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This is a principle of right and wrong, whereas the other was a principle of good and bad. It is a principle concerning laws, their making, enforcement, and unmaking, whether laws of the State or laws of morality or custom. It entails that every State law is unjustifiable unless its enforcement lessens misery upon the whole, and that nothing is a true moral law unless general obedience to it would lessen misery upon the whole. These consequences are acceptable to me. All laws are limitations of freedom and to that extent bad.

There is in addition at least the choice to apply this principle to this situation. Induction also plays a part; for in predicting the consequences of a proposal we must use our inferences as to what the laws of nature are. But induction, too, never forms the whole of deliberation and judgement, because prediction is not choice. Both deduction and induction are radically distinct from judgement in that they are abstractive, separative, analytical, whereas judgement is concretive and synthetical.

It may be said that the proposition, 'Life is a great good' is too vague or general to be argued about, for some individual lives are predominantly good and others predominantly bad. , born to trouble as the sparks fly upward; but others find their lives very happy and good. Or it may be said that the proposition, 'Life is a great good', is to be disregarded for another sort of reason, namely that it professes to give a principle of action but does not. Every proposition of the form 'x is a great good', where x is a general term, claims to provide a very general and important principle of action.

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An Atheist's Values by An Atheist's Values


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