On the structure of morality

sat9dec2006—49w343d93%— 05h24m00s—0utc

If the headache would only precede the intoxication, alcoholism would be a virtue. (Samuel Butler WP)

(What he actually wrote, in The Note-books of Samuel Butler: Part II – Elementary Morality, is “Morality turns on whether the pleasure precedes or follows the pain. Thus, it is immoral to get drunk because the headache comes after the drinking, but if the headache came first, and the drunkenness afterwards, it would be moral to get drunk.” but it has been passed along in the shorter folk version above, which, I think, is as elegant a thought as a sentence can fit.))

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