Study Course Steps 12.1 - 12.12

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Chapter 12 Moral Imagination
(Darwinism and Ethics)

Free Ethical Deed

CHAPTER THEME: Free Deed - A free deed begins with freely selecting an ethical intention (moral intuition). This universal ethical principle needs to be translated into a concrete goal (moral imagination) and then implemented into the world in a way that doesn't disrupt the current order of the world anymore than is necessary (moral technique).

Theme: Free Deed
topic 12.1: Concrete Idea (specific goal)
topic 12.2: Moral Imagination (translate ethical principle to specific goal)
topic 12.3: Moral Technique (transform world w/o violating existing laws)
topic 12.4: Science Of Morality
topic 12.5: Ethical Rules Newly Created Every Moment
topic 12.6: Evolution Of Morality
topic 12.7: Evolution Of Ethical Nature
topic 12.8: Sovereignty Of Ethical Individual
topic 12.9: Characterization Of Deed (free or not free)
topic 12.10: Free Deed (realization of pure ideal)
topic 12.11: Free To Want What Is Right
topic 12.12: Enslaved Spirit

12.0 Moral Intuition
(originate ethical decision)

From act on ideas of others To act on original decision

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Act On Ideas Of Others
Outer Truth: A free spirit acts according to his impulses—that is, according to intuitions selected by thinking from his whole world of ideas. The reason why an unfree spirit singles out a particular intuition from his world of ideas, in order to make it the basis of a deed, lies in what the perceptual world has given him—that is, in his past experiences. Before making a decision he recalls what someone else has done or recommended in a similar situation, or what God has commanded to be done in such a case, and so on. Then he acts according to these recollections.

  

Act On Original Decision
Inner Truth: The free spirit is not bound by these prior conditions. He makes a completely original decision. He cares as little about what others have done, as about what they have ordered be done in such a case. He is influenced by purely ideal (logical) reasons to select a particular concept from the sum total of his concepts, and to translate it in action. His action will, however, belong to perceptible reality. What he accomplishes will have a very specific perceptible content. The concept will be realized in a particular concrete event. As a concept, it cannot contain this particular instance. It is related to the event in the same way as a concept in general relates to a percept— for example, as the concept “lion” relates to a particular lion. The link between concept and percept is the idea (see Chapter 6). The unfree spirit is given this intermediate link from the start. His motives are present in his mind from the start in the form of ideas. When he intends to do something he does it in the way he has seen others do it or he obeys the instructions he receives in each separate case.

That is why authority is most effective through examples, by conveying very specific actions for the guidance of the unfree spirit. The action of a Christian is based less on the doctrines than on the example of the Savior. Rules are less effective for positive deeds to get things done than for restraining certain actions. Laws are formulated as universal concepts only when they forbid something, not when they order something done. Laws concerning what the unfree spirit should do must be given in specific concrete form: Clean the walk in front of your door! Pay your taxes in this amount at that tax office here named! And so on. The laws forbidding actions are given a conceptual form: You should not steal! You should not commit adultery! These laws, too, only influence the unfree spirit by means of a concrete idea; for example, the idea of the corresponding secular punishment, or of the torments of conscience, or of eternal damnation, and so on.

 
STEP 12.1 Concrete Idea (specific goal)
From find existing concrete idea To translate concept into concrete idea of action
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Find Existing Concrete Idea
Outer Truth: The moment an impulse to action is present in universal conceptual form (for example, You should do good to your fellow human beings! You should live in ways that ensure good health!) then in each particular case the concrete idea of the action (the relation of the concept to a perceptual content) must first be found.

  

Translate Concept Into Concrete Idea Of Action
Inner Truth: For a free spirit, who has no role model and no fear of punishment, etc., this translation of the concept into an idea is always necessary.

     

STEP 12.2 Moral Imagination
(translate ethical principle to specific goal)

From ideas formed by moral imagination To teach morality

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Ideas Formed By Moral Imagination
Outer Truth: Concrete ideas are formed by us on the basis of our concepts by means of the imagination. Therefore what the free spirit needs in order to carry out his ideas, in order to assert himself in the world, is moral imagination. This is the source of the free spirit's action. In fact, only people with moral imagination are actually morally productive.

 

Teach Morality
Inner Truth: Those who merely preach morality, people who merely devise codes of ethics without the ability to condense them into concrete ideas—are morally unproductive. They are like the critic who can explain very competently what a work of art should be like, but is himself incapable of achieving the slightest artistic production.

     

STEP 12.3 Moral Technique
(transform world w/o violating existing laws)

From science of how world works To moral technique (transform world w/o violating existing laws)

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Science Of How World Works
Outer Truth: In order to realize the ideas produced by moral imagination, one must set to work in a specific field of percepts. Human deeds do not create percepts; but transforms already existing ones by giving them a new form. To be able to transform a specific perceptual object or group of objects in accordance with a moral idea, it is necessary to understand their underlying laws (the way it has worked until now, which one intends to change or give a new direction). One must also find the method by which it is possible to transform the existing laws into new ones. This part of effective moral activity depends on a knowledge of the particular world of phenomena with which one is dealing. This knowledge will be found in a branch of general scientific knowledge.

 

Moral Technique (transform world w/o violating existing laws)
Inner Truth: So in addition to the faculty for having moral concepts (moral intuition) and moral imagination, moral deeds presuppose the ability to transform the perceptible world without violating the natural laws by which things are connected. This ability is moral technique. It can be learned in the same way that science in general can be learned.

In general, people are better able to find concepts for the existing world than to productively originate out of their imagination future deeds, not yet in existence. Therefore, someone without moral imagination may well receive moral ideas from others and skillfully work them into reality. The reverse can also occur, where someone with moral imagination lacks technical skill and must rely on the service of others to carry out their ideas.

[5] Insofar as knowledge of the objects within our field of activity is necessary for acting morally, our action will depend on this kind of knowledge. What we need to know here are natural laws. These belong to the Natural Sciences, not to Ethics.

STEP 12.4 Science Of Morality
From study of moral capacity To moral operating causes

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Study Of Moral Capacity
Outer Truth: Moral imagination and the faculty for having moral concepts can become a subject of knowledge only after they have first been put to use by the individual. By then, they no longer regulate life; for they have already put it in order.

 

Moral Operating Causes
Inner Truth: They must now be regarded as operating causes, and be explained in the same way as any other causes (they are purposes only for the subject). The study of them is a Natural Science of moral ideas.

     
STEP 12.5 Ethical Rules Newly Created At Every Moment
From inherited moral laws To ethical rules newly created at every moment
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Inherited Moral Laws
Outer Truth: [8] Some people have tried to retain the normative character of moral laws— at least, to the extent that ethics is being understood in the same way as dietetics. Dietetics derives general rules from the organism’s requirements for life, in order then, on the basis of these laws, to give detailed directions for influencing the body (Paulson, System of Ethics). This is a false comparison, because our moral life is not comparable to the life of the organism. The organism functions without our doing anything about it. We find its laws already present in the world, so we can seek the laws and apply those that we discover.

 

Ethical Rules Newly Created At Every Moment
Inner Truth: Moral laws, on the other hand, do not exist until we create them. We cannot apply them until they have been created. The error is due to the fact that the content of moral laws is not newly created at every moment, but is handed down. The moral laws inherited from our ancestors appear to be given, just like the natural laws of the organism. But it does not follow that a later generation has the right to apply them as if they were rules of diet. For they apply to individuals, and not, like natural laws, to a member of a species. As an organism I am a member of a species and will live in harmony with nature if I apply the natural laws of the species to my particular case. As a moral being I am an individual and have my own laws.

     

STEP 12.6 Evolution Of Morality
From later moral ideas evolve out of earlier ones To new moral ideas not drawn from earlier ones

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Later Moral Ideas Evolve Out Of Earlier Ones
Outer Truth: [9] The view taken here appears to contradict the fundamental doctrine of modern Natural Science known as the Theory of Evolution. But it only appears to do so. By evolution we mean the real emergence of the later out of the earlier according to natural laws. In the organic world, evolution means that the later (more perfect) organic forms are real descendants of the earlier (less perfect) forms, and have emerged from them according to natural laws. An adherent of the theory of organic evolution imagines a time on earth when someone could have followed with his own eyes the gradual emergence of reptiles out of the Proto-Amniotes, if he could have been there as an observer endowed with a sufficiently long span of life. In the same way Evolutionists imagine that someone could have watched the solar system emerge from out of the Kant-Laplace primordial nebula, if he could have remained at a suitable spot out in the cosmic world ether during that infinitely long time. But no Evolutionist will claim that, without having ever seen a reptile, he could derive the concept of reptiles with all its characteristics, from his concept of Proto-Amniotes. Just as little would it be possible to derive the solar system from the concept of the Kant-Laplace nebula, if the concept of the nebula is understood to be determined solely by the direct perception of the primordial nebula. This means, in other words, if the Evolutionist is consistent in his thinking, he must concede that while later phases of evolution do evolve out of earlier ones, we can see the connection only if we are given both concepts: that of the less perfect and that of the perfect. But he could never say that the concept formed from the earlier phases of evolution is sufficient to develop the concept of the later from it.

 

New Moral Ideas Not Drawn From Earlier Ones
Inner Truth: From this it follows for the philosopher of Ethics that, while he can certainly see the connection between earlier and later moral concepts, not one single new moral idea can be drawn from earlier ones. The individual, as a moral being, produces his own content. For an ethicist, this content is just as much a given fact as reptiles are a given fact for the natural scientist. Reptiles developed out of Proto-Amniotes, but natural scientists cannot get the concept of reptiles from out of the concept of Proto-Amniotes. Later moral ideas have evolved out of earlier ones, but the ethicist cannot extract from the moral principles of an earlier cultural period the moral principles of a later one. The confusion arises because when we investigate nature we already have the phenomena before us, and then we gain knowledge of it; while for ethical action we must first create the phenomena ourselves and then investigate it afterward.

In the evolution of the ethical world order we accomplish something that Nature accomplishes on a lower level: we change something perceptible. As we have seen, an ethical rule cannot at first be known like a law of nature; it must first be created. Only when it is there can it become an object of our knowing.

[10] But is it not possible to make the old the standard for the new? Are we not all obligated to assess what we produce by our moral imagination by comparing it with traditional ethical teachings? If we are to be truly ethically productive, this is as absurd as it would be to assess a new form in Nature by comparing it with an older one, and saying that because reptiles do not conform to the Proto-Amniotes their form is unjustified (pathological).

     

STEP 12.7 Evolution Of Ethical Nature
From evolution of ethical nature To individual moral ideas

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Evolution Of Ethical Nature
Outer Truth: Ethical Individualism, then, is not in opposition to the theory of evolution, but is a direct continuation of it. Haeckel’s genealogical tree, from protozoa up to human beings as organic beings, would have to be traceable—without interrupting natural law or breaking the uniformity of evolution—right up to the individual as a being with a particular ethical nature.

 

Individual Moral Ideas
Inner Truth: True as it is that the moral ideas of the individual have perceptibly grown out of those of his ancestors, it is also true that an individual is ethically barren unless he has moral ideas of his own.

[12] The same Ethical Individualism that I have developed on the basis of the preceding principles could also be developed from the theory of evolution. The final result would be the same. Only the way it was reached would be different.

     

STEP 12.8 Sovereignty Of Ethical Individual 
From rejection of supernatural influence To sovereignty of ethical individual

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Rejection Of Supernatural Influence
Outer Truth: [13] The appearance of completely new ethical ideas from moral imagination is no more miraculous for the theory of evolution than the development of a new animal species out of an earlier one. But, as a Monistic worldview, evolutionary theory must reject—in ethics, as in science—every otherworldly (metaphysical) influence. This is the same principles that it follows when it seeks causes of new organic forms without invoking the intervention of some otherworldly God who—by supernatural influence—produces each new species according to a new creative idea. Just as the Monist has no need for supernatural ideas of creation to explain living organisms, so he has no need to derive the ethical order of the world from causes lying outside the world. He does not find any continuing supernatural influence on ethical life (divine government of the world from the outside), or to an act of revelation at a particular moment in history (giving of the ten commandments), or to the appearance of God on earth (divinity of Christ).

 

Sovereignty Of Ethical Individual 
Inner Truth: For Monism, ethical processes—like everything else that exists—is a product of the world and their causes must be looked for in the world, and that means in human beings, because humans are the bearers of morality.

[14] Ethical Individualism, then, is the crown of evolution. It is the theory of evolution built by Darwin and Haeckel for natural science extended to the moral life.

     
STEP 12.9 Characterization Of Deed (free or not free)
From characterization of deed (free or not free) To observation of ethical idea
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Characterization Of Free Deed (free or not free)
Outer Truth: [15] Anyone who from the start, narrowly restricts the concept of what is natural within an arbitrarily limited boundary, can then easily come to the conclusion that there is no room in nature for a free individual deed. The evolutionary theorist who proceeds consequently cannot fall into such narrow-mindedness. He cannot let the natural course of evolution come to an end with the ape, and then give humans a “supernatural” origin. He cannot stop at human organic functions, and find only these to be 'natural'. He must also regard the free, moral life of self-determination as the continuation of organic life.

 

Observation Of Ethical Idea
Inner Truth: [16] The Evolutionist, then, if he is to keep to his fundamental principles, can only claim that present ethical behavior evolves out of the less perfect kinds of natural processes. The characterization of an action—whether it is a free deed—can be discovered only by the direct observation of the action of each agent. All that he claims is that humans have evolved out of non-human ancestors. What the nature of humans actually is must be determined by observing them. The results of this observation cannot possibly contradict the history of evolution. Only the assertion that the results exclude their being due to a natural ordering of the world would contradict recent developments in the Natural Sciences.

Footnote: It is justified to call thoughts (ethical ideas) observable objects. For even if what thinking produces does not enter the field of observation while thinking takes place, it can become the object of observation afterward. It is in this way that we have been able to characterize human action.

     
STEP 12.10 Free Deed (realization of pure ideal)
From natural origin of the free deed To free deed (realization of pure ideal)
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Natural Origin Of The Free Deed
Outer Truth: [17] Ethical Individualism is in full agreement with a Natural Science that understands itself: for observation shows that freedom is the characteristic quality of the perfect form of human action. The establishment of a conceptual connection between this fact of observation and other kinds of processes results in the theory of the natural origin of the free deed.

 

Free Deed (realization of pure ideal)
Inner Truth: This freedom must be attributed to the human will, insofar as the will brings to realization purely ideal intuitions. For these intuitions are not the effects of a necessity influencing them from the outside, but are based on themselves. When a person's action is the image of such an ideal intuition, he experiences it to be free. The freedom of a deed consists of this characteristic feature.

     

STEP 12.11 Free To Want What Is Right
From moral ideas determined by others To want what is right

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Moral Ideas Determined By Others
Outer Truth: [18] From the standpoint of nature, what can be said about the distinction made in Chapter One between the two statements: “To be free means to be able to do what one wants,” and “To be at liberty to desire or not to desire, as one pleases, is the real meaning of the dogma of freewill”? Hamerling bases his view of free will on this distinction, declaring the first statement to be correct and the second to be an absurd tautology. He says, "I can do what I want, but to say that I can determine what I want is an empty tautology." Whether I can carry something out, that is, translate into reality what I want to do, what I have set before me as my Idea of action, that depends on external circumstances and on my technical skill (see above).

To be free means to be able to determine out of oneself, by moral imagination, the ideas (motives) on which the action is based. Freedom is impossible if anything other than I myself (whether a mechanical process or God) determines my moral ideas. In other words, I am free only when I myself produce these ideas, but not when all I do is carry out the ideas that someone else has implanted in me.

  Free To Want What Is Right
Inner Truth: A free being is one who wants what he considers to be right. Whoever does anything other than what he wants must be driven to do it by motives that do not originate in himself. His action is not free. To be at liberty to want what one considers right or want what one considers wrong, would mean to be at liberty to be free or unfree. This is obviously just as absurd as to see freedom as the ability to do what one is forced to want. Yet this is exactly what Hamerling asserts when he says, “It is perfectly true that the will is always determined by motives, but it is absurd to say that it is therefore unfree; for a greater freedom can neither be desired or conceived than the freedom to realize one's will in proportion to its strength and determination.” “Yes! One could wish for a greater freedom, and that is the real and true freedom. Namely, the freedom to decide for oneself the reasons for one's willing.
     
STEP 12.12 Enslaved Spirit

From want what another considers right To enslaved spirit

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Want What Another Considers Right
Outer Truth: [19] Under certain circumstances a person may hold himself back from doing what he wants to do. But to allow others to dictate to him what he ought to do―in other words, to want what another and not what he himself considers to be right—to this he will submit only if he does not feel free.

 

Enslaved Spirit
Inner Truth: [20] External powers may prevent me from doing what I want. Then they simply damn me to do nothing. Not until they enslave my spirit, drive my motives out of my head, and put their own motives in the place of mine, do they really intend to make me unfree. This is why the Church is not only against actions, but is especially against impure thoughts—the motives of my action. And for the Church all motives that it has not authorized are impure. A Church or other community does not produce genuine slaves until its priests or teachers regard themselves as advisers of conscience, and the believers must come to them (to the confessional) to receive the motives for their actions from them.

 

 

BOOK TEXT

 

12. MORAL IMAGINATION (Darwinism and Ethics)

12.0 Moral Intuition (originate ethical decision)
[1] A free spirit acts according to his impulses—that is, according to intuitions selected by thinking from his whole world of ideas. The reason why an unfree spirit singles out a particular intuition from his world of ideas, in order to make it the basis of a deed, lies in what the perceptual world has given him—that is, in his past experiences. Before making a decision he recalls what someone else has done or recommended in a similar situation, or what God has commanded to be done in such a case, and so on. Then he acts according to these recollections. The free spirit is not bound by these prior conditions. He makes a completely original decision. He cares as little about what others have done, as about what they have ordered be done in such a case. He is influenced by purely ideal (logical) reasons to select a particular concept from the sum total of his concepts, and to translate it in action. His action will, however, belong to perceptible reality. What he accomplishes will have a very specific perceptible content. The concept will be realized in a particular concrete event. As a concept, it cannot contain this particular instance. It is related to the event in the same way as a concept in general relates to a percept— for example, as the concept “lion” relates to a particular lion. The link between concept and percept is the idea (see Chapter 6). The unfree spirit is given this intermediate link from the start. His motives are present in his mind from the start in the form of ideas. When he intends to do something he does it in the way he has seen others do it or he obeys the instructions he receives in each separate case. That is why authority is most effective through examples, by conveying very specific actions for the guidance of the unfree spirit. The action of a Christian is based less on the doctrines than on the example of the Savior. Rules are less effective for positive deeds to get things done than for restraining certain actions. Laws are formulated as universal concepts only when they forbid something, not when they order something done. Laws concerning what the unfree spirit should do must be given in specific concrete form: Clean the walk in front of your door! Pay your taxes in this amount at that tax office here named! And so on. The laws forbidding actions are given a conceptual form: You should not steal! You should not commit adultery! These laws, too, only influence the unfree spirit by means of a concrete idea; for example, the idea of the corresponding secular punishment, or of the torments of conscience, or of eternal damnation, and so on.

12.1 Concrete Idea (specific goal)
[2] The moment an impulse to action is present in universal conceptual form (for example, You should do good to your fellow human beings! You should live in ways that ensure good health!) then in each particular case the concrete idea of the action (the relation of the concept to a perceptual content) must first be found. For a free spirit, who has no role model and no fear of punishment, etc., this translation of the concept into an idea is always necessary.

12.2 Moral Imagination (translate ethical principle to specific goal)
[3] Concrete ideas are formed by us on the basis of our concepts by means of the imagination. Therefore what the free spirit needs in order to carry out his ideas, in order to assert himself in the world, is moral imagination. This is the source of the free spirit's action. In fact, only people with moral imagination are actually morally productive. Those who merely preach morality, people who merely devise codes of ethics without the ability to condense them into concrete ideas—are morally unproductive. They are like the critic who can explain very competently what a work of art should be like, but is himself incapable of achieving the slightest artistic production.

12.3 Moral Technique (transform world w/o violating existing laws)
[4] In order to realize the ideas produced by moral imagination, one must set to work in a specific field of percepts. Human deeds do not create percepts; but transforms already existing ones by giving them a new form. To be able to transform a specific perceptual object or group of objects in accordance with a moral idea, it is necessary to understand their underlying laws (the way it has worked until now, which one intends to change or give a new direction). One must also find the method by which it is possible to transform the existing laws into new ones. This part of effective moral activity depends on a knowledge of the particular world of phenomena with which one is dealing. This knowledge will be found in a branch of general scientific knowledge. So in addition to the faculty for having moral concepts (moral intuition) and moral imagination, moral deeds presuppose the ability to transform the perceptible world without violating the natural laws by which things are connected. This ability is moral technique. It can be learned in the same way that science in general can be learned.

In general, people are better able to find concepts for the existing world than to productively originate out of their imagination future deeds, not yet in existence. Therefore, someone without moral imagination may well receive moral ideas from others and skillfully work them into reality. The reverse can also occur, where someone with moral imagination lacks technical skill and must rely on the service of others to carry out their ideas.

[5] Insofar as knowledge of the objects within our field of activity is necessary for acting morally, our action will depend on this kind of knowledge. What we need to know here are natural laws. These belong to the Natural Sciences, not to Ethics.

12.4 Science Of Morality
[6] Moral imagination and the faculty for having moral concepts can become a subject of knowledge only after they have first been put to use by the individual. By then, they no longer regulate life; for they have already put it in order. They must now be regarded as operating causes, and be explained in the same way as any other causes (they are purposes only for the subject). The study of them is a Natural Science of moral ideas.

[7] It is not possible to have ethics as a Normative Science in the form of a science of standards, over and above this science.

12.5 Ethical Rules Newly Created At Every Moment
[8] Some people have tried to retain the normative character of moral laws— at least, to the extent that ethics is being understood in the same way as dietetics. Dietetics derives general rules from the organism’s requirements for life, in order then, on the basis of these laws, to give detailed directions for influencing the body (Paulson, System of Ethics). This is a false comparison, because our moral life is not comparable to the life of the organism. The organism functions without our doing anything about it. We find its laws already present in the world, so we can seek the laws and apply those that we discover. Moral laws, on the other hand, do not exist until we create them. We cannot apply them until they have been created. The error is due to the fact that the content of moral laws is not newly created at every moment, but is handed down. The moral laws inherited from our ancestors appear to be given, just like the natural laws of the organism. But it does not follow that a later generation has the right to apply them as if they were rules of diet. For they apply to individuals, and not, like natural laws, to a member of a species. As an organism I am a member of a species and will live in harmony with nature if I apply the natural laws of the species to my particular case. As a moral being I am an individual and have my own laws.

12.6 Evolution Of Morality
[9] The view taken here appears to contradict the fundamental doctrine of modern Natural Science known as the Theory of Evolution. But it only appears to do so. By evolution we mean the real emergence of the later out of the earlier according to natural laws. In the organic world, evolution means that the later (more perfect) organic forms are real descendants of the earlier (less perfect) forms, and have emerged from them according to natural laws. An adherent of the theory of organic evolution imagines a time on earth when someone could have followed with his own eyes the gradual emergence of reptiles out of the Proto-Amniotes, if he could have been there as an observer endowed with a sufficiently long span of life. In the same way Evolutionists imagine that someone could have watched the solar system emerge from out of the Kant-Laplace primordial nebula, if he could have remained at a suitable spot out in the cosmic world ether during that infinitely long time. But no Evolutionist will claim that, without having ever seen a reptile, he could derive the concept of reptiles with all its characteristics, from his concept of Proto-Amniotes. Just as little would it be possible to derive the solar system from the concept of the Kant-Laplace nebula, if the concept of the nebula is understood to be determined solely by the direct perception of the primordial nebula. This means, in other words, if the Evolutionist is consistent in his thinking, he must concede that while later phases of evolution do evolve out of earlier ones, we can see the connection only if we are given both concepts: that of the less perfect and that of the perfect. But he could never say that the concept formed from the earlier phases of evolution is sufficient to develop the concept of the later from it.

From this it follows for the philosopher of Ethics that, while he can certainly see the connection between earlier and later moral concepts, not one single new moral idea can be drawn from earlier ones. The individual, as a moral being, produces his own content. For an ethicist, this content is just as much a given fact as reptiles are a given fact for the natural scientist. Reptiles developed out of Proto-Amniotes, but natural scientists cannot get the concept of reptiles from out of the concept of Proto-Amniotes. Later moral ideas have evolved out of earlier ones, but the ethicist cannot extract from the moral principles of an earlier cultural period the moral principles of a later one. The confusion arises because when we investigate nature we already have the phenomena before us, and then we gain knowledge of it; while for ethical action we must first create the phenomena ourselves and then investigate it afterward. In the evolution of the ethical world order we accomplish something that Nature accomplishes on a lower level: we change something perceptible. As we have seen, an ethical rule cannot at first be known like a law of nature; it must first be created. Only when it is there can it become an object of our knowing.

[10] But is it not possible to make the old the standard for the new? Are we not all obligated to assess what we produce by our moral imagination by comparing it with traditional ethical teachings? If we are to be truly ethically productive, this is as absurd as it would be to assess a new form in Nature by comparing it with an older one, and saying that because reptiles do not conform to the Proto-Amniotes their form is unjustified (pathological).

12.7 Evolution Of Ethical Nature
[11] Ethical Individualism, then, is not in opposition to the theory of evolution, but is a direct continuation of it. Haeckel’s genealogical tree, from protozoa up to human beings as organic beings, would have to be traceable—without interrupting natural law or breaking the uniformity of evolution—right up to the individual as a being with a particular ethical nature. True as it is that the moral ideas of the individual have perceptibly grown out of those of his ancestors, it is also true that an individual is ethically barren unless he has moral ideas of his own.

[12] The same Ethical Individualism that I have developed on the basis of the preceding principles could also be developed from the theory of evolution. The final result would be the same. Only the way it was reached would be different.

12.8 Sovereignty Of Ethical Individual
[13] The appearance of completely new ethical ideas from moral imagination is no more miraculous for the theory of evolution than the development of a new animal species out of an earlier one. But, as a Monistic worldview, evolutionary theory must reject—in ethics, as in science—every otherworldly (metaphysical) influence. This is the same principles that it follows when it seeks causes of new organic forms without invoking the intervention of some otherworldly God who—by supernatural influence—produces each new species according to a new creative idea. Just as the Monist has no need for supernatural ideas of creation to explain living organisms, so he has no need to derive the ethical order of the world from causes lying outside the world. He does not find any continuing supernatural influence on ethical life (divine government of the world from the outside), or to an act of revelation at a particular moment in history (giving of the ten commandments), or to the appearance of God on earth (divinity of Christ). For Monism, ethical processes—like everything else that exists—is a product of the world and their causes must be looked for in the world, and that means in human beings, because humans are the bearers of morality.

[14] Ethical Individualism, then, is the crown of evolution. It is the theory of evolution built by Darwin and Haeckel for natural science extended to the moral life.

12.9 Characterization Of Deed (free or not free)
[15] Anyone who from the start, narrowly restricts the concept of what is natural within an arbitrarily limited boundary, can then easily come to the conclusion that there is no room in nature for a free individual deed. The evolutionary theorist who proceeds consequently cannot fall into such narrow-mindedness. He cannot let the natural course of evolution come to an end with the ape, and then give humans a “supernatural” origin. He cannot stop at human organic functions, and find only these to be 'natural'. He must also regard the free, moral life of self-determination as the continuation of organic life.

[16] The Evolutionist, then, if he is to keep to his fundamental principles, can only claim that present ethical behavior evolves out of the less perfect kinds of natural processes. The characterization of an action—whether it is a free deed—can be discovered only by the direct observation of the action of each agent. All that he claims is that humans have evolved out of non-human ancestors. What the nature of humans actually is must be determined by observing them. The results of this observation cannot possibly contradict the history of evolution. Only the assertion that the results exclude their being due to a natural ordering of the world would contradict recent developments in the Natural Sciences.

Footnote: It is justified to call thoughts (ethical ideas) observable objects. For even if what thinking produces does not enter the field of observation while thinking takes place, it can become the object of observation afterward. It is in this way that we have been able to characterize human action.

12.10 Free Deed (realization of pure ideal)
[17] Ethical Individualism is in full agreement with a Natural Science that understands itself: for observation shows that freedom is the characteristic quality of the perfect form of human action. The establishment of a conceptual connection between this fact of observation and other kinds of processes results in the theory of the natural origin of the free deed. This freedom must be attributed to the human will, insofar as the will brings to realization purely ideal intuitions. For these intuitions are not the effects of a necessity influencing them from the outside, but are based on themselves. When a person's action is the image of such an ideal intuition, he experiences it to be free. The freedom of a deed consists of this characteristic feature.

12.11 Free To Want What Is Right
[18] From the standpoint of nature, what can be said about the distinction made in Chapter One between the two statements: “To be free means to be able to do what one wants,” and “To be at liberty to desire or not to desire, as one pleases, is the real meaning of the dogma of freewill”? Hamerling bases his view of free will on this distinction, declaring the first statement to be correct and the second to be an absurd tautology. He says, "I can do what I want, but to say that I can determine what I want is an empty tautology." Whether I can carry something out, that is, translate into reality what I want to do, what I have set before me as my Idea of action, that depends on external circumstances and on my technical skill (see above). To be free means to be able to determine out of oneself, by moral imagination, the ideas (motives) on which the action is based. Freedom is impossible if anything other than I myself (whether a mechanical process or God) determines my moral ideas. In other words, I am free only when I myself produce these ideas, but not when all I do is carry out the ideas that someone else has implanted in me. A free being is one who wants what he considers to be right. Whoever does anything other than what he wants must be driven to do it by motives that do not originate in himself. His action is not free. To be at liberty to want what one considers right or want what one considers wrong, would mean to be at liberty to be free or unfree. This is obviously just as absurd as to see freedom as the ability to do what one is forced to want. Yet this is exactly what Hamerling asserts when he says, “It is perfectly true that the will is always determined by motives, but it is absurd to say that it is therefore unfree; for a greater freedom can neither be desired or conceived than the freedom to realize one's will in proportion to its strength and determination.” “Yes! One could wish for a greater freedom, and that is the real and true freedom. Namely, the freedom to decide for oneself the reasons for one's willing.

12.12 Enslaved Spirit
[19] Under certain circumstances a person may hold himself back from doing what he wants to do. But to allow others to dictate to him what he ought to do―in other words, to want what another and not what he himself considers to be right—to this he will submit only if he does not feel free.

[20] External powers may prevent me from doing what I want. Then they simply damn me to do nothing. Not until they enslave my spirit, drive my motives out of my head, and put their own motives in the place of mine, do they really intend to make me unfree. This is why the Church is not only against actions, but is especially against impure thoughts—the motives of my action. And for the Church all motives that it has not authorized are impure. A Church or other community does not produce genuine slaves until its priests or teachers regard themselves as advisers of conscience, and the believers must come to them (to the confessional) to receive the motives for their actions from them.