Single Idea 6232

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / b. Basis of virtue]

Full Idea

We know there is a right and a wrong state of every creature; and that his right one is by nature forwarded, and by himself affectionately sought. There being therefore in every creature a certain interest or good; there must also be a natural end.

Gist of Idea

Every creature has a right and a wrong state which guide its actions, so there must be a natural end


3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (Inquiry Concerning Virtue or Merit [1699], I.II.I)

Book Reference

'British Moralists 1650-1800 Vol. 1', ed/tr. Raphael,D.D. [Hackett 1991], p.169

A Reaction

This is an early modern statement of Aristotelian teleology, just at the point where it was falling out of fashion. The underlying concept is that of right function. I agree with Shaftesbury, but you can't stop someone damaging their health.