Imagini ale paginilor

sponding act of the will, and belongs to the practical order. But being has in itself an intrinsic order, according to which certain beings are greater and more excellent than others and have greater dignity. This order is what must be recognized by the will, and, hence, the universal formula of obligation, the principle of Ethics, may be expressed thus : Recognize being as it is in its order.

It will be observed that Rosmini does not allow to inan any special moral faculty, whose function is to cognize and adhere to the good. In this he differs from both Aristotle and Kant. Both these thinkers endow man with a practical reason (TTPAKTIKÒç voūc, praktische Vernunft), though by that term they mean very different things. As to Aristotle's meaning, see Walter, Die Lehre von der prakt. Vernunft in der griech. Philosophie, and the severe, but just, criticism of it by Teichmüller, in his Neue Studien zur Gesch, der Begriffe, Heft. iii. In reference to Kant's view, Rosmini says, “Man is a cognitive and active being; hence human life is naturally divided into theoretical and practical. The same cannot properly be said of Philosophy. Philosophy is not an action, but always a contemplation, whatever its subject be. . . . We will not, therefore, divide philosophy into theoretical and practical, as has been done heretofore ; but we will set out with two theories, the one of which is destined to show us how beings are and how they act, the other to instruct us how we ourselves ought to act. These two great branches of philosophy have no formal difference, that is, no difference in regard to their mode of being, such as exists between contemplation and action. Both are contemplative, and ... differ only in the objects of their contemplation. Nor is the contemplative faculty different in the two cases, as was maintained by Kant, who made the Theoretic Reason and the Practical Reason two distinct faculties. It is one and the same faculty applied

to different materials. What, then, is the principle according to which philosophy is divided into the two theories indicated ? . . . Things may be considered ... either simply as they are or as they ought to be. This would seem the first and most obvious division of philosophy; yet it is not the one we are in search of. What we call the Theory of Practice does not go so far as to determine how all things ought to be, but only how the actions of men ought to be ” (Introduction to Principles of Moral Science).



In the act of practical recognition we form an What part estimate of being proportionate to its grade. This action is estimate is followed by an equal degree of love, itself, and which also diffuses itself on all beings in degrees participaproportionate to their grade of being. This love again is succeeded, either with or without express decrees of the will, by external actions ordered in conformity with that love and rendering the whole life of the virtuous man beautiful and harmonious.

not com

219. But among beings, God is absolute beginning A man is and end of all. He is, therefore, the final aim of pletely vir

tuous until the virtuous man's will and of its acts, the final aim he refers to which tend all recognition, all estimation, all action to love, all human action. Hence comes Religion, ultimate in which, as being morality perfected and raised to the highest degree of completeness, every duty becomes sacred and every virtue holiness. Since then all beings proceed from God through creation,

God as his


and are dependent on Him for preservation, so they must all be led back to Him, and all conformed to the divine will.


God's will is the source of divine positive law.

And the will of God becomes the source of positive legislation, that is, of those laws which are positively revealed by God to man. Ethics points out the difference between the natural and the positive law, and shows that respect for the latter proceeds from respect for the former.


Why there are duties toward human nature, which is contingent and limited.

Next to our duties to God come our duties to created intelligences, the duties which each man has toward his fellows. Although these are subordinate to our duties toward God, as created things are subordinate to the Creator; yet men also are objects of moral duties, as beings who are aims in themselves. And their existence has an aim, because they are intelligent, and in intelligence is ideal being, which is a divine element. In fact, the will, which is the active faculty of the intelligence, must have, as its end and good, something infinite and divine. Hence the aphorism : The moral always embraces in some way the totality of being


Developing the second element of moral good, Special

Logic of viz. law, Ethics teaches how to apply it to special Ethics. cases. Hence arises the Special Logic of Ethics, which deals chiefly with the moral consciousness. In it rules are given for the application of the laws to particular actions, and especially to cases in which the law is doubtful. The principal law to be applied in these cases is the following :-“ If there is doubt respecting the existence of the positive law, and the doubt cannot be resolved, the law is not binding; and if there is doubt in a matter appertaining to the natural law and relating to an evil inherent in action, the risk of this evil must be avoided.”

This law was the source of a long controversy between Rosmini and the Jesuits, who have their own views in regard to obligation toward a doubtful law. See Bibliography of Rosmini's Works, Class iii.


element of

Coming at last to the third element, that is, to Third the relation between will and law, Ethics sets moral forth all the modes in which this relation may relation

good is the vary, describing the various states, good and bad, will and into which human will and liberty enter, and man himself as affected by such variations.


(6) Special Ethics. Treats of the special forms of moral good and evil.

224. The second part of Ethics, or Special Ethics, treats of the special forms of moral good and evil, and begins by distinguishing between act and habit [ific], showing the various forms of morality of which each is susceptible. It then goes on to set forth our special duties to divinity and humanity. As regards the latter, a man must respect and honour human nature in himself and in his fellows; he must respect it in individuals and in the societies, natural or artificial, in which men unite themselves. All social relations give occasion to the existence of moral duties. Next, it treats of habits, and so of all the special virtues and vices. Furthermore, it considers the means by which evil may be avoided and moral good attained. To this part of Ethics, as we have seen, the name of Ascetics may be given.

Eudæmo. nology shows the beauty of moral good and the turpitude of moral evil in themselves and in their effects.

225 Eudæmonology, the third part of Ethics, considers the excellence of moral good and the turpitude of moral evil. It shows that both are infinite. It describes the dignity and joy of the virtuous soul, and the ignobleness and misery of the vicious soul. It shows that no truly virtuous man is unhappy, and no wicked one happy. It thus wakes the confidence and trust which slumber in the human heart, that virtue will meet with an eternal reward, and vice with

« ÎnapoiContinuați »