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    George Edward Moore, Oeuvres

    Johnathan R. Razorback
    Johnathan R. Razorback
    Admin


    Messages : 9917
    Date d'inscription : 12/08/2013
    Localisation : France

    George Edward Moore, Oeuvres Empty George Edward Moore, Oeuvres

    Message par Johnathan R. Razorback Sam 4 Juil - 12:51

    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Edward_Moore

    http://fair-use.org/mind/1899/04/the-nature-of-judgment

    http://fair-use.org/g-e-moore/principia-ethica/

    "Je voudrais dire ici que "bon" est une notion simple, tout comme "jaune" est une notion simple ; j'entends par là que, tout comme on ne peut expliquer à quiconque ne le sait pas encore ce qu'est le jaune, quels que soient les moyens utilisés, on ne peut pas non plus expliquer ce qu'est le bon." (p.67)

    "On ne pourra jamais faire comprendre la nature, par quelques définition que ce soit, à celui qui ne peut ni les penser, ni les percevoir. […] Ce sont des notions du genre simple, elles composent les définitions et c'est avec elle que le pouvoir de définir davantage s'arrête." (p.68)

    "Il n'y a donc guère de difficulté intrinsèque dans l'idée selon laquelle "bon" dénote une qualité simple et indéfinissable. Il existe bien d'autre qualités de ce type." (p.69)

    "Que toutes les choses qui sont bonnes sont aussi quelque chose d'autre peut être vrai, tout comme il est vrai que toutes les choses qui sont jaunes produisent un certain genre de vibration dans la lumière. Et c'est un fait que l'éthique vise à découvrir quelles sont ces autres propriétés qui appartiennent à toutes les choses bonnes. Mais bien trop de philosophes pensent que lorsqu'ils nomment ces autres propriétés, ils sont alors effectivement en train de définir bon ; que ces propriétés, en réalité, n'étaient pas "autres" tout simplement, mais qu'elles étaient absolument et entièrement les mêmes que la bonté. Je propose de qualifier cette démarche de "sophisme naturaliste"." (p.70)

    "[On ne peut pas raisonnablement prétendre que ce prédicat soit exactement identique à un autre.]" (p.71)

    "Bon n'est pas définissable." (p.73)

    "L'objet direct de l'éthique est la connaissance, et non la pratique ; et celui qui se sert du sophisme naturaliste [comme Bentham, qui identifie bon avec bonheur général, alors qu'on peut toujours se demander si chercher le bonheur général est bon] n'atteint certainement pas ce premier objectif, aussi correct que puissent être ses principes" (p.75)

    "Si nous partons de la conviction que la définition de bon peut être trouvée, nous commencerons alors avec la conviction selon laquelle le bien peut ne signifier rien d'autre qu'une certaine propriété des choses, et notre seul souci sera alors de découvrir quelle est cette propriété. Mais si nous reconnaissons, dans la mesure où il s'agit de trouver la signification de bon, que tout et n'importe quoi puisse être bon, nous partons avec un esprit bien plus ouvert." (p.76)
    -George Edward Moore, Principia Ethica, chapitre 1, 1903, in Métaéthique. Connaissance morale, scepticismes et réalismes, Vrin, 2013, 326 pages.

    http://www.ditext.com/moore/refute.html

    http://fair-use.org/g-e-moore/ethics/

    "What, after all, is it that we mean to say of an action when we say that it is right or ought to be done? And what is it that we mean to say of a state of things when we say it is good or bad? Can we discover any general characteristic, which belongs in common to absolutely all right actions, no matter how different they may be in other respects? and which does not belong to any actions except those which are right? And can we similarly discover any characteristic which belongs in common to absolutely all "good" things, and which does not belong to any thing except what is a good? Or again, can we discover any single reason, applicable to all right actions equally, which is, in every case, the reason why an action is right, when it is right? And can we, similarly, discover any reason which is the reason why a thing is good, when it is good, and which also gives us the reason why any one thing is better than another, when it is better? Or is there, perhaps, no such single reason in either case? On questions of this sort different philosophers still hold the most diverse opinions. I think it is true that absolutely every answer which has ever been given to them by any one philosopher would be denied to be true by many others. There is, at any rate, no such consensus of opinion among experts about these fundamental ethical questions, as there is about many fundamental propositions in Mathematics and the Natural Sciences.

    Now it is precisely questions of this sort, about every one of which there are serious differences of opinion, that I wish to discuss in this book. And from the fact that so much difference of opinion exists about them it is natural to infer that they are questions about which it is extremely difficult to discover the truth. This is, I think, really the case. The probability that hardly any positive proposition, which can as yet be offered in answer to them, will be strictly and absolutely true. With regard to negative propositions, indeed,—propositions to the effect that certain positive answers which have been offered, are false,—the case seems to be different. We are, I think, justified in being much more certain that some of the positive suggestions which have been made are not true, than that any particular one among them is true; though even here, perhaps, we are not justified in being absolutely certain.

    But even if we cannot be justified either in accepting or rejecting, with absolute certainty, any of the alternative hypotheses which can be suggested, it is, I think, well worth while to consider carefully the most important among these rival hypotheses. To realise and distinguish clearly from one another the most important of the different views which may be held about these matters is well worth doing, even if we ought to admit that the best of them has no more than a certain amount of probability in its favour, and that the worst have just a possibility of being true
    ."

    "One great difficulty which arises in ethical discussions is the difficulty of getting quite clear as to exactly what question it is that we want to answer. And in order to minimise this difficulty, I propose to begin, in these first two chapters, by stating one particular theory, which seems to me to be peculiarly simple and easy to understand. It is a theory which, so far as I can see, comes very near to the truth in some respects, but is quite false in others. And why I propose to begin with it is merely because I think it brings out particularly clearly the difference between several quite distinct questions, which are liable to be confused with one another. If, after stating this theory, we then go on to consider the most important objections which might be urged against it, for various reasons, we shall, I think, pretty well cover the main topics of ethical discussion, so far as fundamental principles are concerned.

    This theory starts from the familiar fact that we all very often seem to have a choice between several different actions, any one of which we might do, if we chose. Whether, in such cases, we really do have a choice, in the sense that we ever really could choose any other action than the one which in the end we do choose, is a question upon which it does not pronounce and which will have to be considered later on. All that the theory assumes is that, in many cases, there certainly are a considerable number of different actions, any one of which we could do, if we chose, and between which, therefore, in this sense, we have a choice; while there are others which we could not do, even if we did choose to do them. It assumes, that is to say, that in many cases, if we had chosen differently, we should have acted differently; and this seems to be an unquestionable fact, which must be admitted, even if we hold that it is never the case that we could have chosen differently. Our theory assumes, then, that many of our actions are under the control of our wills, in the sense that if, just before we began to do them, we had chosen not to do them, we should not have done them; and I propose to call all actions of this kind voluntary actions.

    It should be noticed that, if we define voluntary actions in this way, it is by no means certain that all or nearly all voluntary actions are actually themselves chosen or willed. It seems highly probable that an immense number of the actions which we do, and which we could have avoided, if we had chosen to avoid them, were not themselves willed at all. It is only true of them that they are "voluntary" in the sense that a particular act of will, just before their occurrence, would have been sufficient to prevent them; not in the sense that they themselves were brought about by being willed. And perhaps there is some departure from common usage in calling all such acts "voluntary." I do not think, however, that it is in accordance with common usage to restrict the name "voluntary" to actions which are quite certainly actually willed. And the class of actions to which I propose to give the name—all those, namely, which we could have prevented, if immediately beforehand, we had willed to do so—do, I think, certainly require to be distinguished by some special name. It might, perhaps, be thought that almost all our actions, or even, in a sense, absolutely all those, which properly deserve to be called "ours," are "voluntary" in this sense: so that the use of this special name is unnecessary: we might, instead, talk simply of "our actions." And it is, I think, true that almost all the actions, of which we should generally think, when we talk of "our actions," are of this nature; and even that, in some contexts, when we talk of "human actions," we do refer exclusively to actions of this sort. But in other contexts such a way of speaking would be misleading. It is quite certain that both our bodies and our minds constantly do things, which we certainly could not have prevented, by merely willing just beforehand that they should not be done; and some, at least, of these things, which our bodies and minds do, would in certain contexts be called actions of ours. There would therefore be some risk of confusion if we were to speak of "human actions" generally, when we mean only actions which are "voluntary" in the sense I have defined. It is better, therefore, to give some special name to actions of this class; and I cannot think of any better name than that of "voluntary" actions. If we require further to distinguish from among them, those which are also voluntary in the sense that we definitely willed to do them, we can do so by calling these "willed" actions
    ."

    "To begin with, then, this theory points out that all actions may, theoretically at least, be arranged in a scale, according to the proportion between the total quantities of pleasure or pain which they cause. And when it talks of the total quantities of pleasure or pain which an action causes, it is extremely important to realise that it means quite strictly what it says. We all of us know that many of our actions do cause pleasure and pain not only to ourselves, but also to other human beings, and sometimes, perhaps, to animals as well; and that the effects of our actions, in this respect, are often not confined to those which are comparatively direct and immediate, but that their indirect and remote effects are sometimes quite equally important or even more so. But in order to arrive at the total quantities of pleasure or pain caused by an action, we should, of course, have to take into account absolutely all its effects, both near and remote, direct and indirect; and we should have to take into account absolutely all the beings, capable of feeling pleasure or pain, who were at any time affected by it; not only ourselves, therefore, and our fellow-men, but also any of the lower animals, to which the action might cause pleasure or pain, however indirectly; and also any other beings in the Universe, if there should be any, who might be affected in the same way. Some people, for instance, hold that there is a God and that there are disembodied spirits, who may be pleased or pained by our actions; and, if this be so, then, in order to arrive at the total quantities of pleasure or pain which an action causes, we should have, of course, to take into account, not only the pleasures or pains which it may cause to men and animals upon this earth, but also upon those which it may cause to God or to disembodied spirits. By the total quantities of pleasure or pain which an action causes, this theory means, then, quite strictly what it says. It means the quantities which would be arrived at, if we could take into account absolutely all the amounts of pleasure or pain, which result from the action; no matter how indirect or remote these results may be, and no matter what may be the nature of the beings who feel them.

    But if we understand the total quantities of pleasure or pain caused by an action in this strict sense, then obviously, theoretically at least, six different cases are possible. It is obviously theoretically possible in the first place (1) that an action should, in its total effects, cause some pleasure but absolutely no pain; and it is obviously also possible (2) that, while it causes both pleasure and pain, the total quantity of pleasure should be greater than the total quantity of pain. These are two out of the six possible cases; and these two may be grouped together by saying that, in both of them, the action in question causes an excess of pleasure over pain, or more pleasure than pain. This description will, of course, if taken quite strictly, apply only to the second of the two; since an action which causes no pain whatever cannot strictly be said to cause more pleasure than pain. But it is convenient to have some description, which may be understood to cover both cases; and if we describe no pain at all as a zero quantity of pain, then obviously we may say that an action which causes some pleasure and no pain, does cause a greater quantity of pleasure than of pain, since any positive quantity is greater than zero. I propose, therefore, for the sake of convenience, to speak of both these first two cases as cases in which an action causes an excess of pleasure over pain.

    But obviously two other cases, which are also theoretically possible, are (1) that in which an action, in its total effects, causes some pain but absolutely no pleasure, and (2) that in which, while it causes both pleasure and pain, the total quantity of pain is greater than the total quantity of pleasure. And of both these two cases I propose to speak, for the reason just explained, as cases in which an action causes an excess of pain over pleasure.

    There remain two other cases, and two only, which are still theoretically possible; namely (1) that an action should cause absolutely no pleasure and also absolutely no pain, and (2) that, while it causes both pleasure and pain, the total quantities of each should be exactly equal. And in both these two cases, we may, of course, say that the action in question causes no excess either of pleasure over pain or of pain over pleasure.

    Of absolutely every action, therefore, it must be true, in the sense explained, that it either causes an excess of pleasure over pain, or an excess of pain over pleasure, or neither. This threefold division covers all the six possible cases. But, of course, of any two actions, both of which cause an excess of pleasure over pain, or of pain over pleasure, it may be true that the excess caused by the one is greater than that caused by the other. And, this being so, all actions may, theoretically at least, be arranged in a scale, starting at the top with those which cause the greatest excess of pleasure over pain; passing downwards by degrees through cases where the excess of pleasure over pain is continually smaller and smaller, until we reach those actions which cause no excess either of pleasure over pain or of pain over pleasure: then starting again with those which cause an excess of pain over pleasure, but only the smallest possible one; going on by degrees to cases in which the excess of pain over pleasure is continually larger and larger; until we reach, at the bottom, those cases in which the excess of pain over pleasure is the greatest.

    The principle upon which this scale is arranged is, I think, perfectly easy to understand, though it cannot be stated accurately except in rather a complicated way. The principle is: That any action which causes an excess of pleasure over pain will always come higher in the scale either than an action which causes a smaller excess of pleasure over pain, or than an action which causes no excess either of pleasure over pain or of pain over pleasure, or than one which causes an excess of pain over pleasure; That any action which causes no excess either of pleasure or of pain over pleasure will always come higher than any which causes an excess of pain over pleasure; and finally That any, which causes an excess of pain over pleasure, will always come higher than one which causes a greater excess of pain over pleasure. And obviously this statement is rather complicated. But yet, so far as I can see, there is no simpler way of stating quite accurately the principle upon which the scale is arranged. By saying that one action comes higher in the scale than another, we may mean any one of these five different things; and I can find no simple expression which will really apply quite accurately to all five cases.

    But it has, I think, been customary, among ethical writers, to speak loosely of any action, which comes higher in this scale than another, for any one of these five reasons, as causing more pleasure than that other, or causing a greater balance of pleasure over pain. For instance, if we are comparing five different actions, one of which comes higher in the scale than any of the rest, it has been customary to say that, among the five, this is the one which causes a maximum of pleasure, or a maximum balance of pleasure over pain. To speak in this way is obviously extremely inaccurate, for many different reasons. It is obvious, for instance, that an action which comes lower in the scale may actually produce much more pleasure than one which comes higher provided this effect is counteracted by its also causing a much greater quantity of pain. And it is obvious also that, of two actions, one of which comes higher in the scale than another, neither may cause a balance of pleasure over pain, but both actually more pain than pleasure. For these and other reasons it is quite inaccurate to speak as if the place of an action in the scale were determined either by the total quantity of pleasure that it causes, or by the total balance of pleasure over pain. But this way of speaking, though inaccurate, is also extremely convenient; and of the two alternative expressions, the one which is the most inaccurate is also the most convenient. It is much more convenient to be able to refer to any action, which comes higher in the scale as simply causing more pleasure, than to have to say, every time, that it causes a greater balance of pleasure over pain.

    I propose, therefore, in spite of its inaccuracy, to adopt this loose way of speaking. And I do not think the adoption of it need lead to any confusion, provided it is clearly understood, to begin with, that I am going to use the words in this loose way. It must, therefore, be clearly understood that, when, in what follows, I speak of one action as causing more pleasure than another, I shall not mean strictly what I say, but only that the former action is related to the latter in one or other of the five following ways. I shall mean that the two actions are related to one another either (1) by the fact that, while both cause an excess of pleasure over pain, the former causes a greater excess than the latter; or (2) by the fact that, while the former causes an excess of pleasure over pain, the latter causes no excess whatever either of pleasure over pain, or of pain over pleasure; or (3) by the fact that, while the former causes an excess of pleasure over pain, the latter causes an excess of pain over pleasure; or (4) by the fact that, while the former causes no excess whatever either of pleasure over pain or of pain over pleasure, the latter does cause an excess of pain over pleasure; or (5) by the fact that, while both cause an excess of pain over pleasure, the former causes a smaller excess than the latter. It must be remembered, too, that in every case we shall be speaking of the total quantities of pleasure and pain caused by the actions, in the strictest possible sense; taking into account, that is to say, absolutely all their effects, however remote and indirect
    ."
    -George Edward Moore, Ethics, 1912.



    _________________
    « La question n’est pas de constater que les gens vivent plus ou moins pauvrement, mais toujours d’une manière qui leur échappe. »
    -Guy Debord, Critique de la séparation (1961).

    « Rien de grand ne s’est jamais accompli dans le monde sans passion. »
    -Hegel, La Raison dans l'Histoire.


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