Home > Ethics and Morality, Philosophy > Sidgwick on the Dualism of Practical Reason

Sidgwick on the Dualism of Practical Reason

October 23, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Along with (a) a fundamental moral conviction that I ought to sacrifice my own happiness, if by so doing I can increase the happiness of others to a greater extent than I diminish my own, I find also (b) a conviction – which it would be paradoxical to call ‘moral,’ but which is none the less fundamental – that it would be irrational to sacrifice any portion of my own happiness unless the sacrifice is to be somehow at some time compensated by an equivalent addition to my own happiness. I find these fundamental convictions in my own thought with as much clearness and certainty as the process of introspective reflection can give: I find also a preponderant assent to them – at least implicit – in the common sense of mankind: and I find, on the whole, confirmation of my view in the history of ethical thought in England.

-Henry Sidgwick, “Some Fundamental Ethical Controversies” in Mind, 1889.

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