D'Alembert – Happiness and the Duty to Fellow Humans | Harper's Magazine

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D’Alembert – Happiness and the Duty to Fellow Humans

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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.)

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