Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Pleasure and Reason

 Discussion can take place only where a reason can be assigned, and if we can assign no reason why we delight in looking on a rose, what arguments can we resort to in attempting to discuss it? If, however, any reason could be assigned for the pleasing emotion excited by a rose, this reason, and the discussion founded upon it, so far from lessening our pleasure, would only serve to render it more agreeable and delightful. If reason could supply us with arguments to prove demonstratively, in what manner this pleasure arose from certain qualities which the Creator of our being had annexed to the rose, and by what laws these qualities were calculated to increase our happiness whenever we observed them, the conviction that our Creator adopted this means of affording us delight, must surely serve to increase the pleasure which the rose would have afforded us without this knowledge. Pleasure, so far from being lessened by knowing that it is rational, is always increased by the reflection of its being so.

Martin MacDermot, A Critical Dissertation on the Nature and Principles of Taste, p. 106.