By Ernest Albee

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In the last resort, Cumberland, like Descartes, seems to depend upon the necessary truthfulness of Cod. We now see what, in general, Cumberland holds regarding the nature of man. He is not without original altruistic in­ stincts, and is, moreover, essentially a rational being. That his instinctive altruism tends to fit him for society goes without saying. But this alone is not sufficient. Alongside of the al­ truistic instincts, are others that must be recognised as egoistic. The relation in which the two stand to each other is not clearly indicated, but, at any rate, it is evident that they would be likely to conflict, if reason did not furnish a rule of conduct.

62). It is to be doubted if this is at all conclusive against Hobbes. 4 See p. 62. 6 See p. 165. 6 See p. 202. ” Bichard Cumberland / 45 level with the vegetable world. ” As it is not clear—thus far, at any rate—in what terms Cumberland would have defined the Good, if he had been forced to be more exact, it becomes important to consider his treatment of happiness. ” Indeed, Cumberland occasionally uses the words interchangeably even in the same sentence. However, allowing for his careless use of language, with which we are already familiar, his theory seems to be that human happiness results largely from action, particularly from the exercise of one’s intellectual powers.

He says: “I agree, however, with him [Hobbes], that by Right Reason is not to be understood an infallible Faculty (as he affirms many, but I know not who, to understand it ) ; but yet by it is to be understood a faculty not false in these acts of judging. ” 64 And then, as against Hobbes’s view that, out of civil society, “every man’s proper reason is to be esteemed, not only the standard of his own actions, which he does at his own peril, but also the measure of other men’s reason with respect to his affairs,” 60 Cumberland adds that this cannot be the case, “For, out of civil society, any one may distinguish Right Reason without making a comparison with his own.

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A history of English Utilitarianism by Ernest Albee


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