Wollstonecraft, Mary (1759–1797)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-L116-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved November 30, 2022, from

4. Moral philosophy

The purpose of human life is perfection of human faculties in the imitation of God, who is moral perfection; however human perfection can be achieved only beyond the grave. In this life imitation of God consists in virtue, that is, acting autonomously from moral principle derived by reason from the attributes of God. Moral principles are not specified, but the supreme principle seems to be universal benevolence, conjoined with or entailing a principle of justice; God’s benevolence can be inferred from the convenient arrangements for his creatures manifested in nature. Benevolence prompted by sympathy for particular cases is a juvenile precursor, perhaps a precondition, of rational, adult morality motivated by principled universal benevolence.

Citing this article:
Zaw, Susan Khin. Moral philosophy. Wollstonecraft, Mary (1759–1797), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-L116-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2022 Routledge.

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