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4 - Consensus versus Chaos

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 July 2009

Bart Schultz
Affiliation:
University of Chicago
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Summary

Part I. Consensus

But just as the scientific discoverer must not follow his own whims and fancies but earnestly seek truth, so it is not the man who abandons himself to impulse, but the man who, against mere impulse and mere convention alike, seeks and does what is Right who will really lead mankind to the truer way, to richer and fuller and more profoundly harmonious life. My ideal is a law infinitely constraining and yet infinitely flexible, not prescribing perhaps for any two men the same conduct, and yet the same law, because recognised by all as objective, and always varying on rational and therefore general grounds, ‘the same,’ as Cicero says, ‘for you and for me, here and at Athens, now and for ever.’

Sidgwick to Roden Noel, 1871 (M 243)

Or would it not be absurd to strain every nerve to attain to the utmost precision and clarity of knowledge about other things of trifling moment and not to demand the greatest precision for the greatest matters?

Plato, Republic, 504 E (the epigraph to The Methods of Ethics)

Mr. Henry Sidgwick has recently published a book which, apart from its intrinsic value, is an interesting display of rare intellectual virtues. He almost seems to illustrate a paradox which would be after his own heart, that a man may be too reasonable.

Leslie Stephen, “Sidgwick's Methods of Ethics
Type
Chapter
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Henry Sidgwick - Eye of the Universe
An Intellectual Biography
, pp. 137 - 274
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2004

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  • Consensus versus Chaos
  • Bart Schultz, University of Chicago
  • Book: Henry Sidgwick - Eye of the Universe
  • Online publication: 09 July 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511498336.004
Available formats
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  • Consensus versus Chaos
  • Bart Schultz, University of Chicago
  • Book: Henry Sidgwick - Eye of the Universe
  • Online publication: 09 July 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511498336.004
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Consensus versus Chaos
  • Bart Schultz, University of Chicago
  • Book: Henry Sidgwick - Eye of the Universe
  • Online publication: 09 July 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511498336.004
Available formats
×