Philosophy, Psychology

and Humanities Web Site




WILLIAM FLEMING - 1890 - Table of contents

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H- I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W  

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





BENEVOLENCE (benevolentia, well-wishing), love to others; the motive prompting us to seek the good of others for its own sake.

Butler says (On Human Nature, Sermon I.) that "there are as real and the same kind of indications in human nature, that we were made for society and to do good to our fellow-creatures, as that we were intended to take care of our own life, and health, and private good." Those principles in our nature by which we are prompted to seek our own good are comprehended under the name of Self-love; those which lead us to seek the good of others are comprehended under the name of Benevolence. The Greek term was φιλανθρωπία, in the New Testament ἀγάπη, and among the Romans humanitas. Under these terms are comprehended all feelings and affections which lead us to increase the happiness and alleviate the sufferings of others.


According to some philosophers, our own good is the ultimate and only proper end of human actions, and when we do good to others it is done with a view to our own good. This is named The Selfish Philosophy, which in modern times has been maintained by Hobbes, Mandeville, Rochefoucault, and others. The opposite view, which is stated above in the words of Butler, has been strenuously defended by Cumberland, Hutcheson, Adam Smith, and Reid, and generally by moralists of the Intuitional School.

The Greatest Happiness theory, resting on the principle that "happiness is the only thing desirable," has passed away from the Egoistic form to the Altruistic, making its maxim the expression of Benevolence—"The Greatest Happiness of the greatest number." The theory either assumes that this maxim ought to supply the rule of life, or makes the practical power of the maxim depend on the consideration that, in seeking the happiness of others, we secure our own.

"Love is a matter of feeling, not of will or volition, and I cannot love because I will to do so, still less because I ought (I cannot be necessitated to love); hence there is no such thing as a duty to love. Benevolence, however (amor benevolentiœ), as a mode of action, may be subject to a law of duty " (Kant's Ethics, Abbot, p. 312).



© TORRE DE BABEL EDICIONES - Edition: Isabel Blanco  - Legal notice and privacy policy