Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/561

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543
REPLIES TO THE QUARTERLY REVIEWERS.

his denial of the existence of any fundamental and essential distinction between Duty and Pleasure." Following this by a statement respecting the genesis of moral sentiments as understood by me (which is extremely unlike the one I have given in the "Principles of Psychology" (§ 215, §§ 503-512, and §§ 524-532), the reviewer goes on to say that "we yield with much reluctance to the necessity of affirming that Mr. Spencer gives no evidence of ever having acquired a knowledge of the meaning of the term 'morality,' according to the true sense of the word."

Just noting that, as shown by the context, the assertion thus made is made against all those who hold the Doctrine of Evolution in its unqualified form, I reply that, in so far as it concerns me, it is one the reviewer would scarcely have made had he more carefully examined the evidence—not limiting himself to those works of mine named at the head of his article. And I cannot but think that, had the spirit of fairness, which he evidently strives to maintain, been fully awake when these passages were written, he would have seen that, before making so serious an allegation, wider inquiry was needful. If he had simply said that, given the doctrine of mental evolution as held by me, he failed to see how moral principles were to be established, I should not have objected; provided he had also said that I believe they can be established, and had pointed out what I hold to be their bases. As it is, however, he has so presented his own inference from my premises as to make it seem an inference which I also must draw from my premises. Quite a different and much more secure foundation for moral principles is alleged by me than that afforded by moral sentiments and conceptions, which he refers to as though they formed the sole basis of the ethical conclusions I hold. While the reviewer contends that "Mr. Spencer's moral system is even yet more profoundly defective, as it denies any objective distinction between right and wrong in any being, whether men are or are not responsible for their actions," I contend, contrariwise, that it is distinguished from other moral systems by asserting the objectivity of the distinction, and by endeavoring to show that the subjective distinction is derived from the objective distinction. In my first work, "Social Statics," published twenty-three years ago, the essential thesis is that, apart from their warrant as alleged Divine injunctions, and apart from their authority as moral intuitions, the principles of justice are primarily deducible from the laws of life, as carried on under social conditions. I argued throughout that these principles so derived have a supreme authority, to which considerations of immediate expediency must yield, and I was for this reason classed by Mr. Mill as an anti-utilitarian. More recently, in a letter drawn from me by this misapprehension of Mr. Mill, and afterward published by Prof. Bain in his "Mental and Moral Science," I have restated this position. Already, in an explanatory article entitled "Morals and Moral Sentiments,"