“The Utilitarians are still too absorbed by considerations of finality; they are entirely wrapped up in the end, which for them is utility, which is itself reducible to pleasure. They are hedonists, i.e., they make of pleasures, in an egoist or sympathic form, the great spring of mental life. We, on the contrary, place ourselves from the point of view of efficient causality, and not finality; we note in ourselves a cause which acts even before the attraction of pleasure as an end. This cause is life, tending by its very nature to grow and spread, thus finding pleasure as a consequence, but not taking it necessarily as an end.”
“The work of moral living is largely preventive – preventing our neurotic fixations or egotism from narrowing our horizons, preventing our loyalties from suppressing independent thinking, or preventing our mental impatience from abandoning the difficult path toward complete understanding. The rest feels less like work and more like allowing a natural exuberance to a moral creativity whose range has not been artificially narrowed by bias.”
I only just learned this guy existed. All I’ve found of his own work in English is this (but there is also useful information here and here). If I weren’t prepared to judge his entire life’s work on the basis of one summary, though, I wouldn’t be saying anything about him at all, and these days the poor fellow needs all the attention he can get.
I’m not keen on any of the stuff about evolution or much of that about psychology so far. I should also point out that G.E. Moore is (in his inimitable fashion) not impressed. Some bits I like the sound of, though. Like this: