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The Nature of Goodness

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195 pages
Project Gutenberg's The Nature of Goodness, by George Herbert PalmerCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country beforedownloading or redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do notchange or edit the header without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom ofthis file. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. Youcan also find out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****Title: The Nature of GoodnessAuthor: George Herbert PalmerRelease Date: July, 2004 [EBook #6101] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was firstposted on November 6, 2002]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE NATURE OF GOODNESS ***Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.THE NATURE OF GOODNESSBYGEORGE HERBERT PALMERAlford Professor of PhilosophyIn Harvard University[Illustration: Tout bien ou rien]1903A. F. P.BONITATE ...
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Project Gutenberg's The Nature of Goodness, byGeorge Herbert PalmerCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Besure to check the copyright laws for your countrybefore downloading or redistributing this or anyother Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen whenviewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do notremove it. Do not change or edit the headerwithout written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and otherinformation about the eBook and ProjectGutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included isimportant information about your specific rights andrestrictions in how the file may be used. You canalso find out about how to make a donation toProject Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain VanillaElectronic Texts****eBooks Readable By Both Humans and ByComputers, Since 1971*******These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousandsof Volunteers!*****Title: The Nature of Goodness
Author: George Herbert PalmerRelease Date: July, 2004 [EBook #6101] [Yes, weare more than one year ahead of schedule] [Thisfile was first posted on November 6, 2002]Edition: 10Language: English***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE NATURE OF GOODNESS ***Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks andthe Online Distributed Proofreading Team.THE NATURE OFGOODNESSBY
GEORGE HERBERT PALMERAlford Professor of PhilosophyIn Harvard University[Illustration: Tout bien ou rien]1903A. F. P.BONITATE SINGULARI MULTIS DILECTAEVENUSTATE LITTERIS CONSILIIS PRAESTANTINUPER E DOMO ET GAUDIO MEO EREPTAE
PREFACEThe substance of these chapters was delivered asa course of lectures at Harvard University,Dartmouth and Wellesley Colleges, WesternReserve University, the University of California,and the Twentieth Century Club of Boston. A partof the sixth chapter was used as an address beforethe Phi Beta Kappa Society of Harvard, andanother part before the Philosophical Union ofBerkeley, California. Several of these audienceshave materially aided my work by their searchingcriticisms, and all have helped to clear my thoughtand simplify its expression. Since discussionsnecessarily so severe have been felt as vital bycompanies so diverse, I venture to offer them hereto a wider audience.Previously, in "The Field of Ethics," I marked outthe place which ethics occupies among thesciences. In this book the first problem of ethics isexamined. The two volumes will form, I hope, aneasy yet serious introduction to this gravest andmost perpetual of studies.
CONTENTSCHAPTER ITHE DOUBLE ASPECT OF GOODNESS  I. Difficulties of the investigation II. Gains to be expectedIII. Extrinsic goodness IV. Imperfections of extrinsic goodness  V. Intrinsic goodness VI. Relations of the two kindsVII. DiagramCHAPTER IIMISCONCEPTIONS OF GOODNESS  I. Enlargement of the diagram II. Greater and lesser goodIII. Higher and lower good IV. Order and wealth  V. Satisfaction of desire VI. Adaptation to environmentVII. DefinitionsCHAPTER III
SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS  I. The four factors of personal goodness II. UnconsciousnessIII. Reflex action IV. Conscious experience  V. Self-consciousness  VI. Its degrees VII. Its acquisitionVIII. Its instabilityCHAPTER IVSELF-DIRECTION   I. Consciousness a factor  II. (A) The intention III. (1) The end, aim, or ideal  IV. (2) Desire   V. (3) Decision  VI. (B) The volition VII. (1) DeliberationVIII. (2) Effort  IX. (3) SatisfactionCHAPTER VSELF-DEVELOPMENT   I. Reflex influence of self-direction
  II. Varieties of change III. Accidental change  IV. Destructive change   V. Transforming change  VI. Development VII. Self-developmentVIII. Method of self-development  IX. Test of self-development   X. Actual extent of personality  XI. Possible extent of personality XII. Practical consequencesCHAPTER VISELF-SACRIFICE   I. Difficulties of the conception  II. It is impossible III. It is a sign of degradation  IV. It is needless   V. It is irrational  VI. Its frequency VII. DefinitionVIII. Its rationality  IX. Distinguished from culture   X. Its self-assertion  XI. Its incalculability XII. Its positive characterXIII. ConclusionCHAPTER VII
NATURE AND SPIRIT   I. Summary of the preceding argument  II. Spirit superior to nature III. Naturalistic tendency of the fine arts  IV. Naturalistic tendency of science andphilosophy   V. Naturalism in social estimates  VI. Self-consciousness burdensome VII. Impossibility of full conscious guidanceVIII. Advantages of unconscious actionCHAPTER VIIITHE THREE STAGES OF GOODNESS   I. Advantage of conscious guidance  II. Example of piano-playing III. The mechanization of conduct  IV. Contrast of the first and third stages   V. The cure for self-consciousness  VI. The revision of habits VII. The doctrine of praiseVIII. The propriety of praise
ITHE DOUBLE ASPECT OF GOODNESSIn undertaking the following discussion I foreseetwo grave difficulties. My reader may well feel thatgoodness is already the most familiar of all thethoughts we employ, and yet he may at the sametime suspect that there is something about itperplexingly abstruse and remote. Familiar itcertainly is. It attends all our wishes, acts, andprojects as nothing else does, so that no estimateof its influence can be excessive. When we take awalk, read a book, make a dress, hire a servant,visit a friend, attend a concert, choose a wife, casta vote, enter into business, we always do it in thehope of attaining something good. The clue ofgoodness is accordingly a veritable guide of life.On it depend actions far more minute than thosejust mentioned. We never raise a hand, forexample, unless with a view to improve in somerespect our condition. Motionless we should remainforever, did we not believe that by placing the handelsewhere we might obtain something which we donot now possess. Consequently we employ theword or some synonym of it during pretty muchevery waking hour of our lives. Wishing some testof this frequency I turned to Shakespeare, andfound that he uses the word "good" fifteen hundredtimes, and it's derivatives "goodness," "better," and""best, about as many more. He could not make
men and women talk right without incessantreference to this directive conception.But while thus familiar and influential when mixedwith action, and just because of that very fact, thenotion of goodness is bewilderingly abstruse andremote. People in general do not observe thiscurious circumstance. Since they are so frequentlyencountering goodness, both laymen and scholarsare apt to assume that it is altogether clear andrequires no explanation. But the very reverse is thetruth. Familiarity obscures. It breeds instincts andnot understanding. So inwoven has goodnessbecome with the very web of life that it is hard todisentangle. We cannot easily detach it fromencompassing circumstance, look at it nakedly,and say what in itself it really is. Never appearing inpractical affairs except as an element, and alwaysintimately associated with something else, we arepuzzled how to break up that intimacy and give togoodness independent meaning. It is as if oxygenwere never found alone, but only in connection withhydrogen, carbon, or some other of the eightyelements which compose our globe. We might feelits wide influence, but we should have difficulty indescribing what the thing itself was. Just so if anychance dozen persons should be called on to saywhat they mean by goodness, probably not onecould offer a definition which he would be willing tohold to for fifteen minutes.It is true, this strange state of things is not peculiarto goodness. Other familiar conceptions show asimilar tendency, and just about in proportion, too,
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