WHEWELL, William Quotes
(1794-1866), English philosopher
Conscience is the reason, employed about questions of right and wrong, and accompanied with the sentiments of approbation or condemnation.
Every failure is a step to success; every detection of what is false directs us toward what is true; every trial exhausts some tempting form of error. Not only so, but scarcely any attempt is entirely a failure; scarcely any theory, the result of steady thought, is altogether false; no tempting form of error is without some latent charm derived from truth.
A man really looking onward to an immortal life, on whatever grounds, exhibits to us the human soul in an ennobled attitude.
We deny the doctrine of the ancient Epicureans, that pleasure is the supreme good; of Hobbes, that moral rules are only the work of men's mutual fear; of Paley, that what is expedient is right, and that there is no difference among pleasures except their intensity and duration; and of Bentham, that the rules of human action are to be obtained by counting up the pleasures which actions produce.—And we maintain wiith Plato, that reason has a natural and rightful authority over desire and affection; with Butler, that there is a difference of kind in our principles of action; and with the general voice of mankind, that we must do what is right at whatever cost of pain and loss.—What we ought to do, that we should do, and that we must do, though it bring pain and loss.—And why? Because it is right.
In the discovery of truth, in the development of mau's mental powers and privileges, each generation has its assigned part; and it is for us to endeavour to perform our portion of this perpetual task of our species.