On Actions and Reactions


Newton on the basis of physical experience, i.e., empiricism, assumed the universal principle that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Chemists on the basis of physical experience hold to universal laws with regards to various chemical reactions.

Moral laws, however, are different from empirical laws which are physical laws based on experience. Moral laws are derived not from empirical experience but rather from pure rationality.

The ability to do or to refrain from doing something is a pure rational concept totally independent of objects. If this rational concept is combined with the conscious ability to bring about an end, by someone’s action then it is called a choice. If this rationality is not combined with this conscious ability to bring about an end by someone’s action then it is called a wish.

This is confirmed by what happens in states; for politicians make the citizens good by forming habits in them, and those who do not effect it miss their mark, and it is in this that a good one differs from a bad one.