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Outlines of the History of Ethics for English Readers
This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text, images, or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1892. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... Fifteen years after the publication of Locke's treatises 5. Clarke on Civil Government (1705), an impressive attempt was made by Clarke to...
This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text, images, or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1892. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... Fifteen years after the publication of Locke's treatises 5. Clarke on Civil Government (1705), an impressive attempt was made by Clarke to "place morality among the sciences capable of demonstration, from self-evident propositions as incontestible as those in mathematics"; but it was made on the lines of Cud worth's reasoning rather than of Locke's; as it maintained against Hobbes and Locke,1 that the cognition of self-evident practical propositions is in itself, independently of pleasure and pain, a sufficient motive to a rational being as such for acting in accordance with them. The aim of the lectures in which Clarke's system was expounded was to prove the "reasonableness and certainty" of the Christian revelation: and, with this view, to exhibit on the one hand the eternal and immutable obligations of morality "incumbent on men from the very nature and reason of things themselves," and on the other hand the impossibility of "defending" these obligations "to any effectual purpose," or enforcing them with any sufficient strength, without the belief in immortality and future rewards and punishments. This doubleness of aim--which, as we shall see, complicates Clarke's task rather seriously--must always be kept in view in examining his system. He is anxious to show both that moral rules f are binding independently of the sanctions that divine legislation has attached to them, and also that such rules are laws of God, with adequate sanctions attached to their observ- * ance and violation; the two propositions are, in his view, necessarily connected, since only from the absolute bindingness of justice on all rational wills are we able to infer with philosophic certainty that God, being necessarily just, will 1 It should be observed that Clarke's pol...
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