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William Butler as a Moralist Free Essay, Term Paper and Book Report

Butler as a Moralist Butler is regarded by many historians of ethics as the greatest English moralist of the eighteenth century. In his Three Sermons on Human Nature and The Dissertation on Virtue, he attempts to find a 'natural' basis for morality. He chooses to tackle the subject of morals by inquiring into the nature of man and distinguishing what course of actions is in conformity with that nature. He takes the old definition of virtue - which his deistical and free-thinking age agrees with - as life according to Nature; an easy following of impulse, and subjects it to careful examination. Butler asks us to consider what is meant by 'nature' of man, and goes on discussing subjects of human conscience, self-love and social, and virtue. Butler maintains that man is, like a watch, made up of parts: appetites, passions, affections, and the 'principle of reflection' or conscience. Yet human nature is not the sum of its parts but the constitution of the whole into an organism, with due 'subordination of its faculties to each other according to their relative worth and dignity'.......

Word Count: 1045
Page Count: 4.1  (250 words a page / double spaced)

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