Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Dictionary of philosophy and psychology including many of the principal conceptions of ethics, logics, aesthetics ... and giving a terminology in English, French, German and Italian, vol. 2 [lead-zwing]
Baldwin, James Mark
as in him lies, to preserve his own being. . . . 
Again, since virtue means nothing but acting 
according to the laws of our own nature, and 
since no one endeavours to preserve his being 
except in accordance with the laws of his own 
nature, it follows that the foundation of virtue 
is that endeavour itself to preserve our own 
being, and that happiness consists in this— 
that a man can preserve his own being’ 
(.Ethica, Pt. IV. Prop. 18, Schob). 
Hobbes gives the principle an absolutely 
egoistic interpretation, and sees in it the 
fundamental ‘ natural right.’ ‘ The right of 
nature, which writers commonly call ius 
naturale, is the liberty each man hath to use 
his own power, as he will himself, for the 
preservation of his own nature, that is to 
say, of his own life ; and consequently 
of doing anything which, in his own judg¬ 
ment and reason, he shall conceive to be the 
aptest means thereunto ’ (Leviathan, Pt. I. 
chap. xiv). ‘ Every man, not only by right, 
but also by necessity of nature, is supposed 
to endeavour all he can to obtain that 
which is necessary for his conservation.’ 
* The final cause, end, or design of men who 
naturally love liberty and dominion over 
others, in the introduction of that restraint 
upon themselves, in which we see them live 
in commonwealths, is the foresight of their 
own preservation, and of a more contented 
life thereby’ (ibid., Pt. II. chap. xvii). All the 
‘ laws of nature ’ are derived from ‘ the single 
dictate of reason advising us to look to the 
preservation and safeguard of ourselves.’ 
Shaftesbury distinguishes ‘selfishness’ or 
immoderate regard for private good, which is 
* inconsistent with the interest of the species 
or public,’ from such an ‘affection towards 
private or self-good’ as, ‘however selfish it 
may be esteemed, is in reality not only con¬ 
sistent with public good, but in some measure 
contributing to it ; if it be such, perhaps, as 
for the good of the species in general, every 
individual ought to share; 'tis so far from 
being ill, or blameable in any sense, that it 
must be acknowledged absolutely necessary to 
constitute a creature good. For if the want 
of such an affection as that towards self- 
preservation be injurious to the species, a 
creature is ill and unnatural as well through 
this defect as through the want of any other 
natural affection ’ {Inquiry concerning Virtue, 
Bk. I. Pt. II. § 2). 
For Clarke, the principle represents the 
egoistic side of ‘ the rule of righteousness ’ : 
‘With respect to ourselves, the rule of 
righteousness is, that every man preserve his 
own being as long as he is able, and take care to 
keep himself at all times in such temper and 
disposition both of body and mind as may 
best fit and enable him to perform his duty 
in all other instances. .. . That every man 
ought to preserve his own being as long as he 
is able, is evident; because what he is not 
himself the author and giver of, he can never 
of himself have just power or authority to 
take away ’ {On Natural Religion, Prop. 1). 
According to Adam Smith : ‘ Self-preserva¬ 
tion and the propagation of the species are 
the great ends which nature seems to have 
proposed in the formation of all animals.’ 
Accordingly, man is endowed not only with 
‘ a desire of those ends and an aversion to the 
contrary,' but also with an instinctive appre¬ 
hension of the means necessary to their 
attainment {Theory of the Mor. Sent., Pt. II. 
§ i, chap, v, note). 
Spencer regards self- and race-preservation 
as the ends of conduct, viewed from the 
standpoint of evolution {Princ. of Pth., Pt. I. 
chap. ii). (j.s.) 
Literature : besides the writers cited above, 
see Wundt, Logik, ii. 258 ; Herb art, Haupt¬ 
punkte d. Met., 42 ; Avenarius, Krit.d. reinen 
Erfahrung, i. 6 2 ff. ; and the citations made 
under Sele-love, and in Eisler, Wörterb. 
d. philos. Begriffe, ‘ Erhaltung.’ (j.m.b.) 
Self-realization : Ger. Selbstverwirklich¬ 
ung ; Fr. propre realisation ; Ital. svolgimento 
della propria personality. The fulfilment 
of the possibilities of development of the 
self. (J.M.B.) 
The doctrine that the supreme end of 
conduct is self-realization or self-fulfilment 
is to be traced throughout the course of 
ancient and modern ethical thought. Its 
earliest and most important representative is 
Aristotle, for whom the good is the actualiza¬ 
tion of the human or rational soul. The Neo- 
Hegelians have brought the term ‘ self-realiza¬ 
tion ’ into prominence. 
Literature: Green, Prolegomena to Eth., 
Bk. III. chap, ii ; Dewey, Outlines of Eth., 
Pt. I. chap, i ; Mackenzie, Manual of Eth. ; 
Muirhead, Elements of Eth. (j.s.) 
Self-righteousness : Ger. Selbstgerechtig¬ 
keit; Fr. propre justice’, Ital. giustificazione 
di sè. The attribution of Righteousness 
(q. v.) to oneself. 
Used in a derogatory sense, generally, for 
moral and religious pride. It is often made to 
include also an element of hypocrisy, as in 
the case of the Pharisee. (j.m.b.) 


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