A book on ethics and philosophy of values

(Note: this is a non-professional translation of the original text in French. Help improve this translation: please report any mistake!)


As the ethics of duty establish that the concept of moral obligation has a meaning, but teach us nothing about its value, the ethics of happiness probably manage to show that being moral makes us happy, without proving the value of human well-being.

It is possible that human existence and human happiness have a value: this theory may be quite true. However, it cannot be accepted as a postulate because it is precisely the theory being disputed and contested by the immoralist, and therefore that which we must absolutely prove if we wish to refute his theory. To take it for granted is to adopt an anthropocentric point of view, in which man does not doubt, at any moment, about the value of his existence and considers himself as the lord of creation. It also comes down to misunderstanding what must really be done to refute the immoralist and counter evil.

Therefore, we shall not find an answer to the question about the foundation of morality in the ethics of happiness, for these doctrines raise other questions: “How can happiness be achieved?”, “What is in my interest to do?”, etc. and use the concept of finality (or end) instead of value.

Consequently, it seems that we have to look elsewhere to find an answer to our question. We can make an assumption: if we want to discover the foundation of morals maybe we need to define a “genealogy of morals”? We shall now examine this idea more closely.

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