All thoughts, feelings and actions sprout from the foundation of ones reception. Each individual perceives the world a certain way, which influences all that one does. Home believes morality derives from passion rather than reason. “Morals excite passions, and produce or prevent actions. Reason itself is utterly impotent in this particular. The rules of morality, therefore, are not conclusion out of reason” (Home, 406). Reason follows an “if this then that” outline but never does it naturally occur “if this than you ought to do that”. The “ought” arrives from unknown origins and changes the pattern of the concept.
It is not until one brings personal obligations into a even situation that the answer changes from cause and effect to you a feeling of “you ought to” act in some way. These self created obligations derive from sentiments one attaches to objects, places, people or actions. “Moral distinctions, therefore, are not the offspring of reason” (Home, 407). Among humans there are common moral obligations such as caring for your children. People feel that it is right and necessary to nurture your children into adult hood or till they are able to survive independently.
This assumed agreement between most humans comes from the strong feeling of unconditional love towards offspring, I believe this to be more of an innate response than anything. The action of caring for your children does not have the capacity to be right or wrong, good or bad. It is true that humans don’t praise actions themselves but the intentions behind them. It is the force or thought that is driving the action that we applaud or discourage. Justice is a form of a moral sense one feels they should enforce in society.
Home uses the example of what would one benefit from paying a loan back rather than keeping the money, which seems out of reason, the most logical approach. Home argues that justice comes from the sympathy one feels when imagining oneself in that same situation. Therefore, justice is driven by self interest and the need to secure ones rights. One may realize that it is in their best interest to act out of justice to ensure justice will be acted upon them, as well. Justice does not come from love of all man kind embedded in humans as an instinct.
It is a product Of feelings and selfishness to preserve one owns prosperity. Reality just is. Each person experiences the world through a series of reactions to reality. This filter of the mind is more complex than just taking in information from data your five senses collects and then continue to exist, or be. The mind thinks and processes information through thoughts which emotions and feelings derive. Then, with that information, the mind decides how to properly react based off how you feel about the set reality. Rather then continuing to be, you choose to do.
Sympathy allows one man to relate to another while obtaining a further understanding of what that individual is experiencing. Connecting oneself to a possible outcome that one may find undesirable brings a sense of guilt or negative emotions. It is out of this passion we are influenced to act justly. This tool is used to gain knowledge and insight without the clouded perception of an individual. When sympathizing one can determine the unjust act of oneself or another without emotional judgments distorting the reality. When justice is used by the people, it binds man to man ensuring loyalty and comfort among a community.
Man faces many obstacles against nature unlike the animal kingdom, man has himself and the human capacity to problem solve and manipulate his surroundings but not much further protection. To live a fulfilling human life one requires so many complexities that society is the only way to fulfill oneself. It is by society alone he is able to supply his defects and raise himself up to an equality with his fellow- creatures, and even acquire a superiority above them. ” (Home, 418). It is in a mans best interest to engage in justice and morality to ensure that he will be treated with the most respect and care.
Justice, as was stated before, comes from self interest. Outside this self interest is a hierarchy of other people one cares about most. One cares for himself, then immediate family including children and significant other, friends and distant family, following acquaintances, following the strangers and following he enemies. The more one can identify and relate to another the more interest and justice will be displayed in that relationship because people innately respond to all things involving themselves. Selfishness is evident in all human beings.
If people cared for others children the same way they care for their own society would be significantly different. Home believes justice to be a human convention, nothing more or less. “Here then is a proposition, which, I think, may be regarded as certain, that it is only from the selfishness and confined generosity of man, along with the scanty provision of nature has made for his wants, that justice derives its origin… ” (Home, 423). If by human nature, man was filled with generosity and unconditional love and cared for all humanity as he cared for himself, there would be no need for justice!
Also, if nature gifted humanity with the abundance of recourses, food, water and land there would again, be no need for justice if each man could have it all! It’s under the conditions that nothing is in abundance on Earth and man is dammed with jealousy and greed that justice is born. Therefore, man has created justice as coping mechanism to the short comings of his own nature and nature itself. The teachings of philosophy allow us to place ourselves beneath the microscope and dissect our very own nature.
Humans are unique in the our prompting desire to act upon our emotions. Home believes justice to be a complete human convention and self interested concept. It is true that our selfish driven lives ground society. For, without the imperfections of man and scarcity of nature, we find no substance to bind ourselves to one another. There would be no reason for community in a world where one was capable of having it all. It is in the absence of fulfillment that inspires the beauty of morality and justice.