C. D. Broad, Five Types of Ethical Theory, 1930



      Though Spinoza's main work is called Ethics, it is not a treatise on ethics in our sense of the word. Nor did Spinoza ever write any such treatise. His views on ethics, in the modern sense, have to be gathered from various passages scattered about his books and his letters. Nevertheless, the ultimate and explicit aim of his philosophical works was ethical. It was to discover in what human perfection consists, to explain the difficulties which prevent most men from reaching it, and to show the way which they must follow if they would overcome these difficulties. Before I begin to expound Spinoza's ethical theory I must state that I shall ignore everything in his system which depends on what he calls Scientia Intuitiva or the Third Kind of Knowledge; i.e., I shall ignore his doctrines of the Intellectual Love of God, of Human Blessedness, and of the Eternity of the Human Mind. Such an omission would be inexcusable if I were claiming to expound Spinoza's system as a whole, for they are among the hardest, the most interesting, and the most characteristic parts of it. But for the present purpose it is justified by the following facts. These doctrines, I am convinced, are the philosophic expression of certain religious and mystical experiences which Spinoza and many others have enjoyed and which seem supremely important to those who have had them. As such they belong to Spinoza's philosophy of religion rather than to his ethics in [16] the ordinary sense. Spinoza himself recognises that he is passing into a different realm when he begins to expound them, for he introduces them with a remark which is extremely startling as coming from him. He says that he has now done with "all that concerns this present life", and that henceforth he is going to discuss "the duration of the human mind without relation to the body". That Spinoza was right in thinking that these experiences are of the utmost importance and that philosophy must deal seriously with them I have no doubt; but I am equally sure that his theory of them is not consistent with the rest of his system. For these reasons I think I am justified in ignoring the doctrines in question.

      I must begin by explaining Spinoza's view about the nature of man and his position in the universe. Each man is a finite part of the general order of Nature. He is a system of very great internal complexity having a characteristic kind of unity and balance. He is in constant interaction with other men and with the rest of Nature, and these interactions constantly tend to upset the balance in one direction or another. So long as the balance is approximately maintained he lives and remains in bodily and mental health. When it is temporarily upset to a marked extent he is ill or mad; and when it is upset so far that it cannot be restored he dies. Now in man, as in every other natural unit, there is an inherent tendency to react to all changes in such a way as to maintain this characteristic unity and equilibrium. This inherent tendency in any finite natural unit Spinoza calls its conatus. The conatus of anything is the essence of that thing; the particular way in which it behaves in any particular situation is just the expression of its conatus under the special [17] circumstances of the moment. It is of interest to remark that, so far as organisms are concerned, modern physiology agrees entirely with this doctrine of Spinoza's, and that its researches have established it in much greater detail than Spinoza could have dreamed of.

      Now a man, like everything else in Nature on Spinoza's view, is a thing with two fundamentally different but inseparably correlated aspects, a physical and a psychical. If we regard a man under his physical aspect and leave his psychical aspect out of account, we call him a human organism. If we regard him under his psychical aspect and leave his physical aspect out of account, we call him a human soul. Both these points of view are abstract and one-sided; everything which is a soul is also a body, and everything which is a body is also a soul. Suppose now that a change takes place in a man, through his interacting with some other part of Nature. This change, since it takes place in a thing which has two inseparably correlated aspects, will itself have these two aspects. Regarded on its purely physical side, it will be called a modification of the body; regarded on its purely psychical side, it will be called a modification of the soul. Every event which is a modification of my body is also a modification of my soul, and conversely.

      We come now to a further specification of this doctrine which is highly characteristic of Spinoza. Suppose that a certain psycho-physical event eψφ happens in a certain man. Regarded in its purely psychical aspect it counts as a psychical event eψ in his soul. Regarded in its purely physical aspect it counts as a physical event eφ, in his body. Now Spinoza's view is that eψ, is what we call the act of sensing the change eφ in the body, whilst eψ is what we [18] call the sensum which is the immediate object of the act eψ of the soul. Many philosophers would agree with Spinoza to the extent of holding that the act of sensing and the sensum are two distinct but inseparable aspects of a single event and are not two distinct events. But of course his doctrine goes further than this. He identifies the sensum, which is the objective constituent of a sensation, with the bodily change which is the necessary and sufficient bodily condition of the sensation. Very few philosophers have followed him in this. It is enough for me to say that there are great and glaring objections to this identification; and, although I think that most of them could be avoided with a little ingenuity, I am sure that this could be done only at the cost of giving up Spinoza's doctrine that there is nothing positive in error, which is an essential part of his system.

      Every idea in my mind then, whatever else it may be, is at least an act of direct acquaintance with a certain modification of my body. And every modification of my body, whatever else it may be, is at least the immediate object of a certain idea in my mind. This doctrine seems at first sight to be wantonly paradoxical, and one thinks at once of objections which seem perfectly conclusive. But Spinoza was quite well aware of these difficulties, and he strove with some success to meet them. We have now to consider two propositions which are of great importance in the further development of Spinoza's theory, and which do something to remove the appearance of paradox.

      (1) The ideas in my mind of most of the changes in my body, though they are acts of direct acquaintance with those changes, are highly confused. The reason, according to Spinoza, is this. When an event B is caused by an event A the former, taken [19] apart from the latter, is not a natural unit. The whole AB is much more nearly a natural unit. Consequently the psychical aspect of B, taken apart from that of A, is not a natural unit. The psychical aspect of AB would be a relatively clear idea, and any mind which had it would have a relatively clear idea of the physical aspect of B. But a mind which contained the psychical aspect of B without that of A would have only a confused idea of the physical aspect of B. The application of this general principle will be most easily explained by an example. Suppose I eat some cucumber and have a feeling of stomach-ache. To feel stomach-ache is to be directly acquainted with a certain physiological process in my stomach which is in fact caused by a certain chemical process in the cucumber. But I am not directly acquainted with this process in the cucumber, because the cucumber is not a part of my body and therefore the psychical correlate of the process in it is not a state of my mind. So my idea of the process in my stomach, which constitutes my feeling of stomach-ache, is a fragmentary part of a complete idea, and its complement is not in my mind but elsewhere. It is confused because it is inevitably fragmentary. It is therefore an inadequate and confused, though direct, acquaintance with this bodily process. Now contrast this with the idea which a physiologist might have of the process in my stomach. He would know a great deal about its causes, and his idea of it would therefore be fairly clear and adequate. But it would not be direct acquaintance with the process, for he cannot feel my stomach-ache; it would only be knowledge about the process. The above example is typical of all those ideas of my bodily modifications which we call "sensations" and "feelings". They are all ideas of effects cut loose from the ideas of their causes, and therefore fragmentary, inadequate, [20] and confused. But they are all acts of direct acquaintance with their objects, whilst the clearer and more adequate ideas of science are not. I think it will be useful at this point to introduce two names which do not occur in Spinoza's writings. I propose to call my direct acquaintance with the process in my stomach, which, on Spinoza's view, constitutes my feeling of stomach-ache, an "intuitive idea". And I propose to call the sort of idea of the process which another person might have a "discursive idea".

      (2) The second important point is this. Although my mind contains intuitive, but confused and inadequate, ideas of every change in my body, I am not aware of all these ideas. On Spinoza's view corresponding to every idea there is an intuitive idea of a higher order which has the former for its immediate object. But he holds -- though I doubt whether he be consistent in doing so -- that an idea may be in one mind whilst the intuitive idea of it may be, not in the same mind, but in some other. I am almost certain that he would hold that, in the case of the lower animals, their minds contain nothing but ideas of the first order, and that the ideas of these ideas are elsewhere in what he calls the "Attribute of Thought". Everything, for Spinoza, is conscious, but not everything is self-conscious; and the extent of a thing's self-consciousness may vary from time to time.

      We are now in a position to understand, so far as is necessary for our present purpose, what Spinoza meant by the distinction which he draws between the First and the Second Kinds of Knowledge. The materials of the First Kind of Knowledge are those confused intuitive ideas of our own bodily modifications which we call "sensations" and "feelings". And these ideas are interconnected only by [21] associations, which depend on the order and the frequency with which other things have affected ourselves. In this way the ideas of objects which have no intrinsic relation to each other may be connected, whilst the ideas of objects which are intrinsically related to each other may be disjoined. Thus the First Kind of Knowledge is the level of mere sense-perception and imagery, and of uncritical beliefs founded on animal instinct, association, or hearsay. This is the only kind of knowledge which animals have. Men start as infants with nothing but this kind of knowledge, and every man continues to move at this level for long stretches throughout the whole of his life. But all men have some capacity for another kind of knowledge, and all men to some extent realise this capacity, though most of them do so to a lamentably slight degree. The Second Kind of Knowledge is rational insight. This Second Kind of Knowledge is rational insight. At this level one sees intrinsic connexions and disconnexions between objects and one's ideas are connected and disjoined according to these intrinsic relations between their objects. The best example of the Second Kind of Knowledge is pure mathematics; but we must remember that Spinoza, like most of his contemporaries, thought that physics, when properly understood, would be seen to have the same necessary character as pure mathematics. Spinoza is quite certain that the Second Kind of Knowledge presupposes the First Kind, whilst the First Kind might exist, and in animals presumably does exist, without leading on to the Second. His account of the transition is vague and radically unsatisfactory, and we need not waste time over it. The essential points for our purpose are these. There are two fundamentally different kinds of cognition: -- the sensitive, instinctive, and associative, on the one hand, and the [22] rational, on the other; both men and animals have the first; men have, and animals have not, the capacity to rise from the first to the second; men in this life start with nothing but the first and the capacity to reach the second from it; and they all realise this capacity to various degrees in the course of their lives. All this seems to me to be plainly true, and to be unaffected by the facts that Spinoza overestimated the range of rational cognition and failed to give a satisfactory account of the details of the process by which it is reached.

      It has been necessary to give this outline of Spinoza's theory of knowledge, because his theory of human perfection and imperfection is so closely bound up with it. We are now in a position to explain his doctrine of the will and the emotions. It is based on the notion of conatus. Spinoza's theory of the Vital Impulse and its psychical and physical aspects. Spinoza calls the conatus of a human being Appetitus, which I propose to translate by the phrase Vital Impulse. It has, of course, two inseparably connected aspects. Viewed on its purely physical side it is the tendency of the human organism to maintain its characteristic form and balance in spite of and by means of its interaction with its surroundings. I will call Vital Impulse, when only its bodily aspect is considered, Organic Self-maintenance. Spinoza does not give a special name to it. The purely psychical aspect of Vital Impulse is the tendency of the human mind to maintain its characteristic unity and purposes in spite of and by means of the influences that are constantly affecting it. This aspect of Vital Impulse Spinoza calls Voluntas; I propose to call it Mental Self-maintenance. A man's Vital Impulse then is the fundamental thing in him; and all his particular behaviour, bodily and mental, is just an expression of the reaction of this Vital Impulse to particular situations. In [23] accordance with Spinoza's general principle one's Mental Self-maintenance is the intuitive, but often very confused, idea of one's Organic Self-maintenance. Now, as we have seen, the idea of an idea may or may not be in the same mind as the original idea. My mind must contain an intuitive awareness of my Organic Self-maintenance, for this awareness is the psychical aspect of that Vital Impulse of which my Organic Self-maintenance is the physical aspect. But my mind need not contain an intuitive awareness of this awareness; i.e., I need not be conscious of my own Vital Impulse, although my Vital Impulse is, in one aspect, a state of my consciousness. Spinoza gives a special name to Vital Impulse when the man whose conatus it is is also aware of it. He then calls it Cupiditas, which we might translate as Volition.

      We can now tackle Spinoza's very peculiar theory of voluntary decision. Spinoza is, of course, a rigid determinist. He regards "freedom", in the sense of indeterminism, as meaningless nonsense. The only sense in which the word "free" can intelligibly be used is in opposition to the word "constrained". An action is free in this sense in so far as the cause of it is wholly contained in the nature and past history of the agent. It is constrained when some essential factor in its total cause lies outside the agent. It is clear that nothing can be a completely free agent in this sense except the Universe taken as a single collective whole. And we cannot ascribe free will to the Universe; for will belongs, not to the Universe as a whole, but only to certain finite parts of it such as men.

      So far Spinoza's doctrine is not very startling, and it would be accepted by a great many other philosophers. We come now to something more interesting. He holds [24] that the ordinary analysis of choice and voluntary decision, which most determinists would accept, is radically mistaken. The usual view, even of determinists, is that we contemplate various possible alternatives; that we are attracted by certain features in each and repelled by certain others; and that finally the balance of attractiveness in one alternative determines our choice in its favour. According to Spinoza all this is wholly wrong. We do not desire things because the prospect of them attracts us, nor do we shun things because the prospect of them repels us. On the contrary the prospect of certain things attracts us because we already have an impulse towards them, and the prospect of other things repels us because we already have an impulse against them. We may or may not be aware of these impulses. If we are, they are called "volitions" and we are said to deliberate and to act voluntarily. If we are not, we are said to act blindly and impulsively. The presence or absence of consciousness of an impulse makes no difference whatever to the impulse or its consequences. The decision and the action are completely determined by the impulses, whether we be aware of them or not; and the process of deliberating and deciding, if it be presents is a mere idle accompaniment which can only give a formal recognition to a fait accompli, as the King does when he gives his assent to an Act of Parliament. It is amusing to notice that this is precisely the theory which Mr. Bertrand Russell puts forward in his Analysis of Mind as a wonderful new discovery which we owe to the Psycho-analysts.

     Spinoza's theory seems to me to be true in what it asserts and false in what it denies. It is true that the mere thought of an alternative neither attracts nor repels us. This is obvious from the fact that the thought of the same [25] alternative will be accompanied by attraction in one person, by repulsion in another, and by neither in a third. It is evident from this that the attractiveness or repulsiveness of the alternatives which we contemplate depends upon certain relatively permanent factors in ourselves. It is true that conative dispositions must be assumed, and that these are not open to introspection. These we may call "conative dispositions". It is possible, of course, that there may be some conative dispositions common to all sane human beings. If so, some types of alternative will be attractive and others will be repulsive to all such beings whenever they happen to contemplate them. In such cases the essential part played by the conative disposition might easily be overlooked, and it might be thought that the mere contemplation of the alternative sufficed to stir desire for it or aversion from it. But this would be a mistake. Now it is of course true that one need not be aware of one's conative dispositions in order that they should make certain alternatives attractive and others repulsive to us. A disposition, i.e., a more or less permanent tendency, is not the kind of thing of which one could be directly aware by introspection. We have to infer what our conative dispositions are by noticing what kind of things we do habitually desire and what kind of things we do habitually shun. If Spinoza wished to assert no more than that

  1. the attractiveness and repulsiveness of alternatives depend on our conative dispositions, and
  2. that, so far from being acquainted with our conative dispositions, we have to infer what they are from our desires and aversions,
he was certainly right. But there can be no doubt that he did mean to assert something more, viz., that my awareness or unawareness of my own desires makes no difference to their consequences in the way of decision or action.

      Now this doctrine has a certain ambiguity in it, which [26] I will point out. But, in whichever sense it is interpreted, there is no reason to think it true, and strong reason to think it false.

  1. Spinoza might mean that any contemplated object attracts or repels us in consequence of certain characteristics which it actually has, whether we recognise their presence or not, and that it makes no difference whether we do or do not believe these characteristics to be present and to be the cause of the object's attractiveness or repulsiveness. This doctrine certainly cannot be true. In most cases of desire and deliberation none of the contemplated objects actually exist at present. You therefore cannot talk of the characteristics which they actually have, or suppose that these excite our conative dispositions as the presence of a magnet might stir a compass-needle. What affects our conative dispositions and calls forth desire or aversion must in all such cases, so far as I can see, be our beliefs about the characteristics which the various alternatives would have if they were actualised.
  2. Let us then pass to a more plausible interpretation. I may have a number of beliefs about the characteristics which a contemplated alternative would have if it were actualized. And I may be aware of some of these beliefs and unaware of others. Thus I may in fact believe that a certain alternative would have the characteristic c1, and I may also believe that it would have the characteristic c2, but I may be aware of the first belief and unaware of the second. Spinoza might mean that my desires and aversions are determined by the beliefs which I in fact have, and that my beliefs excite my conative dispositions in exactly the same way whether I happen to be aware of them or not. As regards this view there are two things to be said.
    1. It is not prima facie particularly plausible. It is not obvious [27] that the simpler cause-factor "belief that so-and-so would have a certain characteristic, unaccompanied by awareness of that belief" must always have precisely the same effect on our conative dispositions as the more complex cause factor consisting of this belief accompanied by awareness of it.
    2. In many cases it is plainly false. In so far as I am unaware of some of my beliefs about the characteristics which an alternative would have, I may be unaware of some of the conative dispositions which the contemplation of this alternative is exciting. Now some of these may be such that I should strongly object to their being excited. They might have led to disastrous consequences in the past, or I might regard them as morally disreputable. If I became aware of these beliefs, and thus of the conative dispositions which were coming into play, I might decide to act very differently. To take a fairly obvious example. A person X of decent moral character may contemplate an act of generosity to another person, Y. He may in fact believe (a) that this will make Y happy, and (b) that it will make it easier for him to seduce Y. Of these two beliefs X may be aware of the first and unaware of the second. Surely it is perfectly ridiculous to maintain that his decision will always be precisely the same whether he remains in ignorance of the second belief or becomes aware of it. When he realises that a part of the cause of his desire to do this act was a purely sensual conative tendency, which he may regard as intrinsically disreputable or may know to have led to disastrous consequences in his past life, he will be provided with a motive against doing it which would not have been present otherwise. Of course it is true that mere awareness of one's own beliefs and conative tendencies will no more modify one's actions than mere awareness of [28] anything else. But the point is that we have conative tendencies of the second and higher orders as well as those of the first order; i.e., we have conative tendencies which lead to desires or aversions towards other conative tendencies. And awareness of one's beliefs about a desired object may lead to recognition of the conative tendencies to which it is appealing; this may excite conative dispositions of the second order which would not otherwise have been excited; and this may make a profound difference to our final action or decision.
  3. There is yet a third possible interpretation of Spinoza's doctrine to be considered. I might contemplate a certain alternative, and be aware of all my beliefs about the characteristics which it would have if it were realised. And I might desire it. But I might not be aware that I was desiring it. I might fail to recognise that I was taking up any conative or emotional attitude towards it, or I might think that my attitude was one of aversion when it was really one of desire. Spinoza may have meant to assert that the result of desiring an alternative without recognising that one was taking up this attitude towards it would be precisely the same as the result of desiring it and recognising that one was desiring it. This, again, does not seem to me to have the least plausibility on the face of it. And it seems not to be true. If I recognised that I was desiring something which I think an unfitting object of desire, this would be a motive for suppressing the desire or averting my attention from this object. If I did not recognise that I was desiring this object no such motive would operate on me. And the presence or absence of this motive might make a profound difference to my final decision.

      I cannot think of any other interpretation of Spinoza's doctrine beside the three which I have just discussed and [29] rejected. It therefore seems to me that the most characteristic part of Spinoza's theory of the will is a failure. And the fact that some of the exponents of the "New Psychology" have unwittingly plagiarised it does not, to my mind, materially reduce the probability that it is nonsense.

      We will now deal with Spinoza's theory of the emotions. Whenever my body is acted upon by another body one of three things may happen. Its vitality may be increased, or diminished, or it may remain at the same level in spite of the interaction. In my mind there will be an intuitive but confused awareness of these changes or of this maintenance of my bodily vitality. And this awareness is the mental aspect of those psycho-physical states which we call "emotions". There are thus three primary emotions; viz., pleasure, which is the consciousness of a transition to heightened vitality; pain, which is the consciousness of a transition to lowered vitality; and what Spinoza calls "desire", which is the consciousness of the constancy of one's vitality throughout a change in the body. Spinoza distinguishes two kinds of pleasure and of pain.

  1. The vitality of the body as a whole may be increased. The consciousness of this he calls Hilaritas, which we may translate as "Sense of Well-being".
  2. The vitality of a part may be increased without any increase of the total vitality, or even at the expense of it. The consciousness of this he calls Titillatio, which we may translate as "Localised Pleasure"'.
The two corresponding kinds of painful emotion he calls Melancholia and Dolor respectively. We might translate them as "Depression" and "Localised Pain".

      The above is Spinoza's general account of Emotion. He now draws a distinction, which is vitally important for [30] his ethics, between Passive and Active Emotions. Passive emotions correspond to the confused and inadequate ideas of the First Kind of Knowledge. Active emotions are the affective correlates of clear rational knowledge. We are said to be "passive" in respect of any change that happens in us when part of the cause of this change is outside us. When the complete cause of a change in us is itself in us we are said to be "active" in respect of that change. Now at the level of the First Kind of Knowledge, as we have seen, our minds contain intuitive ideas of changes in our bodies and do not contain ideas of the causes of these changes. That is why the First Kind of Knowledge is confused and irrational. We now see that we are passive in Spinoza's sense at this level, and that the intellectual inadequacy and confusion are bound up with the passivity. The emotions which correspond to this intellectual level are thrust on us. We do not understand them or their causes, and, for that very reason, they tend to be inordinate and obsessive. Panic fears, over mastering loves and hates and jealousies, are the typical excesses of passive emotion. So long as we are at this level we may fairly be called slaves of passion, instinct, impulse, popular opinion, convention, and superstition. This state Spinoza calls "Human Bondage".

      Now the essence of the human mind, that which distinguishes it from animal minds, is the striving to understand, to think clearly, and to connect its ideas rationally. This, in human beings, is the psychical aspect of the Vital Impulse which is their conatus. Whenever a human mind passes from a state of greater to one of less mental confusion its vitality is increased, and this transition is felt as pleasure. Since this kind of pleasure depends on the mind's [31] own characteristic activities it is called "Active Pleasure". It is the sort of pleasure that we feel when we solve a problem for ourselves and replace muddle and confusion by order and rational arrangement. Active Desire would be the feeling that we have when we manage to keep our existing level of clearness in spite of distractions and difficulties. There is no active emotion corresponding to the passive emotion of pain. Of course the mind may pass from a level of greater clearness and insight to one of relative confusion, as it does when we are ill or tired. And this transition will be felt as painful. But it is a passive emotion, since the change is not due to the mind's own characteristic activities but to its falling under the dominion of other things. Certain Active and certain Passive Emotions are called by the same names, and may lead to actions which are superficially alike. We might compare, e.g., the case of a doctor and of an ordinary man in presence of a bad accident. The ordinary man may feel an emotion of sympathetic pain, and this may make him try to help the sufferer. But his actions will tend to be fussy and inefficient, and he may feel too sick to do anything even if he knows how to. The doctor feels very little of this sympathetic pain, but he has a clear idea of what is needed and an active emotion of helpfulness. Yet these two very different emotions would often be called by the same name of "sympathy" or "humanity". Even the more amiable passive emotions are apt to degenerate into the state which Dickens illustrated in the character of Mrs Jellyby, who neglected her duties as a wife and a mother in order to promote the education of the natives of Borrio-boola-Gha.

      According to Spinoza the active emotions fall under [32] two main heads, which he calls Animositas and Generositas. These are equivalent to Rational Self-love and Rational Benevolence. The state of predominantly clear knowledge and predominantly active emotion is called "Human Freedom"; and the problem of practical ethics is to discover how men may pass from the state of Human Bondage, in which they are all born and in which most of them remain, to that of Human Freedom, which some few of them do reach. We must now consider Spinoza's teaching on this topic.

      He certainly cannot be accused of underestimating the difficulties; for he begins by insisting on the power of the passive emotions over human beings, and it seems almost overwhelming. In the first place, we are, and cannot cease to be, parts of the general order of Nature. Now the rest of Nature, taken together is stronger than any one of us, and it is not specially designed for the benefit of any one of us. Consequently every man, by reason of his finitude, is always liable to passive emotions; and, if external circumstances be specially unfavourable, it is always possible that he may be completely overcome and obsessed by some passive emotion: e.g., the character of the wisest and best man is at the mercy of an accident to his brain and of infection by the germs of sleepy sickness. Secondly, an idea which is clear and adequate has not for that reason any special power to expel an idea which is confused and inadequate. The clear discursive idea of the sun as a vast sphere millions of miles away coexists with the confused intuitive idea of it as a small disc a little way above our heads. One emotion can be expelled only by another emotions and the clearest and most exhaustive knowledge that certain emotions are irrational [33] in themselves and harmful in their consequences will not have the faintest tendency to expel them unless it be itself accompanied by some emotion which is stronger than they. This is of course profoundly true. If a person be obsessed by jealousy the mere conviction that this emotion is irrational and degrading will have no tendency to overcome his jealousy unless the thought of himself as irrational and degraded stirs an emotion of disgust in him.

      The power of the mind over the passive emotions, such as it is, arises from the following causes:

  1. We can to some extent form clear ideas of our own passive emotions, and regard them and ourselves from the disinterested scientific standpoint of the introspective psychologist. In so doing we largely dissociate these emotions from the idea of such and such an external cause, and substitute for them the emotion of scientific curiosity. We thus cease to be so much perturbed by excessive love and hate of external things and people.
  2. In the long run emotions towards ideal and impersonal objects which we clearly understand are more permanent than emotions towards particular things or persons which we know only confusedly through the senses and remember by images which grow vaguer and fainter with lapse of time. E.g., emotion at the beauty of a mathematical theorem is no doubt far less intense than the emotion of love or hate for a particular person who is actually present. But this person will change or go away or die, and in his absence the image of him will recur with decreasing frequency and distinctness, and the emotion will fade away. But the thought of the mathe matical theorem can be reproduced with equal clearness at will. And so the less intense emotion gains in the long run over the more intense one.
  3. Every event is really [34] due to an infinite network of contemporary cause-factors. And again it is the inevitable outcome of an infinite chain of successive total causes stretching back endlessly into the past. Now much of the obsessiveness of the emotions which we feel towards an event at the non-rational level is due to two illusions. We think that we can single out one particular thing or person as completely and solely responsible for the event. And we think that, although the event happened, it need not have done so. Now, when we dearly understand that nothing that happens could have fallen out otherwise, a great deal of the bitterness of many of our emotions tends to evaporate. And when we clearly understand that every event is the inevitable consequence of an endless chain of total causes, each of which is of infinite complexity, our emotion ceases to be concentrated on any one event or thing or person and is spread over all these infinitely numerous conditions. The result is that we no longer feel an intense and obsessive love or hate of any one thing or person when we view the world from the level of rational knowledge. E.g., in the late war ignorant people could regard the Kaiser as its sole and sufficient cause, and could feel an intense and perturbing emotion of hatred for him. But this was impossible for anyone who was intelligent enough to know, and intellectually honest enough to bear in mind, that the war was the inevitable outcome of immensely complex causes, stretching back for centuries, and many of them quite impersonal.
  4. In moments of calm a rational being can deliberately form certain habits of thought and certain associations and dissociations of ideas which will persist and will check passive emotions when they threaten him.
All these four ways of replacing obsessive passive emotions by calm active emotions are [35] plainly genuine and important; and Spinoza shows here his usual profound psychological insight. The path from Human Bondage to Human Freedom is thus steep and slippery, but it does exist and it is not impassible. As Spinoza says in a famous passage: "If it were not very difficult why should so few have travelled it? But all supremely excellent things are as difficult as they are rare."

      We come now to a topic which is of the utmost importance in all ethical systems, viz., the relative positions which are to be assigned to egoistic and to altruistic emotions, desires, and actions. There are always two questions, one psychological and the other ethical; and the answer to the first has a direct bearing on the answer to the second. Now Spinoza's psychology is fundamentally and explicitly egoistic. Every emotion, volition, and action of a man is an expression of the Vital Impulse, which is his essence. And this Vital Impulse, like every other conatus, is a striving for self-maintenance and self-preservation and for nothing else. All our primitive instincts are therefore instincts of self-preservation; and, when we reach the rational level, we can only pursue deliberately and with clear insight the same end for which we formerly strove instinctively and blindly. Thus deliberate self-sacrifice is literally impossible; and, since it is impossible, it can be neither right nor a duty. Now any such theory as this is at once faced with two objections. The first is that there seem to be non-egoistic emotions and actions at both the instinctive and the rational level. And the second is that we seem to regard self-sacrifice in certain cases as right and even as a duty. We must now see how Spinoza deals with these objections.

      We will begin with the question of fact, and we will [36] consider it first at the instinctive level and then at the rational level. It seems to me that the apparent exceptions to Spinoza's theory which we find at the pre-rational level come under three main heads:

  1. Certain emotions and actions which are concerned with the preservation of a species, viz., those which are involved in sexual intercourse and parenthood. The action of the male spider, who is generally eaten by his wife, and the action of the hen, who attracts the attention of a hawk to herself in order to divert it from her chickens, are certainly very odd expressions of an impulse towards nothing but self-preservation.
  2. The general sentiment of sympathy towards another member of one's race or species, as such, when one sees him in pain or difficulty. That this is often overcome by other emotions and impulses is true enough. But it is equally certain that, when there is no special cause to inhibit it, it is evoked and may lead to actions which do not make for the preservation of the agent.
  3. Certain kinds of emotion and action towards particular persons whom we already love or hate. If A either loves or hates B strongly enough he will often feel emotions and perform actions which are, and can be seen to be, most detrimental to his own welfare and even to his own survival. Acts done in a passion of jealousy or spite are obvious examples.

      Spinoza does not explicitly deal with the first class of apparent exceptions, and I cannot see that any general principle which he uses in his treatment of the other two would provide a plausible explanation of them. I think that they make it certain that he has taken the notion of Vital Impulse too narrowly, and that this impulse certainly involves a primitive striving to propagate and preserve one's species in addition to the primitive striving to preserve [37] oneself. These two factors may conflict: and, at the pre-rational level, the former seems often to be stronger than the latter. Spinoza does explicitly treat the other two kinds of apparent exception, and we will now consider his theory.

      Spinoza's attempted explanation of the sympathetic emotion which I feel when I contemplate any other human being in a state of pleasure or pain is as follows. If A and B be two bodies of similar nature, and a certain modification of A determines a certain modification of B, then the latter modification will resemble the former. This general principle will apply to the case of two human bodies. Suppose now that a man A is having a certain emotion, and that another man B is perceiving A's body at the time. A's body will have a certain characteristic modification, which is the physical correlate of the emotion which A is feeling. This will cause a certain modification in B's body, which will be the physical correlate of B's perception of A's body. By the general principle just enunciated this modification in B's body will resemble the modification in A's body which causes it. It will therefore be correlated with an emotion in B which is similar to the emotion which A is feeling.

      I think it is quite certain that this explanation will not work. In the first place, there is no reason to accept the general principle or its particular application. If one human body emits a shriek and a second human body be within earshot it will be affected by the event in the former. But it will not in general be so affected as to emit a shriek itself. Secondly, even ii the principle were true it would not be sufficient. When A has a certain emotion the only part of the physical correlate of this emotion which can affect B's body is its external expression, e.g., a shriek, [38] a smile, a frown, and so on. Now this is certainly not the whole, or even the principal part, of the physical correlate of A's emotion. So, even if it were to produce a similar modification in B's body, it would produce only a small and rather trivial part of the total physical correlate of the emotion. It is therefore quite possible that B would not feel an emotion like that which A is feeling and expressing at the time. Even if I could not see a fellow-man frown without frowning myself it would not in the least follow that my frown must be accompanied by an intemal bodily state like that which accompanies the other man's frown. So Spinoza's explanation of the second class of apparent exceptions is a complete failure.

      Spinoza's theory of the third class of apparent exceptions is as follows: To say that I "love" A means that the perceived or imagined presence of A gives me pleasure, and this is a sign that it heightens my vitality. To say that I "hate" A means that the perceived or imagined presence of A gives me pain, and this is a sign that it lowers my vitality. I shall naturally try to preserve and strengthen anything that heightens my vitality, and to destroy and weaken anything that lowers my vitality. For by so doing I am indirectly preserving and increasing my own vitality. Thus I shall tend to do actions which give pleasure to those whom I love and pain to those whom I hate. That such actions at the pre-rational level often overshoot the mark must presumably be ascribed to the state of intellectual confusion which is characteristic of this level. This explanation seems to me to be sound so far as it goes. But I doubt if it accounts for all the facts. Is not the presence of those whom we hate sometimes highly stimulating? Is it not a perfectly well-known fact that many people delight [39] in hurting those whom they love? And does not the whole theory over-intellectualise the mental processes of animals and of men at the level of impulse and passion? I conclude on the whole that Spinoza has failed to answer the prima facie case against egoism as an adequate psychological theory of emotion and action at the pre-rational level.

      We have now to consider the question at the level of rational knowledge, active emotion, and deliberate action. Here Spinoza's contention is that actions performed at this level which are commonly counted as altruistic are simply those which a clear-sighted egoist would see to be essential to his own ultimate interests. His theory is as follows. Self-preservation and the performance of the characteristic activities of the self are our only ultimate end. And all our other desires are subordinated to it for, as he says, "We cannot desire to be blessed, or to act rightly, or to live rightly, without desiring to live." At the rational level we pursue this end deliberately and wittingly, and we choose the right means to it whereas at the instinctive level we pursued it blindly and were often misled by association. Now the one essential activity of a human being is to think clearly and understand rationally. Everything that we do which does not consist in or involve the exercise of this activity can be done as well or better by animals. So the self which a human being who clearly understands his own nature will strive to preserve and develop is a self which thinks clearly and understands rationally. He will tolerate or further other activities in himself or in others only in so far as they are indifferent or helpful to this end. Now Spinoza maintains two very important propositions, one negative and the other positive. The negative contention is that men come into conflict with each other only in so [40] far as they live at the pre-rational level. The goods which belong to that level are limited in amount, and the part of them which belongs to A cannot also belong to B. This is obvious as regards the pleasures which are derived from the exclusive possession of a bit of property, of a beloved person, and so on. But rational insight is a non-competitive good; the possession of such knowledge of a certain subject by A does not prevent B from having just as clear and just as extensive knowledge of the same subject. And the same would apply to all those goods which depend on, though they do not reduce to, rational insight, e.g., the admiring contemplation of beautiful objects. The positive contention is that rational insight, and the other goods which depend on it, cannot exist except in an ordered community of human beings, and that it cannot reach any high degree in one unless it reaches a high degree in all. A solitary hermit would have to spend so much time and energy in securing the bare necessities of life and defending himself against his foes that he would have hardly any left for cultivating the specifically human excellences. And no man could carry his own intellectual development far, even though he lived in a society which supplied him with defence and the necessities of life, unless he had the constant stimulus and co-operation of other men of intelligence and culture.

      Thus the "Free Man", as Spinoza calls him, would have positive egoistic grounds for wishing to live in a society of some kind rather than in solitude; and he would have positive grounds for wishing the other members of this society to be Free Men, like himself, rather than ignorant slaves of superstition, instinct, and passion. And, since he is a clear-sighted rational being, he will know that omelettes cannot be made without breaking eggs. He will tolerate [41] and desire, as a necessary means to the existence of an organised society and to the development of its members into Free Men, much that is directly indifferent or even detrimental to his own intellectual development. For he understands the properties of the materials with which he has to deal, and he knows that he is but sacrificing a smaller immediate gain for a greater ultimate return. And the process which he sets in motion is cumulative; for, the nearer his society approaches to a society of Free Men, the fewer will be the grounds of possible conflict between its members, and the less often will he have to sacrifice a sprat to catch a mackerel. In this way, Spinoza would say, we can explain and justify all actions at the rational level which would commonly be counted as altruistic. And egoism remains the fundamental principle; for, although the Free Man wills the perfection of other men as well as his own, he wills his own as an end, whilst he wills theirs, not as an end, but only as a necessary means to his own.

      What are we to say of this doctrine of Spinoza's? It is quite certain that there would be far less friction and mutual frustration in a society of rational egoists, each of whom cared for nothing but his own intellectual development and unhesitatingly took the most effective means to secure it, than there is among men who are partly ruled by the instincts, passions, and loyalties of the pre-rational level. And I think it very likely that many of the actions which it would be reasonable for a rational egoist to perform in a society of rational egoists would not differ much externally from those which are now praised as altruistic. This we must grant to Spinoza. But there remains much to be criticised in the theory. [42]

      (1) We must not assume that, because many types of action which are alleged to spring from non-egoistic motives would also be done by a rational egoist who understood his business, therefore these actions do in fact spring from egoistic motives. We have already seen that the Vital Impulse, even at the pre-rational level, must include factors beside the instinct of self-preservation, factors which may conflict with and sometimes overcome that instinct. So, even if Spinoza be right in holding that there is nothing new on the conative side at the rational level, and that we have here only the old Vital Impulse grown conscious of itself and of the necessary conditions of its own satisfaction, there would still be no ground to expect that egoism would be an adequate theory of deliberate action.

      (2) The contention that "we cannot desire to act rightly, or to live rightly, without desiring to live" is no doubt true when the proper qualifications are made. But it then becomes trivial. For we must substitute for it the statement that I cannot desire to act rightly without desiring to live long enough to perform the right action which I am intending. Now this would be true even if the action which I judge to be right and intend to perform to-morrow is to sacrifice my life for my country in a forlorn hope or to science in a certainly lethal experiment. I should still desire to live till the charge is sounded or until the apparatus is ready and the observers are assembled. Consequently this principle cannot disprove the possibility of deliberate self-sacrifice. I think it is true that no rational being deliberately wills his own destruction as an end; but it is quite clear to me that such a being may deliberately choose an alternative which he knows at the time will involve his destruction as a necessary condition of its fulfilment. [43]

      (3) The distinction between competitive and noncompetitive goods is superficially striking, and it has a certain relative importance. But I believe that it is ultimately rather misleading. It is of course obvious enough that knowledge can be shared without being divided, in a sense in which property cannot; and that it is capable of being indefinitely increased. But, although knowledge itself is not a competitive good, some of the necessary conditions for acquiring and exercising intellectual powers plainly are competitive. Philosophers and scientists and artists need as much food, clothing, shelter, and warmth as anyone else. And they need considerably more leisure, and a long and expensive training. Now the supply of all these things is limited. Unless some people mainly devote themselves to producing such things, and thereby forfeit their own chance of any great intellectual or artistic development, it is certain that scientists and philosophers will not have the leisure or the training or the freedom from practical worries which are essential to their intellectual development and activity. So, to be quite frank, I do not agree that a perfectly rational man, in Spinoza's sense, would want all men to be perfectly rational. He would indeed want to co-operate with a great many such men, and, within this class, he would want the members to be as highly developed in intellect as possible. But he would recognise that the very existence of a class of disinterestedly scientific or artistic persons depends on the labours of people like bedmakers, bricklayers, miners, etc., who cannot and must not make intellectual curiosity their main motive or develop their intellects too far. No doubt these humble and dutiful lives are amply rewarded by knowing that they are the soil from which spring such fine flowers of culture as ourselves. [44] But the fact remains that, so long as our intellects are bound to animal organisms which have to be clothed, fed, warmed, and housed, all talk of disinterested knowledge and aesthetic appreciation or production as non-competitive goods which all men might enjoy together to the highest degree is, to put it plainly, moonshine.

      We have now, I hope, gained a fairly clear idea of the range of application of the words "good" and "bad" on Spinoza's view. And this is one important part of the total problem of ethics. But there is another part of that problem to which we must now turn our attention. The question is: "What is the meaning of ethical terms, like 'good' and 'bad', 'right' and 'wrong', 'ought', etc.? Can they be analysed; and, if so, what is the right analysis? And how are they related to each other?" On these questions Spinoza has much less to say. But his views are characteristic and important, though they are not stated or defended in as much detail as would be desirable.

      The first point to notice is that all implication of praise or blame must be removed from ethical judgments, in so far as this implies that a thing or person might have been other than it is or might have done otherwise than it did. Any such implication, on Spinoza's view, is simply a delusion due to partial ignorance of the conditions. The judgment that a thing or person or action is good or bad, when freed from these delusive implications, must be as purely positive as the statement that a thing is round or square. There is one and only one sense in which the words "perfect" and "imperfect" can properly and literally be used, and that is "realising or falling short of the intentions of the designer". They can thus be applied properly only to the artificial products of deliberate design, such as plates or [45] motor-cars. When men apply them to each other and to things in the outer world which are not the products of human design they are making a certain tacit assumption. They are thinking of God as a being like themselves who desires ends and uses means to secure these ends; they are thinking of themselves as deliberately designed and produced by God, as plates and motors are designed and produced by men; and they are thinking of the nonartificial part of the outer world as designed by God for the benefit of men. The whole of this tacit assumption, according to Spinoza, is philosophically absurd. And it is daily refuted by the experience that the rest of Nature is perfectly indifferent to man and his welfare. In face of such experiences men do not give up their false assumption, but sink still deeper into folly by talking of the "inscrutable wisdom" and the "mysterious purposes" of God when earthquakes, pestilences, and famines devastate humanity. This Spinoza calls "taking refuge in the asylum of ignorance". We must therefore rigidly confine our use of the words "perfect" and "imperfect" to things that we know to be the products of deliberate human design.

      What then are we to say about the meaning of the terms "good" and "bad", "better" and "worse"? Spinoza's view seems to be the following. If we take any species of beings there will be certain powers and activities which are common and peculiar to the members of it. Within a given species to say that one member is "better" than another simply means that it has the characteristic powers of the species to a greater degree and that it performs the characteristic functions of the species more efficiently. The fundamental ethical judgment is of the form "A exercises the characteristic functions of his species more efficiently [46] than B, who belongs to the same species", and this is what is meant by "A is better than B". But it is not always convenient to express ethical judgments in this comparative form. It is often more convenient to put them in the form "A is a very good man" or "B is a fairly bad man". We arrange members of a species in an order according to whether they perform the specific functions more or less efficiently. This series has neither in theory nor in practice a first or last term or an upper or lower limit. Thus the notion of a "perfectly good" or "perfectly bad" man would be meaningless. But we can form the notion of an average or typical member of the species, though it is of course a fiction to which nothing actual exactly answers. A member of a species will then be called "good" if it performs the specific functions with decidedly greater efficiency than the average member, and it will be called "bad" if it performs them with decidedly less efficiency than the average member. The notions of "good" and "bad" are thus doubly relative. In the first place, they mean "better or worse than the average". And, secondly, the average is that of a certain species, and "better" or "worse" refer to the relative efficiency with which the characteristic functions of this species are performed. Still, there is a sense in which "good" is a positive term, whilst "bad" is a merely negative or privative term like "blind" or "short-sighted". For the relation of worse to better within the species is simply the relation of less to more of the positive powers and activities which are characteristic of the species.

      Is there any sense of "better" and "worse" in which they relate members of different species to each other? E.g., would there be any sense in saying that the worst [47] man that we can imagine is "higher than" the best mouse that we can imagine, or that human good is "to be preferred to" canine or equine good when it conflicts with them? So far as I can understand, Spinoza's answer would be as follows: When and only when the powers which are characteristic of species A include all and more than all the powers which are characteristic of species B we can say that any member of A is "higher than" any member of B, and there is an objective ground for preferring the good of A to that of B if the two conflict. This relation holds between men and all animals. For men have the power of rational cognition, whilst animals have not. And, although men are physically weaker and less skilful in many ways than certain animals, yet by using their rational cognition they can in the end accomplish everything that any animal can accomplish and do it far more efficiently. Where this kind of relation does not hold, as, e.g.; between dogs and cats, there is no sense in talking of "better" and "worse", "higher" and "lower". On the general principle of egoism, which we have already discussed, any man will treat any other individual, whether human or non-human, simply as a means to his own imtellectual development. But, in the case of other human beings, the form which such treatment takes will be enormously modified by the fact that the companionship and co-operation of other rational beings are vitally important to one's own intellectual welfare and growth. In the case of animals there is no such modifying influence; and, although the Free Man will not treat them with wanton cruelty, he will unhesitatingly use them for food, clothing, haulage, and scientific experiments. Spinoza would not have had the faintest sympathy with vegetarianism or the agitation against vivisection; and I am afraid that [48] he would have regarded the pleasure which most decent people get from the love and companionship of cats, dogs, or horses, as a form of passive emotion from which the Free Man would have freed himself.

      A "virtue", on Spinoza's view, is any active power or capacity which is part of the nature of a thing. The fundamental human virtue is to understand clearly, and all other human virtues are subordinate to this. It will be worth while to say something about Spinoza's views on certain alleged virtues and vices. The vice which he thinks most evil is hatred, for it is bad both directly and indirectly. In the first place, it is an extremely disturbing passive emotion which tends to make us hurt and destroy other human beings. Now, as we have seen, the Free Man will want to preserve other men and to make them rational enough to be his companions and colleagues. The Free Man, if he is hated, will not return hatred but will try to return love. For it is a plain psychological fact that to return hate for hate always increases the original hatred, whilst this may sometimes be overcome by love. This is of course true; but it is a truth which goes so much against the grain that men will not act upon it even when it is promulgated by what they regard as divine authority and supported by daily empirical verification.

      Spinoza has a low opinion of what Hume calls "the monkish virtues", viz., deliberate asceticism, pity, humility, repentance, and shame. They are not strictly virtues, but passive emotions which spring from our weakness and not from clear rational insight. And they are bad in two respects. In the first place, they are all painful emotions, and therefore signs of diminished vitality in the man who feels them. Moreover, the actions to which they lead, [49] being based on inadequate knowledge, are quite as likely to do harm to ourselves and others as to benefit them. The Free Man will aim directly at good, and, in so doing will incidentally avoid evil. He will not be constantly thinking about evil and trying to avoid it. And he will enjoy in moderation all those bodily and mental pleasures which are not hurtful to his intellectual development. Spinoza compares him to the healthy man who eats what he likes and incidentally avoids illness. The man who devotes himself to avoiding evil is like the valetudinarian who is always thinking of his own ailments and has to diet himself in order to keep alive. "The last thing that the Free Man thinks about," says Spinoza, "is death; and his wisdom is a meditation, not of death, but of life."

      Nevertheless, Spinoza allows a certain relative value to these "monkish virtues". After all, most people are not Free Men, just as most people are not perfectly healthy. And it is only those who "know that sin is in vain" who can safely "whistle the Devil to make them sport". If a man is to be swayed by passive emotions at all it is better for him to be moved by pity, humility, repentance, shame, etc., than by malice, hardness of heart, and insolence. We must then recognise, beside the ethics of Free Men living in the society of their equals, a kind of Intersmethik which governs the relations of those who are still in bondage. It is at this level, on Spinoza's view, that we find the State, as we know it, with its laws, customs, and institutions. Every man, whether he lives at the rational or the pre-rational level, has a natural right to preserve his own existence. And from this follow the natural rights of seeking what he judges to be to his own advantage, of avenging injuries to himself, of cherishing what he loves [50] and injuring what he hates, and so on. At the rational level the exercise of these natural rights would lead, not to conflict, but to co-operation. But, when men have confused ideas and passive emotions, they make mistakes about their own real interests and about the proper means to secure them. They thus come into perpetual conflict with each other; and the only way out of this is for all of them to forego some part of their natural rights and to refrain from actions which injure each other. But at this level they will not be able to we this fact steadily, nor will they be able to adjust their lives at all times to these limitations merely because it is reasonable to do so. At this level some men at all times and all men at some times will refrain from inflicting injury only in so far as they fear a greater injury for themselves. And the State is an institution, which arises at this partially rational level, with power to lay down rules of conduct, to define what are and what are not injuries, and to prevent injurious actions by punishment and the threat of punishment. There is no property, and there can be no justice or injustice, apart from a State and its laws. "Sin" is disobedience to the laws of one's State, and "merit" is obedience to them. And so, Spinoza says, "it is evident that justice and injustice, merit and sin, are extrinsic ideas, and not attributes which display the nature of mind."

      The State, then, exists primarily, not for the Free Man, but for men who are partly rational and mainly at the level of confused ideas and passive emotions. But the Free Man will have to be a citizen of some State and to make the best of it. For, although he will often feel, as one often felt during the late war, that he is living in a lunatic asylum which is being conducted by the inmates, [51] even the society of homicidal maniacs with occasional lucid intervals is incomparably better for one's intellectual health than the squalor and stagnation of the hermit's cave. The situation of the Free Man in a society of those who are still largely in bondage is of course a delicate and difficult one. He must not make the mistake of treating them as if they were free, or he will outrage their prejudices and incur persecution and perhaps death. On the other hand, he must not visibly make a difference between them and himself or adopt offensive airs of superiority. Spinoza had ample opportunities of practising this difficult art of combining the wisdom of the serpent with the harmlessness of the dove; and all that we know of his life suggests that he acquired great skill in it. He always avoided giving provocation or seeking martyrdom; yet, when the occasion arose, he displayed a calm heroic courage in face of a murderous patriotic mob. And he was equally successful in "the long littleness of life". He shared the joys and sorrows of the simple people among whom he lived in a perfectly natural un-self-conscious way; and he tolerated and respected in them beliefs and practices which would have been impossible for himself. In the meanwhile he earned his own living by his skill as a practical optician, and was a burden to no one. He thus accomplished one of the hardest of all tasks, viz., to be a prophet without being a prig and to be a saint without being a sponger.

      There remains one other point of general ethical interest to be mentioned before we leave Spinoza and pass to Butler. This is the position of pleasure and pain in Spinoza's ethical system. He is not a Hedonist, in the strict sense. States of mind and actions are not good because they are pleasant or conducive to pleasure, nor are they bad because they are [52] painful or conducive to pain. But pleasure and pain, though they are thus not the ratio essendi of good and evil, are the ratio cognoscendi thereof. Pleasure is the infallible sign of heightened vitality, pain is the infallible sign of lowered vitality, and these are the only ultimate good and evil. If a man were born with completely clear ideas and completely active emotions he would, according to Spinoza, have no idea of good or evil. For he would never have felt the pleasure of passing to a higher degree of vitality and mental clearness nor the pain of passing to a lower degree of vitality and to a state of greater mental confusion. Yet he would in fact be in the best state in which a human being could be. But the hypothesis in question is one that could not possibly be realised, for we necessarily start in a state of predominantly confused cognition and predominantly passive emotion. There is just one qualification to be made to the above statements. We must remember the distinction between Well-being and Localised Pleasure, and between Depression and Localised Pain. It is only the first members of these two pairs which are infallible signs of heightened and lowered vitality respectively, and therefore of good and evil.

Table of Contents ----- Chapter 3