Catalog # SKU1724
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name William DeWitt Hyde




Ethics is the science of conduct, and the art of life. Life consists in the maintenance of relations; it requires continual adjustment; it implies external objects, as well as internal forces. Conduct must have materials to work with; stuff to build character out of; resistance to overcome; objects to confront. These objects nature has abundantly provided.

From the Author:

The steady stream of works on ethics during the last ten years, rising almost to a torrent within the past few months, renders it necessary for even the tiniest rill to justify its slender contribution to the already swollen flood.

On the one hand treatises abound which are exhaustive in their presentation of ethical theory. On the other hand books are plenty which give good moral advice with great elaborateness of detail. Each type of work has its place and function. The one is excellent mental gymnastic for the mature; the other admirable emotional pabulum for the childish mind. Neither, however, is adapted both to satisfy the intellect and quicken the conscience at that critical period when the youth has put away childish things and is reaching out after manly and womanly ideals.

The book which shall meet this want must have theory; yet the theory must not be made obtrusive, nor stated too abstractly. The theory must be deeply imbedded in the structure of the work; and must commend itself, not by metaphysical deduction from first principles, but by its ability to comprehend in a rational and intelligible order the concrete facts with which conduct has to do.

Such a book must be direct and practical. It must contain clear-cut presentation of duties to be done, virtues to be cultivated, temptations to be overcome, and vices to be shunned: yet this must be done, not by preaching and exhortation, but by showing the place these things occupy in a coherent system of reasoned knowledge. Such a blending of theory and practice, of faith and works, is the aim and purpose of this book.

The only explicit suggestions of theory are in the introduction (which should not be taken as the first lesson) and in the last two chapters. Religion is presented as the consummation, rather than the foundation of ethics; and the brief sketch of religion in the concluding chapter is confined to those broad outlines which are accepted, with more or less explicitness, by Jew and Christian, Catholic and Protestant, Orthodox and Liberal.



Virtue is manliness or womanliness. It is the steadfast assertion of what we see to be our duty against the solicitations of temptation. Virtue is mastery; first of self, and through self-mastery, the mastery of the objects with which we come in contact.

Since duty is the maintenance of self and its objects in highest realization, and virtue is constant and joyous fidelity to duty, it follows that duty and virtue cannot fail of that enlargement and enrichment of life which is their appropriate reward.

The reward of virtue will vary according to the duty done and the object toward which it is directed. The virtues which deal with mere things will bring as their rewards material prosperity. The virtues which deal with ideal objects will have their reward in increased capacities, intensified sensibilities, and elevated tastes. The virtues which deal with our fellow-men will be rewarded by enlargement of social sympathy, and deeper tenderness of feeling. The virtues which are directed toward family, state, and society, have their reward in that exalted sense of participation in great and glorious aims, which lift one up above the limitations of his private self, and can make even death sweet and beautiful-a glad and willing offering to that larger social self of which it is the individual's highest privilege to count himself a worthy and honorable member.

Life, however, is not this steady march to victory, with beating drums and flying banners, which, for the sake of continuity in description, we have thus far regarded it. There are hard battles to fight; and mighty foes to conquer. We must now return to those other possible relations which we left when we selected for immediate consideration that one right relation which we call duty.

Since there is only one right relation between self and an object, all others must be wrong. These other possible relations are temptations. Temptation is the appeal of an object to a single side of our nature as against the well-being of self as a whole. Each object gives rise to many temptations. "Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction."

Just as duty performed gives rise to virtue, so temptation, yielded to, begets vice. Vice is the habitual yielding to temptation.

Temptations fall into two classes. Either we are tempted to neglect an object, and so to give it too little influence over us; or else we are tempted to be carried away by an object, and to give it an excessive and disproportionate place in our life. Hence the resulting vices fall into two classes. Vices resulting from the former sort of temptation are vices of defect. Vices resulting from the latter form of temptation are vices of excess. As one of these temptations is usually much stronger than the other, we will discuss simply the strongest and most characteristic temptation in connection with each object. Yet as both classes of vice exist with reference to every object, it will be best to consider both.

Vice carries its penalty in its own nature. Being a perversion of some object, it renders impossible that realization of ourselves through the object, or in the higher relations, that realization of the object through us, on which the harmony and completeness of our life depends. In the words of Plato: "Virtue is the health and beauty and well-being of the soul, and vice is the disease and weakness and deformity of the soul."


Outline of Practical Ethics
Chapter I. Food and Drink.
Chapter II. Dress.
Chapter III. Exercise.
Chapter IV. Work.
Chapter V. Property.
Chapter VI. Exchange.
Chapter VII. Knowledge.
Chapter VIII. Time.
Chapter IX. Space.
Chapter X. Fortune.
Chapter XI. Nature.
Chapter XII. Art.
Chapter XIII. Animals.
Chapter XIV. Fellow-men.
Chapter XV. The Poor.
Chapter XVI. Wrongdoers.
Chapter XVII. Friends.
Chapter XVIII. The Family.
Chapter XIX. The State.
Chapter XX. Society.
Chapter XXI. Self.
Chapter XXII. God.

Softcover, 8¼" x 10¾", 150+ pages
Perfect-Bound Large Print Edition (14 point font)

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