Hegel. The Philosophical Propadeutic. 1808-1811

Outlines of the Science of Laws, Morals and Religion

Second Part. Science of Duties or Morals

32. Whatever can be demanded on the ground of Law is a Civil Obligation [Schuldigkeit] but, in so far as moral grounds are to be observed, it is a Duty [Plicht].

Explanatory: The word Duty is frequently used of legal relationships. Legal Duties are defined as perfect and Moral Duties as imperfect because the former must be done, and have an external necessity, while the latter depend on a subjective will. But one might, with good reason, invert this classification in as much as the Legal Duty as such demands only an external necessity, in which the disposition is not taken into account, or in which I may even have a bad motive. On the contrary, for a Moral Duty both are demanded, the right deed as regards its content and, likewise according to form, the subjective side, the Good Intention.

33. Law, in general, leaves the disposition out of consideration. Morality, on the other hand, is concerned essentially with the intention and demands that the deed should be done out of simple regard [Achtung] for Duty. So too the legally right conduct is moral in so far as its moving principle is the regard for the right.

34. The Disposition is the subjective side of the moral deed or the form of the same. There is in it as yet no content present but the content is as essential as the actual performance.

Explanatory: With legally right conduct the moral aspect should also be essentially connected. It may, however, be the case that with legally right action there is no sentiment of Law present; nay, more, that an immoral intent may accompany it. The legally right act, in so far as it is done out of regard for the Law, is, at the same time, also moral. The legally right action, associated at the same time with a moral disposition, is to be carried out unconditionally before there can be room for the moral action in which there is no legal command, that is, legal obligation. Men are very ready to act from a merely moral ground, for example, to give away with an air of generosity rather than pay their honest debts; for in a generous action they congratulate themselves on account of a special perfection, while, on the contrary, in the performance of just action they would only perform the completely universal act which makes them equal with all.

Everything Actual contains two aspects: the true Concept and the Reality of this Concept: for example, the concept of the State is the guarantee and actualization of justice. To the reality belong the special regulations of the constitution, the relation of the individual powers to each other, etc. To the actual man belong also, even on his practical side, the concept and the reality of the concept. To the former belongs pure personality, or abstract freedom, to the latter, the particular determination of existence and existence itself. Although there is in this something more than is contained in the concept, yet this must also be in conformity to the concept and determined by it. The pure concept of practical existence, the Ego, is the object of Law.

35. Moral action refers to man not as an abstract person but according to the universal and necessary determinations of his particular determinate existence [Daseins]. The moral code therefore is not merely prohibitory, as with the legal code, which only ordains that the freedom of another must be left inviolate, but it ordains a positive course of action towards another. The prescriptions of Morality refer to individual actuality [i.e. to the concrete situations in which the individual may be placed].

36. Human impulse in respect of man’s particular determinate existence as considered by morality is directed towards the harmony of the outer world with his internal determinations, to the production of Pleasure and Happiness.

Explanatory: Man has impulses, i.e. he has internal determinations in his nature or in that respect according to which he is simply an actual being. These determinations are therefore defective [imperfect] in as much as they are merely internal. They are impulses in so far as they are directed to the overcoming of this defect or want: i.e. they demand their realization, which is the harmony of the outer and inner. This harmony is Pleasure. It is preceded, therefore, by a reflection: a comparison between the inner and the outer, whether this proceeds from me or from good luck. Pleasure may spring from the most varied sources. It does not depend upon the content but concerns only the form. In other words, it is the feeling of something merely formal, namely, of the given harmony. The doctrine which makes Pleasure, or rather Happiness, its aim, has been called Eudaemonism. But that doctrine does not decide in what Pleasure or Happiness consists. Hence, there can be a coarse, crude Eudaemonism and a refined one, that is, both good and bad actions can be based on this principle.

37. This harmony is, as Pleasure, a subjective feeling and something contingent, which can be linked with this or that impulse and its object and in which I regard myself only as a natural being and am an end only as a single individual.

Explanatory: Pleasure is something subjective and relates to me as a particular individual. There is in it nothing of an objective, universal, intelligible nature. On this account it is not a standard or rule whereby a thing is to be decided or judged. If I say that a thing pleases me, or if I appeal to my pleasure, I only express the relation of the thing to me and thereby ignore the relation I have to others as a rational being. It is contingent as regards its content because it may attach to this or that object and, since it does not concern the content, it is something purely formal. Moreover, according to its external being. Pleasure is contingent, dependent upon circumstances. The means which I use to attain it are external and do not depend upon me. But the thing that I have obtained through the use of means, in so far as it is to add to my pleasure, must become for me, come to me. But this is a contingent affair. The consequences of what I do therefore, do not return to me. I have not the enjoyment of them as a necessary consequence. Pleasure thus arises from two different kinds of circumstances: firstly, from an existence which must be sought after and which depends entirely upon good fortune, and secondly, upon a condition of being which I myself produce. Though this condition of things depends, as effect of my action, upon my will, yet only the act as such belongs to me, hence the result does not necessarily return to me and, accordingly, the enjoyment of the act is contingent. In such an act as that of Decius Mus for his native country the effect of the same could not come back to him as enjoyment. Results cannot be made the principle of action. The results of an action are contingent for the reason that they are an externality which depends upon other circumstances or may be annulled altogether.

Pleasure is a secondary affair merely concomitant of an act. When substantial purposes are realized, pleasure accompanies them in so far as one recognizes in his work his own subjective self. Whosoever seeks Pleasure merely seeks his own self according to its accidental side. Whosoever is busied with great works and interests strives only to bring about the realization of the object itself. He directs his attention to the substantial and does not think of himself but forgets himself in the object. Men who perform great services, and have charge of great interests, are often commiserated with by people for having little pleasure, that is, for living only in the object and not in their own accidentality.

38. Reason annuls that indeterminateness which feels pleasure in mere objects, purifies the content of our propensities from what is subjective and contingent, and teaches how to recognize what is universal and essentially the solely desirable and rather inculcates the disposition to do worthy actions for their own sake.

Explanatory: The Intellect or Reflection transcends in its activity all immediate pleasures but does not, by this, change its aim or guiding principle. It transcends single pleasures only in so far as to compare the impulses one with another and to prefer one over another. Since it aims not at pleasure in detail, but only on the whole, it aims at happiness. This reflection holds fast to the sphere of subjectivity and has pleasure for its end and aim, though in a larger, more comprehensive sense. Since it makes distinctions in pleasures and seeks the agreeable on all its different sides, it refines the grossness, the untamed and merely animal element of pleasure and softens the customs and dispositions. In so far therefore as the understanding busies itself with satisfying the means, the needs generally of gratification, it facilitates this gratification and attains the possibility of devoting itself to higher ends. On the other hand, this refinement of pleasures weakens man in as much as he dissipates his powers upon so many things and gives himself so many different aims, and these grow more and more insignificant in so far as their different sides are discriminated. Thus his power is weakened and he becomes less capable of the concentration of his mind wholly upon one object. When man makes pleasure his object he annuls with such a resolution his impulse to transcend pleasure and do something higher.

Pleasure is indefinite in regard to content for the reason that it can be found in the pursuit of all sorts of objects. Therefore, the difference between pleasures is no objective one, but only a quantitative one. The Understanding, which takes account of results only, prefers the greater to the less.

Reason, on the contrary, makes a qualitative distinction, i.e. a distinction in regard to content. It prefers the worthy object of pleasure to the unworthy one. It therefore enters upon a comparison of the nature of objects. In so far it does not regard the subjective as such, i.e. the pleasant feeling, but rather the objective. It teaches, therefore, what kind of objects men should desiderate for themselves. On account of the universality of his nature man has such an infinite variety of sources of pleasure open before him that the path to the agreeable is beset with illusions and he may be easily led astray through this infinite variety itself: i.e. diverted from a purpose which he ought to make his special object.

The urge for what is agreeable may harmonize with Reason, i.e. both may have the same content [and] reason may legitimate the content. The form of impulse is that of a subjective feeling or it has for its object the obtaining of what is pleasant for the subject. In dealing with a universal object the object itself is the end and aim. On the other hand the desire for pleasure is always selfish.

39. Impulses and Inclinations are, considered by themselves, neither good nor bad; i.e. man has them directly from nature. ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ are moral predicates and pertain to the will. The Good is that which corresponds to Reason. But Impulses and Inclinations cannot be considered apart from their relation to the will; this relation is not a contingent one and man is no indifferent twofold being.

Explanatory: Morality has for its object man in his particularity. This seems at first to contain only a multiplicity of peculiarities wherein men are unlike and differ from each other. Men differ from each other in what is contingent or dependent on nature and external circumstances. In the particular, however, there also dwells something universal. The particularity of a man consists in his relation to others. In this relation there are also essential and necessary determinations. These constitute the content of Duty.

40. The first essential determination of man is his Individuality; [secondly], he belongs to a natural totality, the Family; [thirdly], he is a member of the State; [fourthly], he stands in relation to Other Men in General. Consequently his duties are fourfold:

(1) Duties to Himself;
(2) Duties to his Family;
(3) Duties to the State;
(4) Duties towards Other Men in General.

Duties of the Individual to Himself

41. Man, as an individual, stands in relation to himself. He has two aspects: his individuality and his universal essence. His Duty to Himself consists partly in his duty to care for his physical preservation, partly in his duty to educate himself, to elevate his being as an individual into conformity with his universal nature.

Explanatory: Man is, on the one hand, a natural being. As such he behaves according to caprice and accident as an inconstant, subjective being. He does not distinguish the essential from the unessential. Secondly, he is a spiritual, rational being and as such he is not by nature what he ought to be. The animal stands in no need of education, for it is by nature what it ought to be. It is only a natural being. But man has the task of bringing into harmony his two sides, of making his individuality conform to his rational side or of making the latter become his guiding principle. For instance, when man gives way to anger and acts blindly from passion he behaves in an uneducated way because, in this, he takes an injury or affront for something of infinite importance and seeks to make things even by injuring the transgressor in undue measure. It is a lack of education to attach oneself to an interest which does not concern him or in which he cannot accomplish anything through his activity. For it is reasonable to engage one’s powers upon such an interest as is within the scope of one’s activity. Moreover, if a man becomes impatient under the regular course of events [Schicksals] and refuses to submit to the inevitable he elevates his particular interest to a higher degree of importance than his relation to other men and the circumstances warrant.

42. To Theoretic Education there belong variety and definiteness of knowledge and the ability to see objects from points of view from which things are to be judged. In addition one should have a sense for objects in their free independence without introducing a subjective interest.

Explanatory: Variety of knowledge in-and-for-itself belongs to education for the reason that man, through this, elevates himself above the particular knowledge of insignificant things that surround him to a universal knowledge through which he attains to a greater share in the common stock of information valid for other men and comes into the possession of universally interesting objects. When man goes out beyond his immediate knowledge and experience he learns that there are better modes of behaviour and of treating things than his own and that his own are not necessarily the only ones. He separates himself from himself and comes to distinguish the essential from the unessential. Accuracy of information relates to essential distinctions, those distinctions which appertain to objects under all circumstances. Education implies the forming of an opinion regarding relations and objects of the actual world. For this it is requisite that one knows what the nature and the purpose of a thing is and what relations it has to other things. These points of view are not immediately gained through sensuous intuition but through attentive study of the thing, through reflection on its purpose and essence, and of whether the means of realizing the same are adequate. The uneducated man remains in the state of simple sensuous intuition, his eyes are not open and he does not see what lies at his very feet. With him it is all subjective seeing and apprehension. He does not see the essential thing. He knows only the nature of things approximately and this never accurately, for it is only the knowledge of general points of view that enables one to decide what is essential. They present the important aspects of things and contain the principal categories under which external existences are classified, and thus the work of apprehending them is rendered easier and more accurate.

The opposite of not knowing how to judge is to make rash Judgments about everything without understanding them. Such rash judgments are based on partial views, in which one side is seized and the others overlooked, so that the true concept of the thing is missed. An educated man knows at once the limits of his capacity for Judgment. Moreover, there belongs to culture the sense for the objective in its freedom. It consists in this: that I do not seek my special subjectivity in the object but consider and treat the objects as they are in-and-for-themselves in their free idiosyncrasy: that I interest myself in them without seeking any gain for myself. Such an unselfish interest lies in the study of the sciences when one cultivates them for themselves. The desire to make use of natural objects involves the destruction of those objects. The interest for the fine arts is also an unselfish one. Art exhibits things in their living independence and leaves out the imperfect and ill formed and what has suffered from external circumstances. The objective treatment consists in this: that it has the form of the universal without caprice, whims or arbitrariness and is freed from what is strange or peculiar, etc. and, if one’s aim is the genuine object itself and not a selfish interest, it must be grasped in the inner essential nature.

43. Practical Education [Bildung] entails that man, in the gratification of his natural wants and impulses, shall exhibit that prudence and temperance which lie in the limits of his necessity, namely, self-preservation. He must (a) stand away from and be free from the natural (b) on the other hand, be absorbed in his avocation, in what is essential and therefore, (c) be able to confine his gratification of the natural wants not only within the limits of necessity but also to sacrifice the same for higher duties.

Explanatory: The freedom of man, as regards natural impulses, consists not in his being rid of such impulses altogether and thus striving to escape from his nature but in his recognition of them as a necessity and as something rational; and in realizing them accordingly through his will, he finds himself constrained only in so far as he creates for himself accidental and arbitrary impressions and purposes in opposition to the Universal. The specific, accurate measure, to be followed in the gratification of wants, and in the use of physical and spiritual powers, cannot be accurately given but each can learn for himself what is useful or detrimental to him. Temperance in the gratification of natural impulses and in the use of bodily powers is, as such, necessary to health. Health is an essential condition for the use of mental powers in fulfilling the higher vocation of man. If the body is not preserved in its proper condition, if it is injured in any one of its functions, then it obliges its possessor to make of it a special object of his care and, by this means, it becomes something dangerous, absorbing more than its due share of the attention of the mind. Furthermore, excess in the use or disuse of the physical or mental powers results in dullness and debility.

Finally, moderation is closely connected with Prudence. The latter consists in reflecting on what one is doing, so that in his enjoyment or work he is not wholly given up to this or that individual state, but remains open to consider something else which may also be necessary. A prudent person distinguishes himself mentally from his condition, his feeling, his occupation. This attitude of not being completely absorbed in one’s condition is on the whole requisite in the case of impulses and aims which though necessary are not essential. On the other hand, in the case of a genuine aim or occupation, one’s mind must be present in all its earnestness and not at the same time be aloof from it. Hence Prudence consists in being aware of all the details and aspects of the work.

44. As to what concerns one’s specific calling, which appears as Fate, this should not be thought of in the form of an external necessity. It is to be taken up freely, and freely endured and pursued.

Explanatory: With regard to the external circumstances of his lot and all that he immediately is, a man must so conduct himself as to make it his own; he must deprive them of the form of external existence. It makes no difference in what external condition man finds himself through good or bad fortune, provided that he is just and right in what he is and does, i.e. that he fulfils all sides of his calling. The Vocation of a man, whatever his condition in life may be, is a manifold substance. It is, as it were, a material or stuff which he must elaborate in every direction until it has nothing alien, brittle and refractory within it. In so far as he has made it perfectly his own for himself, he is free therein. A man becomes the prey of discontentment chiefly through the circumstance that he does not fulfil his calling. He enters into a relation which he fails to assimilate thoroughly; at the same time he belongs to this calling: he cannot free himself from it. He lives and acts, therefore, in an adverse relation to himself.

45. To be Faithful and Obedient in his vocation as well as submissive to his fate and self-denying in his acts, these virtues have their ground in the giving up of vanity, self-conceit, and selfishness in regard to things that are in and for themselves necessary.

Explanatory: The Vocation is something universal and necessary, and constitutes a side of the social life of humanity. It is, therefore, one of the divisions of human labour. When a man has a Vocation, he enters into cooperation and participation with the Whole. Through this he becomes objective. The Vocation is a particular, limited sphere, yet it constitutes a necessary part of the whole, and, besides this, is in-itself a whole. If a man is to become something he must know how to limit himself that is, make some speciality his Vocation. Then his work ceases to be an irksome restraint to him. He then comes to be at unity with himself, with his externality, with his sphere. He is a universal, a whole. Whenever a man makes something trifling, i.e. unessential or nugatory, his object and aim, then the interest lies not in an object as such, but in it as his object. The trifling object is of no importance by itself, but has importance only to the person who busies himself with it. One sees in a trifling object only oneself; there can be, for example, a moral vanity, when a man thinks on the excellence of his acts and is more interested in himself than in the thing. The man who does small things faithfully shows himself capable of greater ones, because he has shown his obedience, his self-sacrifice in regard to his own wishes, inclinations and fancies.

46. Through intellectual and moral education a man receives the capacity for fulfilling duties toward others, which duties may be called real duties since the duties which relate to his own education are, in comparison, of a more formal nature.

47. In so far as the performance of duties appears more as a subjective attribute of the individual, and to pertain chiefly to his natural character, it is properly called Virtue.

48. In as much as Virtue in part belongs to the natural character it appears as a peculiar species of morality and of greater vitality and intensity. It is at the same time not so closely connected with the consciousness of duty as is Morality proper.

Duties to the Family

49. When a man is developed by education he has attained a capacity for practical action. In so far as he does act he is necessarily brought into relation to others. The first necessary relation in which the individual stands to others is that of the Family-relation. This indeed has a legal side but it is subordinated to the side of moral sentiment, that of love and confidence.

Explanatory: The Family constitutes essentially only one substance, only one person. The members of the family are not persons in their relation to each other. They enter such a relation first when by some calamity the moral bond is destroyed. Among the ancients, the sentiment of family love and action based thereon was called pietas. ‘Piety’ has with us the sense of devoutness or godliness, which it has in common with the ancient meaning of the word in that both presuppose an absolute bond, the self-existent unity in a spiritual substance, a bond which is not formed through particular caprice or accident.

50. This sentiment, precisely stated, consists in this: that each member of the Family has his essence not in his own person, but that only the whole of the Family constitutes his personality.

51. The union of persons of opposite sex which Marriage is, is not merely a natural, animal union, nor, at the other extreme, is it a mere civil contract, rather it is essentially a moral union of sentiment [Gesinnung] in reciprocal love and confidence which constitutes them one person.

52. The duty of parents towards children is to care for their support and education; that of the children to obey their parents until they grow up and become independent and to honour and respect them through life; that of brothers and sisters, to treat each other with the utmost consideration.

Duties to the State

53. The natural whole, which constitutes the family, expands into a whole of a People and a State in which the individuals have for themselves an independent will.

Explanatory: The State, in one respect, is able to dispense with the goodwill and consent of citizens, i.e. in so far as it must be independent of the will of the individual. It prescribes, therefore, to the individual his obligations, namely, the part which he must perform for the whole. It cannot leave this to his goodwill because he may be self-interested and oppose himself to the interest of the State. In this way the State becomes a machine, a system of external dependencies. But, on the other hand, it cannot dispense with the [good] disposition of its citizens. The order issued by the government can contain only what is general. The actual deed, the fulfilment of the State’s aim, requires a special form of activity. This can come only from individual intelligence and from the goodwill and consent of men.

54. The State holds society not only under legal relations but mediated as a true, higher, moral commonwealth, the union in customs, education and general form of thinking and acting, since each one views and recognizes in the other his universality in a spiritual manner.

55. In the Spirit of a People each individual citizen has his spiritual substance. Not only does the preservation of the individual depend on the preservation of this living whole, but this living whole is the universal spiritual nature or the essence of each one as opposed to his individuality. The preservation of the whole takes precedence, therefore, over the preservation of the individual and all citizens should act on this conviction.

56. Considered according to the merely legal side, in so far as the State protects the private rights of the individual and the individual looks after his own rights, there is indeed possible a sacrifice of a part of his property for the preservation of the rest. Patriotism, however, is not founded on this calculation, but on the consciousness of the absoluteness of the State. This disposition to offer up property and life for the whole is the greater in a people the more the individuals can act for the whole from their own will and self-activity and the greater the confidence they have in the whole. (Speak here of the beautiful patriotism of the Greeks; also of the distinction between bourgeois and citoyen.)

57. The disposition to obey the commands of the government, attachment to princes and the constitutional form of government, the feeling of national honour, all these are virtues of the citizen in every well-ordered State.

58. The State rests not upon an express contract of one with all or of all with one or between the individual and the government. The Universal Will of the whole is not simply the expressed will of the individual but is the Absolute Universal Will which is in-and-for-itself binding on the individual.

Duties toward Others

59. The duties toward others are, first, the legal duties which must be linked with the disposition to do the lawful for the sake of Law. The rest of these duties are founded on the disposition to regard others not merely as abstract persons but also, in their particularity, as possessing equal rights and to regard their welfare or bad fortune as one’s own concern and to manifest this feeling by active help.

60. This moral mode of thinking and acting goes further than is demanded by the mere legal right. But Integrity, the observance of the strict duties toward others, is the first duty and lies at the basis of all others. There may be noble and generous actions which lack integrity. In that case they have their ground in self-love and in the consciousness of having done something special, whereas that which integrity demands is valid for all and is no arbitrary duty.

61. Among the special duties to others, the first is Truthfulness in speech and action. It consists in the identity of that which is and of which one is conscious, with what he expresses and shows to others.

Untruthfulness is the disagreement and contradiction between what one is in his own consciousness and what he is for others, hence between his inner being and his actuality, and is therefore a nullity in itself.

62. It is especially untruthful when what one imagines to be a good intention or disposition is in fact bad and harmful. (This disagreement between the disposition and the action could at least be called clumsiness but, in so far as the doer is responsible, if he does what is bad he must be regarded as also meaning his action to be bad.)

63. It implies the existence of a special relation between individuals to give one of them the right to speak truthfully regarding the other’s behaviour. When one undertakes to do this without the right he is himself, in so far, untrue, since he assumes a relation to another which has no existence.

Explanatory: It is of the first importance to speak the truth in so far as one knows that it is the truth. It is mean not to speak the truth when it is one’s duty to speak it, because thereby one is demeaned in one’s own eyes and in the eyes of the other. But also one should not speak the truth where he is not called upon to do so or does not even have the right to do so. When one speaks the truth merely for the sake of having his say and without following it up, this is at least superfluous, for what is important is not that I have spoken but that the matter in hand should be achieved. Speaking is not yet the deed or act; the latter is superior. The truth then is spoken in the right place at the right time when it serves to bring about the matter in hand. Speech is an astonishingly great means but to use it correctly demands great understanding.

64. Malicious Gossip is akin to Slander which is an actual lie. The former is the retailing of matters which compromise the honour of a third party and which are not absolutely evident to the narrator. It usually happens out of a zealous disapproval of immoral actions, usually with the comment that the narrator cannot vouch for the truth of the stories and wishes he had not said anything about them, but in this case there is associated the dishonesty of alleging that he does not want to spread the stories and yet by his action actually does so. He is guilty of hypocrisy in pretending to speak in the interest of morality and at the same time behaving badly.

Explanatory: Hypocrisy consists in behaving badly while assuming the appearance of having a good intention, of wanting to do something good. The external deed is, however, not different from the internal one. In the case of a bad deed the intention was also essentially bad and not good. It may be the case that a man has accomplished something good or at least not improper but it is not permissible to make of that which is in its own self evil a means with which to achieve a good end. The end or the intention does not sanctify the means. Moral principle concerns chiefly the disposition or the intention. It is, however, just as essential that not only the intention but also the action be good. Moreover, a man must not persuade himself that he has excellent and important purposes in the common acts of his individual life. In that case it frequently happens that while he bases his own deeds on good intentions and seeks to make his unimportant deeds great by his reflections he is apt, on the other hand, to attribute a selfish or bad motive to the great or at least good deeds of others.

65. The disposition to injure others, knowingly and willingly, is Evil. The disposition which permits itself to violate duties to others and also to itself, and from weakness to resist its inclinations, is Bad.

Explanatory: Good stands opposed to Evil [bose] as also to Bad [schlecht]. To be Evil involves an act of the will; it presupposes a strength of will which is also a condition of the Good, but the Bad, on the contrary, is something devoid of will. The Bad individual follows his inclinations and neglects duties. It would be perfectly satisfactory to him to fulfil the duties if he could do so without effort but he has not the will to master his inclinations or habits.

66. The Services we are able to perform for others depend upon the contingent relations in which we happen to stand with them and upon the special circumstances in which we are situated. When we are in a position to do another a Service we have only to consider two things: that he is a human being and has a need.

Explanatory: The first condition precedent to rendering help to others consists in this: that we have a right to regard them as in need and to act toward them as sufferers. Help must not be given, therefore, without their willingness to receive it. This presupposes a certain degree of acquaintance or confidence. The needy are as such not on the same footing as regards equality with those not in need. It is a matter for him to decide whether or not he wants to appear as one in need. He consents to this when he is convinced that I regard him as my equal, and treat him as such in spite of this inequality of condition. In the second place, I must have in hand the means with which to help him. Finally, there may happen cases where his want is of so evident a character as to render unnecessary an express consent on his part to receive assistance.

67. The duty of the Universal Love of Humanity also includes those cases wherein we love those with whom we stand in relations of acquaintance and friendship. The original unity of mankind must be the basis from which arise voluntarily, much closer, connections as involve more particular duties. (Friendship rests on likeness of character and especially of interest, engagement in a common work, rather than in liking for the person of another as such. One should cause his friends as little trouble as possible. To require no services of friends is the most delicate way. One should spare no pains to avoid laying others under obligations to him.)

68. The duty of Prudence [Policy] appears, at first, in so far as the end is a selfish one, as a duty toward oneself in his relations to others. True selfishness is, however, essentially attained through moral conduct and this, consequently, is the true Prudence. It is a principle of moral conduct that private gain may be a result but must never constitute the motive.

69. In as much as private gain does not constitute the direct result of moral conduct but depends rather upon the particular and, on the whole, accidental goodwill of others, there is to be found the sphere of mere inclination or favour, but Prudence consists in this: that one does not interfere with the inclinations of others but acts in their interest. But also, in this respect, that which proves politic is really that which recommends itself for its own sake, namely, to leave others free where we have neither duty nor right to disturb them and, through our correct conduct, to win their favour.

70. Courtesy [Politeness] is the mark of a well-wishing disposition and also of a readiness to do a service to others, especially to those with whom we stand in a nearer relation of acquaintance or friendship. It is false when it is connected with the opposite disposition. True Courtesy is, however, to be regarded as a duty because we ought to have benevolent intentions toward each other in general in order to open by means of polite actions the way to closer union. To do a service, an act of politeness, something pleasant to a stranger, is Courtesy. The same thing should, however, be done to an acquaintance or friend. Toward strangers and those with whom we stand in no nearer relations there is the appearance of goodwill and this is all that is required. Refinement and Delicacy consist in doing or saying no more than is allowed by the relation in which one stands to other parties. (Greek Humanity and Urbanity in the time of Socrates and Plato)


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