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would be a chapter of Ethics, or Ethics itself; because
every moral determination implies, at the same time, a
negation of its contrary.
Further, conscience tells us that to conduct oneself
economically is not to conduct oneself egoistically; that
even the most morally scrupulous man must conduct
himself usefully (economically), if he does not wish to
act at hazard and consequently in a manner quite the
reverse of moral. If utility were egoism, how could it
be the duty of the altruist to behave like an egoist 2
If we are not mistaken, the difficulty is solved in a
manner perfectly analogous to that in which is solved
the problem of the relations between expression and
concept, AEsthetic and Logic.
To will economically is to will an end ; to will morally
is to will the rational end. But whoever wills and acts
morally, cannot but will and act usefully (economically).
How could he will the rational end, unless he also willed
it as his particular end ?
The converse is not true; as it is not true in aesthetic
science that the expressive fact must of necessity be
linked with the logical fact. It is possible to will econ-
omically without willing morally; and it is possible to
conduct oneself with perfect economic coherence, while
pursuing an end which is objectively irrational (immoral),
or, rather, an end which would be held to be so at a
higher grade of consciousness.
Examples of the economic, without the moral char-
acter, are Machiavelli's hero Caesar Borgia, or the Iago
of Shakespeare. Who can help admiring their strength
of will, although their activity is only economic, and is
developed in opposition to what we hold moral 2 Who
can help admiring the Ser Ciappelletto of Boccaccio, who
pursues and realizes his ideal of the perfect rascal even
on his death-bed, making the petty and timid little
thieves who are present at his burlesque confession ex-
claim : “What manner of man is this, whose perversity
neither age, nor infirmity, nor the fear of death which
he sees at hand, nor the fear of God before whose judge-
Economic will and moral will.
The economic side of morality.
ment-seat he must stand in a little while, have been able
to remove, nor to make him wish to die otherwise than
as he has lived 2 ”
The moral man unites with the pertinacity and fear-
lessness of a Caesar Borgia, of an Iago, or of a Ser Ciap-
pelletto, the good will of the saint or of the hero. Or,
rather, good will would not be will, and consequently
not good, if it did not possess, in addition to the side
which makes it good, also that which makes it will. So
a logical thought which does not succeed in expressing
itself is not thought, but at the most a confused pre-
sentiment of a thought beyond yet to come.
It is not correct, then, to conceive of the amoral man
as also anti-economical, or to make of morality an element
of coherence in the acts of life, and therefore of econo-
micity. Nothing prevents us from conceiving (an hypo-
thesis which is verified at least during certain periods
and moments, if not during whole lifetimes) a man
altogether without moral conscience. In a man thus
organized, what for us is immorality is not so for him,
because it is not felt as such. The consciousness of the
contradiction between what is desired as a rational end
and what is pursued egoistically cannot arise in him.
This contradiction is anti-economicity. Immoral conduct
becomes also anti-economical only in the man who
possesses moral conscience. The moral remorse which
is the indication of this, is also economical remorse ; that
is to say, sorrow at not having known how to will com-
pletely and to attain that moral ideal which was willed
at first, instead of allowing himself to be led astray by
the passions. Video meliora probogue, deteriora sequor.
The video and the probo are here an initial volo immediately
contradicted and overthrown. In the man without moral
sense, we must admit a remorse that is merely economic ;
like that of a thief or of an assassin who, when on the
point of robbing or of assassinating should abstain from
doing so, not owing to a conversion of his being, but to
nervousness and bewilderment, or even to a momentary
awakening of moral consciousness. When he has come
back to himself, such a thief or assassin will regret and
be ashamed of his incoherence ; his remorse will not be
due to having done wrong, but to not having done wrong;
it is therefore economic, not moral, since the latter is
excluded by hypothesis. But since a lively moral con-
sciousness is generally found among the majority of men
and its total absence is a rare and perhaps non-existent
monstrosity, it may be admitted that morality, in general,
coincides with economicity in the conduct of life.
There need be no fear lest the parallelism that we
support should introduce afresh into science the category
of the morally indifferent, of that which is in truth action
and volition, but is neither moral nor immoral; the
category in short of the licit and of the permissible, which
has 'always been the cause or reflexion of ethical corrup-
tion, as was the case with Jesuitical morality, which it
dominated. It remains quite certain that indifferent
moral actions do not exist, because moral activity per-
vades and must pervade every least volitional movement
of man. But far from upsetting the established parallel-
ism, this confirms it. Are there by any chance intuitions
which science and the intellect do not pervade and
analyse, resolving them into universal concepts, or
changing them into historical affirmations 2 We have
already seen that true science, philosophy, knows no
external limits which bar its way, as happens with the
so-called natural sciences. Science and morality entirely
dominate, the one the aesthetic intuitions, the other the
economic volitions of man, although neither of them can
appear in the concrete, save the one in the intuitive, the
other in the economic form.
This combined identity and difference of the useful
and the moral, of the economic and the ethical, explains
the success at the present time and formerly of the
utilitarian theory of Ethics. Indeed it is easy to discover
and to illustrate a utilitarian side in every moral action ;
as it is easy to reveal the aesthetic side in every logical
proposition. The criticism of ethical utilitarianism cannot
begin by denying this truth and seeking out absurd and
The merely economic and the error of the morally indifferent.
Criticism of utilitarianism and the reform of Ethics and of Economics.
Phenomenon and noumenon in practical activity.
non-existent examples of useless moral actions. It must admit the utilitarian side and explain it as the concrete form of morality, which consists in this, that it is inside this form. Utilitarians do not see this inside. This is not the place for the fuller development that such ideas deserve. Ethics and Economics cannot however fail to be gainers (as we have said of Logic and Æsthetic) by a more exact determination of the relations that exist between them. Economic science is now rising to the activistical concept of the useful, as it attempts to surpass the mathematical phase in which it is still entangled ; a phase which was in its turn a progress when it superseded historicism, or the confusion of the theoretical with the historical, and destroyed a number of capricious distinctions and false economic theories. With this conception, it will be easy on the one hand to absorb and to verify the semi-philosophical theories of so-called pure economics, and on the other, by the introduction of successive complications and additions, to effect a transi– tion from the philosophical to the empirical or naturalistic method and thus to embrace the particular theories expounded in the so-called political or national economy of the schools.
As a sthetic intuition knows the phenomenon or nature, and the philosophic concept the noumenon or spirit; so the economic activity wills the phenomenon or nature, and the moral activity the noumenon or spirit. The spirit which wills itself, its true self, the universal which is in the empirical and finite spirit : that is the formula which perhaps defines the essence of morality with the least impropriety. This will for the true self is absolute freedom.
EXCLUSION OF OTHER SPIRITUAL FORMS
IN this summary sketch that we have given of the entire The system of philosophy of the spirit in its fundamental moments, the ** spirit is thus conceived as consisting of four moments or degrees, disposed in such a way that the theoretical activity is to the practical as the first theoretical degree is to the second theoretical, and the first practical degree to the second practical. The four moments imply one another regressively by their concreteness. The concept cannot exist without expression, the useful without both and morality without the three preceding degrees. If the aesthetic fact is in a certain sense alone independent while the others are more or less dependent, then the logical is the least dependent and the moral will the most. Moral intention acts on given theoretic bases, with which it cannot dispense, unless we are willing to accept that absurd procedure known to the Jesuits as direction of intention, in which people pretend to themselves not to know what they know only too well.
If the forms of human activity are four, four also The forms of are the forms of genius. Men endowed with genius in * art, in science, and in moral will or heroes, have always been recognized. But the genius of pure economicity has met with repugnance. It is not altogether without reason that a category of bad geniuses or of geniuses of evil has been created. The practical, merely economic genius, which is not directed to a rational end, cannot but excite an admiration mingled with alarm. To dispute as to whether the word “genius ”