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Click on the phrases to see them in context. The original texts by Immanuel Kant and David Hume are available from the Gutenberg Projet.


If you assert, that vice and virtue consist in relations susceptible of certainty and demonstration, you must confine yourself to those four relations, which alone admit of that degree of evidence; and in that case you run into absurdities, from which you will never be able to extricate yourself.

 ** More than 660,000 cross references Secondly, I would have anyone give me a reason, why virtue and vice may not be involuntary, as well as beauty and deformity. The passions do not always follow our corrections; but these corrections serve sufficiently to regulate our abstract notions, and are alone regarded, when we pronounce in general concerning the degrees of vice and virtue. Examine it in all lights, and see if you can find that matter of fact, or real existence, which you call vice. If nature be opposed to miracles, not only the distinction betwixt vice and virtue is natural, but also every event, which has ever happened in the world, EXCEPTING THOSE MIRACLES, ON WHICH OUR RELIGION IS FOUNDED. A sense of duty supposes an antecedent obligation: And where an action is not required by any natural passion, it cannot be required by any natural obligation; since it may be omitted without proving any defect or imperfection in the mind and temper, and consequently without any vice. For whether the passion of self-interest be esteemed vicious or virtuous, it is all a case; since itself alone restrains it: So that if it be virtuous, men become social by their virtue; if vicious, their vice has the same effect. Now it has been observed, that our own sensations determine the vice and virtue of any quality, as well as those sensations, which it may excite in others.