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That doctrine explains the peremptoriness, the sacredness, the universality of moral obligation, made known to us, as it is, by the dictates of conscience.
In the presence of any earthly good our wills are free, at least after the first involuntary tendency to what attracts them; they are not necessitated to full and deliberate action.
The question of the source of moral obligation is perhaps the chief of these problems, and it is certainly not one of the easiest or least important.
We all acknowledge that we are in general under an obligation not to commit murder, but when we ask for the ground of the obligation, we get almost as many different answers as there are systems of ethics.
Although society at large is much concerned that children should be trained in respect and deference towards lawful authority, yet even the demands of society do not explain what we mean when we affirm that children are obliged to obey their parents.
There is a peremptoriness, a sacredness, a universality about the obligation of duty, which can only be explained by calling to mind what man is, what is his origin, and what is his destiny.