 New Testament, 30, 54, 54n214, 299 Newton, Isaac, 3–8, 13, 15, 26, 27, 34, 38, 208, 209 Noll, Mark, 209, 210 Nominalism, 107, 252 Non-naturalism, 91 Normative truths, 194

341

Normativity, 34, 43, 80, 93, 94, 132, 135, 152, 216, 257, 279 Norris, John, 55 Nowell-Smith, P.H., 40, 87 P

Paine, Thomas, 32, 273 Palestine, 301 Paley, William, 263, 263n62, 268, 270, 271, 273 Pascal, Blaise, 256, 256n31, 258, 259 Patronage Act, 204, 205, 208, 210, 215, 223, 230, 245, 285 Patronage (in the Kirk), 205, 207, 211, 230, 272 Paul, Saint, 118, 189, 213 Perkins, William, 62, 249, 253n23 Philosophy of the five senses, 5–8, 13 Plato, 11, 64, 118, 179, 180 Platonic Forms, 10 Pleasure, 18, 19, 23–25, 74, 75, 80, 82, 85, 87, 105, 106, 121, 122, 126, 157, 167, 173, 221, 245 Pope, Alexander, 38 Popular party, 203–206, 211, 225, 226, 233, 244n216, 245, 285 See also Kirk Presbyterian Church, 272 Price, Richard, 31–33, 39, 55n222, 74, 75, 90n100, 97–99, 107, 108, 125, 134, 139, 141, 142, 145, 147n93, 148, 149, 151, 152, 154, 155, 155n129, 157, 158, 161–163, 167, 168, 173, 174, 184, 192, 193, 246, 246n218, 246n220, 258, 272, 273, 278, 279n3, 280, 282n5, 283, 285, 289

342 Index

Prichard, H.A., 294n38 Priestley, Joseph, 32 Protestantism, 28, 271, 299 Pufendorf, Samuel, 97n131 Putnam, Hilary, 298, 299 Q

Queen Caroline (Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach, wife of George II), 26, 29n85 R

Raphael, D.D., 265, 266 Rational instincts, 50, 51, 65, 103 Rational intuitionism, 27, 76, 79, 87, 88, 91, 157, 259, 286, 290, 291, 297n53 Rationalism, 2n2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 13–15, 16n45, 17–19, 21, 22, 24, 27, 32, 37–39, 44, 79, 83, 87, 88, 136, 201, 207, 208, 210, 215, 216, 232–234, 236, 245, 246, 246n220, 269, 277, 278, 280, 286, 290, 297, 300 Rawls, John, 21, 25 Reason (practical), 24, 57–58, 93, 94, 106, 133, 139, 144–147, 151, 171–174, 184, 193, 197, 280, 290, 295, 296 Reason (speculative), 20, 38, 57–58, 180, 192, 257 Recta ratio, 8–10, 9n25, 36, 37, 42, 43, 43–44n138, 45–47, 52, 54n214, 55n222, 61n275, 70, 71, 94, 100–106, 109, 111, 118, 123, 126–128,

132, 135, 142, 143n82, 149n98, 162, 169, 247–249, 251, 252, 254, 255, 259, 260, 278, 279, 281, 283, 287, 293, 296, 300 Referents of conscience, 222, 274, 279 Religious experience, 36, 281 Revelation, 18, 27, 31, 36–38, 136, 149–150n98, 180, 273, 299–301 Rhetoric of conscience, 201–246 Richardson, Andrew, 225 Right reason (Ciceronian), 41–45, 127 Rivers, Isabel, 259n50 Robertson, William, 202, 226, 229, 244n216 Ross, W. David, 143n82 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 26 S

Sanderson, Robert, 43–44n138, 45, 62, 249, 251, 253n23, 260 Sartre, Jean-Paul, 22 Satan, 214, 217, 218, 218n81 Schweitzer, Albert, 88n92 Scientific rationalism, 4, 13–15, 16n45, 24, 38, 286 Scotland, 2, 201, 202, 204, 211, 214, 217, 218, 218n81, 223, 224, 229–231, 236, 238, 239, 241–243, 245, 246n220, 272, 278, 279, 285 Scottish Enlightenment, 2n2, 201–246, 278 Searle, J.R., 187, 288

 Index 

Secularisation (of conscience), 55n222, 71, 247–274, 277, 296 Secular liberalism, 19, 20, 39 Self-interest, 14, 24, 148, 159, 176, 182, 190, 294 Self-love, 81, 96–98, 100, 128, 135, 157, 161–164, 166, 167, 171, 179, 184, 263 Shaftesbury, 3rd earl of (Anthony Ashley Cooper), 3–5, 210, 264n68, 278, 279 Shakespeare, William, 211, 236–244 Sherlock, William, 43, 55, 55n222 Sidgwick, Henry, 136, 137, 147, 171, 262, 266–268, 271 Smith, Adam, 26, 69, 69n342, 203, 206, 209, 210, 229, 241, 255, 262–266, 266n82, 277 Smith, Christian, 16n45, 24, 87 Smith, Michael, 91, 131 Socrates, 179, 180 Sorabji, Richard, 55n222 South, Robert, 43, 52 Spurr, John, 42, 251, 252, 255 State of trial, 137, 140, 140n60, 141, 143, 147n93, 151–154, 159–161, 163, 168–170, 173, 176–182, 185, 186, 190, 191, 194–197, 261, 288, 293–295, 300 Steele, Richard, 238 Stephen, Leslie, 281, 283, 284 Stewart, Dugald, 263, 264, 264n68, 266 Stoicism, 45, 170 Suneidesis, 54n214, 62, 62n285 Supervenience, 91–92, 126, 127, 131, 280, 281

343

Syllogism, 253–254n23, 270 Synderesis, 62n285 T

Tabula rasa, 12, 56 Tait, L.G., 209 Taylor, Charles, 16, 16n45, 17, 19, 21, 87 Taylor, Jeremy, 43, 45, 62, 97n131 Test and Corporation Acts, 28 Thomas, 33 Tillotson, John, 44, 60n275, 152, 250, 252, 256 Tindal, Matthew, 27, 32, 39n125, 136, 149, 149–150n98, 151, 153, 156–158, 167, 179, 182, 272, 278, 300 To hegemonikon, 55n222, 66–70, 67–68n335, 87n87, 101, 140, 189, 259, 259n51 Transubstantiation, 28 Trinity, 28, 43 Tripartite moral duties, 70, 97n131, 98, 248, 283 U

United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, 274 University of Cambridge, 33 University of Edinburgh, 201, 202, 244n216 University of Glasgow, 214–215 University of Oxford, 33 Utilitarianism, 16, 18, 19, 25, 88, 263, 268

344 Index V

W

Virtue(s), 8, 12, 55n222, 69, 74, 75, 78, 80–82, 86, 89n96, 90n100, 98, 99, 104, 110, 118, 121–123, 125, 126, 136, 137n36, 139, 141, 144, 149, 155n129, 157–159, 161, 162, 164, 166, 167, 170, 172–174, 176–182, 184, 185, 187–189, 195, 197, 215, 216, 219, 220, 232, 245, 257, 259, 263, 265, 269, 270, 293, 294 Voltaire, 26, 209 Voluntarism, 8, 13, 44n138, 107, 246n218

Warnock, G.J., 87, 92, 92n112 Washington, George, 32 Waterland, Daniel, 33, 45, 263, 263n62, 267, 268, 270 Westminster Confession, 272 Whichcote, Benjamin, 9n25, 60–61n275, 97n131, 102–105, 137n36, 250, 257, 258, 271 Wilkins, John, 60n275, 252, 253 Witherspoon, John, 55n222, 201, 208–213, 219–223, 225–227, 231–237, 241–245, 244n216, 272, 278, 285, 296 Wollstonecraft, Mary, 32