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Mais ce qui appartient essentiellement et uniquement à la raison, et ce qui en consequence est uniforme chez tous les peuples, ce sont les devoirs dont nous sommes tenus envers nos semblables. La connoissance de ces devoirs est ce qu’on appelle Morale…
Tous ces principes aboutissent à un point commun, sur lequel il est difficile de se faire illusion à soi-même; ils tendent à nous procurer le plus sûr moyen d’être heureux, en nous montrant la liaison intime de notre veritable intérêt avec l’accomplissement des nos devoirs.
But that which belongs essentially and uniquely to reason and which consequently is common to all peoples, is our duty to our own species. Consciousness of this duty is that which we call morality…
All of these principles joint at a common point, with respect to which we can delude ourselves only with difficulty; they tend to procure for us the most certain means of establishing our own happiness by showing us the intimate relationship between our own true interest and the performance of our duty.
–Jean le Rond d’Alembert, Essai sur les éléments de philosophie, sec. vii, pp. 179-80 (1759)(S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”