The 'conceived good of the self as a whole' may, then, find expression in certain circumstances in an 'egoistic' end: a fact which does not, however, disqualify it in any way as the principle of morality. On the other hand (to return to our old theme) it is not true that it can find expression only in egoistic ends. For consider. The various 'personal goods' which are the material out of which is constructed the conceived good of the self as a whole - the 'end of the self as such' - need not be solely, nor even dominantly, egoistic. That we saw in our discussion of the nature of desire. Why then should the 'construct,' the conceived good of the self as a whole, be solely, or even dominantly, egoistic? It seems just worth while pointing out that it not only need not, but in fact normally will not. The policy of life expressive of the good of the self as a whole (which, though not for most selves recognisable in this guise, is yet evolved naturally by a self conscious of its own perduring identity) will normally be charged with many altruistic elements. The interest in the welfare of others is not an exotic plant that blooms only in a rarefied atmosphere. It is of the very stuff of human nature. The problems which centre upon the origin and nature of the social instinct are too formidable even to allude to in a passing reference, but, whatever their solution may be, it is incontrovertible that man has normally an interest in, or desire for, the well-being of at least some other persons. Moreover, although this interest is confined in the early stages of civilisation to the family or the clan, a survey of the facts suggests strongly that there is such 'a natural principle of attraction in man towards man,' that the inclusion of all humanity within the ambit of the social interest may not extravagantly be called its natural termination. As Green has said, what needs to be explained is not the width and depth of modern expressions of the social interest, but rather the limitations to which it has been subject in previous history. Contact of man with man does spontaneously generate a sympathetic interest. We find this to be matter of fact, true to a surprising degree even where the character of the person 'contacted' is in many respects displeasing to us. Through contact we come to appreciate other men, who may previously have been 'foreigners' to us in every significant sense, as men like ourselves; and once this realisation of a common humanity is aroused, interest in their welfare seems to follow instinctively.
However this may be, there are certainly few persons in whom the social interest is not alive, even if its range be often distressingly restricted. And the present point is that this interest must function in precisely the same way as other interests - interests in sport, or culture, or wealth, or 'sex' - in determining the conceived good of the self as a whole. Furthermore, this interest will be enormously enhanced in effectiveness where, through the teachings of philosophy or religion, or by some other 'humane' influence, the agent has been brought to realise the unique ontological significance of 'self-hood.' When this happens, there is generated a respect for personality as such which is utterly antipathetic to a selfishly oriented 'good of the self as a whole'.
The vital thing to keep in mind in this whole matter is that the self's interest in private satisfactions is normally only one interest among many. Private happiness is one of the manifold ends of our manifold desires, and it has absolutely nothing peculiar about it as an end which gives to it any special centrality in the determination of 'the end of the self as such.' It is perhaps not possible to deny that it may become the object of so overwhelming an interest that all other ends are conceived to be of insignificant value beside it. We should then have the 'good of the self as a whole' conceived in purely egoistic terms. But such ego-centricity, if it ever is, is definitely an abnormality. Strong social interests are part of the natural equipment of human nature, and determine the content of the 'conceived good of the self as a whole' in a way which sharply contrasts it with the end of sheer egoism.
A further line of argument may be utilised against those who deprecate our doctrine as 'egoistic.' It may be pointed out that all moral education rests on the tacit presupposition that the moral principle is 'egoistic' in exactly our sense. From Socrates onward, the characteristic method of the moral teacher and the moral reformer has been to show the pupil, by inducing a more vivid and accurate insight into the nature of his self and his world, that this, and not that, is what he really wants. The appeal throughout is to interests which are latent, or whose applicability to the ruling 'circumstances' has not been realised, in the confident belief that they will, once stimulated, express themselves effectively in the pupil's conception of the good of his self as a whole. How, for example, does one seek to give a child (or an adult, for that matter) a 'conscience' on the matter of kind treatment of dumb animals? Are not our chief efforts directed to stimulating a lively realisation of the actual sufferings of these creatures under ill-usage, in order that the natural sympathy with fellow-sentients, unawakened here so far because of sheer lack of imagination, may be at last aroused? Or how, again, does the intelligent administrator in 'outposts of Empire,' or the missionary, in so far as his strictly ethical mission is concerned, seek to reform the moral ideals of savages? Is it not just by leading them to see, by enlargement of their vision of the factors involved, that what they really want will be better achieved in the new way than in the old? Only through this appeal to real, as against apparent, 'personal good' can moral persuasion, so far as I can see, have any effect at all.
No, it may be said, the appeal is to 'good,' of course, but not to 'personal good.' The appeal is to those objective, independent goods which are obligatory in their own right, and are recognised to be so wherever the 'moral faculty' is permitted to function purely. These self-evident eternal obligations, binding everywhere and always, are the sole principles of morals, and only through appeal to them can anything which deserves the title of 'moral' education be effective.
'Intuitionalism' in ethics is, in some form or another, sponsored by so many eminent thinkers at the present time that no one dare treat it with less than respect. Yet I am convinced that it is in principle an untenable type of theory: untenable, moreover, for reasons which have long been a commonplace of ethical literature. If I may be pardoned a partial digression, I should like to state shortly what seem to me to be the outstanding objections to Intuitionalist ethics, paying regard, at the same time, to certain recent attempts to counter these objections.