Sec 7-9: Vice and Virtue

SEC. 7: VICE AND VIRTUE

  • With these limitations, let us:
    • examine the causes of pride and humility.
    • see whether in every case we can discover the double relations by which they operate on the passions.
  • There will be no further scruple with the present system if we find that all these causes:
    • are related to self
    • produce a pleasure or uneasiness separate from the passion.
  • We shall principally prove the latter point as the former is obvious.
  • Vice and virtue are the most obvious causes of these passions.
    • In recent years, a controversy has so much excited the public’s curiosity: whether these moral distinctions:
      • are founded on natural and original principles, or
      • arise from interest and education.
  • I will examine this in the following book.
  • In the meantime, I shall show that my system maintains its ground on these hypotheses.
    • It will be a strong proof of its solidity.
  • If morality had no foundation in nature, vice and virtue from self-interest or the prejudices of education would produce a real pain and pleasure in us.
    • This is strenuously asserted by the defenders of that hypothesis.
    • They say that every passion, habit, or turn of character which has a tendency to our advantage or prejudice, gives a delight or uneasiness.
      • Approbation or disapprobation arises from this.
  • We easily gain from the liberality of others.
    • But we are always in danger of losing by their avarice.
  • Courage defends us.
    • Cowardice lays us open to every attack.
  • Justice is the support of society.
    • Injustice would quickly prove the ruin of society.
  • Humility exalts us.
    • Pride mortifies.
  • This why the those qualities are esteemed as virtues and vices.
    • There is a delight or uneasiness attending the merit or demerit of every kind.
  • I agree with this. 
  • This moral hypothesis is an absolute and invincible proof of my present system.
  • If all morality is founded on the pain or pleasure from the prospect of our own loss or advantage or those of others, all the effects of morality must be derived from:
    • the same pain or pleasure
    • pride and humility, among other passions.
  • The very essence of:
    • virtue is to produce pleasure
    • vice is to give pain.
  • Virtue and vice must be part of our character to excite pride or humility.
    • What further proof can we want for the double relation of impressions and ideas?
  • Some people maintain that morality is something real, essential, and founded on nature.
    • From this opinion, the same unquestionable argument may be derived.
  • From a primary constitution of nature, certain characters and passions produce a pain and others excite a pleasure, by the very view and contemplation.
    • This is the most probable hypothesis which has been advanced to explain the distinction between:
      • vice and virtue
      • the origin of moral rights and obligations
  • Uneasiness and satisfaction:
    • are inseparable from vice and virtue
    • constitute their very nature and essence.
  • To approve of a character is to feel an original delight on its appearance.
    • To disapprove of it is to be sensible of an uneasiness.
  • Therefore, pain and pleasure are the primary causes of vice and virtue.
    • They must also be the causes of:
      • all their effects
      • consequently, of pride and humility, which unavoidably attends that distinction.
  • But if this hypothesis of moral philosophy is false, pain and pleasure are at least inseparable from vice and virtue, if not their causes.
    • A generous and noble character affords a satisfaction.
    • It never fails to charm and delight us even if presented only in a poem or fable.
  • On the other hand, cruelty and treachery displease from their very nature.
    • It is impossible ever to reconcile us to these qualities in ourselves or others.
  • Thus one hypothesis of morality is an undeniable proof of the foregoing system, and the other at worst agrees with it.
  • According to the vulgar systems of ethics, pride and humility:
    • have been comprehended as parts of moral duty
    • arise from these qualities connected with pleasure and uneasiness and not the qualities of the mind alone.
  • Nothing flatters our vanity more than the talent of pleasing by our wit, good humour, or any other accomplishment.
    • Nothing gives us more mortification than a disappointment in any attempt of that nature.
  • No one has ever been able:
    • to tell what wit is
    • to show why such a system of thought must be received under that denomination, and another system rejected.
  • We can decide on it only by taste.
    • We do not have any other standard to form a judgment of this kind.
  • What is this taste:
    • from which true and false wit receive their being
    • without which no thought can have a title to either of these denominations?
  • It is only from a sensation of pleasure from true wit, and of uneasiness from false.
    • We are unable to tell why we have that pleasure or uneasiness.
  • Therefore, the power of bestowing these opposite sensations is the very essence of true and false wit.
    • Consequently, it is the cause of that pride or humility which arises from them.
  • The following people might be surprised to hear me talk of:
    • virtue as exciting pride, when they look instead at vice
    • vice as producing humility, instead of virtue.
  • I understand pride to be that agreeable impression arising in the mind, when our virtue, beauty, riches or power makes us satisfied with ourselves.
    • I understand humility to be the opposite impression.
  • Pride is not always vicious.
    • Humility is not always virtuous.
  • The most rigid morality allows us to receive a pleasure from reflecting on a generous action.
    • It is not a virtue to feel any fruitless remorses on the thoughts of past villainy and baseness.
  • Therefore, let us:
    • examine these impressions considered in themselves.
    • inquire into their causes, whether placed on the mind or body, without troubling ourselves with that merit or blame attending them.

SEC. 8: BEAUTY AND DEFORMITY

  • The body is connected with us to form one of the double relations which causes pride and humility. whether we consider the body as:
    • a part of ourselves, or
    • something external.
  • Wherever we can find the other relation of impressions to join to the relation of ideas, we can be assured of pride or humility, depending on the pleasantness or uneasiness of the impression.
  • All kinds of beauty give us a peculiar delight and satisfaction, as deformity produces pain, whatever it may be placed on, whether on an animate or inanimate object.
    • If the beauty or deformity were placed on our own bodies, this pleasure or uneasiness must be converted into pride or humility.
    • In this case, it has all the circumstances needed to produce a perfect transition of impressions and ideas.
  • These opposite sensations are related to the opposite passions.
  • The beauty or deformity is closely related to self.
    • No wonder our own beauty becomes an object of pride, and deformity of humility.
  • The passions in this case do not arise without all the circumstances I required.
  • This effect of personal and bodily qualities:
    • is a proof of the present system
    • may be employed as a stronger and more convincing argument.
  • Beauty is an order and construction of parts that is fitted to give a pleasure and satisfaction to the soul, through:
    • the primary constitution of our nature
    • custom, or
    • caprice.
  • This is the distinguishing character of beauty.
    • It forms all the difference between beauty and deformity.
    • Deformity’s natural tendency is to produce uneasiness.
  • All hypotheses formed by philosophy or common reason to explain the difference between beauty and deformity resolve into this.
  • Pleasure and pain:
    • are necessary attendants of beauty and deformity
    • constitute their very essence.
  • A great part of the beauty we admire in animals or objects is derived from the idea of convenience and utility.
    • The shape which produces strength, is beautiful in one animal.
      • That shape which is a sign of agility is beautiful in another.
    • A palace’s order and convenience are essential to its beauty as its mere figure and appearance.
    • The rules of architecture require that the top of a pillar be more slender than its base.
      • Such a figure conveys to us the idea of security, which is pleasant.
      • The contrary form gives us the apprehension of danger, which is uneasy.
  • Beauty, like wit, cannot be defined.
    • It is discerned only by a taste or sensation.
  • From these considerations and innumerable instances of this kind, we conclude, that:
    • beauty is nothing but a form which produces pleasure.
    • deformity is a structure of parts which conveys pain.
  • The power of producing pain and pleasure form the essence of beauty and deformity.
    • All the effects of beauty and deformity must be derived from the sensation.
      • Pride and humility are the most common and remarkable of these effects.
  • This argument is just and decisive.
    • But let us suppose it false for a moment, and see what will follow.
  • If the power of producing pleasure and pain does not form the essence of beauty and deformity, the sensations are at least inseparable from the qualities.
    • It is even difficult to consider them apart.
  • Only this power of producing pleasure is common to natural and moral beauty.
    • Both of these are the causes of pride.
    • A common effect always supposes a common cause.
    • The pleasure must in both cases be the real and influencing cause of the passion.
  • The only original difference between the beauty of our bodies and the beauty of external and foreign objects is that the former has a near relation to ourselves, which is lacking in the other.
    • Therefore, this original difference must be the cause of:
      • all their other differences
      • their different influence on the pride excited by our beauty.
        • This kind of personal pride is not affected by the beauty of foreign and external objects.
  • These two conclusions together compose the preceding system, that pleasure, as a related or resembling impression, when placed on a related object by a natural transition, produces pride and its contrary, produces humility.
    • This system seems already confirmed by experience.
    • But we have not yet exhausted all our arguments.
  • The body’s beauty, strength, and force produce pride.
    • Strength is a kind of power; and therefore the desire to excel in strength is to be considered as an inferior species of ambition.
  • For this reason, the present phenomenon will be sufficiently accounted for in explaining that passion.
  • Our bodily features which are useful, beautiful, or surprising, are objects of pride.
    • Those that are contrary are objects of humility.
  • Everything useful, beautiful or surprising, agrees:
    • in producing a separate pleasure
    • in nothing else.
  • Therefore, the pleasure with the relation to the self must be the cause of the passion.
  • It may be questioned whether beauty is:
    • not something real
    • different from the power of producing pleasure.
  • Surprise is merely a pleasure arising from novelty.
    • Beauty is not a quality in any object.
    • It is merely a passion or impression in the soul.
  • Therefore, pride arises from a natural transition from beauty.
    • It arises so naturally.
    • Nothing in us or belonging to us produces surprise, that does not excite that other passion at the same time.
  • Thus we are vain of the surprising adventures we have met with, the escapes we have made, and dangers we have been exposed to.
  • Hence the origin of vulgar lying.
    • Men without any interest, and merely out of vanity, heap up a number of extraordinary events which:
      • are the fictions of their brain, or
      • if true, are unconnected with themselves.
  • Their fruitful invention supplies them with a variety of adventures.
  • Where that talent is lacking, they appropriate such as belong to others to satisfy their vanity.
  • Two curious experiments are contained in this phenomenon.
  • We judge of cause and effect in anatomy, natural philosophy, and other sciences by known rules.
  • If we compare these two experiments according to known rules, this will be an undeniable argument for that influence of the double relations mentioned above.
    • By one of these experiments we find, that an object produces pride merely by the interposition of pleasure because the quality, by which it produces pride, is in reality nothing but the power of producing pleasure.
    • By the other experiment we find, that the pleasure produces the pride by a transition along related ideas; because when we cut off that relation the passion is immediately destroyed..
  • A surprising adventure, which we have been in, is related to us.
    • It produces pride because of the relation.
  • But the adventures of others which may cause pleasure, never excites pride because of the lack of this relation of ideas.
  • What farther proof can be desired for the present system?
  • There is only one objection to this system with regard to our body.
    • Nothing is more agreeable than health and more painful than sickness.
    • Yet men commonly are neither proud of the one, nor mortified with the other.
  • This will easily be accounted for if we consider the second and fourth limitations, proposed to our general system.
    • No object ever produces pride or humility, if it does not have something peculiar to ourself.
    • Every cause of pride or humility must be constant and must hold some proportion to the duration of our self, which is its object.
  • Health and sickness vary incessantly to all.
    • No one is solely or certainly fixed in health of sickness.
    • These accidental blessings and calamities are:
      • separated from us
      • never considered as connected with our being and existence.
  • A terminal illness becomes an object of humility.
    • Nothing mortifies old men more than the consideration of their age and infirmities.
  • They endeavour, as long as possible, to conceal their blindness and deafness, rheums and gouts.
    • They confess them with reluctance and uneasiness.
  • Young men are not ashamed of every headache or cold.
    • Our susceptibility to such infirmities properly:
      • mortifies human pride
      • makes us entertain a mean opinion of our nature.
  • This  proves that bodily pain and sickness are in themselves proper causes of humility.
    • The custom of estimating everything by comparison more than by its intrinsic value, makes us overlook these calamities.
    • These calamities:
      • are incident to everyone
      • causes us to form an idea of our merit and character independent of them.
  • We are ashamed of maladies that affect others and are dangerous or disagreeable to them.
  • We are ashamed of:
    • epilepsy, because it gives a horror to everyone present
    • the itch, because it is infectious
    • tuberculosis in children, because it commonly goes to posterity.
  • Men always consider the sentiments of others in their judgment of themselves.
    • This has appeared in some of the foregoing reasonings.
    • It will appear more, and will be more fully explained afterwards.

SEC. 9: EXTERNAL ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES

  • Pride and humility have the qualities of our mind and body that is the self, for their natural and more immediate causes.
  • We find that there are many other objects which produce pride and humility.
  • The primary object is obscured and lost by the multiplicity of foreign and extrinsic objects.
  • We found a vanity on houses, gardens, equipages, as well as on personal merit and accomplishments.
    • These external advantages are in themselves widely distant from thought or a person.
    • Yet they considerably influence even a passion directed to that as its ultimate object.
  • This happens when external objects:
    • acquire any particular relation to ourselves
    • are associated or connected with us.
  • A beautiful fish in the ocean, an animal in a desert, and anything that neither belongs, nor is related to us, has no influence on our vanity:
    • whatever extraordinary qualities it may be endowed with
    • whatever degree of surprise and admiration it may naturally occasion.
  • It must be some way associated with us to touch our pride.
  • Its idea must hang on the idea of ourselves.
    • The transition from the one to the other must be easy and natural.
  • It is remarkable that though the relation of resemblance operates on the mind in the same way as contiguity and causation, in conveying us from one idea to another.
    • Yet it is seldom a foundation of pride or humility.
  • If we resemble a person in any of the valuable parts of his character, we must have the quality, in which we resemble him.
  • We always choose this quality to directly survey in ourselves rather than by reflection in another person, when we would found upon it any degree of vanity.
  • So that though a likeness may occasionally produce that passion by suggesting a more advantageous idea of ourselves, it is there the view fixes at last, and the passion finds its ultimate and final cause.
  • There are instances, wherein men show a vanity in resembling a great man in his countenance, shape, air, or other minute circumstances, that contribute not in any degree to his reputation;
  • But this does not extend very far
  • It is not of any considerable moment in these affections.
  • For this I assign the following reason.
  • We can never have a vanity of resembling in trifles any person, unless he has very shining qualities, which make us respect and venerate him.
  • These qualities then are the causes of our vanity through their relation to ourselves.
    • How are they related to ourselves?
  • They are parts of the person we value.
    • Consequently, they are connected with these trifles which are also supposed to be parts of him.
    • These trifles are connected with the resembling qualities in us.
    • These qualities in us are parts connected with the whole.
    • They form a chain of several links of the person we resemble.
  • This multitude of relations must weaken the connection.
    • The mind, in passing from the shining qualities to the trivial ones, must by that contrast:
      • better perceive the minuteness of the latter
      • be ashamed of the comparison and resemblance.
  • Therefore, the relation of contiguity or the relation of causation between the cause and object of pride and humility, is alone requisite to cause pride and humility.
  • These relations are nothing else but qualities, by which the imagination is conveyed from one idea to another.
  • What effect can these possibly have on the mind?
    • How can they become so requisite to the production of the passions?
  • The association of ideas operates in so silent and imperceptible a manner.
    • We are scarce sensible of it.
    • We discover it more by its effects than by any immediate feeling or perception.
  • It produces no emotion.
    • It creates no new impression of any kind.
    • It only modifies those ideas which the mind had and could recall.
  • From this reasoning and from experience, we may conclude that an association of ideas, however necessary, is not alone sufficient to give rise to any passion.
  • When the mind feels pride or humility on the appearance of a related object, there is an emotion or original impression produced by some other principle, besides the relation or transition of thought.
  • Is the emotion first produced by pride or humility itself, or some other impression related to it?
  • The relation of ideas, which is so requisite a circumstance to the production of pride or humility, would be entirely superfluous, were it not to:
    • second a relation of affections
    • facilitate the transition from one impression to another.
  • If nature immediately produced the passion of pride or humility, it would:
    • be completed in itself
    • require no further addition or increase from any other affection.
  • But supposing the first emotion to be only related to pride or humility, it is easily conceived to what purpose the relation of objects may serve
  • and how the two different associations, of impressions and ideas, by uniting their forces, may assist each other’s operation.
  • This is the only way we can conceive this subject.
  • An easy transition of ideas, which causes no emotion, of itself,, can never be necessary, or even useful to the passions, but by forwarding the transition between some related impressions.
    • The same object causes a greater or smaller degree of pride in proportion to:
      • the increase or decrease of its qualities and
      • the distance or nearness of the relation.
        • This is a clear argument for the transition of affections along the relation of ideas.
        • Since every change in the relation produces a proportional change in the passion.
  • Thus one part of the preceding system on the relations of ideas is a sufficient proof of the other part on the relations of impressions.
    • It is itself founded on experience that I will not waste time to further prove it.
  • This will appear more evidently in particular instances.
  • Men are vain of the beauty of their country, county, or parish.
    • Here, the idea of beauty plainly produces a pleasure.
      • This pleasure is related to pride.
      • The object or cause of this pleasure is related to the self or the object of pride.
      • By this double relation of impressions and ideas, a transition is made from the one impression to the other.
  • Men are also vain of:
    • the temperature of the climate they were born in
    • the fertility of their native soil
    • the goodness of the wines, fruits or victuals, produced by it
    • the softness or force of their language; with other particulars of that kind.
  • These objects:
    • reference sensory pleasures.
    • are originally as agreeable to the feeling, taste or hearing.
  • How could they have ever become objects of pride, except through the above-explained transition?
  • Some people:
    • discover an opposite kind of vanity
    • affect to depreciate their own country compared with those they have traveled to.
      • Their distant relation to a foreign country is formed by their having seen and lived in it.
  • When they are at home and surrounded by their countrymen, they find that the strong relation between them and their own nation is shared with so many, that it is lost to them in a way.
    • Whereas their relation to a foreign country is increased by their considering how few have done the same.
  • This is why they always admire the beauty, utility and rarity of what is abroad, above what is at home.
  • We can be vain of a country, climate or any inanimate object related to us.
    • It is no wonder that we are vain of the qualities of those connected to us by blood or friendship.
  • The very same qualities which produce pride in ourselves, also produce pride in a lesser degree when discovered in persons related to us.
    • The beauty, address, merit, credit and honours of their kindred are carefully displayed by the proud, as some of their most considerable sources of their vanity.
  • As we are proud of riches in ourselves, so to satisfy our vanity we:
    • desire that everyone connected to us should likewise have them
    • are ashamed of anyone that is mean or poor among our friends and relations.
      • This is why we remove the poor as far from us as possible.
  • We cannot prevent poverty in some distant collaterals.
    • Our forefathers are our nearest relations.
    • On this account, everyone affects to be:
      • of a good family
      • descended from a long succession of rich and honourable ancestors.
  • I have frequently observed that those who boast of the antiquity of their families are glad when they can join two circumstances, that:
    • their ancestors have been uninterrupted proprietors of the same land for many generations
    • their family has never changed its possessions, or been transplanted into any other province.
  • It is an additional subject of vanity when they can boast that:
    • these possessions have been transmitted through a descent composed entirely of males
    • the honour and fortune have never past through any female.
  • Let us explain these phenomena by the foregoing system.
  • When any one boasts of his family’s antiquity, the subjects of his vanity are:
    • the span of time
    • the number of ancestors
    • their riches and credit.
      • These are supposed to reflect a lustre on himself because of his relation to them.
  • He is first affected by these objects in an agreeable way.
    • Then returning back to himself through the relation of parent and child, he is elevated with pride through the double relation of impressions and ideas.
  • Since pride depends on these relations, whatever strengthens any of the relations must also increase pride.
    • Whatever weakens the relations must reduce pride.
  • The identity of the possesion strengthens the relation of ideas arising from blood and kindred.
    • It conveys the fancy with greater facility from one generation to another, from the remote ancestors to their posterity, who are both their heirs and their descendants.
  • By this facility the impression is transmitted more entire, and excites a greater degree of pride and vanity.
  • The case is the same with the transmission of the honours and fortune through a succession of males without their passing through any female.
    • The imagination naturally turns to whatever is important and considerable (Part 2, Sec, 2).
    • If a small and a great object are presented, it usually leaves the small and dwells entirely on the great.
  • In the society of marriage, the male sex has the advantage above the female.
    • The husband first engages our attention.
    • The thought rests on him with greater satisfaction whether we:
      • consider him directly, or
      • reach him by passing through related objects.
    • It arrives at him with greater facility than his wife.
  • This property must:
    • strengthen the child’s relation to the father
    • weaken that to the mother.
  • All relations are nothing but a propensity to pass from one idea ma another.
    • Whatever strengthens the propensity strengthens the relation.
  • We have a stronger propensity to pass from the idea of the children to the idea of the father, than to the idea of the mother.
    • We should regard the former relation as the closer and more considerable.
  • This is why children commonly:
    • bear their father’s name
    • are esteemed to be of nobler or baser birth, according to his family.
  • The mother usually may have a superior spirit and genius to the father.
    • But the general rule prevails despite the exception, according to the doctrine explained above.
  • Even when a superiority of any kind is so great, or when any other reasons have such an effect, as to make the children rather represent:
  • the mother’s family than the father’s,
  • the general rule still retains such an efficacy.
    • It weakens the relation and makes a kind of break in the line of ancestors.
  • The imagination does not run along them with facility.
  • It is unable to transfer the ancestors’ honour and credit to their posterity of the same name and family so readily
  • as when the transition is conformable to the general rules, and passes from father to son, or from brother to brother.

Words: 4393

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