Malice and benevolence

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 05.02.39Joseph Butler, Dalrymple explains,

does not deny that motives are often mixed, but this does not mean that all motives are really one meta- or mega-motive.

In this connection, Butler coins his dictum:

Everything is what it is, and not another thing. (This can be found in Fifteen Sermons, Preface §39.)

In other words, says Dalrymple,

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 05.06.10benevolence is benevolence and malice is malice, even if they co-exist in one human heart.


argument against self-love, self-interest or power being the only human motive is simple but decisive.

Dalrymple draws attention to Butler’s 1727 sermon Upon Human Nature, citing this passage:

That what has [the appearance of goodwill] is often nothing but ambition; that delight in superiority often (suppose always) mixes itself with benevolence, only makes it more specious to call it ambition than hunger, of the two; but in reality that passion does not more to account for the whole appearance of good-will than this appetite does. Is there not often the appearance of one man’s wishing that good to another, which he knows himself unable to procure him; and rejoicing in it, though bestowed by a third person? And can love of power any way possibly come in to account for this desire or delight?

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