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- Problems of Conduct - 2/68 -

CHAPTER X. THE SOLUTION OF PERSONAL PROBLEMS... What are the inadequacies of instinct and impulse that necessitate morality? What factors are to be considered in estimating the worth of personal moral ideals? Epicureanism vs. Puritanism. What are the evils in undue self-indulgence? What are the evils in undue self-repression?

CHAPTER XI. THE SOLUTION OF SOCIAL PROBLEMS... Why should we be altruistic? What is the exact meaning of selfishness and unselfishness? Are altruistic impulses always right? What mental and moral obstacles hinder altruistic action? How can we reconcile egoism and altruism?

CHAPTER XII. OBJECTIONS AND MISUNDERSTANDINGS... Do men always act for pleasure or to avoid pain? Are pleasures and pains incommensurable? Are some pleasures worthier than others? Is morality merely subjective and relative?

CHAPTER XIII. ALTEBNATIVE THEORIES... Is morality "categorical," beyond need of justification? Should we live "according to nature," and adjust ourselves to the evolutionary process? Is self-development, or self-realization, the ultimate end? Is the source of duty the will of God?

CHAPTER XIV. THE WORTH OF MORALITY... Morality as the organization of human interests. Do moral acts always bring happiness somewhere? Is there anything better than morality?


CHAPTER XV. HEALTH AND EFFICIENCY... What is the moral importance of health? Can we attain to greater health and efficiency? Is continued idleness ever justifiable? Are competitive athletics desirable? Is it wrong to smoke?

CHAPTER XVI. THE ALCOHOL PROBLEM... What are the causes of the use of alcoholic drinks? What are the evils that result from alcoholic liquors? What should be the attitude of the individual toward alcoholic liquors? What should be our attitude toward the use of alcoholic liquors by others?

CHAPTER XVII. CHASTITY AND MARRIAGE... What are the reasons for chastity before and fidelity after marriage? What safeguards against unchastity are necessary? What are the factors in an ideal marriage? 1Is divorce morally justifiable?

CHAPTER XVIII. FELLOWSHIP, LOYALTY, AND LUXURY... what social relationships impose claims upon us? What general duties do we owe our fellows? Are the rich justified in living in luxury? Is it wrong to gamble, bet, or speculate?

CHAPTER XIX. TRUTHFULNESS AND ITS PROBLEMS... What are the reasons for the obligation of truthfulness? What exceptions are allowable to the duty of truthfulness? In what directions are our standards of truthfulness low? The ethics of journalism.

CHAPTER XX. CULTURE AND ART... What is the value of culture and art? What is most important in cultural education? What dangers are there in culture and art for life? Should art be censored in the interests of morality?

CHAPTER XXI. THE MECHANISM OF SELF-CONTROL... What are our potentialities of greater self-control? A practicable mechanism of self-control. Various accessories and safeguards.

CHAPTER XXII. THE ATTAINABILITY OF HAPPINESS... The threefold key to happiness: I. Hearty allegiance to duty. II. Hearty acquiescence in our lot. III. Hearty appreciation of the wonder and beauty in life. Can we maintain a steady under glow of happiness?


CHAPTER XXIII. PATRIOTISM AND WORLD-PEACE... What is the meaning and value of patriotism? How should patriotism be directed and qualified? What have been the benefits of war? What are the evils of war? What can we do to hasten world-peace?

CHAPTER XXIV. POLITICAL PURITY AND EFFICIENCY... What are the forces making for corruption in politics? What are the evil results of political corruption? What is the political duty of the citizen? What legislative checks to corruption are possible?

CHAPTER XXV. SOCIAL ALLEVIATION... What is the duty of the State in regard to: I. Sickness and preventable death? II. Poverty and inadequate living conditions? III. Commercialized vice? IV. Crime?

CHAPTER XXVI. INDUSTRIAL WRONGS... In our present organization of industry, what are the duties of businessmen: I. To the public? II. To investors? III. To competitors? IV. To employees? What general remedies for industrial wrongs are feasible?

CHAPTER XXVII. INDUSTRIAL RECONSTRUCTION... Ought the trusts to be broken up, or regulated? What are the ethics of the following schemes: I. Trade-unions and strikes? II. Profit-sharing, cooperation, consumers' leagues? III. Government regulation of prices, profits, and wages? IV. Socialism?

CHAPTER XXVIII. LIBERTY AND LAW... What are the essential aspects of the ideal of liberty? The ideal of individualism. The ideal of legal control. Should existing laws always be obeyed?

CHAPTER XXIX. EQUALITY AND PRIVILEGE... What flagrant forms of inequality exist in our society? What methods of equalizing opportunity are possible? What are the ethics of: I. The single tax? II. Free trade and protection? III. The control of immigration? IV. The woman's movement?

CHAPTER XXX. THE FUTURE OF THE RACE... In what ways should the State seek to better human environment? What should be done in the way of public education? hat can be done by eugenics? What are the gravest moral dangers of our times?



What is the field of ethics?

To know what exists, in its stark reality, is the concern of natural science and natural philosophy; to know what matters, is the field of moral philosophy, or ethics. The one group of studies deals with facts simply as facts, the other with their values. Human life is checkered with the sunshine and shadow of good and evil, joy and pain; it is these qualitative differences that make it something more than a meaningless eddy in the cosmic whirl. Natural philosophy (including the physical and psychological sciences), drawing its impartial map of existence, is interesting and important; it informs us about our environment and ourselves, shows us our resources and our powers, what we can do and how to do it. Moral philosophy asks the deeper and more significant question, What SHALL we do? For the momentous fact about life is that it has differences in value, and, more than that, that we can MAKE differences in value. Caught as we are by the irresistible flux of existence, we find ourselves able so to steer our lives as to change the proportion of light and shade, to give greater value to a life that might have had less. This possibility makes our moral problem. What shall we choose and from what refrain? To what aims shall we give our allegiance? What shall we fight for and what against?

For the savage practically all of his activity is determined by his imperative needs, so that there is little opportunity for choice or reflection upon the aims of his life. He must find food, and shelter, and clothing to keep himself warm and dry; he must protect himself from the enemies that menace him, and rest when he is tired. Nor are most of us today far removed from that primitive condition; the moments when we consciously choose and steer our course are few and fleeting. Yet with the development of civilization the elemental burdens are to some extent lifted; men come to have superfluous strength, leisure hours, freedom to do something more than merely earn their living. And further, with the development of intelligence, new ways of fulfilling the necessary tasks suggest themselves, moral problems arise where none were felt before. Men learn that they have not made the most of their opportunities or lived the best possible lives; they have veered this way and that according to the moment's impulse, they have been misled by ingrained habits and paralyzed by inertia, they have wandered at random for lack of a clear vision of their goal. The task of the moralist is to attain such a clear vision; to understand, first, the basis of all preference, and then, in detail, the reasons for preferring this concrete act to that. Here are a thousand impulses and instincts drawing us, with infinite further possibilities suggesting themselves to reflection; the more developed our natures the more frequently do our desires conflict. Why is any one better than another? How can we decide between them? Or shall we perhaps disown them all for some other and better way.

Problems of Conduct - 2/68

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