Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Henry Sidgwick

English Utilitarian Philosopher and Economist

"Reason shows me that if my happiness is desirable and a good, the equal happiness of any other person much be equally desirable."

"Against the formidable array of cumulative evidence for Determinism, there is but one argument of real force: the immediate affirmation of consciousness in the moment of deliberate action."

"The doctrine that Universal Happiness is the ultimate standard must not be understood to imply that Universal Benevolence is the only right or always best motive of action... it is not necessary that the end which gives the criterion of rightness should always be the end at which we consciously aim; and if experience shows that the general happiness will be more satisfactorily attained if men frequently act from other motives than pure universal philanthropy, it is obvious that these other motives are reasonably to be preferred on Utilitarian principles."

"We think so because other people all think so, Or because - or because - after all we do think so, Or because we were told so, and think we must think so, Or because we once thought so, and think we still think so, Or because having thought so, we think we will think so."