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A Table of the Springs of Action

Jeremy Bentham

Added by Bentham after the First Edition:

Since the printing of this Tract, the following apposite passage from Helvetius was discovered, and pointed out to the Author:

``Chaque passion a donc ses tours, ses expressions, et sa manière particulière de s'exprimer: aussi l'homme qui, par une analyse exacte des phrases et des expressions dont se servent les différentes passions, donneroit le signe auquel on peut les reconnoître, mériteroit sans doute infiniment de la reconnaissance publique. C'est alors qu'on pourroit, dans le faisceau de sentiments qui produisent chaque acte de notre volonté, distinguer du moins le sentiment qui domine en nous. Jusques-là hommes s'ignoreront eux-memes, et tomberont, en fait de sentiments, dans les erreurs les plus grossières.

Helvetius, de l'Esprit. Disc. iv. Ch. xi. final para.

In English, for those, who like me, are not fluent in French:

Each passion has then its turns, its expression, and its particular manner: therefore, the man who, by an exact analysis of the phrases and expressions used by the different passions, should give the signs by which we might know them, would doubtless highly deserve the gratitude of the public. Then we might, from the multitude of sensations produced by each act of the will, distinguish, at least that which rules over us. Till that time men will be ignorant of themselves, and will fall into the grossest errors.

Source of the text

This text was digitized from Volume I of the 1843 Bowring edition of Bentham's works.

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Last modified: Wed Feb 20 18:25:43 CST 2002