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"'. . . that He may teach us about His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.'
For from Zion will go forth the Law
Even the Word of God from Jerusalem."
|The humanistic nature of Bishop Butlers ethic is more than evident in that he grounded morality in man's conscience. The dictates of a calloused conscience will be different than those of a hypersensitive conscience, so what becomes of the universal obligation inherent in the "ought" of genuine morality? Furthermore, not being a universal psychological egoist, Butler is particularly responsible to explain how man can acquire the requisite ability to perform what he knows to be right (in the face of his despairing failure to do so in many instances). Denying Gods sovereignty, Butler had no answer except to rely upon autonomous man's resources. The moral principles that Butler did enunciate were based on his observation and analysis of such things as self-love, benevolence, etc.; in basing moral prescriptions thereon he illegitimately moved from observation to obligation. By entrusting moral steering to each mans conscience Butler undermined the possibility of a self-regulating, objective norm; when each man is allowed to be a law unto himself, moral principles will be superfluous as far as correcting  or restraining him are concerned. Each man can end up doing what is right in his own eyes. Or one mans conscience is arbitrarily selected to dictate standards for the others (depriving ethics of moral authority).||Find out more about Bishop Joseph Butler|
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