He will not admit that there is any evidence of true virtue in the approbation of virtue and hatred of vice, in the workings of conscience or in the exercises of the natural affections; he thinks that these may all spring from self-love and the association of ideas, from " instinct " or from a " moral sense of a secondary kind " entirely different from " a sense or relish of the essential beauty of true virtue."
The identification is slightly qualified in Hutcheson's posthumously published System of Moral Philosophy (1755), in which the general view of Shaftesbury is more fully developed, with several new psychological distinctions, including Butler's, separation of " calm " benevolence - as well as, after Butler, " calm self-love " - from the " turbulent " passions, selfish or social.
Some years earlier, Gay,' admitting Hutcheson's proof of the actual disinterestedness of moral and benevolent impulses, had maintained that these (like the desires of knowledge or fame, the delight of reading, hunting and planting, &c.) were derived from self-love by " the power of association."
We have, in fact, to distinguish self-love, the " general desire that every man hath of his own happiness " or pleasure, from the particular affections, passions, and appetites directed towards objects other than pleasure, in the satisfaction of which pleasure consists.
Reid considers " regard for one's good on the whole " (Butler's self-love) and " sense of duty " (Butler's conscience) as two essentially distinct and co-ordinate rational principles, though naturally often comprehended under the one term, Reason.
The latter are " necessarily presupposed " as distinct impulses in " the very idea of an interested pursuit "; since, if there were no such pre-existing desires, there would be no pleasure for self-love to aim at.
Further, so far from bodily appetites (or other particular desires) being forms of self-love, there is no one of them which under certain circumstances may not come into conflict with it.
It also offended the self-love of most of the nobles and the clergy who were loath that a few of their number should be erected into a House of Lords.
Man's function is not fulfilled by obeying the passions, or even cool self-love, but by obeying conscience.
Wollaston's theory of moral evil as consisting in the practical contradiction of a true proposition, closely resembles the most paradoxical part of Clarke's doctrine, and was not likely to approve itself to the strong common sense of Butler; but his statement of happiness or pleasure as a " justly desirable " end at which every rational being " ought " to aim corresponds exactly to Butler's conception of self-love as a naturally governing impulse; while' the " moral arithmetic " with which he compares pleasures and pains, and endeavours to make the notion of happiness quantitatively precise, is an anticipation of Benthamism.