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The Virtue of the Act and the Virtue of the Agent


Particular attention has been paid in the present century (notably by Mr. E. F. Carritt, the late Professor Pritchard, and Sir David Ross) to the question as to whether a man's duty is to do what is actually right, i.e. what his situation actually demands of him, or what he thinks is right. Mr. Carritt has pointed out that the former possibility bifurcates—a man's duty may be to do what is actually demanded by his actual situation, or what is (or would be) actually demanded by what he believes to be his situation. (The latter possibility also bifurcates—a man's duty may be to do what he thinks is demanded by what he believes to be his situation, or what he would think was demanded by his actual situation, if he knew it; but only the first of these alternatives has been or needs to be seriously considered.) I do not propose in the present paper to carry this discussion any further, but rather to consider how it has been carried on in the past, as there seems to be a little confusion on this point.

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page 121 note 1 P. 14 n.

page 121 note 2 Price's Review (Raphael's edition), p. 177.

page 121 note 3 Ibid., p. 116, last note.

page 122 note 1 Price's Review (Raphael's edition), p. 184.

page 122 note 2 Ibid., p. xl.

page 122 note 3 Ibid., p. 177.

page 122 note 4 Mind, April 1949, p. 263.

page 122 note 5 Eternal and Immutable Morality, I, ii. 5.

page 122 note 6 Op. cit., pp. 166–8. (See Dr. Raphael's Introduction, p. xxxix.).

page 123 note 1 V, iv.

page 124 note 1 Catechisms of the Second Reformation, edited by A. F. Mitchell, pp. 165–6.

page 124 note 2 Summa Theologica, I–II, Q. 19, Art. 5.

page 124 note 3 Aquinas {op. cit.) uses the concluding verse of this chapter as a proof-text. “For it is written (Rom. xiv. 23): All that is not of faith—i.e. all that is against conscience—is sin.”

page 125 note 1 Summa Theologica, I–II, Q. 19, Art. 6.

page 125 note 2 Part I, Ch. V, par. 16.

page 125 note 3 Paragraph 12.

page 125 note 4 Second Part, Answer to the objector's Article XXIX. (Selby-Bigge, British Moralists, § 735.).

page 126 note 1 Compare Price, p. 191, with Balguy, in Selby-Bigge, § 555.

page 126 note 2 See e.g. Rashdall, The Theory of Good and Evil, Vol. I, p. 80 n.

page 126 note 3 IV, v. 3.

page 127 note 1 Lectures on the Philosophy of the Human Mind, LXXIII.

page 127 note 2 Ibid., LXXIV.

page 127 note 3 Moral and Political Philosophy, II, vi, footnote.

page 127 note 4 Utilitarianism, Ch. II.

page 128 note 1 Though his System of Logic (II, iii, 6) contains an admirable criticism of one of Brown's follies in a different field, besides being positively indebted to him in its theory of causation.

page 128 note 2 The Methods of Ethics, 7th edition, p. 206 n.

page 128 note 3 Ibid., 1st edition, p. 181 n.

page 128 note 4 Ibid., p. 180 n. 2.

page 129 note 1 Which seems to be the sense of Aquinas, when he says that “for a thing to be evil, one single defect suffices, whereas for it to be good absolutely, it is not sufficient for it to be good in one point only, it must be good in every respect” (Summa Theologica, I–II, Q. 20, Art. 2).

page 129 note 2 7th edition. III, i. 3 (pp. 207–8).

page 129 note 3 Lecture LXXIII.

page 130 note 1 Essays on the Active Powers, II, iii.

page 130 note 2 Ethical and Political Thinking, p. 21.

page 130 note 3 E. F. Carritt, Ethical and Political Thinking, p. 83. Canterbury University College, Christchurch, N.Z.

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