Ethics - John Dewey

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Ethics - John Dewey

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  • The Project Gutenberg eBook,Ethics, by John Dewey and JamesHayden Tufts

    This eBook is for the use ofanyone anywhere at no cost andwith almost no restrictionswhatsoever. You may copy it, giveit away or re-use it under the termsof the Project Gutenberg Licenseincluded with this eBook or onlineat www.gutenberg.org

    Title: Ethics

    Author: John Dewey and James

  • Hayden Tufts

    Release Date: April 28, 2012[eBook #39551]

    Language: English

    Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

    ***START OF THE PROJECTGUTENBERG EBOOKETHICS***

    E-text prepared by

  • Adrian Mastronardiand the Online

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    (http://www.pgdp.net)from page imagesgenerously made

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  • http://archive.org/details/ethicsdew00deweuoft

    AMERICAN SCIENCE SERIES

  • ETHICS

    BY

    JOHN DEWEY

    Professor of Philosophy inColumbia University

    AND

  • JAMES H. TUFTS

    Professor of Philosophy in theUniversity of Chicago

    NEW YORKHENRY HOLT AND

    COMPANYLONDON: GEORGE BELL AND

    SONS1909

  • COPYRIGHT, 1908,HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY

  • PREFACE

    The significance of this text inEthics lies in its effort to awaken avital conviction of the genuinereality of moral problems and thevalue of reflective thought indealing with them. To this purposeare subordinated the presentation inPart I. of historic material; thediscussion in Part II. of the differenttypes of theoretical interpretation,and the consideration, in Part III., of

  • some typical social and economicproblems which characterize thepresent.

    Experience shows that the studentof morals has difficulty in gettingthe field objectively and definitelybefore him so that its problemsstrike him as real problems.Conduct is so intimate that it is noteasy to analyze. It is so importantthat to a large extent the perspectivefor regarding it has beenunconsciously fixed by earlytraining. The historical method of

  • approach has proved in theclassroom experience of the authorsan effective method of meeting thesedifficulties. To follow the morallife through typical epochs of itsdevelopment enables students torealize what is involved in theirown habitual standpoints; it alsopresents a concrete body of subject-matter which serves as material ofanalysis and discussion.

    The classic conceptions of moraltheory are of remarkableimportance in illuminating the

  • obscure places of the moral life andin giving the student clues whichwill enable him to explore it forhimself. But there is always dangerof either dogmatism or a sense ofunreality when students areintroduced abruptly to thetheoretical ideas. Instead of servingas tools for understanding the moralfacts, the ideas are likely to becomesubstitutes for the facts. When theyare proffered ready-made, theirtheoretical acuteness and clevernessmay be admired, but their practical

  • soundness and applicability aresuspected. The historicalintroduction permits the student tobe present, as it were, at the socialsituations in which the intellectualinstruments were forged. Heappreciates their relevancy to theconditions which provoked them,and he is encouraged to try them onsimple problems before attemptingthe complex problems of thepresent. By assisting in theirgradual development he gainsconfidence in the ideas and in his

  • power to use them.

    In the second part, devoted morespecifically to the analysis andcriticism of the leading conceptionsof moral theory, the aim accordinglyhas not been to instill the notions ofa school nor to inculcate a ready-made system, but to show thedevelopment of theories out of theproblems and experience of every-day conduct, and to suggest howthese theories may be fruitfullyapplied in practical exigencies.Aspects of the moral life have been

  • so thoroughly examined that it ispossible to present certainprinciples in the confidence thatthey will meet general acceptance.Rationalism and hedonism, forexample, have contributed toward ascientific statement of the elementsof conduct, even though they havefailed as self-inclosed and finalsystems. After the discussions ofKant and Mill, Sidgwick and Green,Martineau and Spencer, it ispossible to affirm that there is aplace in the moral life for reason

  • and a place for happiness,a placefor duty and a place for valuation.Theories are treated not asincompatible rival systems whichmust be accepted or rejected enbloc, but as more or less adequatemethods of surveying the problemsof conduct. This mode of approachfacilitates the scientific estimationand determination of the part playedby various factors in the complexityof moral life. The student is put in aposition to judge the problems ofconduct for himself. This

  • emancipation and enlightenment ofindividual judgment is the chief aimof the theoretical portion.

    In a considerable part of thefield, particularly in the politicaland economic portions of Part III.,no definitive treatment is as yetpossible. Nevertheless, it is highlydesirable to introduce the student tothe examination of these unsettledquestions. When the whole civilizedworld is giving its energies to themeaning and value of justice anddemocracy, it is intolerably

  • academic that those interested inethics should have to be contentwith conceptions already workedout, which therefore relate to whatis least doubtful in conduct ratherthan to questions now urgent.Moreover, the advantages ofconsidering theory and practice indirect relation to each other aremutual. On the one hand, as againstt h e a priori claims of bothindividualism and socialism, theneed of the hour seems to us to bethe application of methods of more

  • deliberate analysis and experiment.The extreme conservative maydeprecate any scrutiny of thepresent order; the ardent radicalmay be impatient of the critical andseemingly tardy processes of theinvestigator; but those who haveconsidered well the conquest whichman is making of the world ofnature cannot forbear the convictionthat the cruder method of trial anderror and the time-honored methodof prejudice and partisancontroversy need not longer

  • completely dominate the regulationof the life of society. They hope fora larger application of the scientificmethod to the problems of humanwelfare and progress. Conversely, ascience which takes part in theactual work of promoting moralorder and moral progress mustreceive a valuable reflex influenceof stimulus and of test. To considermorality in the making as well as todwell upon values alreadyestablished should make the sciencemore vital. And whatever the effect

  • upon the subject-matter, the studentcan hardly appreciate the full forceof his materials and methods as longas they are kept aloof from thequestions which are occupying theminds of his contemporaries.

    Teachers who are limited in timewill doubtless prefer to make theirown selections of material, but thefollowing suggestions present onepossible line of choice. In Part I., ofthe three chapters dealing with theHebrew, Greek, and moderndevelopments, any one may be taken

  • as furnishing an illustration of themethod; and certain portions ofChapter IX. may be found moredetailed in analysis than isnecessary for the beginner. In PartII., Chapters XI.-XII. may beomitted without losing the thread ofthe argument. In Part III., any one ofthe specific topicsviz., thepolitical state, the economic order,the familymay be consideredapart from the others. Someteachers may prefer to take Parts intheir entirety. In this case, any two

  • may be chosen.

    As to the respective shares of thework for which the authors areseverally responsible, while eachhas contributed suggestions andcriticisms to the work of the other insufficient degree to make the bookthroughout a joint work, Part I. hasbeen written by Mr. Tufts, Part II.by Mr. Dewey, and in Part III.,Chapters XX. and XXI. are by Mr.Dewey, Chapters XXII.-XXVI. byMr. Tufts.

  • It need scarcely be said that noattempt has been made in thebibliographies to be exhaustive.When the dates of publication of thework cited are given, the plan hasbeen in general to give, in the caseof current literature, the date of thelatest edition, and in the case ofsome classical treatises the date oforiginal publication.

    In conclusion, the authors desireto express their indebtedness totheir colleagues and friends Dr.Wright, Mr. Talbert, and Mr.

  • Eastman, who have aided in thereading of the proof and with othersuggestions.

  • TABLE OFCONTENTS

    CHAPTER PAGE

    I. INTRODUCTION 1 1. Definition andMethod:Ethicaland moral, specificp r o b l e m , 1;importance of genetics t u d y , 3. 2.Criterion of themoral:The moral

  • in cross section, the"what" and the"how," 5; the moralas growth, 8. 3.Divisions of thetreatment, 13.

    PART I

    THE BEGINNINGS AND GROWTHOF MORALITY

    II. EARLY GROUP LIFE 17 1. Typical facts ofgroup life:Primitive unity and

  • solidarity, 17. 2.Kinship andhousehold groups:The kinship group,21; the family orhousehold group, 23. 3. Kinship andfamily groups aseconomic andindustrial units:The land and thegroup, 24; movableg o o d s , 25. 4.Kinship and familygroups as political

  • bodies:Theircontrol over theindividual, 26; rightsand responsibility,27. 5. The kinshipor household as areligious unit:Totem groups, 30;ancestral religion, 31. 6. Age and sexgroups, 32. 7.Moral significanceof the group, 34.

    III. THE RATIONALIZING

  • AND SOCIALIZING AGENCIESIN EARLY SOCIETY

    37

    1. Three levels ofconduct:Conductas instinctive andgoverned by primalneeds, regulated bysociety's standards,and by personalstandards, 37. 2.Rationalizingagencies: Work, 40;arts and crafts, 41;w a r , 42. 3.Socializing

  • agencies:Coperation, 42; art,45. 4. Family lifeas idealizing andsocializing agency,47. 5. Moralinterpretation of thisfirst level, 49.

    IV. GROUP MORALITYCUSTOMS OR MORES 51

    1. Meaning,authority, and originof customs, 51. 2.Means of enforcingcustom:Public

  • approval, taboos,rituals, force, 54. 3.Conditions whichrender group controlconscious:Educational customs,57; law and justice,59; danger or crisis,64. 4. Values anddefects of customarymorality:Standards, motives,content, organizationof character, 68.

  • V. FROM CUSTOM TOCONSCIENCE; FROM GROUPMORALITY TO PERSONALMORALITY

    73

    1. Contrast andcollision, 73. 2.Sociologicalagencies in thetransition:Economic forces, 76;science and the arts,78; military forces,80; religious forces,81. 3.Psychological

  • agencies: S e x, 81;private property, 83;struggles for masteryand liberty, 84; honorand esteem, 85. 4.Positivereconstruction, 89.

    VI. THE HEBREW MORALDEVELOPMENT 91

    1. Generalcharacter anddeterminingprinciples:TheHebrew and the

  • Greek, 91; Politicaland economic factors,92. 2. Religiousagencies:C o v e n a n t , 94;personal law-giver,95; cultus, 97;p r o p he ts , 99; thekingdom, 100. 3.Moral conceptionsattained:Righteousness ands i n , 102;responsibil i ty, 104;purity of motive, 105;

  • the ideal of "life,"107; the social ideal,108.

    VII. THE MORALDEVELOPMENT OF THEGREEKS

    111

    1. The fundamentalnotes:Conventionversus nature, 111;measure, 112; goodand just, 113. 2.Intellectual forces ofindividualism:Thescientific spirit, 114. 3. Commercial and

  • politicalindividualism:Class interests, 119;why obey laws? 122. 4. Individualismand ethicaltheory:Thequestion formulated,124; individualistictheories, 126. 5.The deeper view ofnature and the good,of the individual andthe social order:Aristotle on the

  • natural, 127; Plato'sideal state, 129;passion or reason,131; eudmonismand the mean, 134;man and the cosmos,135. 6. Theconception of theideal:Contrastwith the actual, 136;ethical significance,138. 7. Theconception of theself, of characterand

  • responsibility:Thepoets, 138; Plato andthe Stoics, 140.

    VIII. THE MODERN PERIOD 142

    1. The medivalideals:Groups andclass ideals, 143; thechurch ideal, 145. 2 . Main lines ofmodern development,147. 3. The old andnew in thebeginnings of

  • individualism, 149. 4 . Individualism inthe progress ofliberty anddemocracy:Rights,151. 5.Individualism asaffected by thedevelopment ofindustry, commerce,and art:Increasingpower and interests,153; distribution ofgoods, 157; industrialrevolution raises new

  • problems, 159. 6.The individual andthe development ofintelligence:TheRenaissance, 163; theEnlightenment, 165;the presentsignificance ofscientific method,167.

    IX. A GENERALCOMPARISON OF CUSTOMARYAND REFLECTIVE MORALITY

    171

    1. Elements ofagreement and

  • continuity:Rgimeof custom, 172;persistence of groupmorality, 173; originof ethical terms, 175. 2. Elements ofcontrast:Differentiation of them o r a l , 177;o b s e r v i n g versusreflecting, 178; thehigher law, 181;deepening ofmeaning, 182. 3.Opposition between

  • individual and socialaims andstandards:Withdrawal from thesocial order, 184;individualemancipation, 186. 4 . Effects upon theindividualcharacter:Increasedpossibilities of evilas well as of good,187. 5. Moraldifferentiation and

  • the social order:Effects on the family,193; on industry andgovernment, 194; onreligion, 195; generalrelation of religion tomorality, 197.

    PART II

    THEORY OF THE MORAL LIFEX. THE MORAL SITUATION 201

    Distinguishing marksof the moral situation,201; Traits of

  • voluntary activity,202; The good andbad in non-voluntaryb e h a v i o r , 203;Indifferent voluntaryconduc t, 205; Themoral is introducedwhen ends haveconflicting values,207; Selection thendepends upon, andinfluences, the natureof the self, 209.

    XI. PROBLEMS OF MORALTHEORY 212

  • Theory grows frompractical problems,212; Three typicalproblems ofreflective practice,213; Correspondingproblems of theory,214; Their historicals e q u e n c e , 215;Growth ofindividualism, 220;The two types ofindividualism, 221.

    XII. TYPES OF MORAL

  • THEORY 224 1. Typical divisionsof theories:Teleological andjural, 224; individualand institutional, 225;empirical andintuitional, 226. 2.Division of voluntaryactivity into Innerand Outer:The"how" and the"what," 227; attitudeand consequences,228; different types

  • of each theory, 229;bearing of eachtheory upon problemsof knowledge and ofcontrol , 231. 3.Generalinterpretation ofthese theories:Ordinary view ofdisposition and ofconsequences, 232;advantages claimedfor emphasis uponconsequences, 234;for emphasis upon

  • disposition ora t t i t u d e , 236;necessity ofreconciliation ofthese theories, 237.

    XIII. CONDUCT ANDCHARACTER 240

    Problem of theirrelation, 240. 1.The good will ofKant:Emphasisupon motive, 241;motive with orwithout

  • consequences, 242;necessity of effort,243; overt actionrequired to provemotive, 245. 2. The"Intention" of theUtilitarians:Emphasis uponconsequences, 246;distinction ofintention frommotive, 247; they arereally identical, 248;motive as blind andas intelligent, 249;

  • practical importanceof insistence uponconsequences, 251;foresight ofconsequencesdepends upon motive,252. 3. Conductand character:Thenature of disposition,254; partial andcomplete intention,256; complexity ofmotives, 257. 4.Morality of acts andof agents:

  • Subjective andobjective morality,259; the doer and hisdeed, 260; summary,261.

    XIV. HAPPINESS ANDCONDUCT: THE GOOD ANDDESIRE

    263

    Residence and natureof goodness, 263;happiness as thegood , 264;...