Part 2 Sec. 1-2: Justice

PART 2: JUSTICE AND INJUSTICE

SEC. 1: JUSTICE, A NATURAL OR ARTIFICIAL VIRTUE?

  • Our sense of virtue is not natural.
  • There are some virtues that produce pleasure and approbation through artifice or contrivance arising from mankind’s circumstances and necessity.
    • Justice is a virtue of this kind.
  • When we praise any actions, we regard only the motives that produced them.
    • We consider the actions as signs of certain principles in the mind and temper.
  • The external performance has no merit.
    • We must look within to find the moral quality.
    • We cannot do this directly.
      • We therefore fix our attention on actions, as on external signs.
      • But these actions are still considered as signs.
      • The ultimate object of our praise and approbation is the motive that produced them.
  • When we require any action or blame a person for not performing it, we:
    • always suppose that a person in that situation should be influenced by that action’s proper motive.
    • see it vicious for him to be regardless of it.
  • We retract our blame if we find that the virtuous motive was still powerful over his breast, though checked by some circumstances unknown to us.
    • We have the same esteem for him, as if he had actually performed the action required.
  • All virtuous actions therefore:
    • derive their merit only from virtuous motives
    • are considered merely as signs of those motives.
  • The first virtuous motive which bestows a merit on any action, can never be a regard to the virtue of that action.
    • It must be some other natural motive or principle.
  • We reason in a circle if we suppose that the mere regard to the virtue of the action may be the first motive which:
    • produced the action
    • rendered it virtuous.
  • The action must be really virtuous before we can have such a regard.
    • This virtue must be derived from some virtuous motive.
    • Consequently, the virtuous motive must be different from the regard to the action’s virtue.
  • A virtuous motive is requisite to render an action virtuous.
    • An action must be virtuous before we can have a regard to its virtue.
    • Some virtuous motive, therefore, must be antecedent.
  • This is not merely a metaphysical subtilty.
    • It enters into all our reasonings in common life.
    • Though we may be unable to place it in such distinct philosophical terms.
  • We blame a father for neglecting his child. Why?
    • Because it shows a lack of natural affection which is the duty of every parent.
    • If affection were not a natural duty, the care of children could not be a duty.
      • It would then be impossible for us to have the duty for our offspring.
    • In this case, all men suppose a motive to the action, distinct from a sense of duty.
  • A man’s character is most amiable and virtuous if he does many benevolent actions:
    • relieves the distressed
    • comforts the afflicted
    • extends his bounty even to the greatest strangers.
  • We regard these actions as proofs of the greatest humanity.
    • This humanity bestows a merit on the actions.
  • Therefore, a regard to this merit is a secondary consideration.
    • It is derived from the antecedent principle of humanity, which is meritorious and laudable.
  • It may be an undoubted maxim, that no action can be virtuous, or morally good, unless there is in human nature some motive to produce it, distinct from the sense of its morality.
  • But may the sense of morality or duty produce an action without any other motive?
    • I answer, It may.
    • This is not an objection to the present doctrine.
  • When any virtuous motive or principle is common in human nature, a person who has no virtue may:
    • hate himself
    • perform the action without the motive, from a certain sense of duty to:
      • acquire that virtuous principle by practice or
      • disguise to himself his lack of it.
  • A man that really feels no gratitude in his temper:
    • is still pleased to perform grateful actions
    • thinks he has, by that means, fulfilled his duty.
  • Actions are at first only considered as signs of motives.
    • But we usually to fix our attention on the signs, and neglect the thing signified.
  • But sometimes, a person may perform an action merely out of regard to its moral obligation.
    • Yet this still supposes some distinct principles in human nature:
      • which are capable of producing the action
      • whose moral beauty renders the action meritorious.
  • If a person lends me money on condition that it be restored in a few days.
    • After the term’s expiration, he demands the sum.
    • I ask, what reason or motive do I have to restore the money?
      • My regard to justice and abhorrence of villainy and knavery are sufficient reasons for me, if I have the:
        • smallest grain of honesty, or
        • sense of duty and obligation.
  • This answer is just and satisfactory to man:
    • in his civilized state
    • when trained up according to a certain discipline and education.
  • But in his rude and more natural condition, this answer would be perfectly unintelligible and sophistical.
    • A man in that situation would immediately ask: wherein consists this honesty and justice which you find in:
      • restoring a loan
      • abstaining from the property of others?
  • It surely does not lie in the external action.
    • Therefore, it must be placed in the motive from which the external action is derived.
    • This motive can never be a regard to the honesty of the action.
  • It is false to say that:
    • a virtuous motive is needed to render an action honest
    • a regard to honesty is the motive of the action.
  • We can never have a regard to the virtue of an action, unless the action is virtuous beforehand.
    • No action can be virtuous, unless it proceeds from a virtuous motive.
  • A virtuous motive, therefore, must precede the regard to the virtue.
    • It is impossible that the virtuous motive and the regard to the virtue can be the same.
  • We then need to find some motive to acts of justice and honesty, distinct from our regard to the honesty.
    • This is very difficult.
  • If we say that a concern for our private interest or reputation is the legitimate motive to all honest actions, it follows that when that concern ceases, honesty can no longer have place.
    • But when self-love acts at its liberty, instead of engaging us to honest actions, it is the source of all injustice and violence.
    • Man can never correct those vices without correcting and restraining the natural movements of that appetite.
  • Injustice and dishonesty are most contrary to the public interest.
  • But if the reason or motive of such actions is the regard to public interest, I propose three considerations:
    1. Public interest is not naturally attached to the observation of the rules of justice.
      • It is only connected with the the rules of justice after an artificial convention for the establishment of these rules.
    2. If the loan was secret, and that the lender required that the money be paid in secret, (the lender conceals his own riches) the example ceases.
      • The public is no longer interested in the borrower’s actions.
      • No moralist will affirm that the duty and obligation ceases.
    3. Experience proves that men ordinarily do not look so far as the public interest when they:
      • pay their creditors
      • perform their promises
      • abstain from theft and injustice.
        • The public interest is a motive too remote and too sublime to:
          • affect the generality of mankind
          • operate with any force in actions so contrary to private interest as are frequently those of justice and common honesty.
  • The love of mankind is the only passion which is independent of:
    • personal qualities
    • services, or
    • relation to our self.
  • The happiness or misery of any sensible creature affects us when:
    • brought near to us
    • represented in lively colours.
      • But this proceeds merely from sympathy.
      • It is no proof of an universal affection to mankind.
        • Since this concern extends itself beyond our own species.
  • An affection between the sexes is a passion implanted in human nature.
    • This passion appears in its peculiar symptoms and in:
      • inflaming every other principle of affection
      • raising a stronger love from beauty, wit, kindness, than what would otherwise flow from them.
    • If there were an universal love among all human creatures, it would appear after the same manner.
      • Any degree of a good quality would cause a stronger affection than the same degree of a bad quality would cause hatred.
      • This is contrary to what we find by experience.
  • Men’s tempers are different.
    • Some have a propensity to the tender, others to the rougher affections.
  • But man in general, or human nature, is nothing but the object both of love and hatred.
    • It requires some other cause, which by a double relation of impressions and ideas, may excite these passions.
    • We cannot elude this hypothesis.
  • No phenomena can point out any such kind affection to men, independent of their merit, and every other circumstance.
    • We love company in general, as we love any other amusement.
  • An Englishman in Italy is a friend.
    • A European in China is a friend.
    • A man on the moon would also be a friend.
  • But this proceeds only from the relation to ourselves.
    • In these cases, this gathers force by being confined to a few persons.
  • Public benevolence is the regard to mankind’s interests.
    • Private benevolence is the regard to a party’s interests.
  • If public benevolence cannot be the original motive to justice much less than private benevolence, what is the original motive to:
    • hate my enemy?
    • hate a vicious man?
    • deprive a miser?
    • harm a profligate debauchee?
    • acquire something for my family in urgent need?
  • In all these cases, the original motive to justice would fail.
    • Consequently the justice itself, and along with it all property, tight, and obligation.
  • A rich man lies under a moral obligation to communicate a share of his superfluities to those in necessity.
    • If private benevolence were the original motive to justice, a man would not be obliged to leave others more than he is obliged to give them.
    • At least the difference would be very inconsiderable.
  • Men generally fix their affections more on what they have than on what they never enjoyed.
    • For this reason, it would be greater cruelty to dispossess a man of anything, than not to give it him.
  • But who will assert, that this is the only foundation of justice?
  • Men attach themselves so much to their possessions because they consider their possessions as:
    • their property
    • secured to them inviolably by the laws of society.
  • But this is a secondary consideration.
    • It is dependent on the preceding notions of justice and property.
  • A man’s property is supposed to be fenced against every mortal.
  • But private benevolence is and should be weaker in some persons than in others.
    • In most persons, it must absolutely fail.
  • Therefore, private benevolence is not the original motive of justice.
  • We have no real or universal motive for observing the laws of equity, but the very equity and merit of that observance.
  • No action can be equitable or meritorious if it cannot arise from some separate motive.
    • There is an evident sophistry here and reasoning in a circle.
  • The sense of justice and injustice is not derived from nature unless we allow that nature has:
    • established a sophistry
    • rendered it necessary and unavoidable.
  • It instead arises artificially, though necessarily, from education and human conventions.
  • No action can be laudable or blameable without some motives or impelling passions distinct from the sense of morals.
    • These distinct passions must thus have a great influence on that sense.
  • We blame or praise according to their general force in human nature.
  • In judging of the beauty of animal bodies, we always see the economy of a certain species.
    • We pronounce them handsome and beautiful if their limbs and features have proportions common to the species.
  • Similarly, we always consider the natural and usual force of the passions when we determine concerning vice and virtue.
    • If the passions depart very much from the common measures on either side, they are always disapproved as vicious.
  • A man naturally loves his children better than his nephews, his nephews better than his cousins, his cousins better than strangers, where everything else is equal.
    • Hence arise our common measures of duty, in preferring the one to the other.
  • Our sense of duty always follows the common and natural course of our passions.
  • When I deny justice to be a natural virtue, I use ‘natural’ only as opposed to ‘artificial’.
    • In another sense of ‘natural’, justice is the most natural virtue, just as virtue is the most natural principle of the human mind.
  • Mankind is an inventive species.
    • If an invention is obvious and absolutely necessary, it may be as natural as anything that proceeds immediately from original principles, without any thought or reflection.
  • Though the rules of justice be artificial, they are not arbitrary.
    • It is proper to call them Laws of Nature if we mean natural’ as something common to any species or something inseparable from the species.

SEC. 2: THE ORIGIN OF JUSTICE AND PROPERTY

  • We now examine two distinct questions:
    • how the rules of justice are established by men’s artifice
    • why we attribute a moral beauty and deformity to the observance or neglect of these rules.
  • At first sight, nature seems to have been most cruel to man, of all animals, in the:
    • innumerable wants and needs which she has loaded him
    • slender means which she affords to relieve these needs.
  • In other creatures, these two particulars generally compensate each other.
    • A lion is a voracious and carnivorous animal which has many needs.
      • But we see that its make, temper, agility, courage, arms, and force are proportional to his wants.
    • The sheep and ox do not have the lion’s advantages.
      • But their appetites are moderate and their food is easy to get.
  • This unnatural conjunction of infirmity and necessity is only observed in its greatest perfection in man.
    • The food he needs requires his labour to be produced.
    • He must have clothes and lodging to defend him against the weather.
    • He has no arms, force, or other natural abilities to answer so many necessities.

Hume’s Division of Labour

  • He is able to supply his defects only through society.
    • Through this, he can raise himself up to an equality with his fellow-creatures, and even acquire a superiority above them.
  • By society all his infirmities are compensated.
    • Even if his wants multiply, his abilities are still more augmented.
    • It leaves him more satisfied and happy than in a savage and solitary condition.
  • When every person labours apart only for himself, his force is too small to execute any considerable work.
    • His labour is employed in supplying all his different necessities.
    • He never attains a perfection in any particular art.
    • His force and success are not at all times equal.
    • The least failure in either of these must be attended with inevitable ruin and misery.
  • Society remedies these three inconveniences.
    • By the conjunction of forces, our power is augmented.
    • By the partition of employments, our ability increases.
    • By mutual succour, we are less exposed to fortune and accidents.
  • Society becomes advantageous by this additional force, ability, and security.
  • But to form society, the society must be advantageous and men must be sensible of these advantages.
    • It is impossible for them to know this in their wild uncultivated state by study and reflection alone.
  • The natural appetite between the sexes is the first and original principle of human society.
    • Most fortunately, this necessity is a more present and obvious remedy to the other human necessities which have remote and obscure remedies.
    • This unites them and preserves their union until a new tie takes place in their concern for their offspring.
      • This new concern becomes also a principle of union between the parents and offspring.
      • It forms a bigger society where the parents:
        • govern by their superior strength and wisdom
        • are restrained in their authority by that natural affection for their children.
  • In a little time, custom and habit operates on the tender minds of the children.
    • It makes them sensible of their advantages from society.
    • It fashions them gradually for it by rubbing off those rough corners and untoward affections which prevent their coalition.
  • No matter how necessary a union is for human nature and no matter how lust and natural affection render a union unavoidable, there are other particulars in our natural temper and outward circumstances which are:
    • very incommodious
    • even contrary to the needed conjunction.
  • Our selfishness is the most considerable factor.
    • I know that:
      • my representation of selfishness here has been carried too far.
      • certain philosophers describe mankind’s selfishness as monsters.
  • Regarding selfishness, I think that it is rare to meet a person who loves anyone better than himself.
    • Yet it is as rare to meet with one, in whom all the kind affections, taken together, do not overbalance all the selfish.
  • Consult common experience.
    • Do you not see, that though the master directs the whole family expences, there are few that do not bestow most of their fortunes on:
      • the pleasures of their wives
      • the education of their children, reserving the smallest portion for their own proper use and entertainment
    • We can observe this on those who have such endearing ties.
      • We may presume that the case would be the same with others, were they placed in a like situation.
  • This generosity must be acknowledged to the honour of human nature.
    • But we may also remark that so noble an affection, instead of fitting men for large societies, is almost as contrary to them as the most narrow selfishness.
  • Each person loves himself better than any person.
    • In others, he loves his relations and acquaintances the most.
    • This must necessarily produce:
      • an opposition of passions
      • a consequent opposition of actions which cannot but be dangerous to the new-established union.
  • This contrariety of passions would have a small danger if it did not concur with a peculiarity in our outward circumstances which affords it an opportunity of exerting itself.
  • There are different species of goods which we have:
    • the internal satisfaction of our minds
      • We are perfectly secure in the enjoyment of this.
    • the external advantages of our body
      • This may be ravished from us.
      • But it can be of no advantage to him who deprives us of them.
    • the enjoyment of such possessions acquired by our industry and good fortune.
      • These are exposed to the violence of others and may be transferred without suffering any loss or alteration.
      • There is not a sufficient quantity of them to supply every one’s desires and necessities.
  • The improvement of these goods is the chief advantage of society.
    • Their scarcity and the instability of their possession is the chief impediment.
  • We should not:
    • expect to find a remedy to this inconvenience, in uncultivated nature, or
    • hope for any inartificial principle of the human mind which might:
      • control those partial affections
      • make us overcome the temptations arising from our circumstances.
  • The idea of justice can never:
    • serve this purpose, or
    • be taken for a natural principle, capable of inspiring men with an equitable conduct towards each other.
  • Justice would never have been dreamed of among rude and savage men.
    • Because the notion of injury or injustice implies an immorality or vice committed against another person.
    • Every immorality is derived from some defect or unsoundness of the passions.
    • This defect must be judged of from the ordinary course of nature in the mind’s constitution.
    • It will be easy to know whether we are guilty of any immorality with regard to others by considering the natural and usual force of those affections directed towards them.
  • In the original frame of our mind, our strongest attention is confined to ourselves.
    • Our next is extended to our relations and acquaintances.
    • Only the weakest reaches to strangers and indifferent persons.
  • This partiality and unequal affection must have an influence on our:
    • behaviour and conduct in society
    • ideas of vice and virtue.
  • This makes us regard any remarkable transgression of such partiality as vicious and immoral.
  • We may observe this in our common judgments on actions where we blame a person who:
    • centers all his affections in his family, or
    • is so regardless of them to give the preference to a stranger.
  • Our natural uncultivated ideas of morality, instead of providing a remedy for the partiality of our affections, rather:
    • conform themselves to that partiality
    • give it an additional force and influence.
  • The remedy, then, is not derived from nature, but from artifice.
    • Nature provides a remedy in the judgment and understanding, for what is irregular and incommodious in the affections.
  • Early education makes men sensible of society’s infinite advantages.
  • Men observe that the principal disturbance in society arises from:
    • external goods
    • the looseness of external goods and their easy transition from one person to another.
  • They seek a remedy by putting these goods on the same footing with the fixed and constant advantages of the mind and body.
    • This can only be done by a convention entered into by all the members of the society to:
      • bestow stability on the possession of those external goods
      • leave everyone in the peaceful enjoyment of what he may acquire by his fortune and industry.
    • Through this, everyone knows what he may safely possess.
      • The passions are restrained in their partial and contradictory motions.
      • This restraint is not contrary to these passions, for if so, it could never be entered into nor maintained.
        • It is only contrary to their heedless and impetuous movement.
  • Instead of departing from our own interest, or from that of our nearest friends by abstaining from the possessions of others, we cannot better consult both these interests, than by such a convention.
    • Because it is by that means we maintain society, which is so necessary to their well-being and subsistence, as well as to our own.
  • This convention is not of the nature of a promise.
    • For even promises arise from human conventions.
  • Only a general sense of common interest:
    • is expressed by all the members of the society to one another
    • induces them to regulate their conduct by certain rules.
  • It will be for my interest to leave another with his goods, provided he will do the same thing for me.
    • He is sensible of a like interest in the regulation of his conduct.
  • When this common sense of interest is mutually expressed, and is known to both, it produces a suitable resolution and behaviour.
    • This may properly enough be called a convention or agreement between us, though without a promise.
      • Since our own actions:
        • have a reference to the actions of others.
        • are performed on the supposition that something is to be performed on the other part.
  • Two men who pull the oars of a boat, do it by an agreement or convention, though they have never given promises to each other.
    • The rule concerning the stability of possession is less derived from human conventions.
      • It arises gradually.
      • It acquires force by:
        • a slow progression
        • our repeated experience of the inconveniences of transgressing it.
  • On the contrary, this experience assures us further that the sense of interest has become common to all our fellows.
    • It gives us a confidence of the future regularity of their conduct.
  • Our moderation and abstinence are founded only on the expectation of this.
  • In a like manner:
    • languages are gradually established by human conventions without any promise.
    • gold and silver:
      • become the common measures of exchange
      • are esteemed sufficient payment for something 100 times their value.
  • The ideas of justice and injustice, as well as those of property, right, and obligation immediately arise after:
    • this convention concerning abstinence from the possessions of others is entered into
    • everyone has acquired a stability in his possessions.
      • This is unintelligible without first understanding the abstinence.
  • Our property is nothing but those goods, whose constant possession is established by the laws of society, by the laws of justice.
  • Therefore, those who use the words ‘property’, ‘right’, or ‘obligation’ are guilty of a very gross fallacy and can never reason on any solid foundation if they do not:
    • explain the origin of justice, or
    • use ‘property’, ‘right’, or ‘obligation’ in explaining the origin of justice.
  • A man’s property is some object related to him.
    • This relation is not natural a relation.
    • It is a moral relation founded on justice.
  • It is very preposterous to imagine that we can have any idea of property without fully:
    • comprehending the nature of justice
    • showing its origin in man’s artifice and contrivance.
  • The origin of justice explains the origin of property.
    • The same artifice gives rise to both.
  • Our first and most natural sentiment of morals is founded on the nature of our passions.
    • It gives the preference to ourselves and friends above strangers.
    • It is impossible there can be naturally any such thing as a fixed right or property while the opposite passions of men:
      • impel them in contrary directions
      • are not restrained by any convention or agreement.
  • The convention for the distinction of property and for the stability of possession is most necessary to the establishment of human society.
    • After the agreement for this rule, little or nothing remains to be done towards settling a perfect harmony and concord.
  • All the other passions, besides this of interest, are easily restrained or are not of such pernicious consequence, when indulged.
  • Vanity is esteemed as:
    • a social passion
    • a bond of union among men.
  • Pity and love are considered in the same light.
  • Envy and revenge are pernicious.
    • But they operate only by intervals and are directed against our superiors or enemies.
  • This avidity alone, of acquiring goods and possessions for ourselves and our nearest friends, is insatiable, perpetual, universal, and directly destructive of society.
  • Everyone is actuated by it.
    • Everyone has has a reason to fear it when it:
      • acts unrestrained
      • gives way to its first and most natural movements.
  • So that on the whole, we are to esteem the difficulties in the establishment of society, to be greater or less, according to those we encounter in regulating and restraining this avidity.

Proper Self-Interest

  • No affection of the human mind has a sufficient force and proper direction to:
    • counterbalance the love of gain
    • render men fit members of society by making them abstain from the possessions of others.
  • Benevolence to strangers is too weak for this purpose.
    • We observe that the more we have, the more we can gratify our appetites.
    • Self-interest rather inflames this avidity
  • Therefore, only self-interest is capable of controlling self-interest through a change in its direction.
    • This change must necessarily take place on the smallest reflection, since self-interest is much better satisfied by its restraint than by its liberty.
    • We make much greater advances in the acquiring possessions in a society than in the solitary and forlorn condition.
  • The question on the wickedness or goodness of human nature, does not enter into that other question on the origin of society
    • Only the degrees of men’s sagacity or folly is to be considered in this.
  • Self-interest alone restrains self-interest, whether it is vicious or virtuous.
    • If self-interest is virtuous, men become social by their virtue.
    • If self-interest is vicious, their vice becomes vicious.
  • This passion restrains itself by establishing the rule for the stability of possession.
    • If that rule is very abstruse and difficult, society must be:
      • accidental
      • the effect of many ages.
    • If that rule is the most simple and obvious, it is impossible for men to remain in that savage condition which precedes society.
      • For example, if:
        • every parent establishes it to preserve peace among his children
        • these first rudiments of justice are improved everyday as the society enlarges.
      • In this case, man’s very first state and situation would be social.
  • However, this does not hinder philosophers from extending their reasoning to the supposed state of nature.
    • Provided they allow it to be a mere philosophical fiction, which never could be real.
  • Human nature is composed of two principal parts requisite in all its actions:
    • the affections
    • the understanding.
  • The blind motions of the affections incapacitate men for society without the direction of the understanding.
    • And it may be allowed us to consider separately the effects, that result from the separate operations of these two component parts of the mind.
  • The same liberty may be permitted to moral philosophers, which is allowed to natural philosophers.
    • Natural philosophers very usually consider any motion as compounded and consisting of two separate parts.
      • Though at the same time, they acknowledge it to be uncompounded and inseparable in itself.
  • Therefore, this state of nature is to be regarded as a mere fiction like that of the golden age invented by poets.
    • only with this difference, that the former is described as full of war, violence and injustice; whereas the latter is pointed out to us, as the most charming and most peaceable condition, that can possibly be imagined.
  • The poets say that the seasons in that first age of nature were so temperate, that people did not need clothes and houses against the heat and cold.
    • The rivers flowed with wine and milk.
    • The oaks yielded honey.
    • Nature spontaneously produced her greatest delicacies.
    • These were not the chief advantages of that happy age.
  • The storms and tempests were not alone removed from nature.
    • But those more furious tempests were unknown to human breasts, which now cause such uproar, and engender such confusion.
  • Avarice, ambition, cruelty, selfishness, were never heard of.
    • Cordial affection, compassion, sympathy, were the only movements which the human mind was acquainted with.
  • Even the distinction of mine and thine was banished from that happy race of mortals.
    • People carried with them the very notions of property and obligation, justice and injustice.
  • This is an idle fiction.
    • But it still deserves our attention because this shows the origin of those virtues, which are the subjects of our present enquiry.
  • I have already observed that:
    • justice takes its rise from human conventions
    • these are intended as a remedy to some inconveniences, which proceed from the concurrence of certain qualities of the human mind with the situation of external objects.
  • The qualities of the mind are selfishness and limited generosity.
    • The situation of external objects is their easy change, joined to their scarcity relative to people’s wants and desires.
  • But however philosophers may have been bewildered in those speculations, poets have been guided more infallibly by a certain taste or common instinct.
    • In most kinds of reasoning, this taste goes farther than anything we have been acquainted with.
    • They easily perceived that the jealousy of interest, which justice supposes, could no longer have place:
      • if every man had a tender regard for another, or
      • if nature supplied abundantly all our wants and desires.
    • There would be no occasion for those distinctions and limits of property and possession currently in use among mankind.
  • Increase the benevolence of men or the bounty of nature, and you render justice useless by replacing it with:
    • much nobler virtues
    • more valuable blessings.
  • The selfishness of men is animated by the few possessions we have, in proportion to our wants.
    • It is to restrain this selfishness that men have been obliged to:
      • separate themselves from the community
      • distinguish between their own goods and those of others.
  • We do not need to have recourse to the fictions of poets to learn this.
    • But besides the reason of the thing, we may discover the same truth by common experience and observation.
  • It is easy to remark that:
    • a cordial affection renders all things common among friends
    • married people in particular mutually:
      • lose their property
      • are unacquainted with the mine and thine.
        • This mine and thine are so necessary but cause such disturbance in human society.
  • The same effect arises from any alteration in mankind’s circumstances, as when there is such a plenty of anything as satisfies all the desires of men.
    • In which case the distinction of property is entirely lost, and everything remains in common.
  • We may observe this with regard to air and water, the most valuable of all external objects.
    • Justice and injustice would be equally unknown among mankind:
      • if men were supplied with everything in the same abundance, or
      • if everyone had the same affection and tender regard for everyone as for himself.
  • Justice derives its origin only from the selfishness and confined generosity of men, along with the scanty provision nature has made for his wants.
    • This proposition gives an additional force on some of the observations we have already made on this subject.
  1. We may conclude that a regard to public interest, or a strong extensive benevolence, is not our first and original motive for the observation of the rules of justice.
    1. Since if men were endowed with such a benevolence, these rules would never have been dreamt of.
  1. We may conclude from the same principle, that the sense of justice is not founded on reason, or on the discovery of certain connections and relations of eternal, immutable, and universally obligatory ideas.
    • An alteration in mankind’s temper and circumstances would entirely alter our duties and obligations.
    • It would then be necessary, on the common system, that the sense of virtue be derived from reason.
      • This will show the change which this must produce in the relations and ideas.
    • Man’s generosity and perfect abundance would destroy the very idea of justice because they render justice useless.
      • His confined benevolence and necessitous condition give rise to justice only by making it requisite to public and private interest.
    • Therefore, a concern for the public and private interest made us establish the laws of justice.
      • This concern is not brought by any relation of ideas.
      • It is brought by our impressions and sentiments.
        • Without these, everything in nature:
          • is perfectly indifferent to us
          • can never affect us.
    • Therefore, the sense of justice is not founded on our ideas, but on our impressions.
  1. THOSE IMPRESSIONS, WHICH GIVE RISE TO THIS SENSE OF JUSTICE, ARE NOT NATURAL TO MAN’S MIND, BUT ARISE FROM ARTIFICE AND HUMAN CONVENTIONS.
    • Any considerable alteration of temper and circumstances destroys justice and injustice equally.
      • Any such alteration only changes the private and public interest.
      • It follows that the first establishment of the rules of justice depends on these different interests.
    • But if men pursued the public interest naturally and heartily, they would never have dreamed of restraining each other by these rules.
      • If they pursued their own interest without any precaution, they would run head-long into every kind of injustice and violence.
      • Therefore, these rules are artificial.
        • They seek their end in an oblique and indirect manner.
    • Interest does not give rise to rules which could be pursued by people’s natural passions.
  • The rules of justice are established merely by interest.
    • But their connection with interest is singular and different each time.
  • A single act of justice is frequently contrary to public interest.
    • If it stood alone without being followed by other acts, it might be very prejudicial to society.
  • When a man of merit restores a great fortune to a miser or a seditious bigot, he has acted justly and laudably.
    • But the public is a real sufferer.
  • Every separate act of justice is not more conducive to private than to public interest.
    • A man may impoverish himself by a single instance of integrity.
    • He may have reason to wish the laws of justice were for suspended in the universe for a moment with regard to that single act.
  • But however single acts of justice may be contrary to public or private interest, the whole plan or scheme is highly conducive or absolutely requisite to the:
    • support of society
    • well-being of every individual.
      • It is impossible to separate the good from the bad.
  • Property must be:
    • stable, and
    • fixed by general rules.
  • Though in one instance the public be a sufferer, this momentary ill is amply compensated by the:
    • steady prosecution of the rule
    • peace and order it establishes in society.
  • Every person must find himself a gainer on balancing the account.
    • Since without justice:
      • society must immediately dissolve
      • everyone must fall into a savage and solitary condition infinitely worse than the worst situation that can happen in society.
  • Justice and property soon take place after men experience that the whole system of actions agreed to by the whole society is infinitely advantageous to the whole.
    • Every member of society is sensible of this interest.
    • Everyone expresses this sense to his fellows, along with his resolution of squaring his actions by it provided that others will do the same.
    • They do not need to be induced to perform an act of justice.
      • The first act of justice becomes an example to others.
  • Thus, justice establishes itself:
    • by a kind of convention or agreement; that is, by a sense of interest common to all
    • where every act is done expecting that others will do the same.
  • Without such a convention, no one would ever have:
    • dreamed that there was such a virtue as justice
    • been induced to conform his actions to it.
  • My actions might be pernicious.
    • I can only be induced to embrace justice on the supposition that others will imitate my example;
    • Only this combination can:
      • render justice advantageous, or
      • afford me any motives to conform myself to its rules.
  • Why we annex the idea of virtue to justice and vice to injustice?
    • This will be explained briefly here and in detail in Part 3.
  • The natural obligation to justice, viz, interest, has been fully explained.
    • The natural virtues must be examined before we can give a full and satisfactory account of moral obligation or the sentiment of right and wrong.
  • People are naturally induced to restrain their selfishness, in order to render their commerce safer after they find by experience that:
    • acting at their liberty totally incapacitate them for society
    • society is necessary to satisfy those very passions.
  • To the imposition then, and observance of these rules People are at first induced only by a regard to interest.
    • On the first formation of society, this motive is sufficiently strong and forcible.
  • But when society has increased into a tribe or nation, this interest is more remote.
    • People do not so readily perceive that disorder and confusion follow on every breach of these rules, as in a more narrow and contracted society.
  • In our own actions, we may frequently lose sight of that interest in maintaining order and may follow a lesser and more present interest.
    • But we never fail to observe the prejudice we receive from the injustice of others; as not being blinded by passion or byassed by any contrary temptation.
  • When the injustice is so distant from us to not affect our interest, it still displeases us.
    • Because we consider it as:
      • prejudicial to human society
      • pernicious to everyone that approaches the person guilty of it.
  • We partake of their uneasiness by sympathy.
    • Everything which gives uneasiness in human actions is called Vice
    • Whatever produces satisfaction is denominated Virtue.
  • This is why the sense of moral good and evil follows on justice and injustice.
    • This sense is derived only from contemplating the actions of others.
      • But we do not fail to extend it even to our own actions.
  • The general rule reaches beyond those instances, from which it arose.
    • While at the same time, we naturally sympathize with others in the sentiments they entertain of us.
  • Thus, self-interest is the original motive to the establishment of justice.
    • But a sympathy with public interest is the source of the moral approbation, which attends that virtue.
  • This progress of the sentiments is natural and even necessary.
    • It is here forwarded by the artifice of politicians.
      • They have endeavoured to produce an esteem for justice and an abhorrence of injustice in order to:
        • govern men more easily
        • preserve peace in human society.
  • This, no doubt, must have its effect.
    • But this matter has been carried too far by certain writers on morals.
      • They seem to have employed their utmost efforts to extirpate all sense of virtue from mankind.
  • Any artifice of politicians may assist nature in the producing of those sentiments, which she suggests to us.
    • It may even produce an approbation or esteem for any particular action alone.
  • But it is impossible it should be the sole cause of the distinction we make between vice and virtue.
    • For if nature did not aid us in this particular, it would be in vain for politicians to talk of honourable or dishonourable, praiseworthy or blameable.
      • These words would be perfectly unintelligible.
      • They would no more have any idea annexed to them than if they were from an unknown language.
  • The utmost politicians can perform is to extend the natural sentiments beyond their original bounds.
    • But still nature must:
      • furnish the materials
      • give us some notion of moral distinctions.
  • As public praise and blame increase our esteem for justice; so private education and instruction contribute to the same effect.
  • Parents easily observe that:
    • a man is the more useful to himself and others the more probity and honour he has
    • probity and honour have greater force when custom and education assist interest and reflection.
  • For these reasons parents are induced to:
    • inculcate on their children the principles of probity,
    • teach them to regard the observance of those rules which maintain society as worthy and honourable and their violation as base and infamous.
  • By this means the sentiments of honour may:
    • take root in their tender minds
    • acquire such firmness and solidity
      • So that they may not fall short of those principles which are:
        • essential to our natures
        • most deeply radicated in our internal constitution.
  • The interest of our reputation further contributes to increase their solidity.
    • This comes after the opinion that a merit or demerit attends justice or injustice.
  • Nothing touches us more nearly than our reputation.
    • Our reputation depends most on our conduct, with relation to the property of others.
  • This is why a person must never violate those principles essential to probity and honour if he
    • has any regard to his character, or
    • intends to live on good terms with mankind.
  • I assert that in the state of nature, or that imaginary state which preceded society, there is neither justice nor injustice.
    • But I do not assert that it was allowable, in such a state, to violate the property of others.
  • I only maintain that there was no such thing as property.
    • Consequently there could be no such thing as justice or injustice.
  • I shall make a similar reflection regarding promises.
    • I hope this reflection will remove all odium from the foregoing opinions regarding justice and injustice.

Words: 7074
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