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"THE PROBLEM OF CONDUCT" : A CRITICISM.

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The Transom

A great many thanks to The President and Founder at

The Illimitable Ocean of Inexplicability

for his divination of the following publication. Thanks also to The Internet Archive for making this text available. It was the fact that this document contained the term "infinitely remote" that it materialized in search results for the same. What follows is a very interesting and fun (if dry) read.

Posted here for posterity: Enjoy!


460 International Journal of Ethics. 

"THE PROBLEM OF CONDUCT" : A CRITICISM. 

When a philosopher boasts that he has riddled with con- 
tradictions the scientific, moral and religious experiences of 
mankind, one is forced to ask whether he has not after all been 
firing at dummies. The principle of contradiction is doubtless 
a valiant weapon; but sometimes "the engineer is hoist with 
his own petard." Before we believe that science is vitiated 
by error to an unknown degree, that morality is at root hypo- 
crisy, and that religion "inevitably contains and rests upon an 
element of 'make-believe,' " we must be assured that the meta- 
physician is dealing with human experience and not with fig- 
ments of his own elaboration. 

In criticizing Mr. Taylor's book* I propose to ask two ques- 
tions. I shall inquire how far on the one hand his theory gives 
an adequate account of experience, and on the other how far 
it is consistent with itself. If at any time I appear dogmatic 
I ask indulgence. I have endeavored to attain clearness at all 
costs. Sitting on the hedge suggests discomfort ; and although 
a sprinkling of saving clauses appears more modest and is 
perhaps more judicious, yet it tends to obscure the question at 
issue. And this would be most undesirable. We cannot af- 
ford to treat the problem of conduct like the Scottish minister 
who exhorted his brethren to look certain difficulties in the 
face and pass on : this question has got to be faced and an- 
swered. 

I propose first of all to give a short account of Mr. Taylor's 
main line of argument. This is the more desirable inasmuch 
as his essay contains much matter, interesting perhaps and 
suggestive, but liable, like pianos and kitchen-ranges in a 
mobile column, to distract attention and encumber movement. 

After some general remarks on the nature of metaphysical 
truth and scientific explanation, Mr. Taylor proceeds to attack 
the school of moral philosophy associated with the name of 
T. H. Green. His aim is to expose the fundamental fallacy in 
every system of ethics, which regards it as a teleological sci- 
ence in distinction from an empirical investigation. He as- 
sails Green's contention that a theory of morals should be pre- 
ceded by a metaphysical analysis of the nature of the self, 
maintaining that the psychologist is competent to deal with 
all the facts of morality. Finally he holds that the notion of 
an eternal self-conscious principle is absurd, and could in no 
case be of any value for the solution of the problem of con- 
duct. 

The ground being so far cleared, the roots of Ethics are 
•discovered in the moral sentiments of mankind. Theories 
about motives and obligation, conscience and freedom are rank 
with popular confusions and fallacious metaphysics. In the 
words of Paul Somerset "Right and Wrong are but figments 
and the shadow of a word; but for all that, there are certain 
things that I cannot do and there are certain others that I will 
not stand." It is in the feelings or emotions of approval or 
disapproval, with which men review past or anticipate future 
actions, that the moralist must find the foundations of his sci- 
ence. Beginning here the student of ethics will find his 
groundwork almost completed. For the sentiments awakened 
by different kinds of action are already embodied in the judg- 
ments of the market-place, the pulpit, the club and the statute- 
book. With these as his base the moralist may proceed to 
give an historical account of the development of ethical feel- 
ings and ideas; or else attempt to discover the main principle 
or principles presupposed in the fluid masses of popular opin- 
ion, and by their help to construct a consistent moral ideal. 
After a short survey of the evolution of the conceptions of 
obligation and responsibility, conscience and moral personality, 
Mr. Taylor attacks the main problem of his essay. 

[Continue...]

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The Cyber-Empire Exposed

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The Transom

The InfinitelyRemote Cyber EmpireA glimpse of the InfinitelyRemote
Cyber-Empire

I am often asked about my computer system and I like to brag that I utilize a quad-core. Pictured to the left is that system.

  • Core #1 - InfinitelyRemote
  • Core #2 - HAL
  • Core #3 - EVO
  • Core #4 - PracticalLightning

Also highlighted: A - External Hard Drive Farm, B - Dazzle Fusion Video Input Device, C - Sanyo 4Head-HiFi VCR, D - Removable Media Stacks.

HAL and EVO are running fully patched - up to the minute - Windows XP. InfinitelyRemote is running CentOS 6.4 and PracticalLightning is chugging along with Fedora 10 OS.

While many may scoff at the energy required to run these computers (in order to gain the benefit of such unsurpassed multitasking ability.) I will gladly suggest that these machines are not taking up land-fill space and continue to serve admirably, the chores they were designed and built to do. Total investment: Not very much [smiley:;)]

Come on in...
It's Mostly A WebSite

~ InfinitelyRemote has been hosting internet goodness since 2007 ~
It is a hobby site and exist solely for educational purposes.
Must be 13 or older to join. See privacy statement for conditions.

Madmike Software Doodles
yet another fine, fine product of
MAdmike SOftware DOodles
"The bit is mightier than the sword!"

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Remember When The Internet Was Fun?

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  • Views: 549
The Transom

Remember When The Internet Was Fun?

The Internet Is Still Fun

Exactly when did it ever stop being fun?

It's Mostly A Web Site

~ InfinitelyRemote has been hosting internet goodness since 2007 ~
It is a hobby site and exist solely for educational purposes.
Must be 13 or older to join. See privacy statement for conditions.

Madmike Software Doodles
yet another fine, fine product of
MAdmike SOftware DOodles
"The bit is mightier than the sword!"

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