By Andre J. Bélanger
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Arguing against Hobbes, as Cudworth had done, Clarke wished to develop a theory of ethics that would be equivalent to Newton's Principia in astronomy: a work of science. For Clarke there existed an "eternal Rule of Equity," universal and everlasting, antecedent to God's command, "founded on the eternal Reason of Things, as absolutely unalterable as Arithmetic Truths "(Selby-Bigge 1964, u: 29, 31). As Stephen comments, for Clarke, "things are not holy and good because commanded by God, but are commanded by God because holy and good" (1962, i: 104).
Virtue is reconciled with self-interest, as are, consequently, private interests with the public good. This approach, as we can see, is as functionalist as biology can be: private and public concerns are organically related to each other. There are many interesting and significant aspects to be found in Shaftesbury's work. First, reason loses its former pre-eminence in favour of sense, though the former is still expected to "secure a right application of the Affections" (Shaftesbury, from Willey 1949, 71).
8), and, as a matter of fact, it was through the door of rationalism that new developments on ethics were to be introduced. The argument from reason, however, belonged to the Catholic tradition and tended to wane as time went by. N A T U R A L LAW, A S T U M B L I N G BLOCK: HOBBES AND LOCKE Thomas Hobbes epitomizes, virtually in a single book, the process of secularization that would take more than a century to fully realize itself. Hobbes's innovation lies in the role he attributed to the intellect.