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The Highest Level of Motive

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  • DRStarman2001@aol.com
    DRSteiner in Ch. 8 writes:
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 2, 2002
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      DRSteiner in Ch. 8 writes:

      << Kreyenbuhl characterizes this driving force [ a concept, not a
      representation, feeling or perception ] as practical apriori, that is, an
      impulse to action springing
      directly from my intuition.
      It is clear that in the strictest sense of the word, such an impulse can no
      longer be considered as belonging to the characterological disposition. For
      here what acts as driving force is no longer something merely individual in
      me, but is the ideal and therefore the universal content of my intuition. As
      soon as I see the justification for making this content the foundation and
      starting-point of an action, I pass over into willing, irrespective of
      whether I had the concept already, or whether it enters my consciousness only
      immediately before acting, that is, irrespective of whether or not it was alr
      eady present in me as disposition.
      An action is a real act of will only when a momentary impulse of action, in
      the form of a concept or representation, influences the characterological
      disposition. Such an impulse then becomes the motive of will.
      Motives of morality are representations and concepts. There are philosophers
      of ethics who also see in feeling a motive for morality; they maintain, for
      example, that the aim of moral conduct is the furtherance of the greatest
      possible quantity of pleasure in the individual who acts. But in itself a
      pleasure cannot be a motive; only a represented pleasure can. The
      representation of a future feeling, but not the feeling itself, can influence
      my characterological disposition. For in the moment of acting the feeling
      itself is not yet there; moreover it is to be produced by the action.
      The representation of one's own or someone else's welfare, however, is
      rightly regarded as a motive of will. The principle: through one's deed to
      bring about the greatest amount of pleasure for oneself, that is, to attain
      personal advantage, is egoism. It is striven for either by ruthlessly
      considering only one's own welfare, even at the cost of the happiness of
      others (pure egoism), or by furthering the welfare of others because
      indirectly one expects a favorable influence upon one's own self through the
      happiness of others, or because one fears to endanger one's own interest by
      injuring others (morality of prudence). The particular content of egoistical
      principles of morality will depend upon what representations a person has of
      his own or of another's happiness. A person will determine the content of his
      egoistical striving according to what he considers to be the good things in
      life (luxury, hope of happiness, deliverance from various misfortunes, etc.).
      Another motive is the purely conceptual content of actions. This content does
      not refer to a particular action only, as in the case of the representation
      of one's own pleasures, but to the reason for an action derived from a system
      of moral principles. In the form of abstract concepts these moral principles
      may govern moral life without the single individual troubling himself about
      the origin of the concepts. In that case, we simply feel the subjection to
      the moral concept which, like a command, overshadows our deeds as a moral
      necessity. The reason for this necessity we leave to those who demand our
      moral subjection, that is, to the moral authority we acknowledge (the head of
      the family, the state, social custom, the authority of the church, divine
      revelation). A particular instance of these moral principles is when the
      command announces itself to us, not through an external authority, but
      through our own inner being (moral autonomy). In this case, within ourselves
      we sense the voice to which we have to submit. This voice finds expression in
      It means moral progress when man does not simply take the command of an outer
      or inner authority as motive for his action, but strives to recognize the
      reason why a particular principle of conduct should act as motive in him.
      This is the advance from morality based on authority, to conduct based on
      moral insight. At this level of morality the person will consider the needs
      of moral life and will let this knowledge determine his actions. Such needs
      are: 1) the greatest possible welfare of humanity, purely for its own sake;
      2) the progress of culture, or the moral development of mankind to ever
      greater perfection; 3) the realization of individual aims of morality, which
      are grasped purely intuitively.
      The greatest possible welfare of humanity will naturally be understood
      differently by different people. The above principle does not refer to a
      definite representation of this welfare, but to the fact that each person who
      acknowledges this principle strives to do what in his opinion best furthers
      the welfare of humanity.
      The progress of culture is seen as a special instance of the above-mentioned
      moral principle by those who connect feelings of pleasure with the advantages
      of culture, but they will have to accept into the bargain the decline and
      destruction of much that also contributes to the welfare of mankind. However,
      it is also possible that in the progress of culture someone sees a moral
      necessity, quite apart from the feeling of pleasure connected with it. Then
      for him, the progress of culture is a particular moral principle, distinct
      from the one mentioned previously.
      The principle of the general welfare, as well as that of the progress of
      culture, is based upon a representation, that is, upon how one relates the
      content of moral ideas to certain experiences (perceptions). But the highest
      thinkable principle of morality is one which contains no such relation from
      the start, but springs from the source of pure intuition and only afterward
      seeks the relation to perceptions (to life). Here the decision as to what is
      to be willed proceeds from a different sphere than that of the previous
      examples. In all his conduct, one in favor of the principle of the general
      welfare will first ask what his ideals will contribute to this general
      welfare. He who acknowledges the moral principle of the progress of culture,
      will do the same. But at this level he could do something even higher: if in
      a particular case he were not to proceed from one single definite aim of
      morality, but were to recognize a certain value in all principles of morality
      and were always to ask whether the one or the other would be more important
      here. It may happen that in certain circumstances one considers the progress
      of culture, in others, the general welfare, and in yet others, the
      furtherance of his own welfare, to be the right aim and motive of his
      actions. But when all such reasons take second place, then first and foremost
      the conceptual intuition itself comes into consideration. When this happens,
      then all other motives retreat from the leading position and the idea-content
      of the action alone is effective as its motive.... >>

      *******So because thinking is unversal, not subjective, a pure idea gained by
      intuition made into a motive is no longer individual but goes beyond the
      person. The Idea acts, not the personality. "Not I, but Christ in me."

    • Carol
      ... And it seems that action must include those acts restricted to the realm of thinking. I seem to always make a mental picture of bodily movments when I
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 2, 2002
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        > *******So because thinking is unversal, not subjective, a
        > pure idea gained by
        > intuition made into a motive is no longer individual but
        > goes beyond the
        > person. The Idea acts, not the personality. "Not I, but
        > Christ in me."

        And it seems that 'action' must include those acts restricted
        to the realm of thinking. I seem to always make a mental
        picture of bodily movments when I read the word 'action', but
        I keep reminding myself that simply facing certain ideas
        directly often requires massive courage and will and are as
        full of action as handing somebody a flower.

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