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Francis Garden - 1878 - Table of contents

Diccionario filosófico
Complete edition

Diccionario de Filosofía
Brief definition of the most important concepts of philosophy.


A Dictionary of English Philosophical Terms Francis Garden

Vocabulary of Philosophy, Psychological, Ethical, Metaphysical
William Fleming

Biografías y semblanzas Biographical references and lives of philosophers

Brief introduction to the thought of Ortega y Gasset

History of Philosophy Summaries

Historia de la Filosofía
Explanation of the thought of the great philosophers; summaries, exercises...

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Jaime Balmes

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Zeferino González

Vidas, opiniones y sentencias de los filósofos más ilustres
Complete digital edition of the work of Diogenes Laertius

Compendio de las vidas de los filósofos antiguos

A brief history of Greek Philosophy
B. C. Burt


A Short History of Philosophy





Moral. In its highest sense this word is synonymous with ethical. That is derived from ἦθος, which signifies both temper, character, and habit, manner, custom, in which sense it is equivalent to the Latin mos, from which our word moral is derived. Indeed the substantive morals is the translation of mores when the latter denotes ethical habits or manners. Aristotle calls attention to the slightness of difference between the words ἔθος and ἦθος, and considers ἔθος, habit or custom, as the creator of ἦθος, character.(1)


Moral bears another meaning. We apply it to a truth neither necessary nor in the full sense universal. We speak of moral as distinguished from demonstrative evidence, and moral as distinguished from full universality. "Dans une matière contingente, on se contente d'une universalité morale." (2) In this sense it corresponds very much with the ὡς ἐπὶ τό πολύ of Aristotle, and with our general and in general.

How the word moral came to be applied in this sense is a question on which I have not succeeded in getting much light. A friend suggests that it may have originated in the distinction between ethical and necessary truth, the former, as Aristotle warns his readers,(3) being unsusceptible of the accurate investigation and determination which can be applied to the latter, and hence the adjective moral may have had its meaning extended to all matter in the same situation, to all that is contingent.


(1) Eth. Nic. II. 1. See too PLATO, Laws, VII. 792 E.

(2) La Logique, ou l'Art de Penser, Port Royal, c. III.

(3) Eth. Nic. I. 3.



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