a theory of conduct

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: III. The Nature of Duly. In the foregoing chapter the conclusion was reached that man does not know what he ought to do, but that he ought to do something; that is, that there is such a thing as duty, and that it is an universally prevalent idea. The conception of duty or obligation is either original or derived. Those who affirm that duty is not an original conception may be asked to explain its origin, and attempts have been made to furnish such an explanation. All theories upon this point may be fairly and conveniently divided into two classes : — 1. The objective theory. 2. The subjective theory. I. The first of these regards duty as a product of law, and law as the product of fear and ultimately of expediency. Thisconclusion has been presented with great force by some who have applied the hypothesis of evolution to the explanation of ethical doctrine. Without going further back in development than the beginning of human history, it may be said that the idea of ouglit comes from the idea of must: so that moral obligation is an idea the source of which is to be found in social and legal obligation. The authority of the parent over the child has given rise to the idea that the commands of the former are binding upon the latter. The unquestioned commands of early years become part and parcel of the rule which guides the child until in more mature years another rule of action is prescribed by the society in which the man lives, and the sanctions of the law bind him to courses of action which society regards as right, and deter him from actions which he regards as wrong. The rule changes, but the conception of duty remains. The law may be a law of love in family life, a law of sympathy or interestin social life, a law of fear in civil life, but the habitual restraint... --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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