PHIL 2281 Quiz: week 11- mill notes (Quiz 3)

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PHIL 2281
Sigrist Michael

Philosophy of the Environment Week 11: Mill Mill  A thing’s nature is the totality of its power or properties: o The ways it acts on other things o The ways other things act on it o Its own powers of feeling, or being conscious o The Nature of a thing means its entire ability to exhibit phenomena = to present itself to our senses and to show up empirically  Laws of the thing’s nature- phenomena are always the same in the same circumstances o Nature- the totality of powers and properties of all things  Nature means the sum of phenomena, together with the causes that produce them; including everything that could happen because:  Unused powers of causes are as much a part of the idea of nature as are the powers that come into play (pg.1)  Nature is a collective name for: (pg. 3) o 1) The multitudinous details of the phenomena o 2) the conception that might be formed of them, as a unified whole, by a mind that had a complete knowledge of them  nature contrasted with art (pg.3)- he says that art is as much nature than anything else and everything that is artificial is natural. Why? Because art has no independent powers of its own; it is merely the use of the powers of Nature for a particular purpose  In all artificial operations (things that happen because of how things were arranged by human skill), the role of man is limited; all we do is move things into certain places. (pg. 3) o By moving things, we bring separated things into contact or pull adjacent things apart; these simple changes produce a desired effect by bringing into play natural forces that were previously dormant  2 principles of the meaning of nature (pg. 4) o 1) all the powers existing in the outer and inner world o 2) everything that happens by means of those powers o This means- everything that happens without the agency, or without the voluntary agency of man.  Naturam sequi- basic principles of morals in many admired philosophical systems (pg. 4). Ancient groups thought they had to prove that its maxims of conduct were the dictates of nature.  Christian theology only partly accepted the ways of ancient philosophy because according to the creed of most Christians  The claim that a way of thinking, feeling, or acting is “according to nature” is usually accepted as a strong argument for its goodness  Purpose of the essay is to examine the 3 meaning of nature  3 meaning of nature- where nature stands not for what is but for what ought to be  He says that there isn’t any way of acting that doesn’t exactly conform to ‘nature’ in the sense of the word (pg.6) o Every action is the exercise of some natural power, and all the effects of an action are just phenomena of nature, produced by the powers and properties of some of the objects of Nature, in obedience to some law of Nature o It is absurd to urge people to conform to the laws of Nature when the only powers they have are ones that the laws of Nature give them  No word is more commonly associated with ‘nature’ than ‘law’ (pg. 6) o 1) In one, it denotes some definite portion of what is. Such as the law of gravitation, movement, etc.  Observed uniformities that follows what and in what accompanies it o 2) Other meaning, it stands for a definite portion of what ought to be. Such as criminal law, civil law, etc.  Moral laws or laws of the land  It is absurd to prescribe a rule of right conduct for something that can also fit wrong conduct just as well. We must construct a rational rule of conduct- out of the relation that conduct should have to the laws of nature in the widest sense of the word (pg. 7) o Though all conduct is in conformity with laws of nature, not all conduct is based on knowledge of them and intelligently directed to getting things done by means of them  1) intelligent action- see that the essential difference between wise and foolish conduct consists in attending or not attending to the particular laws of nature on which some important result depends (pg. 7) o What they often call disobedience to a law of nature is obedience to some other law or perhaps the same law they are said to be disobeying. o Nature is offered as an ethical maxim- those who offer it in this way are the ones who also say the law of nature is one to be administered by courts and enforced by punishments  Nature is distinguished from art, and stands for the events that occur without humans’ having any part in them (pg. 8)  Second sense of the word ‘Nature’- stands for whatever happens without human intervention (pg. 8) o He says that this meaning is absurd and self-contradictory. One meaning says For while human action can’t help conforming to nature; while another meaning says what human action is for is to alter and improve nature  By acknowledging the beauties of nature and its powers through acts- such as draining marshes, connecting two shores that were not connected, etc.- we see nature in ways that are to be conquered, not obeyed (pg. 8) o Sees nature as an enemy, for whom he must get what little he can for his own use; and must be applauded when that little is more than might be expected considering the large difference in comparison to the powers of nature  Roman Catholic relig
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