Morality cannot be established by ethical preachings (1 of 2)

The philosopher, Schopenhauer, in spite of much that is entirely erroneous in his philosophy, made this very true statement regarding the principles of morality. “To preach morals is easy, but to give them a foundation is difficult.” This statement is very true, for there is scarcely anything easier than to pronounce in a manner appealing to the commonest principles of human feeling and perception, what a person ought to do or leave undone in order that he may be a good man.

Many people no doubt are offended when it is asserted that this is easy, but it is easy, and one who knows life, and knows the world, will not doubt that scarcely anything has been spoken about so much as the right principles of ethical action, and the man who speaks upon general ethical principles meets with almost universal approval. One might say it pleases listening minds, for they feel they can agree in an unqualified manner with what the speaker says when he discourses on the very commonest principles of human morality.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 155 – Anthroposophical Ethics – I – Norrköping, 28th May, 1912 

Translated by Harry Collison


Arthur Schopenhauer

Previously posted on December 12, 2017