The Concept of Morals by Walter Terence Stace

By Walter Terence Stace

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This view, though characteristically modern, is by no means universally accepted, and may quite possibly be mistaken. It is, however, fair to say that the possibility of the very existence of any selfevident axioms, whether ethical or otherwise, has been placed in grave doubt by modern enquiries, that this therefore not an opportune moment for founding ethics upon one, and that neither Sidgwick nor anyone else could succeed in doing so without first undertaking a most is elaborate defence of the notion of axioms designed to dispel modern doubts.

For suppose that there exists some end or set of ends, some need or set of needs, which for those is who common to all human beings. There might be founded upon these needs and ends a set of universal hypothetical "ought" judgments. A proposition of the form "If you want x, then you ought to doy" might give expression to THE CONCEPT OF MORALS 26 an obligation applicable to all men. This would be true A set of such if, as a matter of fact, all men wanted x. be perfectly meaningful, because hypoobligations would a universal code of morality.

An immoral action is defined in the opposite way. Morality then becomes a means to the achievement of these good ends. Another possible variant of the same kind of view would hold that the quality of goodness attaches to our moral actions themselves and not to their consequences. In that case not a means, but an end in itself. It is usually held that the quality of goodness is something unanalysable and ultimate in the same sense as the quality of yellowness is ultimate and unanalysable. Yellow morality is be caused by certain ether vibrations, but it cannot be analysed into these vibrations.

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