Readings in Ethical Theory [2 ed.]
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second edition

Readings in Ethical Theory Edited by

Wilfrid Sellars University of Pittsburgh

John Hospers University of Southern Californw

PRENTICE-HALL, INC., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

@)1970 by PRENTICE-HALL, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NeW Jersey All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN: 0-13-756007-9 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 75-107 425 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3

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Preface The enthusiastic response to Readings in Phik>sophical Analysis has reinforced our conviction that there is a genuine need for collections of important papers and other readings in the various areas of philosophy. The present volume is an attempt to satisfy this need in the field of ethical theory. More specifically, our aim has been to provide a balanced and first-hand account of the theoretical controversies that have developed in ethics since the publication in 1903 of Moore's Principia Ethica. With the exception of a very few cases in which it seemed clear from the beginning that an item belonged in our collection, we have pondered our choices seriously and, long. In many cases it was extremely difficult for us to make up our minds. More than one "final" list was scrapped when excluded items made their absence felt, and had it not been for the necessity of meeting a deadline, this process might have gone on indefinitely. "In Deliberation, the last Appetite . . . immediately adhearing to the action ... is that wee call the WILL ...."• In this sense only did we "will" the follO\ving group of selections rather than any one of a number of lists betw"een which, like Buridan's ass, we hesitated. Though the volume as a whole is organized by topics rather than by publication date, we have followed, ceteris paribus, the chronological order of items vvithin each section, thus reproducing the sequence in which controversy developed. However, we have occasionally seen fit to violate chronological order even here, namely when the logical or pedagogical order ·of ideas was such that an issue could be more clearly grasped by doing so. For example, in Part IV, the essay "Free-will and Psychoanalysis," though chronologically later, has been placed before the three remaining essays of the section, inasmuch as the empirical material it contains gives body to the more abstract treatment of moral freedom in the remaining essays. Teachers who use this book should by no means feel it incumbent upon them to assign the material in the order in which it is presented in this anthology. As a matter of fact, the order in which the selections are printed is the result of highlighting only a few of the complex interrelationships which exist between them. It is useful primarlly as a point aappui for the exploration of the controversies to be found in the literature of ethical theory, but it is not the order in vvhich the selections are necessarily to be read or taught. V\/e can conceive of several equally valid sequences in which ,the readings might be studied, and have no doubt that colleagues who use the book will think of still others. Since many of the essays deal with a variety of topics, it was by no means obvious in many cases where a given essay belonged, and our grouping has been accompanied by an awareness of the fact that the compartments are not water-tight and many 4 Thomas Hobbes, Lev-Iathan, Part I, Chapter 6, quoted from the Clarendon Press (Oxford) edition, 1909, p. 46.

v

vi

PREFACE

selections bulge their compartments. I'Ve hasten to add that we did not begin with the Part headings and look for material appropriate to them; rather the headings varied with the successive lists of essays in the process of mutual accommodation. Our thanks are due to the many friends and colleagues who have aided and encouraged us in this enterprise, and particularly to Professor William Frankena of the University of Michigan, whose detailed suggestions and comments at all stages have been invaluable, though he must not be held responsible for the contents of the volume. We wish finally to tender our apologies and regrets to those whose essays, sometimes at the last moment, we were obliged to omit; particularly in those cases where permission to reprint had already been secured from both author and publisher. The bibliography at the end of the volume exhibits the richness from which we had to choose, and our publishers have indeed been generous in giving us as much- space as they have. This book should be of particular use in introductory courses in ethics at the senior college level, second courses in ethics, courses in ethical theory, and seminars in moral philosophy and theory of value. It also contains invaluable material for courses and seminars in contemporary philosophy and in philosophical analysis. vVe wish to express our deep appreciation to the authors of the articles included in this anthology for their kind permission to reprint, either in full or by way of excerpt, the material here presented. Our gratitude is also extended to the original editors and publishers of these essays for their friendly cooperation. In the seventeen years since the first edition of this book appeared, the literature of ethical theory has become so extensive as to defy encapsulation in one volume, however lengthy. Nevertheless, the passage of time has dated the first edition sufficiently to make us try. In the revised edition we have not only attempted to update the material and delete those selections which in the light of recent developments seemed less important; we have also attempted to alter somewhat the range of subjects treated. We have, for example, included some representative twentieth-century readings in normative ethics~an area which, except for G. E. :Nioore~s two brief chapters on utilitarianism, was not included in the first edition. And we have, on the other hand, eliminated all readings specifically devoted to the free-will problem, except insofar as it bears directly on the problem of moral responsibility-a policy which seemed advisable in view of the great variety of books and anthologies now available which are devoted exclusively to the problems of free-will and determinism.

w.s. J.H.

Contents

I.

Preface

v

Introduatory

1

The Elements of Ethics-Bertrand Russell

3

II.

The Analysis of Ethical Concepts

29

A.

Moore and the Naturalistic Fallacy

31

The Indefinability of Good-G. E. Moore

31

The Naturalistic Fallacy->V. K. Frankena

54

How to Derive "Ought" from "Is"-John R. Searle

63

How Not to Derive "Ought" from "Is"-James Thomson

B.

and Judith Thomson

73

Ethical Non-Naturalism

77

Ethical Judgments-Henry Sidgwick

77

Does Moral Philosophy Rest on a Mistake?-H. A. Prichard

86

On the Idea of a Philosophy of

C.

Ethics~I ames

Balfour

97

The. Meaning of "Right"-Sir David Ross

106

A Suggested Non-Naturalistic Analysis of Good-A. C. Ewing

115

Ethical Naturalism

130

Hypostatic Ethics-George Santayana

130

Value as Any Object of Any Interest-R. B. Perry

138

The Meaning of 'Good'-Sir David Ross

152 vii

viii

D.

CONTENTS Moral and Non-Moral Values-C. A. Campbell

169

Method in Ethics-Paul Henle

188

Ethical Absolutism and the Ideal Observer-Roderick Firth

200

'Good,' 'Right,' 'Ought,' 'Bad'-Brand Blanshard

222

Ethical Non-Cognitivism

241

A Suggestion About Value-W. H. F. Barnes

241

Critique of Ethics-A. J. Ayer

242

Critique of Ayer-S ir David Ross

250

Ethical Judg.ements-A. J. Ayer

252

The Emotive Meaning of Ethical Terms-C. L. Stevenson

254

The Emotive Conception of Ethics and Its Cognitive ImplicationsC. L. Stevenson

E.

F.

267

Emotivism and Ethical Objectivity-Carl Wellman

276

The Impasse in Ethics-and a Way Out-Brand Blanshard

288

Mixed Views

302

The Meaning of "Good:'-Patrick Nowell-Smith

302

vVhat Is a Value Judgement?-R. M. Hare

318

A Quasi-Naturalist Definition-Richard Brandt

331

Relativism and Justification

335

Ethical Relativism-Richard Brandt

335

The Justification of Value Judgments: Rational Choice-Paul Taylor

346

Aren't Moral Judgments "Factua!"?-Martin E. Lean

369

III. Theories of Normative Ethics

385

A.

387

What Things Have Value?

CONTENTS

ix

Multiple Intrinsic Goods-G. E. Moore

387

Why Not Hedonism?-Ralph Mason Blake

392

Intrinsic Value--Monroe C. Bearibley

401

The Good of Man-G. H. von Wright

413

vVhat Acts Are fughtF'

431

Utilitarianism-G. E. Moore

431

Utilitarian Generalization-David Lyons

451

The Moral Point of View-Kurt Baier

469

What Makes Right Acts fught?-Sir David Ross

482

Universal Prescriptivism-R. M. Hare

501

The Trivializability of Universalizability-Don Locke

517

Generalization in Ethics-Marcus Singer

529

Generalization Arguments-!. Howard Sobel

548

IV. Rights, Justice, Punishment, and Responsibility

565

A.

Rights

567

On. Natural Rights-Ralph Mason. B..Za~-~··• .

567

Rights-Sir David Ross

573

B.

B. Justice

C.

578

Justice as Fairness-John Rawls

578

Problems of Distributive Justice-Nicholas Rescher

596

Punislunent and Responsibility

615

Punishment-Sir David Ross

615

"The Justification of Punislunent"-Antony Flew

620

x

CONTENTS Free-Will and·Psychoanalysis-John Hospers

633

The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment-C. S. Lewis

646

The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment-]. ]. C. Smart

651

Determinism and Moral Perspectives-Elizabeth L. Beardsley

654

V.

Ethics and Psychology

669

A.

Reasons and Causes

671

Reasons and Causes-S. I. Benn and Richard Peters

671

Reasons and Causes-A. ]. Ayer

677

Obligation and Motivation

686

Remarks on Psychological Hedonism-C. D. Broad

686

Duty and Interest-H. A. Prichard

690

A Criticism of Kant-G. C. Field

704

B.

Obligation and .Motivation in Recent Moral Philosophy-

W. K. Frankena

c.

708

Why Be Moral?

730

Why Be Moral?-Jahn Hospers

730

Why Should I Be Moral?-Kai Nielsen

747

Suggested Further Readings

769

Index

781

I

Introductory

The Elements of Ethics BERTRAND RUSSELL

I. THE SUBJECT-MATTER

OF ETHICS' l. The study of Etliics is perhaps most commonly conceived as being concerned with the questions "What sort of actions ought men to perform?" and "What sort of actions ought men to avoid?" It is conceived, that is to say, as dealing \vith human conduct, and as deciding what is virtuous and what vicious among the kinds of conduct between which, in practice, people are called upon to choose. Owing to this view of the pro'vince of ethics, it is sometimes regarded as the practical study, Reprinted from Philosophical Essays by Bertrand Russell by permission of George Allen & Unwin Ltd. and Simon & Schuster, Inc. The author had requested that the following note be printed in conjunction with this selection: "'The Elements of Ethics' was written under the influence of Moore's Principia Ethica. There are some important points in which, not long after publishing it, I came to disagree with the theory that it advocates. I do not now think that 'good' is undefinable, and I think that whatever objectivity the concept may possess· is political rather than logical. I was first led to this view by Santayana's criticisms of my work in his Winds of Doctrine, but have since found confirmation in many other directions. I am not, however, quite satisfied with any view of ethics that I have been able to arrive at, and that is why I have abstained from writing again on the subject." :~. YVhat follows is largely based on Mr. G. E. }v1oore' s Principia Ethica, to which the reader is referred for fuller discussions. Sections I. and II. of the following essay are reprinted from the New Quarterly, February, 1910; section III. from the New Quarterly, May, 1910; section IV. from the Hibbert Journal, October, 1908; and sections V. and VI. from the New Quarterly, September, 1910.

to which all others may be opposed as theoretical; the good and the true are sometimes spoken of as independent kingdoms, the former belonging to ethics, while the latter belongs to the sciences. This view, however, is doubly defective. In the first place, it overlooks the fact that the object of ethics, by its own account, is to discover true propositions about virtUous and vicious conduct, and that these are just as much a part of truth as true propositions about oxygen or the multiplication table. The aim is, not practice, but propositions about practice; and propositions about practice are not themselves practical, any more than propositions about gases are gaseous. One might as well maintain that botany is vegetable or zoology animal. Thus the study of ethics is not something outside science and co-ordinate with it: it is merely one among sciences. 2. In the second place, the view in question unduly limits the province of ethics. \Vhen we are told that actions of certain kinds ought to be performed or avoided, as, for example, that we ought to speak the truth, or that we ought not to steal, we may ahvays legitimately ask for a reason, and this reason 'vill always be concemed, not only with the actions themselves, but also with the goodness or badness of the consequences likely to follow from such actions. i'Ve shall be told that truth-speaking generates mutual confidence, cements friendships, facilitates the dispatch of business, and hence increases the wealth of the society which practises 3

4

INTRODUCTORY

it, and so on. If we ask why we should aim omrnend, these reasons are, usually, that at increasing mutual con£dence, or cement- the consequences of the actions are likely ing friendships, we may be told that ob- to be good, or if not wholly good, at least viously these tbings are good, or that they the best possible under the circumstances. lead to happiness, and happiness is good. Hence all· questions of conduct presuppose If we still ask why, the plain man will the decision as to what things other than probably feel irritation, and will reply that conduct are good and what bad. What is he does not know. His irritation is due to called good conduct is conduct which is a the conflict of two feelings-the one, that means to other things which are good on whatever is true must have a reason; the their own account; and hence the study of other, that the reason he has already given what is good on its ovm. account is necesis so obvious that it is merely contentious sary before we can decide upon rules of to demand a reason for the reason. In the conduct. And the study of what is good or second of these feelings he may be right; in bad on its o\vn account must be included the first, he is certainly wrong. In ordinary in ethics, which. thus ceases to be conlife, people only ask wh1f when they are cerned only with human conduct. The first step in ethics, therefore, is to unconvinced. If a reason is given which they do not doubt, they are satisfied. be quite clear as to what we mean by good Hence, when they do ask wh1f, they usually and bad. Only then can we return to conhave a logical right to expect an answer, duct, and ask how right conduct is related and they come to think that a belief for to the production of goods and the avoidwhich no reason can be given is an unrea- ance of evils. In this, as in all philosophical sonable belief. But in this they are mis- inquiries, after a preliminary analysis of taken, as they would soon discover if their complex data we proceed again to build up habit of asking wh1f were more persistent. complex things from their simpler conIt is the business of the philosopher to stituents, starting from ideas which we unask for reasons as long as reasons can legit- derstand though we cannot define them, imately be demanded, and to register the and from premisses \Vhich we know though propositions which give the most ultimate we cannot _prove them. The appearance of reasons that are attainable. Since a proposi- dogmatism in this procedure is deceptive, tion can only be proved by means of other for the premisses are such as ordinary reapropositions, it is obvious that not all prop- soning unconsciously assumes, and there is ositions can be proved, for proofs can only less real dogmatism in believing them after begin by assuming something. And since a critical scrutiny than in employing them the consequences have no more certainty implicitly without examination. than their premisses, the things that are proved are no more certain than the things that are accepted merely because they are II. THE MEANING OF obvious, and are then made the basis of GOOD AND BAD our proofs. Thus in the case of ethics, we must ask why such and such actions ought to be performed, and· continue our back- 4. Good and Bad, in the sense in which the ward inquiry for reasons until we reach the words are here intended (which is, I bekind of proposition of which proof is im- lieve, their usual sense), are ideas which possible, because it is so simple or so ob- everybody, or almost everybody, possesses. vious that nothing more fundamental can These ideas are apparently among those be found from which to deduce it. which form the simplest constituents of our 3. Now when we ask for the reasons in more complex ideas, and are therefore infavour of the actions which moralists rec- capable of being analysed or built up out

5

THE ELEMENTS OF ETHICS

and bad when on its ovm account it ought not to exist. If it seems to be in our power to cause ~ thing to exist or not to exist, we ought to try to make it exist if it is good,

of other simpler ideas. vVhen people ask "What do you mean by Good?" the answer must consist, not in a verbal definition such as could be given if one were asked "What do you mean by Pentagon?" but in such a characterisation as shall call up the appropriate idea to the mind of the ques-

ure in its existence; when it is bad, it is fit-

tioner.

and

ting that we should feel pain in its exist-

probably will, itself contain the idea of .good, which would be a fault in a defini-

presuppose the notions of good and bad,

tion, but is harmless when our purpose is

and are therefore useful only as means of

merely to stimulate the imagination to the production of the idea which is intended. It is in this way that children are taught the names of colours: they are shown (say) a red book, and told that that is red; and for fear they should think red means book, they are shovvn also a red flower, a red ball, and so on, and told that these are all red. Thus the idea of redness is conveyed to their minds, although it is quite impossible to analyse redness or to find constituents vvhich compose it. In the case of good, the process is more difficult, both because goodness is not per-

calling up the right ideas, not as logical

This

characterisation

rrtay,

ceived by the senses, 1ike redness, and because there is less agreement as to the

things that are good than as to the things that are red. This is perhaps one reason that has led people to think that the notion of good could be analysed into some other notion, such as pleasure or ob;ect of desire. A second reason, probably more potent, is the common confusion that makes people

think they cannot understand an idea unless they can define it-forgetting that ideas are defined by other ideas, which must be already understood if the definition is to convey any meaning. vVhen people begin to philosophise, they seem to make a point of forgetting everything familiar and ordinary; othenvise their acquaintance with,

and not exist if it is bad. When a thing is good, it is fitting that we should feel pleas-

ence. But all such characterisations really

definitions. It might be thought that good could be

defined as the quality of whatever we ought to try to produce. This would merely put ought in the place of good as our ultimate undefined notion; but as a matter of

fact the good is much wider than what we ought to try to produce. There is no reason to doubt that some of the lost tragedies of Aeschylus were good, but we ought not to try to re-write them, because we should certainly fail. What we ought to do, in fact, is limited by our powers and opportunities, whereas the good is subject to no such limitation. And our knowledge of goods is confined to the things we have experienced or can imagine; but presumably there are many goods of which we human beings have absolutely no knowledge, because they do not come within the very restricted range of our thoughts and feelings. Such goods are still goods, although human conduct can have no reference to them. Thus

the notion of good is wider and more fundamental than any notion concerned with conduct; we use the notion of good in explaining what right conduct is, but we do not use the notion of right conduct in ex-

redness or any other colour might show them ho\v an idea can be intelligible where definition, in the sense of analysis, is impos-

plaining what good is. 6. A fairly plausible view is that good means the same as desired, so that when we say a thing is good we mean that it is desired. Thus anything is good which we

sible. 5. To explain what we mean by Good and Bad, we may say that a thing is good

is commonly admitted that there are bad desires; and when people speak of bad de-

when on its own account it ought to exist,

sires, they seem to mean desires for what is

either hope to acquire or fear to lose. Yet it

6 bad. For example, when one man desires another man's pain, it is obvious that what is desired is not good but bad. But the supporter of the view that good. means desired \viii say that nothing is good or bad in itself, but is good for one person and perhaps bad for another. This must happen, he will say, in every case of a conflict of desires; if I desire your suffering, then your suffering is good for me, though it is bad for you. But the sense of good and bad which is needed in ethics is not in this way personal; and it is quite essential, in the study of ethics, to realise that there is an impersonal sense. In this sense, when a thing is good, it ought to exist on its own account, not on account of its consequences, nor yet of who is going to enjoy it. We cannot maintain that for me a thing ought to exist on its own account, while for you it ought not; that would merely mean that one of us is mistaken, since in fact everything either ought to exist or ought not. Thus the fact that one man's desire may be another man's aversion proves that good, in the sense relevant to ethics, does not mean the same as desired, since everything is in itself either good or not good, and cannot be at once good for me and bad for you. This could only mean that its effects on me were good, and on you bad; but here good and bad are again impersonal. 7. There is another line of argument, more subtle but more instructive, by which we can refute those who say that good means desired, or who propose any other idea, such as pleasure, as the actual meaning of good. This line of argument \viii not prove that the things that are good are not the same as the things that are desired; but it will prove that, if this were the case, it could not be proved by appealing to the meaning of the word "good." So far, it might be thought that such an argument could only have a purely logical importance. But in fact this is not so. Many ethical theories have been based upon the contention that ugood" means so-and-so, and people have accepted consequences of this

INTRODUCTORY contention which, if they had relied upon inspection untrammelled by false theory, they would almost certainly have rejected. Whoever believes that "good" means "desired'' \viii try to explain away the cases where it seems as if what is desired is bad; but if he no longer holds this theory, he will be able to allow free play to his unbiassed ethical perceptions, and will thus escape errors into which he would otherwise have fallen. The argument in question is this: If any one. affirms that the good is the desired, we consider what he says, and either assent or dissent; but in any case our assent or dissent is decided by considering what the good and the desired really are. ·when, on the contrary, some one gives a definition of the meaning of a word, our state of mind is quite different. If we are told "a pentagon is a figure which has five/sides/' we do not consider what we Jsn~v about pentagons, and then agree ~disagree; we accept this as the meaning/of the word, and we know that we are getting information, not about /, pentagons,; but merely about the word "pentagon,·" \'lhat we are told is the sort of thing that/ we expect dictionaries to tell us. But when we are told that the good is the desired, we feel at once that we are being told son/ething of philosophical importance,(something which has ethical consequen,Ces, something which it is quite beyond the scope of a dictionary to tell us. )h'e reason of this is, that we already know what we mean by the good, and what we 1 mean by the desired; and if these two meanings always applied to the same objects, that would not be a verbal definition, but an important truth. TI1e analogue of such a proposition is not the above definition of a pentagon, but rather: "A pentagon (defined as above) is a figure which has five angles." Whenever a proposed definition sets us thinking whether it is true in fact, and not whether that is how the word is used, there is reason to suspect that we are not dealing with a definition, but "\Vith a significant proposition, in which the word

THE ELEMENTS OF ETHICS professedly defined has a meaniGg already known to us, either as simple or as defined in some other way. By applying this test, we shall easily convince ourselves that all hitherto suggested definitions of the good are significant, not merely verbal, propositions; and that therefore, though they may be true in fact, they do not give the meaning of the word "good." The importance of this result is that so many ethical theories depend upon the denial of it. Some have contended that "good" means «desired," others that «good" means "pleasure,'~ others again that it means Lvishing it is to contradict oneself. One cannot \Vish it any more than one can vvish

that time should move backwards. The second sense of "can will" is that in which no rational person can will certain

things. Self-frustrating and self-defeating moral rules are not morally impossible, they are merely senseless. No rational per-

4. MORAL RULES MUST BE FOR THE GOOD OF EVERYBODY The conditions so far mentioned are merely formal. They exclude certain sorts of rule as not coming up to the formal requirements. But moral rules should also have a certain sort of content. Observation of

these rules should be for the good of everyone alike. Thrasymachus' view that justice is the advantage of the stronger, if true of the societies of his day, is an indictment of

their legal systems from the moral point of view. It shows that what goes by the name of morality in these societies is no more

than a set of rules and laws which enrich the ruling class at the expense of the masses. But this is vvrong because unjust, however much the rules satisfy the formal criteria. For given certain initial social con-

ditions, formal equality before the law may favor certain groups and exploit others. There is one obvious way in which a

rule may be for the good of everyone alike, namely, if it furthers the common good. 'When I am promoted and my salary is

476 raised, this is to my advantage. It will also be to the advantage of my wife and my family and possibly of a few other people-it will not be to the advantage of my colleague who had hoped for promotion but is now excluded. It may even be to his detriment if his reputation suffers as a result. If the coal miners obtain an increase in their wages, then this is to the advantage of coal miners. It is for their common good. But it may not be to the advantage of anyone else. On the other hand,, if production is raised and with it everyone's living standard, that is literally to everyone's advantage. The rule 'Work harder,' if it has these consequences, is for the common

good of all. Very few rules, if any, will be for the common good of everyone. But a rule may be in the interest of everyone alike, even

though the results of the observation of the rule are not for the common good in the sense explained. Rules such as 'Thou shalt not kill,' 'Thou shalt not be cruer 'Thou shalt not lie' are obviously, in some other

sense, for the good of everyone alike. \'Vhat is this sense? It becomes clear if we look at these rules from the moral point of view,

that is, that of an independent, unbiased,, impartial, objective, dispassionate disinterested observer. Taking such a God's-eye point of view, we can see that it is in the interest of everyone alike that everyone should abide by the rule 'Thou shalt not kill.' From the moral point of view, it is clear that it is in the interest of everyone alike if everyone alike should be allowed to pursue his mvn interest provided this does not adversely affect someone else's interests. Killing someone in the pursuit of my interests would interfere with his. There can be no doubt that such a God's-eye point of view is involved in the moral standpoint. The most elementary teaching is based on it. The negative version of the so-called Golden Rule sums it up: 'Don't do unto others as you would not have them do unto you.' When \Ve teach children the moral point of view, we try to explain it to them by getting them to put

WHAT ACTS ARE RIGHT? themselves in another person's place: 'How would you like to have that done to you!' 'Don't do evil,' the most readily accepted moral mle of all, is simply the most general form of stating this prohibition. For doing evil is the opposite of doing good. Doing good is doing for another person what, if he were following (self-interested) reason, he would do for himself. Doing evil is doing to another person what it would be contrary to reason for him to do to himself. Harming another, hurting another, doing to another what he dislikes having done to him are the specific forms this takes. Killing, cruelty, inflicting pain, maiming, torturing, deceiving, cheating, rape, adultery are instances of this sort of behavior. They all violate the condition of "reversibility," that is, that the behavior in question must

be acceptable to a person whether he is at the "giving" or "receiving" end of it. It is important to see just what is established by this condition of being for the good of everyone alike. In the first place, anyone is doing wrong who engages in nonreversible behavior. It is irrelevant whether he knows that it is wrong or not, whether the morality of his group recognizes it or not. Such behavior is t others beneficently is to go beyond oW: duty. But probably this statement rests on ~ mere confusion. vVe usually oppose justice to benevolence. But while treating a man justly is commonly understood to mean' doing certain things to him (paying our debts to him, and the like), irrespective of the spirit in which we do them, treating him benevolently obviously means doing certain things to him from goodwill. And it is rightly felt that there is a great difference between the two things, and it is found natural to say that the one implies, and the other does not, a right on the other side, and (by some people) even to say that the one is a duty and the other is not. But if we will distinguish between doing what is just and doing it in the spirit of justice, and between doing what is beneficent and doing it in the

RIGHTS for a purely moral notion. It began, I suppose, by standing for a legal notion, and its usage has broadened out so as to include certain things that cannot be claimed at law; but its usage has not yet broadened out so much as to become completely correlative to duty. Once we start on the process of broadening it out, however, there

with the principle that it is always acts, and

seems to be no secure resting-place short of this. Returning now to the four propositions about the correlativity of duties and rights, it seems that with regard to the second proposition, 'A duty of B to A implies a right of A against B' (which has latterly been the subject of our dicussion), we should say ( l) that this is not true when A is not a moral agent, and ( 2) that it is true when A is a moral agent (even if the duty be the duty of beneficent action). And since our only doubt about the third proposition, 'A right of A against B implies a duty of A to B,' arises from our doubt whether animals have not rights, if we agree that animals have not rights we need not doubt the truth of this proposition. It is this proposition, above all, that has been maintained by those who have insisted on the correlativity of rights and duties; for

not acts from a certain motive, that are our

this was maintained essentially against the

duty) it is clear that it is not our duty to

belief that men have 'natural rights' in a state of nature in which they have no du-

spirit of beneficence, then (in accordance

act in the spirit of justice, any more than in the spirit of beneficence, and that it is our

duty to do what is beneficent, as it is our duty to do what is just. If we are clear on this point, oUr main objection to saying that the other person has a right to beneficence disappears. I do not say that our whole objection disappears; for there hangs about the notion of a 'right' the notion of its being not only something which one person should in decency respect but also something which the other person can in decency claim, and we

feel that there is something indecent in the making of a claim to beneficence. These doubts about the application of the term 'right' appear to spriog from the fact that 'right' (the noun) does not stand

ties.

A further problem, however, awaits us, viz. whether a failure to do one's duty in-

volves a corresponding loss of right. Or rather, as we have found the meaning of

'rights' more doubtful than that of 'duties,' it will be more profitable to omit any reference to rights, and put our question in the form, "if A fails in his duty to B, does that put an end to B's duty to A?' In some cases we seem to be clear that this is so. If a tradesman sends me goods inferior to those I chose in his shop, I am not morally, any

more than legally, bound to pay him the full price; I may return the goods and pay nothing, or (with his consent) keep them and pay a lower price. And in general any

577

RIGHTS duty arising out of a contract is cancelled by non-fulfihnent of tbe corresponding duty on tbe other side. In other cases we are not so clear. It is not so generally agreed, for instance, that if A tells lies to B, B is justified in telling lies to A. Two

is not abolished by the breach of contract, and therefore while a person who has been

deceived by another is justified in refusing to answer his questions, he is not justified

a white. Yet the peculiar stringency of the duty of veracity seems to spring from an implicit understanding that language shall

in telling him lies. Yet tbat this forms only a small part of tbe stringency of the duty of truthfulness may be inferred from the leniency with which we should judge deceit, in a case in which no implicit undertaking to tell the truth has been established, e.g.

be used to convey the real opinions of the

when a civilized man deceives a savage

speakers, and it would seem that a failure to carry out the understanding on one side makes it no longer binding on the other; and we should have small patience with an habitual liar who insisted on strict veracity in others. It must be admitted that a man who has deceived me has destroyed what

whom he has just met for the first time, or vice versa, or when one of two savages belonging to different tribes deceives the

blacks, we say in such a case, do not make

other. Deceit is much more venial in such a case, because the offender has no reason to suppose that the other is not deceiving, or going to deceive, him.

would have been the main reason for its

Taking, then, the obvious division be-

being my duty to tell him the truth. But we should probably hesitate to say that by his breach of the implicit understanding my duty to tell him the truth has been entirely destroyed, as by the tradesman's breach of contract my duty to pay him has been de-

tween duties arising out of contract and those that arise otherwise, we must say that

while the former are cancelled by breach of the contract on tbe other side, the latter are not cancelled by the bad behaviour of the other person. It would also seem, from

stroyed. Various reasons help to account

a consideration of our actual moral judg-

for this. For one thing, it is likely that by deceiving a liar I may indirectly deceive in-

ments, that the former type of duty is the more stringent of the two. Now the distinction between the rights

nocent people; for another, the consequences for my own character are likely to

be particularly dangerous. But the main reason probably lies elsewhere. Before the contract was made between my tradesman and me, there \Vas no duty incumbent on

me of paying him this sum of money. I had a general duty to promote the good of all men, but there was no obvious reason for

corresponding to duties that arise out of

contract, and tbe rights corresponding to other duties, may be quite suitably expressed as a distinction behveen contrac-

tual and natural rights, and tbe notion of natural rights as a distinct class may tbus be vindicated, if it be cut free from the belief which has been so often bound up witb

supposing that this could be best done by transferring this sum of money to him. But even before the implicit undertaking to tell tbe truth was established I had a duty not to tell lies, since to tell lies is prima facie to

it, that there are rights in a state of nature, i.e. in a state in which there are no duties.

do a positive injury to another person. Since this duty does not rest on contract, it

identification of the two.

Such a belief is made possible for Hobbes only by a complete confusion between rights and powers, amounting to an express

I

B. Justice

l

I

Justice as Fairness JOHN RAWLS 1. It might seem at first sight that th,e concepts of justice and fairness are the isame, and that there is no reason to disti~guish them, or to say that one is more fund8.rnental than the other. I think that this impression is mistaken. In this paper I wish to show that the fundamental idea in the concept of justice is fairness; and I ~wish to offer an analysis of the concept of justice from this point of view. To bring out the force of this claim, and the analysis based upon it, I shall then argue that it is this aspect of justice for which utilitarianism, in its classical form, is unable to account, but which is expressed, even if misleadingly, by the ideas of the social contract. To start with I shall develop a particular conception of justice by stating and commenting upon two principles ;which specify it, and by considering the circumstances and conditions under w hicll they may be thought to arise. The prhlciples defining this conception, and the cbnception itself, are, of course, familiar. ~t may

be possible, however, by using the potion of fairness as a framework, to assemble and to look at them in a new way. Before stating this conception, however,. the foll;owing preliminary matters should be kept in mind. . Throughout I consider justice only as a virtue of social institutions, or what I shall call practices. 1 The principles of justice are Reprinted from The Philosophical Review, 1955, pp. 164-194, by permission of the author and The Philosophical Review. 1 I use the word "practice" throughout as a sort of technical tenn meaning any form of activity

578

regarded as formulating restrictions as to how practices may define positions and offices, and assign thereto powers and liabilities, rights and duties. Justice as a virtue of particular actions or of persons I do not take up at all. It is important to distinguish these various subjects of justice, since the meaning of the concept varies according to whether it is applied to practices, particular actions, or persons. These meanings are, indeed, connected, but they are not identical. I shall confine my discussion to the sense of justice as applied to practices, since this sense is the basic one. Once it is understood, the other senses should go quite easily. Justice is to be understood in its customary sense as representing but one of the many virtues of social institutions, for these may be antiquated, inefficient, degrading, or any number of other things, \vithout being unjust. Justice is not to be confused with an all-inclusive vision of a good society; it is only one part of any such conception. It is important, for example, to distingnish that sense of equality which is an aspect of the concept of justice from that sense of equality which belongs to a more comprehensive social ideal. There may well be inequalities which one concedes are just, specified by a system of rules which defines offices, roles, moves, penalties, defenses, and so on, and which gives the activity its structure. As examples one may think of games and rituals, trials and parliaments, markets and systems of property. I have attempted a partial analysis of the notion of a practice in a paper "Two Concepts of Rules" Philosophical Review LXIV ( 1955) 3--32.

JUSTICE AS FAIRNESS or at least not unjust, but which, nevertheless, one wishes, on other grounds, to do away -with. I shall focus attention, then, on the usual sense of justice in which it is essentially the elimination of arbitrary distinctions and the establishment, within the structure of a practice, of a proper balance between competing claims. Finally, there is no need to consider the principles discussed below as tlw principles of justice. For the moment it is sufficient that they are typical of a family of principles normally associated with the concept of justice. The way in which the principles of this family resemble one another, as shown by the background against which they may be thought to arise, will be made clear by the whole of the subsequent argument. 2. The conception of justice which I want to develop may be stated in the form of two principles as follows: first, each person participating in a practice, or affected by it, has an equal right to the most extensive liberty compatible with a like liberty for all; and second, inequalities are arbitrary unless it is reasonable to expect that they will work out for everyone's advantage, and provided the positions and offices to which they attach, or from which they may be gained, are open to all. These principles express justice as a complex of three ideas: liberty, equality, and reward for services contributing to the common good. 2 The term "person" is to be construed variously depending on the circumstances. On some occasions it will mean human individuals, but in others it may refer to na2 These principles are of course well-known in one form or another and appear in many analyses of justice even where the writers differ widely on other matters, Thus if the principle of equal liberty is commonly associated with Kant (see The Philosophy of Law, tr. by \V. Hastie, Edinburgh, 1887, pp. 56 f.), it may be claimed that it can also be found in J. S. !\{ill's On Liberty and elsewhere, and in many other liberal writers. Recently H. L. A. Hart has argued for something like it in his paper "Are There Any Natural Rights?," Philosophical Review, LXIV (1955), 175-191. The injustice of inequalities which are not won in return for a contribution to the common advantage

579 tions, provinces, business firms, churches, teams, and so on. The principles of justice apply in all these instances, although there is a certain logical priority to the case of human individuals. As I shall use the term "person," it will be ambiguous in the manner indicated. The first principle holds, of course, only if other things are equal: that is, while there must always be a justification for departing from the initial position o£ equal liberty (which is defined by the pattern of rights and duties, pmvers and liabilities, established by a practice), and the burden of proof is placed on him who would depart from it, neverthele.ss, there can be, and often there is, a justi£cation for doing so. Now, that similar particular cases, as defined by a practice, should be treated similarly as they arise, is part of the very concept of a practice; it is involved in the notion of an activity in accordance \vith rules. 3 The first principle expresses an analogous conception, but as applied to the structure o£ practices themselves. It holds, for example, that there is a presumption against the distinctions and classifications made by legal systems and other practices to the extent that they infringe on the original and equal liberty of the persons participating in them. The second principle defines how this presumption may be rebutted. It might be argued at this point that justice requires only an equal liberty. If, however, a greater liberty \Vere possible for all without loss or conRict, then it would be irrational to settle on a lesser liberty. There is, of course, widespread in political writings of all sorts. The conception of justice here discussed is distinctive, if at all, only in selecting these t\vo principles in this form; but for another similar analysis, see the discussion by YV. D. Lamont, The Principles of Moral Judgment (Oxford, 1946), ch. v. . 3 This point was made by Sidg>vick, Methods of Ethics, 6th ed. (London, 1901), Bk. III, ch. v, sec. 1. It has recently been emphasized by Sir Isaiah Berlin in a symposium, ..Equality," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, n.s. LVI (1955-56), 305 f.

580

I

is no reason for circumscribing right~ unless their exercise would be incompa'tible, or would render the practice defining lthem less effective. Therefore no serious distortion of the concept of justice is likely to follow from including within it the concept of the greatest equal liberty. The second principle defines "what sorts of inequalities are permissible; it speci£es how the presumption laid down by the first principle may be put aside. Now by inequalities it is best to understan.d not any differences between offices and positions, but differences in the benefits and burdens attached to them either directly or indirectly, such as prestige and wealth, or liability to taxation and compulsory services. Players in a game do not protest against there being different positions, su-ch as batter, pitcher, catcher, and the like, nor to there being various privileges and· powers as speci£ed by the rules; nor do the citizens of a country object to there being the different offices of government such as president, senator, governor, judge, and so on, each with their special rights and duties. It is not differences of this kind that are normally thought of as inequalities, but differences in the resulting distribution established by a practice, or made p~ssible by it, of the things men strive to att~in or avoid. Thus they may complain about the I pattern of honors and rewards set ur. by a practice (e.g., the privileges and salaties of government officials) or they may object to the distribution of power and wealth which results from the various ways in whic:Q_ men avail themselves of the opportunitibs allowed by it (e.g., the concentratibn of wealth which may develop in a free; price system allowing large entrepreneurial or speculative gains). It should be noted that the second principle holds that an inequality is allowed only if there is reason to believe that the practice with the inequality, or resulting in it, \Vill work for the advantage of every party engaging in it. Here it is important to stress that every party must gain

JUSTICE from the inequality. Since the principle applies to practices, it implies that the representative man in every office or position defined by a practice, when he views it as a going concern, must find it reasonable to prefer his condition and prospects with the inequality to what they would be under the practice without it. The principle excludes, therefore, the justification of inequalities on the grounds that the disadvantages of those in one position are outweighed by the greater advantages of those in another position. This rather simple restriction is the main modillcation I wish to make in the utilitarian principle as usually understood. 'vVhen coupled with the notion of a practice, it is a restriction of consequence, 4 and one which some utilitarians, e.g., Hume and Mill, have used in their discussions of justice without realizing apparently its signi4 In the paper referred to above, footnote 2, I have tried to show the importance of taking practices as the proper subject of the utilitarian principle. The criticisms of so-called "restricted ultilitarianism" by J. }. C. Smart, "Extreme and Restricted Utilitarianism," Philosophical Quarterly, VI(l956), 344-354, and by H. J. McCloskey, "'An Examination of Restricted Utilitarianism,'' Philosophical Review, LA'VI ( 1957), 46~85, do not affect my argument. These papers are concerned with the very general proposition, which is attributed (with what justice I shall not consider) to S. E. Toulmin and P. H. Nowell-Smith (and in the case of the latter paper, also, apparently, to me); namely, the proposition that particular moral actions are justified by appealing to moral rules, and moral rules in turn by reference to utility. But clearly I meant to defend no such vie\v. My discussion of the concept of rules as maxims is an explicit rejection of it. \Vhat I did argue was that, in the logically special case of practices (although actually quite a common case) where the rules have special features and are not moral rules at all but legal rules or rules of games and the like (except, perhaps, in the case of promises), there is a peculiar force to the distinction between justifying particular actions and justifying the system of rules themselves. Even then I claimed only that restricting the utilitarian principle to practices as defined strengthened it. I did not argue for the position that this amendment alone is sufficient for a complete defense of utilitarianism as a general theory of morals. In this paper I take up the question as to ho\Y the utilitarian principle itself must be modified, but here, too, the subject of inquiry is not all of morality at once, but a limited topic, the concept of justice.

JUSTICE AS FAIRNESS ficance, or at least without calling attention to it.' vVhy it is a significant modification of principle, changing one's conception of justice entirely, the whole of my argument will show. Further, it is also necessary that the various offices to \Vhich special benefits or burdens attach are open to all. It may be, for example, to the common advantage, as just defined, to attach special benefits to certain offices. Perhaps by doing so the requisite talent can be attracted to them and encouraged to give its best efforts. But any offices having special benefits n1ust be won in a fair competition in \vhich contestants are judged on their merits. If some offices were not open, those excluded would normally be justified in feeling unjustly treated, even if they benefited from the greater efforts of those who were allowed to compete for them. Now if one can assume that offices are open, it is necessary only to consider the design of practices themselves and how they jointly, as a system, work together. It will be a mistake to focus attention on the varying relative positions of particular persons, who may be known to us by their proper names, and to require that each such change, as a once for all transaction viewed in isolation~ must be in itself just. It is the system of practices which is to be judged, and judged from a general point of view: unless one is prepared to criticize it from the standpoint of a representative man holding some particu" It might seem as if J. S. Mill, in paragraph 36 of Chapter v of Utilitarianism, eA-pressed the utilitarian principle in this modified form, but in the remaining two paragraphs of the chapter, and elsewhere, he would appear not to grasp the signilicance of the change. Hume often emphasizes that every man must benefit. For example, in discussing the utility of general rules, he holds that they are requisite to the "well-being of every individual"; from a stable system of property "every individual person must find himself a gainer in balancing the account. . . ." "Every member of society is sensible of this interest; everyone expresses this sense to his fellows along with the resolution he has taken of squaring his actions by it, on the conditions that others will do the same." A Treatise of Human Nature~ Bk. III, Pt. II, Section II, paragraph 22.

581 lar office, one has no complaint against it. 3. Given these principles one might try to derive them from a priori principles of reason, or claim that they were known by intuition. These are familiar enough steps and, at least in the case of the first principle, might be made with some success. Usually, however, such arguments, made at this point, are unconvincing. They are not likely to lead to an understanding of the basis of the principles of justice, not at least as principles of justice. I wish, therefore, to look at the principles in a different way. Imagine a society of persons amongst whom a certain system of practices is already well established. Now suppose that by and large they are mutually selfinterested; their allegiance to their established practice is normally founded on the prospect of self-advantage. One need not assume that, in all senses of the term ..person," the persons in this society are mutually self-interested. If the characterization as mutually self-interested applies when the line of division is the family, it may still be true that members of families are bound by ties of sentiment and affection and willingly acknowledge duties in contradiction to self-interest. Mutual selfinterestedness in the relations between families, nations, churches, and the like, is commonly associated with intense loyalty and devotion on the part of individual members. Therefore, one can form a more realistic c:onception of this society if one thinks of it as consisting of mutually selfinterested families, or some other association. Further, it is not necessary to suppose that these persons are mutually selfinterested under all circumstances, but only in the usual situations in which they participate in their common practices. Now suppose also that these persons are rational: they lmow their own interests more or less accurately; they are capable of tracing out the likely consequences of adopting bne practice rather than another; they are capable of adhering to a course of

582

r

action once they have decided u]J1on it; they can resist present temptations a~d the enticements of immediate gain; add the bare knowledge or perception of tlfe difference behveen their condition and that of others is not, within certain limits and in itself, a source of great dissatisfaction. Only the last point adds anything to the usual definition of rationality. This definition should allow, I think, for the idea that a rational man would not he greatly downcast from knowing, or seeing, that others are in a better position than himself, unless he thought their being so was the result' of injustice, or the consequence of letting chance work itself out for no useful common purpose, and so on. So if these persons strike us as unpleasantly egoistic, they are at least free in some degree from the fault of envy."

Finally, assume that these persons have roughly similar needs and intere.sts, or needs and interests in various ways! complementary, so that fruitful cooperation amongst them is possible; and suppos,e that they are sufficiently equal in power and ability to guarantee that in normal circumstances none is able to dominate the tithers. This condition (as well as the other) may seem excessively vague; but in view of the conception of justivhich would result in throwing the only guilt on the tissues of the primordial cell, or on the elementary gases. There is no question of how you came to be wicked, but only this-namely, are you \Vi eked or not? This

PUNISHMENT AND RESPONSIBILITY has been decided in the affirmative, neither can I hesitate for a single moment to say that it has been decided justly. You are a bad and dangerous person, and stand branded in the eyes of your fellow countrymen with one of the most heinous known offenses.la As moralists read tbis passage, they may perhaps nod with approval. But the joke is on them. The sting comes when we realize vvhat the crime is for \Vhich the prisoner is being sentenced: namely, consumption. The defendant is reminded that during the previous year he was sentenced for aggravated bronchitis, and is warned that he should profit from experience in the future. Butler is employing here his familiar method of presenting some human tendency (in this case, holding people responsible for what isn't their fault) to a ridiculous extreme and thereby reducing it to absurdity. Assuming the main conclusion of this paper to be true, is there any room left for freedom? This, of course, all depends on what we mean by "freedom." In the senses suggested at the beginning of this paper,. there are countless free acts, and unfree ones as well. VVhen "free" means "uncompelled," and only external compulsion is admitted, again there are countless free acts. But now we have extended the notion of compulsion to include determination by unconscious forces. VVith this sense in mind, our question is, ''"With the concept of compulsion thus extended, and in the light of present psychoanalytic knowledge, is there any freedom left in human behavior?" If practicising psychoanalysts were asked this question, there is little doubt that their answer would be along the follo,ving lines: they would say that they were not accustomed to using the term "free" at all, but that if they had to suggest -a criterion for distinguishing the free from the unfree, they would say that a person's 18

Samuel Butler, Erewhon ( :tvlodern Library

edition),

p.

107.

FREE--WILL AND PSYCHOANALYSIS freedom is present in inverse proportion to his neuroticism-; in other words, the more his acts are determined by a malevolent unconscious, the less free he is. Thus they would speak of degrees of freedom. They would say that as a person is cured of his neurosis, he becomes more free-free to realize capabilities that were blocked by the neurotic aflliction. The psychologically \Veil-adjusted individual is in this sense comparatively the most free. Indeed, those who are cured o£ mental disorders are sometimes said to have regained their freedom: they are freed from the tyranny of a malevolent unconscious which formerly exerted as much of a domination over them as if they had been the abject slaves of a cruel dictator. But suppose one says that a person is free only to the extent that his acts are not unconsciously determined at all, be the unconscious benevolent or malevolent? If this is the criterion, psychoanalysts v.rould say, most human behavior cannot be called free at all: our impulses and volitions having to do with our basic attitudes toward life, whether we are optimists or pessimists, tough-minded or tender-minded, whether our tempers are quick or slow, whether we are "naturally self-seeking" or "naturally benevolent'' (and all the acts consequent upon these things), what things annoy us,

645 whether we take to blondes or brunettes, old or young, whether we become philosophers or artists or businessmen-all this has its basis in the unconscious. If people generally call most acts free, it is not because they believe that compelled acts should be called free, it is rather through not knowing how large a proportion of our acts actually are compelled. Only the comparatively "vanilla-flavored" aspects of our lives-such as our behavior toward people who don't really matter to us-are exempted from this rule. These, I think, are the two principal criteria for distinguishing freedom from the lack of it which we might set up on the basis of psychoanalytic ].,nowledge. Conceivably we might set up others. In every case, of course, it remains trivially true that "it all depends on how \Ve choose to use the word." The facts are what they are, regardless of what words we choose for labeling them. But if we choose to label them in a way which is not in accord with what human beings, however vaguely, have long had in mind in appl)~ng these b.bels, as we would be doing if we labeled as "free" many acts which we know as much about as we now do through modern psychoanalytic methods, then we shall only be manipulating words to mislead our fellow creatures.

The Huntanitarian Theory of Punishm4ent C. S. LEWIS In England we have had a controversy about Capital Punishment. I do not know whether a murderer is more likely to repent and make a good end on the gallows a few \Veeks after his trial or in the prison infirmary thirty years later. I do not know whether the fear of death is an indispensable deterrent. I need not, for the purpose of this article, decide whether it is a morally permissible deterrent. Those are questions which I propose to leave untouched. My subject is not Capital Punishment in particular, but that theory of punishment in general which the controversy showed to be ahnost universal among my fellowcountrymen. It may be called the Humanitarian theory. Those who hold it think that it is mild and merciful. In this I believe that they are seriously mistaken. I believe that the «Humanity" which it claims is a dangerous illusion and disguises the possibility of cruelty and injustice without end. I urge a return to the traditional or Retributive theory not solely, not even primarily, in the interests of society, but in the interests of the criminal. According to the Humanitarian theory, to punish a man because he deserves it, and as much as he deserves, is mere revenge, and therefore, barbarous and immoral. It is maintained that the only legitimate motives for punishing are the desire Reprinted from Res Judicatae, VI, 1953, pp. 224-230, by permission of the publisher.

646

to deter others by example or to mend the criminal. vVhen this theory is combined, as frequently happens, with the belief that all crime is more or less pathological, the idea of mending tails off into that of healing or curing and punishment becomes therapeutic. Thus it appears at first sight that we have passed from the harsh and selfrighteous notion of giving the wicked their deserts to the charitable and enlightened one of tending the psychologically sick. 'Nhat could be more amiable? One little point which is taken for granted in this theory needs, however, to be made explicit. The things done to the criminal, even if they are called cures, will be just as compulsory as they were in the old days when we called them punishments. If a tendency to steal can be cured by psychotherapy, the thief will no doubt be forced to undergo the treatment. Otherwise, society cannot continue. My contention is that this doctrine, merciful though it appears, really means that each one of us, from the moment he breaks the law, is deprived of the rights of a human being. The reason is this. The Humanitarian theory removes from Punishment the concept of Desert. But the concept of Desert is the only connecting link bet\veen punishment and justice. It is only as deserved or undeserved that a sentence can be just or unjust. I do not here contend tbat the ques-

THE HUMANITARIAN THEORY OF PUNISHMENT tion "Is it deserved?" is the only one we can reasonably ask about a punishment. \Ve may very properly ask whether it is likely to deter others and to reform the criminal. But neither of these two last questions is a question about justic:e. There is no sense in talking about a "just deterrent" or a "just cure." We demand of a de.terrent not whether it is just but whether it will deter. We demand of a cure not whether it is just but whether it succeeds. Thus \vhen we cease to consider what the criminal deserves and consider only what will cure him or deter others, we have tacitly removed him from the sphere of justice altogether; instead of a person, a subject of rights, we now have a mere object, a patient, a «case." The distinction will become clearer if we ask who will be quali£ed to determine sentences when sentences are no longer held to derive their propriety from the criminafs deservings. On the old view the problem of fixing the right sentence was a moral problem. Accordingly, the judge who did it was a person trained in jurisprudence; trained, that is, in a science which deals with rights and duties, and which, in origin at least, was consciously ac-cepting guidance from the Law of N alure, and from Scripture. \Ve must admit that in the actual penal code of most countries at most times these high originals were so much modified by local custom, class interests, and utilitarian concessions, as to be very imperfectly recognizable. But the code was never in principle, and not always in fact, beyond the control of tbe conscience of the society. And when (say, in eighteenthcentury England) actual punishments conflicted too violently with the moral sense of the community, juries refused to convict and reform was finally brought about. This was possible because, so long as we are thinking in terms of Desert, the propriety of the penal code, being a moral question, is a question on which every man has the right to an opinion, not because he follows this or that profession, but because

647

he is simply a man, a rational animal enjoying the Natural Light. But all this is changed when we drop the concept of Desert. The only t\vo questions we may now ask about a punishment are whether it deters and whether it cures. But these are not questions on which anyone is entitled to have an opinion simply because he is a man. He is not entitled to an opinion even if, in addition to being a man, he should happen also to be a jurist, a Christian, and a moral theologian. For they are not questions about principle but about matter of fact; and for such cuiquam in sua arte credendum. Only the expert "penologist" (let barbarous things have barbarous names), in the ligbt of previous experiment, can tell us what is likely to deter: only the psychotherapist can tell us what is likely to cure. It vvill be in vain for the rest of us, speaking simply as men, to say, "but this punishment is hideously unjust, hideously disproportionate to the criminal's deserts." The experts with perfect logic "~ll reply "but nobody was talking about deserts. No one was talking about punishment in your archaic vindictive sense of the word. 1-Iere are the statistics proving that this treatment deters. Here are the statistics proving that this other treatment cures. VVhat is your trouble?" The. Humanitarian theory, then, removes sentences from the hands of jurists whom the public conscience is entitled to criticize and places them in the hands of technical experts whose special sciences do not even employ such categories as rights or justice. It might be argued that since this transference results from an abandonment of the old idea of punishment, and therefore, of all vindictive motives, it vvill be safe to leave our criminals in such hands. I will not pause to comment on the simple-minded view of fallen human nature which such a belief implies. Let us rather remember that the «cure" of criminals is to be compulsory; and let us then watch how the theory actually works in the mind of the Humanitarian. The immediate

648 starting point of this article was a letter I read in one of our Leftist weeklies. The author was pleading that a certain sin, now treated by our laws as a crime, should henceforward be treated as a disease. And he complained that under the present system the offender, after a term in gaol, was simply let out to return to his original environment where he would probably relapse. 'What he complained of was not the shutting up but the letting out. On his remedial view of punishment the offender should, of course, ·be detained until he was cured. And of course the official straighteners are the only people who can say when that is. The first result of the Humanitarian theory is, therefore, to substitute for a definite sentence (reflecting to some extent the community's moral judgment on the degree of ill-desert involved) an indefinite sentence terminable only by the word of those experts-and they are not experts in moral theology nor even in the Law of Nature-who inflict it. Which of us, if he stood in the dock, would not prefer to be tried by the old system? It may be said that by the continued use of the word punishment and the use of the verb "inflict" I am misrepresenting Humanitarians. They are not punishing, not inflicting, only healing. But do not let us be deceived by a name. To be taken without consent from my home and friends; to lose my liberty; to undergo all those assaults on my personality which modem psychotherapy knows how to deliver; to be re-made after some pattern of "normality" hatched in a Viennese laboratory to which I never professed allegiance; to know that this process will never end until either my captors have succeeded or I gro\vn wise enough to cheat them with apparent success-who cares whether this is called Punishment or not? That it includes most of the elements for which any punishment is feared-shame, exile, bondage, and years eaten by the locust-is obvious. Only enormous ill-desert could justify it; but illdesert is the very conception which the

PUNISHMENT AND RESPONSIBILITY Humanitarian theory has thrown overboard. If we tum from the curative to the deterrent justi£cation of punishment we shall find the new theory even more alarming. \iVhen you punish a man in terrorem, make of him an "example" to others, you are admittedly using him as a means to an end; someone else's end. This, in itself, would be a very wicked thing to do. On the classical theory of Punishment it was of course justified on the ground that the man deserved it. That was assumed to be established before any question of «making him an example" arose. You then, as the saying is, killed two birds with one stone; in the process of giving him what he deserved you set an example to others. But take away desert and the whole morality of the punishment disappears. V\'hy, in Heaven's name, am I to be sacrificed to the good of society in this way?~unless, of course, I deserve it. But that is not the worst. If the justification of exemplal}' punishment is not to be based on desert but solely on its efficacy as a deterrent, it is not absolutely necessary that the man we punish should even have committed the crime. The deterrent effect demands that the public should draw the moral, "If vve do such an act we shall suffer like that man," The punishment of a man actually guilty whom the public think innocent will not will not have the desired effect; the punishment of a man actually innocent will, provided the public think him guilty. But every modem State has powers which make it easy to fake a trial. ·when a victim is urgently needed for exemplary purposes and a guilty victim cannot be found, all the purposes of deterrence will be equally served by the punishment (call it "cure" if you prefer) of an innocent victim, provided that the public can be cheated into thinking him guilty. It is no use to ask me why I assume that our rulers will be so wicked. The punishment of an innocent, that is, an undeserving, man is wicked only if we grant the traditional view that righteous punishment means de-

THE HUMANITARIAN THEORY OF PUNISHMENT served punishment. Once we have aban~ cloned that criterion, all punishments have to be justified, if at all, on other grounds that have nothing to do with desert. Where the punishment of the innocent can be justilled on those grounds (and it could in some cases be justi£ed as a deterrent) it will be no less moral than any other punishment. Any distaste for it on the part of a Humanitarian will be merely a hang-over from the Retributive theory. It is indeed, important to notice that my argument so far supposes no evil intentions on the part of the Humanitarian and considers only \Vhat is involved in the logic of his position. My contention is that good men (not bad men) consistently acting upon that position would act as cruelly and unjustly as the greatest tyrants. They might in some respects act even vmrse. Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their O\VTI conscience. They may be more likely to go Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be «cured" against one's \Viil and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level with those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never \Vill; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. But to be punished, however severely, because we have deserved it, because we "ought to have known better," is to be treated as a human person made in God's image. In reality, however, we· must face the possibility of bad rulers armed with a Humanitarian theory of punishment. A great many popular blue prints for a Christian society are merely what the Elizabethans called "eggs in moonshine" because they

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assume that the whole society is Christian or that the ChriStians are in control. This is not so in most contemporary States. Even if it were, our rulers would still be fallen men, and therefore, neither very wise nor very good. As it is, they will usually be unbelievers. And since wisdom and virtue are not the only or the commonest qualifications for a place in the government, they will not often be even the best unbelievers. The practical problem of Christian politics is not that of drawing up schemes for a Christian society, but that of living as innocently as we can with unbelieving fellow-subjects under unbelieving rulers who will never be perfectly wise and good and who will sometimes be very wicked and very foolish. And when they are wicked the Humanitarian theory of punishment will put in their hands a finer instrument of tyranny than wickedness ever had before. For if crime and disease are to be regarded as the same thing, it follows that any state of mind which our masters choose to call "disease" can be treated as crime; and compulsorily cured. It will be vain to plead that states of mind which displease government need not ahvays involve moral turpitude and do not therefore always deserve forfeiture of liberty. For our masters will not be using the concepts of Desert and Punishment but those of disease and cure. vVe know that one school of psychology already regards religion as a neurosis. ·when this particular neurosis becomes inconvenient to government, what is to hinder government from proceeding to «cure" it? Such ''cure" will, of course, be compulsory; but under the Humanitarian theory it \vill not be called by the shocking name of Persecution. No one will blame us for being Christian, no one will hate us, no one will revile us. The new Nero will approach us with the silky manners of a doctor, and though all will be in fact as compulsory as the tunica molesta or Smithfield or Tyburn, all will go on within the unemotional therapeutic sphere where words like "right" and ''wrong" or "freedom" and "slavery" are

650 never heard. And thus when the command is given, every prominent Christian in the land may vanish overnight into Institutions for the Treatment of the Ideologically Unsound, and it will rest with the expert gaolers to say when (if ever) they are to reemerge. But it will not be persecution. Even if the treatment is painful, even if it is life-long, even if it is fatal, that will be only a regrettable accident; the intention was purely therapeutic. Even in ordinary medicine there were painful operations and fatal operations; so in this. But because they are "treatment,'" not punishment, they can be criticized only by fellow-experts and on technical grounds, never by men as men and on grounds of justice. This is why I think it essential to oppose the Humanitarian theory of punishment, root and branch, wherever we encounter it. It carries on its front a semblance of mercy which is wholly false. That is how it can deceive men of good \vill. The error began, perhaps, with Shelley's statement that the distinction between mercy and justice was invented in the courts of tyrants. It sounds noble~ and was indeed the error of a noble mind. But the distinction is essential The older view was that mercy "tempered" justice, or (on the highest level of all) that mercy and justice had met and kissed. The essential act of mercy was to pardon; and pardon in its

PUNISHMENT AND RESPONSIBILITY very essence involves the recognition of guilt and ill-desert in the recipient. If crime is only a disease which needs cure, not sin which deserves punishment, it cannot be pardoned. How can you pardon a man for having a gumboil or a club foot? But the Humanitarian theory wants simply to abolish Justice and substitute Mercy for it. This means that you start being "kind" to people before you have considered their rights, and then force upon them supposed kindnesses which they in fact had a right to refuse, and finally kindnesses which no one but you vvill recognize as kindnesses and which the recipient will feel as abominable cruelties. You have overshot the mark. Mercy, detached from Justice, grows unmerciful. That is the important paradox. As there are plants which will flourish only in mountain SOil, SO it appears that ntfercy '\ViJl flower only when it grows in the crannies o£ the rock of Justice: transplanted to the marshlands of mere Humanitarianism, it becomes a man-eating \Veed, all the more dangerous because it is still called by the same name as the mountain variety. But we ought long ago to have learned our lesson. We should be too old now to be .deceived by those humane pretensions which have served to usher in every cruelty of the revolutionary period in which we live. These are the "precious balms" which \vi!! "break our heads."

The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment ]. ]. C. SMART I wish to discuss one or two logical points which arise out of C. S. Lewis's article on "The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment''1 ... Lewis has got at cross purposes with himself in a way very similar to that in which Intuitionists and Utilitarians in moral philosophy have often entangled themselves when arguing about the nature of obligation. Consider these two sorts of questions: ( l) "Ought Smith. to leave his wife?" . "Ought I to return this book?" "Ought I to drive on this side of the road?" and ( 2) ''Are our present marriage customs for the best?" "Is the institution of promise making a good one?" "Ought we to have a rule of the road and if so what?" I shall call the first sort of questions "first-order questions" and the second sort of questions "secondorder questions". vVe can now say, roughly, that the Intuitionists were right when they dealt with the first-order questions, but hopelessly at sea when they dealt with the second-order questions, while the Utilitarians were able to talk a great deal of sense when they discussed the second-order questions but were most strained and uTIplausible when they dealt with the firstorder questions. The dispute in moral philosophy was so fruitless because each had (roughly) the right answer to one sort of Reprinted from Res ]udicitae by permissiOn 9f the author and Res ]udicitae. 1 6 Res ]udicatae, 224-30.

question but not to the other. No one in his senses would weigh up the social consequences of returning a book he has borrowed: there is a moral rule that plainly covers the case and so he knows immediately what he should do. It is about rules and social institutions that we ask the Utilitarian type of question, not about individual actions. Of course in exceptional cases we have to think as Utilitarians about individual actions. This is either when rules con:llict or when there is no rule that covers the case in question. But by and large we just "see" what to do in the individual cases (we have been brought up so to do): it is only when we consider the effect of certain rules or institutions on society as a whole, when we consider modifying or augmenting these rules and institutions, that the Utilitarian pattern of thought becomes appropriate. Philosophers like Butler and Kant are at their happiest when discussing how we deal with the first-order type of question, those like Bentham and Mill when dealing with the second-order type of question. (Though note that Butler in one place2 seems to say that God made our consciences as He did because He is a Utilitarian, even if we must not be. And I myself believe, rather heretically, that only a slight rephrasing of Kant is needed in . order to turn him into a Utilitarian aboUt rules.) =Dissertation upon the Nature of Virtue,

§

8.

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652 Bentham's Utilitarian methods of argument work smoothly \vhen he is considering rules (legislation) but he is quite silly where he tries to talk in the same way about individual actions. The point, then, is this, that it is not a question of intuitionism or utilit-arianism but of both (in different places). The actions vvhich we "see" to be right are those which come under rules \Ve have been trained to obey: the justification of the rules, but not, in general, of the individual actions, is utilitarian. I have sketched out the above theory of morals (which you can find more fully worked out in Touhnin's book The Place of Rea.son in Ethics) because it appears to me that theories of punishment have got at cross purposes in a precisely similar v:.ray to that in which the intuitionists and utilitarians get into cross purposes about right and wrong. From the point of view of the legislator, we ask: "Is this the best punishment to assign for this type of offence?" It seems to me that the only way in which this question can be rationally discussed is the utilitarian way: that is by considering the con·sequences for society of adopting or not adopting the penal law in question. What other type of argument is relevant? Admittedly one could appeal to Scripture, but the New Testament was not intended as a text-book of penology, and some of the penal ideas of the Old Testament are barbarous. Certainly if we knew that God had said that such-and-such was the lav.r we should adopt we should be foolish not to adopt it. But how does God know that it is the best law? God is rational and must have argued rationally to His decision. How else, then, than by arguing in the way we should, if \Ve were rational, that is, in the Utilitarian way? ( Cf. Butler again.) There is something else that Lewis might put in the place of Utilitarian argument: an appeal to the Law of Nature. I do not know what this is. But I think I know what the use of the e':pression "Law of Nature" is. It is this: "this is the Law of Nature" =

PUNISHMENT AND RESPONSIBILITY "this is the rule that ought to be adopted", said by someone \Vho wishes to disguise his own dogmatism and to conceal the fact that he is either unable or too lazy to search for a rational (i.e. a Utilitarian) justification of the proposed measure. From a Utilitarian point of view, then, we discuss a measure by asking "vVill this measure or will some alternative one tend most to promote the well-being of society?" If the proposed measure is a penal law there seem to be only three ways in which it can be of value: ( 1) To deter people; ( 2) To protect society by eliminating or removing criminals; ( 3) To reform the criminal. The first two of these are by far the most important. It is not always possible to reform the criminal And I should say that ( 1) is of greater importance than ( 2). Lewis discusses ( 1) and ( 3) but ignores ( 2). There may be other ways in which the institution of punishment may benefit society and which could be cited to justify it. I do not know of any. It might be argued that punishment satisfies the desire of certain members of the society for revenge. However, the desire for revenge is something which is perhaps better left unsatisfied. It is difficult to believe that society would not be happier if it thought less about revenge. Nforeover I do not see hO\v the principle of revenge itself could possibly be justified. "If we adopt the principle 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth' we ·will make society happier." How? We see then that Utilitarian considerations are relevant in discussing \vhat penal legislation we should adopt. But just as in the case of rightness, analysed earlier in this paper, we find a totally different situation when we come to the individual action, the action of the judge or magistrate. The judge or magistrate must not argue as a Utilitarian, save per accidens where the law leaves some margin for choice, when deciding what punishment to impose. The just punishment for murder is death. That

THE HUMANITARIAN THEORY OF PUNISHMENT

is, death is the punishment laid down by law. It is totally beside the point for the judge to argue about \vhat action, in this particular instance, would promote the greatest general happiness. I now make the following suggestion. A lot of what Lewis says is perfectly true. As judges or magistrates we must not think as Utilitarians. But this has not the slightest bearing on the question of whether legislation should or should not be governed by Utilitarian criteria. Lewis lays stress on the concept of Desert, and it is here, in the thinking of the judge or magistrate, that this concept comes in. The concept of Desert is quite inapplicable so far as the thinking of the legislator is concerned. Ordinarily we know what is meant by "the deserved punishment". It is that laid down by la\v, But how can «desert" have a meaning when \Ve discuss what punishment the law ought to lay down? If we try to apply the idea of desert here we are either driven back on to Lewis's personal preferences ("I

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should like to see murderers hanged", say) or we have to fall back on some crude equation of punishment with amount of damage done: an eye for an eye. Why the damage-retribution equation should be thought a sound principle of legislation I do not know. I do not see how it could possibly be justified. Why should society be happier if we adopt this principle? Indeed it is quite easy to see that society will be happier if we do not adopt this principle. To sum up: Le\vis shows quite clearly that we do not always think about punishment in the Utilitarian way. My reply is that it is when we think of ourselves in the situation of magistrates that we are quite right not to think as Utilitarians. In this situation vve are concerned with the firstorder questions. But it is in considering the penal laws themselves, in considering the second-order questions~ that we must think as Utilitarians. Levi!is's argument derives a great deal of its plausibility from confusing the first-order and second-order questions.

Determinism and Moral Perspectives ELIZABETH L. BEARDSLEY Can determinists £nd a satisfactory rationale for moral praise and blame? On this question, determinists themselves have long been divided. Although the affirmative answer has enjoyed the status of a majority opinion, the negative answer has at times found very effective support. The force of the negative answer emerges clearly in certain recent writings, in which writers sympathetic to determinism vigorously defend the thesis that determinism removes from the concepts of moral praiseworthiness and blameworthiness all legitimate application whatsoever. 1 The negative answer to the question posed here is unsatisfactory, I think; but in some ways it is preferable to the affirmative answer as the latter is usually given Reprinted from Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, XXI, 1960, pp. 1-20, by permission of the author and Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. 1 See Paul Edwards, "Hard and Soft Determinism," and John Hospers, "\Vhat lvleans This Freedom?", both in Sidney Hook, Determinism and Freedom (New York University Press, 1958); also YV. I. Matson, "On the Irrelevance of Free-will to Mmal ResponsibDity," Mind, Vol. LXV (1956), pp. 489---497. Although these writers frame their argument more explicitly in terms of the concept of moral responsibility than in terms of moral praiseworthiness and blameworthiness, the application to the latter concepts is clear. Matson's chief thesis, that libertarianism can validate the concept of moral responsibility no more successfully than determinism can, will not be dealt with in the present paper; the part of his article which bears most directly on \Vhat I shall have to say is found in sections 2 and 3.

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and supported. In this paper, I shall argue that judgments of moral praise and blame, affirmative as well as negative, can be made within the framework of determinism, provided that we accept a more complex account of these judgments and their foundations than is ordinarily supplied or assumed. I shall maintain that judgments concerning the presence or absence of moral praiseworthiness and blameworthiness are made from several different standpoints, which I shall call "moral perspectives." My primary purpose is to show how an understanding of these perspectives and their relations can contribute substantially toward relieving the tension widely felt (even by some who are reluctant to admit it) to exist between determinism and certain of our basic ethical concepts. The terms "praise" and ''blame" will be used here ;vith the meaning of "moral praise" and «moral blame." Praise and blame will be treated as correlative concepts such that, for everything that is said about one, a corresponding statement about the other could be made, though it will usually be unnecessary to make it. The term "affirmative judgment of praise" will be used to refer to any explicit attribution of praiseworthiness to a person. A «negative judgment of praise" is an explicit denial that a person is praiseworthy. The general term "judgment of praise" ;vill refer indifferently to either an affirmative or

DETERMINISM AND MORAL PERSPECTIVES a negative judgment of praise, and similarly for "judgment of blame." Judgments of praise and blame will be treated here as assertions which are true or false, and not as acts which may be useful or useless to perform.

DETERMINIST VIEWS OF PRAISE AND BLAME Before discussing judgments of praise and blame, it will be helpful to consider briefly certain moral judgments of a different kind. The standpoint from which we affirm or deny that acts are objectively right or wrong I shall call the "perspective of objective rightness or wrongness." A judgment of objective rightness or wrongness is a judgment made about an act, not an agent; and it does not carry vvith it any implication about the praiseworthiness or blameworthiness of an agent. Statements like "Smith's act was objectively right, but he deserves no praise for it" not only are self-consistent, but are often true; objectively right acts can be committed inadvertently, or from reprehensible motives. The judgment that an act is objectively right furnishes insufficient evidence for a judgment that its agent is praiseworthy, because certain key facts concerning the causal antecedents of the right act remain to be supplied. The objective rightness or vvrongness of an act does not depend in any way on its causal antecedents, but on other considerations, such as its consequences (for teleologists), or its harmony with the will of God, moral rules, or the like (for formalists). It is therefore appropriate to call this perspective a could be made regarding blameworthiness as judged by this new standard; and it is convenient at times> though somewhat unidiomatic, to speak of an act for \Vhich an agent is morally unworthy and which was antecedently improbable as having also been performed "against odds." To those who deny that the perform~o There will not, however, be an exact correlation between felt intensity of effort and the criterion proposed.

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ance against odds of an act for which the agent is morally worthy or unworthy eams for that agent special praise or blame the only answer can be an invitation to look again, more closely, at the moral appraisals we all make. Evidence confirming the view defended here can be found on all sides. For example, it was maintained not long ago by Auxiliary Bishop Joseph M. Marling of the Roman Catholic Church that the presence of severe neurosis in certain Catholic saints could be admitted, since it not only did not detract from the saintliness, but actually contributed to it, in that a neurosis constitutes a serious obstacle to the achievement of spiritual perfection.n There are strong reasons, I think, for maintaining that the criteria for moral appraisals now being examined constitute a standard separate and distinct from the standard of moral worth. The altemative "single-standard" view (the belief that both sets of criteria can be combined into one complex standard) appears to be widely, though casually, held; but I think it is mistaken. My reasons for this conclusion have been given elsewhere. 12 By our second standard, then, an agent X is praiseworthy for his act A to some degree if and only if: ( 1) X has positive moral worth to some degree for A, and (2) X:s situation at the time of performing A included among the knnwn circumstances a preponderance or balance of circumstances (other than the amount of "effort" put forth by the agent) which are reasonably judged to be unfavorable to the performance of the act. Similar conditions govern the presence of blamevmrthiness as judged by this second standard. Agents who perform acts under the conditions for praiseworthiness just specified will be said to have "positive moral crediC for their n See Time, Vol. LXVIII (August 27, 195"6), for an account of an address by Auxiliary Bishop Joseph M. Marling of Kansas City, Mo., to the Guild of Catholic Psychiatrists. u E. L. Beardsley, op. cit., especially pp. 309-315.

660 acts. Like moral worth, moral credit may be present in either a positive or a negative form. A "judgment of moral credit'" is an assertion or denial that an agent possesses positive or negative moral credit. 13 The moral perspective from which judgments of moral credit are made may be called the "perspective of moral credit," and judgments of praise and blame based on the moral credit standard may also be said to be made from this perspective. In order to judge from the perspective of moral credit, we investigate the causal antecedents of an act more extensively than is done for judgments made from the perspective of moral \Vorth. Any instance of any kind of factor which can reasonably be judged to be an unfavorable or favorabl.e circumstance for a given kind of act is potentially a "credit-determining" factor for any agent performing an act of that kind, even though in common practice, to be sure, not all potential credit-determining factors are investigated before judgments are made. The perspective of moral credit, accordingly, may be called a "causally extended" perspective, as compared \vith our causally limited perspective of moral worth, and our noncausal perspective of objective rightness or \vrongness. Judgments made from the perspective of moral credit supplement judgments made from the perspective of moral worth. They do not supplant them, any more than judgments about the objective rightness or wrongness of acts are supplanted by judgments about the moral worth of their agents. The latter are selfcontained judgments, perfectly satisfactory and significant in their own right. Nevertheless, the perspective of moral credit does set limits to the perspective of moral ·worth, in that it is important for those \Vho make judgments by the moral worth standard to remember that such judgments do not give us the :1. See ibid, for a detailed discussion of the concept of moral credit and its relation to moral worth. Here I leave "moral credit" undefined, and use it to refer to an attribute of agents rather than of acts.

3

PUNISHMENT AND RESPONSIBILITY whole moral truth about an agent. Even when we do not actually go on to ascertain the moral credit-rating of an agent to whom we ascribe positive or negative moral worth, we must bear in mind that further questions along such lines could be asked. Judgments of praise and blame made from the perspective of moral worth will be made less dogmatically, with less show of finality, by those who understand that ~here is another moral perspective from which an individual can be judged. But those who make judgments from the perspective of moral credit must not forget the importance of the perspective of moral worth. Judges who constantly focus their attention on the «ease" or ''difficulty" with which something \Vas accomplished need to be reminded at times, to look at the quality of the moral accomplishment itself. Neither of these two moral perspectives can be said to be superior to the other. It seems clear that the use of the perspective of moral credit is fully compatible with determinism." And the identification of this new standpoint of moral appraisal as a separate moral perspective lends needed strength to the philosophical position of determinism, principally by revealing it to be less dogmatic and impersonal than it is often taken to be. In a more detailed treatment of these matters, the advantages to determinism of recognizing judgments of praise and blame based on moral credit could be e:plained more fully. In the end, however, the convinced Group II determinist will always reply that the effort to set up a perspective of moral credit cannot salvage judgments of praise and blame. He will maintain that judgments of praise and blame based on moral credit are ultimately no more compatible with determinism than are judgments of 14 It may be said, I think correctly, that the accoUnt of moral credit given here actually presupposes a determinist position, since reliable causal generalizations about human behavior underlie the estimates of probability on which judgments of moral credit, in large part, depend.

DETERMINISM AND MORAL PERSPECTIVES praise and blame based on moral worth. 15 As before, he may look tolerantly, or even benevolently, on the procedure of setting up a "perspective of moral credit,n just so long as judgments of praise and blame are kept out of the picture. Again his reaction springs from his awareness of additional causal factors, this time of causal factors lying behind those taken into account from the perspective of moral credit. The Group II determinist will say that, although those who make judgments based on moral credit may make extensive inquiries into the factors causally relevant to human acts, sooner or later, because of the limits of time or energy or human knowledge, they must bring their investigations to a close. And when they do, they will not have told the whole causal story; and the part that will remain untold will invalidate judgments of praise and blame made from this moral perspective. I believe that this charge can be answered, but I \Vant to show first how it might be supported. Let us consider a comparison between t\vo individuals, Jones and Smith. Jones has performed an act having a high degree of positive moral worth in spite of very unfavorable circumstances, whereas Smith, confronted by essentially the same kind of circumstances and placed in a very similar situation, has performed an act having a much lower degree of positive moral worth. It is clear that Jones possesses a higher degree of positive moral credit for his act than does Smith for his,1 6 since the circumstances and situation constitute greater obstacles for Jones' act than for Smith's. Now, no matter how strong our psychological tendency to feel a greater adniiration for the achievement of Jones, such t~ I disregard here the fact that the Group II determinist would also say that the perspective of moral credit inherits what he takes to be the deficiencies of the perSpective of moral worth, since judgments of moral worth are presupposed by judgments of moral credit. 16 On degrees of praiseworthiness by the standard of moral credit, see E. L. Beardsley, op. cit., p, 319.

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an attitude, the Group II determinist would claim, is not justifiable. For moral credit is ascribed on the basis of finding that a preponderance of the known circumstances in an agent's situation \VaS unfavorable to the performance of a given act. Judgments of moral credit deal with acts whose performance was improbable; nevertheless, they deal \Vith acts that were performed, events that happened. If determinism is true, these happenings were caused. Therefore for each act for which an agent possesses moral credit there must exist also a cluster of one or more unknown circumstances causally relevant to the performance of the act, and a preponderance of these circumstances must have been favorable, rather than unfavorable. It is all very well, then, to judge that Jones performed under great odds an act for which he is morally worthy; but such a judgment is superficial and unstable. For, if determmism is true, these vaunted •o~ll feel that this part of the ans\Ver is not enough: that it is wrong ever to see all persons as moral equals. Now even though one may be deeply convinced that the perspective of ultimate

PUNISHMENT AND RESPONSIBILITY moral equality, far from being ignoble, is -when appropriately used-exalted and inspiring, it is not altogether easy to know how to argue for this conviction. One may point to the increase in compassion, tolerance, equanimity,_ that come to those who know how to look at themselves and each other on occasion from the perspective of ultimate moral equality. But it may conceivably be said in reply that these are regarded as benefits only by persons who are antecedently convinced that determinism is, as a matter of fact, true. This reply is not without force. That portion of Spinoza~ s defense of determinism which shows ·\vhat service to our O\Vn lives a knowledge of this doctrine is" has not lost its power to move determinists; but what power do his \VOrds have over others? If all our acts go back to ultimate causes, then we should indeed look at all human beings vvith compassion and tolerance; but what if they do not? Libertarians may contend that compassion and tolerance are not spiritual goods if these attitudes are directed toward humans who, because they have misused their freedom, simply do not deserve to be pitied or tolerated. And equanimity in the face of moral iniquity is nothing but extreme moral callousness, particularly unforgivable, it will be said, when the wrongdoer is oneself. It may prove impossible to disabuse some extreme libertarians of their conviction that human beings should never be regarded as being all morally equal. But it is hard to believe that most people, whatever their metaphysical beliefs, will not find something to which they can respond positively in the attitudes engendered by the perspective of ultimate moral equality. The making of all our judgments of praise and blame with less finality, less assurance that they represent the whole truth, must seem to many an end to be welcomed. 22 Religious teachings which have kept be2 ~ This end is particularly desirable for those more sweeping judgments in which persons are praised or blamed, not for specified acts, but for

DETERMINISM AND MORAL PERSPECTIVES fore our eyes the \riew from something like the perspective of ultimate moral equality ("There but for the grace of God go I") have performed a great service for our moral outlook. 23 ( 3) Finally, I want to take note of the contention-in which those of all metaphysical persuasions will doubtless heartily concur-that this account of praise and blame is simply too complicated to be acceptable. How could the average unspeculative mortal ever find his way among such a bewildering variety of moral perspectives? How could he ever make a judgment of praise or blame? In reply to these questions, two points must be made. First, a single moral judgment arrived at from a single moral perspective is not necessarily made more complicated by the present account than by other accounts. 24 But, secondly, it must be admitted that difficulties do arise when a moral judge is asked to remember that other moral perspectives exist and set limits to the one that he is using at any given time, and \Vhen he is asked, as he sometimes must be, to decide on the moral perspective that should be used in a particular situation. vVe have seen that moral wisdom, on the present view, consists not merely in the ability to make correct moral appraisals from a single perspective, but also in the ability to correlate the pertheir whole characters. Space limitations have precluded the consideration of such judgments here; but their treatment forms an important part of a more detailed examination of moral perspectives. .n Note that, even though the grace of God may be regarded as being ..freely" given, in so far as it is held to constitute a causal determinant of human action, it is treated as essentially similar to what have here been called "ultimate causes." Of considerable interest for further study would be a comparison of the perspective of ultimate moral equality-here described in purely naturalistic terms-\vith such religious concepts as "equality in the sight of God." 2 ' Indeed, the distinction between moral worth and moral credit makes it possible to give a simpler account of the judgments made by each standard than the account which proponents of the single standard view would have to give if their position were adequately worked out.

667

spectives, and, on occasion, to choose among them. It may well be that few attain this kind of \visdom, yet it is by no means clear that it cannot be attained by unspeculative persons. Perhaps such persons can and do make concrete judgments of moral praise and blame in a balanced and large-minded way, keeping the various relevant considerations in due proportion, and governing their own attitudes accordm'gly, despite a lack of any grasp of a theoretical basis for what they are doing. But, if it should turn out that we cannot really evade the conclusion that the present account m-akes moral wisdom harder for an unspeculative person to attain, this conclusion would not necessarily vitiate the account. Why should it not be the case that moral wisdom demands considerable resources of intellect as well as of character? In this paper, I have been arguing that the question with which we began, "Can determinists find a rationale for moral praise and blame?", can be answered affirmatively. I have tried to show however, 'that the unrecognized assu~ption behind the typical and influential affirmative answers that have been given-the assumption that judgments of praise and blame are made from a single moral perspective-is mistaken. I have maintained that those determinists who give a negative answer to our original question have caught sight of some important truths that the others have missed. In the end, however, with their attempts to set up the perspective of ultimate moral equality as the sole valid perspective for judgments of praise and blame, they have fallen into the same fundamental error as the others. One group eternally confronts the other with the question "How can you deny that human beings can be said to be praiseworthy and blameworthy, in view of the fact that they commit acts that are right or wrong, and at the same time done voluntarily, knowingly, and from good or bad desires?" To which the second group incessantly

668 hurls back a question of its own: «HO\v can you assert that human beings can be said to be praiseworthy or blameworthy, in view of the fact that their acts, like all other events, are wholly subject to causal laws, and must be traced back, in the end, to factors wholly beyond the agents' control?" The account given here, which may be called the "theory of multiple moral perspectives," is designed to help put an end to this durable impasse. I have tried to show that the first group is speaking from the perspective of moral worth, \vhile the second replies from the perspective of ultimate moral equality. Both perspectives are valid; but each perspective is incomplete. Three moral perspectives are necessary, I have contended, if we are to tell the whole about the praiseworthiness and blameworthiness of human beings. One of

PUNISHMENT AND HESPONSIBILITY these, the perspective of ultimate moral equality, takes form as a consequence of assuming determinism to be true; but its adoption is not without moral and spiritual benefits. The other perspectives can be exhibited in an examination of judgments of praise and blame conducted quite independently of any determinist assumptions; and we can then see that determinism isat the very least-fully compatible 'vith the use of these moral perspectives. It seems to me that considerable work remains to be done in clarifying and refining these concepts and principles, and in exploring their implications in many directions. But if the claims made here are in essentials justilled, it follows that determinists need not feel that old familiar uneasiness when confronted by the concepts of moral praise and blame. On the contrary, it may be that we stand here on solid ground.

v Ethics and Psychology

A. Reasons and Causes B. Obligation and Motivation C. Why Be Moral?

A. Reasons and Causes

Reasons and Causes S. I. BENN RICHARD PETERS Problems connected with freedoni and determinism are best clarified by examining what we wish to convey when we say that an action is 'determined'. For there are two different things, which are often

most scientists. To say that an event has a cause is to say that there are universal

laws together with statements about initial conditions prevailing at particular times,

and that from these two together we can

confused, which 'determined' can mean.

predict an event which we call an ·effect'.

Firstly, there is what we might call 'causal explicability' and, secondly, 'unavoidability'. Many people have failed to distin-

For example, given that under the con-

guish these t\vo very different strands in

the meaning of the term 'determined', and they have often thought that 'determined' involves both of these things. When we say that our behaviour is

ditions x,y,z, iron

expands

when it is

heated, and given that the conditions x,y,z prevail and that this is a case of iron being heated, we can make the prediction that iron vvill expand. Here we have a

typical

causal

relation.

The

so-called

determined,

·cause' is then the event referred to in the

therefore, it is often assumed both that our

statement of initial conditions. And these conditions are regarded as being sufficient to m.:plain the effect, i1 it is a full-blooded causal explanation.

behaviour has causes and that it is un-

avoidable. Let us, therefore, consider these tw'o strands in the meaning of but it is not a logically self-contradictory one, since both parts of what is asserted may be true together; the apparent conflict is not between parts of what is asserted but between part of what is asserted and one of the presuppositions of asserting the rest. Logically, . as far as I can see, "I should" and "I shall" are distinct, and one can admit that he ought and still not resolve to do. One would not then be very likely to say, "I ought but I shall not," for one probably would not be that interested in the morality of what one was doing, but logically the situation would be such as to be describable in those terms. No doubt, as Nowell-Smith and P. B. Rice claim, a firsthand "I ought" does normally express

and "I shall" is interesting in this connection.40 According to him, "I (morally) ought" expresses a decision, just as '1 shall" does, although it is a decision based on rules, and therefore "I ought but shall I?" is logically odd unless "shall I?" is used in a predictive sense. Yet he admits that "I ought" is «also used~ not to e:;;,._-press· a decision, but in the course of making up one's mind before a decision has been reached," and it is this use that interests me. It seems to me that in this use one could say, "I ought but shall I?" and one might go on thinking he ought and yet decide not to. Nowell-Smith seeks to avoid this conclusion by turning the "I ought" here into the Voice of Conscience or F. H. Bradley, Ethical Studies (The Liberal Arts Press, 1951 L p. 7.

752

WHY BE MORAL?

primarily because they have been conditioned to be moral. The human animal is a social animal and (as Butler and Hume

observed) people normally tend to consider the welfare of others as well as their own welfare. People indeed act selfishly but they also take out life insurance, feel anxiety over the troubles of others, and even have moments of mild discomfort at

the thought that life on this planet may some day be impossible. People react in this way because they have been taught or conditioned to so react. But, the 'because' here is explanatory and not justificatory. It

explains in a very general way what makes or causes people to be moral. But the question I am concerned with here is a quite different one. In asking, "Why should people be moral?", I am asking the question, '\Vhat good reasons do people have for being moral?'. In asking about the justification for acting morally, I am only incidentally concerned with an explanation causes of moral b-ehavior.

of the

not be asking for moral justification for being moral. This would be absurd. Rather he is asking the practical question: why should people be bound by the conventions of morality at all? He would not dispute Baier's contention that ~'it is generally believed that when reasons of self-interest conflict with moral reasons, th_en moral reasons override those of self-interest". 12 It is

perfectly true that the plain man regards moral reasons as superior to all others and it is, of course, in accordance with reason to follow superior or overriding reasons,

but if a clear-headed man asks vVby should we be moral?' he is challenging the very grading criteria those ordinary convictions

rest on. He would acknowledge that it is indeed morally reprehensible or \\1cked not to act morally. But he would ask: 'So what? '. And he might even go on to query: 'What is the good of all this morality anyway? Are not those Marxists and Freudians right who claim that the whole enterprise of morality is nothing but an

vVhat good reasons are there for being moral? And if there are good reasons for being moral are they sufficient or decisive reasons?

ideological device to hoodwink people into not seeking what they really want? Why should people continue to fall for this con-

There is a short, snappy answer to my question. The plain man might well say:

"evil" is to severely grade them down, but why should people accept any moral grading criteria at all? '

'People ought to be moral because it is wicked, evil, morally reprehensible not to be moral. vVe have the very best reasons for being moral, namely that it is immoral

not to be moral'. The plain man (or at the very least the plain IVestern Man and not iust the ordinary Oxford Don) would surely agree with Bradley "that consciousness, when unwarped by selfishness and not blinded by sophistry, is convinced that to ask for the Why? is simple immorality . • .". 11

The correct answer to the ques-

tion: vVby Be Moral?' is simply that this is what we ought to do. This short answer will not do, for the

plain man has failed to understand the question. A clear-headed individual could n Bradley, op. cit., p. 6.

juring trick? To call someone ~·wicked" or

There are several traditional replies to

this. But all of them are unsatisfactory. One traditional approach advocated by Plato and Bishop Butler, among others, claims that people should be moral because they will not be happy otherwise. Being moral is at least a necessary condition for

being happy. For Butler the argument takes the follmving form. Human beings are so con-

stituted that they will, generally speaking, act morally. \Vhen they don't act morally they will clearly recognize they were mistaken in not doing so. The human animal has a conscience and this conscience not 12 Kurt Baier, The Moral Point of View: A Rational Basis of Ethics (Cornell University Press, 1958), p. 308.

WHY SHOULD I BE MORAL?

only causes people to act in a certain way, but is in fact a norm of action. Conscience guides as well as goads; the deliverances of conscience are both action-evoking and a source of moral knowledge. Conscience tells the moral agent what to do even in specific situations. It clearly and unequivocally tells him to always act morally and he is so constituted that if he ignores the dictates of his conscience he \vill not be happy. In other words, Butler agrees with Plato in claiming that Thrasymachus and other amoralists are fundamentally mistaken about the true interests of a human being. That it is in the human animal's best interest to live virtuously is no more established by Butler than it is by Plato." Plato is reduced to analogy, myth and mystagogy and, as Duncan-Jones points out, Butler is finally pushed to concede that "full acceptance of the conclusion that human nature is satisfiable and only satisfiable by virtue depends on revelation". 14 In the face of what clearly seem to be genuine exceptions to the claim that it is in the individual's self-interest always to act morally, Butler is driven to remark: "All shall be set right at the final distribution of things". 15 Some intuitionist may argue that while this Butlerian move won't do, it still remains the case that Butler could rightly have said that we just directly (in some sense) perceive or see the fittingness or suitability of always acting morally. To meet this point we would have to argue against tl1e whole logical or epistemological machinery of intuitionism. \i\'e would need to question (as Toulmin has) such a use of 'intuition', to point out that neither 'see' nor 'apprehend' is at home here, and chal13 John Hospers effectively mar:;hals the points that need to be made against Plato here. See John Hospers, Human Conduct: An Introduction to the Problems of Ethics (New York, 1961). pp. 176-83. u Austin Duncan-Jones, Butler's Moral Philosophy (Pelican Philosophy Series, 1952), p. 181. u Quoted by Duncan-Jones, op. cit., p .182.

753 lenge the notion that ethical words simply refer to qualities or relations. But in view of the incisive literature criticizing this overall intuitionist claim, I believe it is quite unnecessary to refute this intuitionist claim once more. At any rate, I have no new arguments to deploy beyond those offered by Toulmin, MacDonald, Strawson, Robinson, Nowell-Smith and Edwards. There is a more defensible answer to the question: 'Why should people be moral? '. It was first urged (in the Western VI orld, at least) by Epicums; later it was developed and given its classical forceful statement by Hobbes. Bertrand Russell elaborates it in his own way in his Human Society in Ethics and Politics (1955) and Kurt Baier has clearly elucidated and defended Hobbes' argument in his The Moral Point of View ( 1958). This Hobbesian argument, which \vithin its proper scope seems to me conclusive, can readily be used to meet the objections of those "tough-minded" Marxists and Freudians who do not want the usual fare of "s,veetness and light". Hobbes points out that as a matter of fact the restless, malcontent, foraging human animal wants "the commidious life"; that is, he \Vants above all peace, security, freedom from fear. He wants to satisfy his desires to the maximum extent, but one of the very strongest and most persistent of these desires is the desire to be free from the "tooth and claw" of a life in which each man exclusively seeks his ov.rn interest and totally neglects to consider the interests of others. In such a situation life would indeed be "nasty, brutish and short". We could not sleep at night without fear of violent death; we could not leave what we possessed without well-\varranted anxiety over its being stolen or destroyed. Impulses and inclinations would be held in check only when they would lead to behavior detrimental to the individual's ovvn interest. \i\1here people's interests conflict, each man would (without the institution of morality) resort to subterfuge or

754

WI-IT BE MORAL?

violence to gain his own ends. A pervasive rhetorical for there is no place at all for the Dobuan-like suspicion would be normal qualifying word 'probably'. and natural . . . even rational in such a situation. Every individual would be struggling for the good things of life and no rule except that of his ovm_ self-interest III would govern the struggle. The universal reign of the rule of exclusive self-interest Yet an answer to the question '"Why should would lead to the harsh world that Hobbes people be moral? • does not meet one basic called "the state of nature". And, as Baier question that the thorough-going sceptic puts it, «At the same time, it will be clear may feel about the claims of morality. The to _everyone that universal obedience to "existing individual" may want to lmow certain rules overriding self-interest would why he, as an individual, ought to accept produce a state of affairs 'vhich serves the standards of morality when it is not in everyone's interest much better than his his personal interest to do so. He may have unaided pursuit of it in a state where no doubt at all about the general utility of everyone does the same". 16 Baier goes on the moral enterprise. But his not recognizto point out that "the very raison cfttre ing the claims of morality will not greatly of a morality is to yield reasons which over- diminish the total good. Reflecting on this, ride the reasons of self-interest in those he asks himself: '"Why should I be moral cases when everyone's follovving self- when I "~11 not be caught or punished for interest vvould be harmful to everyone". 17 not acting morally?'. VVhen we ask: why should we have a Recall how Glaucon and Adeimantus morality-any morality, even a completely readily agree that Socrates has established conventional morality-we answer that if that morality is an indispensable social praceveryone acts morally, or generally acts tice. But their perplexity over morals is morally, people will be able to attain more not at an end. They want Socrates to go of what they want. It is obvious that in a on and prove that the individual ought to moral community more good \Vill be real- be moral even when he is perfectly safe in ized than in a non-moral collection of peo- not acting morally. Someone might readily ple. Yet in the interest of realizing a agree that the Hobbesian arguments precommodious life for all, voluntary self- . sented in II establish that the greatest total sacrifice is sometimes necessary; but the good will be realized if people act morally, best possible life for everyone is attainable but he still wants to know 'vVhy should I only if people act morally; the greatest be moral in those cases where acting morpossible good is realizable only when every- ally will not be in my rational self-interest?' one puts aside his mvn self-interest when it He might say to himself-though certainly conllicts ·with the common good. if he vmre \vise he would not proclaim it If people ask: 'Why should one -'There is no reason why I should act choose that course of action which \Vill morally". probably promote the greatest possible Such an individual egoist cannot be good?~ vve are quite correct in answering as refuted by indicating that his position canBaylis does: There is probably nothing not be a moral position. He may grant the better one could possibly do instead. 18 I overall social good of morality and he may would only add that Baylis' caution here is be fully aware that 'Why should I do my duty?' cannot be a moral question-there 16 Baier, op. cit., p. 309. is indeed no room at all for that question 17 Ibid. 18 as a moral question, but an individual Charles Baylis, op. cit., pp. 172-73.

755

WHY SHOULD I BE MORAL? egoist is not trying to operate within the bounds of morality. He is trying to decide whether or not he should become a moral agent or he may-in a more theoretical frame of mind-wonder if any reason can be given for his remaining a moral agent. Prichard is quite right in arguing that the moral agent has no choice here. To assert '111 only be moral when being moral is in my rational interest' is to rule out, in a quite a priori fashion, the very possibility of one's being moral as long as one has such an intention. To be a moral agent entails that one gives up seriously entertaining whether one should deliberately adopt a policy of individual egoism. 'X is moral' entails 'X will try to do his duty even when so acting is not in his personal interest'. Thus we must be very careful how we take the individual egoist's question: his question is, 'Should I become moral and give up my individual egoism or shall I remain such an egoist?'. If he decides to remain an individual egoist he will have made the decision that he ought to behave like a man of good morals when and only when such behavior is in his o-wn personal interest. No\v what grounds (if any) have we for saying that a man who makes such a decision is mistaken or irrational? \iVhat (if any) intellectual mistake has he made? Remember, he doesn't challenge Prichard's remarks about the logical relations of duty to interest or the Hobbesian argument that morality is an essential social device if we are to have a commodious life. But he still wants to koow why he should be moral rather than non-moral. The individual egoist may well believe that those who insist on being moral even when it is not in their self-interest are really benighted fools duped by the claims of society. A "really clever man" will take as his own personal norm of action the furtherance of his own good. Everything else must give pride of place to this. He will only endeavor to make it seem perfectly obvious that he is a staunch pillar of

the community so as to avoid reprisals from his society. Can such an individual egoist be shown to be wrong or to be asking a senseless question? vVhat arguments can be given for an affirmative answer to the question: 'Should I be moral?'. Kant recognized as clearly as did Prichard that there is no room for this question ·within morality, but he felt, in a way Prichard apparently did not, that nonetheless such a question needs answering and that this was one of the main reasons we need God and the graces of religion. Thus, Kant found it necessary to posit God and immortality as postulates of the practical reason so that there \Vould be a heaven in which the morally good man would be rewarded for doing his duty because it is his duty. But these principles of practical reason are, for Kant, finally based on the demands of the moral will. The universe just couldn't be so bad as to allow e,~l to go permanently unrequited and the man of good will unrewarded. Sidgwick too (strangely enough) created a theological postulate to provide for a harmony between universal and individual happiness. \Ve assume that God so rewards and punishes that it is always in everyone's interest to seek to further the greatest good for the greatest number. But it is increasingly difficult for an educated modem even to believe in God, to say nothing of making Him such a dew; ex machina. As J. J. C. Smart rightly remarks: "11ore and more it seems that man is just part of nature. In the light of modern· science he appears to be a very complicated physico-chemical mechanism, who arose by natural selection from simpler mechanisms, and there may \Veil be millions of planets in the universe vvith similar, or higher, forms of life on them". 19 Yet for the sake of the argument let us assume 1 J. J, C. Smart, «Philosophy and Religion,'' The Australasian Journal of Philosophy, val. 36, No.1 (1958), p. 57. ij

756 (what indeed ought not to be assumed) that we have an appropriate use of 'God' and let us also assume that we have some evidence that there is an X such that X is God. Even making these assumptions, it does take the utmost vanity and the epitome of self-delusion to believe that such a Being could be so concerned with our weal and woe. And to postulate God because of His practical necessity or to postulate immortality to h'y to insure a justification of morality is just too convenient. It is deserving of the scorn Bradley heaped upon it. Medlin does not engage in such rationalization but without further ado plays Dr. Johnson. He comments: "If the good fellow wants to know how he should justify conventional morality to the individual egoist, the answer is that he shouldnt and can't. Buy your car elsewhere, blackguard him whenever you meet, and let it go at that"? 0 A philosopher, Medlin goes on to comment, is "not a rat-catcher" and it is not his "job to dig vermin out of such burrows as individual egoism". 21 Inasmuch as Medlin is pointing out that the individual egoist's position isn't and can't be a moral alternative to conventional morality, he is perfectly right in his strictures; but as an answer to the question as I have posed it, Medlin's reply is simply irrelevant. Must we say at this juncture that practical reasoning has come to an end and that we must simply decide for ourselves how to act? Is it just that, depending on what attitudes I actually happen to have, I strive to be one sort of a person rather than another without any sufficient rational guides to tell me what I am to do? Does it come to just that-finally? Subjectivists say (at such a juncture) that there are no such guides. And this time there seems to be a strong strand of common sense or hardheaded street \Visdom to back up the subjectivists' position. I do not believe that we are that badly !!o :1\{edlin, op. cit., p. 113; italics mine. "Ibid., p. 114.

WHY BE MORAL? off. There are weighty considerations of a mundane sort in favor of the individual's taking the moral point of view. But I think the subjectivists are right in claiming that it is a mistake to argue that a man is simply irrational if he does not at all times act morally. It is indeed true that if a man deliberately refuses to do what he acknowledges as morally required of him, we say he is irrational--or better, unreasonable. But here ·irrational' and