The Ways of Life: A Study in Ethics

The Ways of Life: A Study in Ethics

by Stephen Ward
     
 

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From the PREFACE.

It might be doubted whether the whole range of ethical speculation could be covered in a short book, or whether, if it were done, it was done adequately. But the doubt, to my mind, is irrelevant. Ethics resemble science in that what is most promising is also most debatable. Old knowledge is nothing but the point of vantage from which we win new.

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From the PREFACE.

It might be doubted whether the whole range of ethical speculation could be covered in a short book, or whether, if it were done, it was done adequately. But the doubt, to my mind, is irrelevant. Ethics resemble science in that what is most promising is also most debatable. Old knowledge is nothing but the point of vantage from which we win new. Except for this purpose it is even, in a sense, unprofitable. So the aim of ethics should be, not to say all that has been said, but to establish new ethical relations, and, by means of these, yet others, according to the increasing subtlety and capacity of human kind. And this cannot be done by one man, or one book, however comprehensive.

Comprehensiveness is, in fact, a drawback. I might have developed my opinions at greater length, were it not for the fear that the more they served me the less would they be likely to serve another. The value of thoughts is their value in exchange, and were the impress too individual they might lose this precious quality.

We should like to be oracles. We should like to be immortal. But has nature so provided ? The thoughts of a man which are true pass into current speech, and his name is forgotten. If we are remembered, it is mainly in order to point out our mistakes.

I write, therefore, not in the hope of prescribing the limits within which the future must walk. I have no wish to capture To-morrow and clip its wings. The question, as I see it, is not what I make of posterity, but what posterity will make of me. One way or another, it will live on our bones, and we can contrive no more than that it should extract such nourishment as they contain with the greatest possible ease. We can hand over, not our life, but our vitality: not a book, but the curiosity which made it. Even in our own time the voice of Authority rings in an empty room: it is vain to expect that the future will give it greater attention.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781517350024
Publisher:
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
09/14/2015
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.27(d)

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