As against the stoical self-sufficiency of the moralists, he dwelt on the helplessness of man and his dependence on his maker.
The self-love theory of Hobbes, with its subtle perversions of the motives of ordinary humanity, led to a reaction which culminated in the utilitarianism of Bentham and the two Mills; but their theory, though superior to the extravagant egoism of Hobbes, had this main defect, according to Herbert Spencer, that it conceived the world as an aggregate of units, and was so far individualistic. Sir Leslie Stephen in his Science of Ethics insisted that the unit is the social organism, and therefore that the aim of moralists is not the "greatest happiness of the greatest number," but rather the "health of the organism."
Before concluding this sketch of the development of English ethical thought from Hobbes to the thinkers of the 19th century, it will be well to notice briefly the views held by different moralists on the question of free-will, - so far, that is, as they have been put forward as ethically important.
But in spite of the strong interest taken in the theological aspect of this question by the Protestant divines of the 17th century, it does not appear that English moralists from Hobbes to Hume laid any stress on the relation of free-will either to duty generally or to justice in particular.
In the ethical discussion of Shaftesbury and sentimental moralists generally this question drops naturally out of sight; and the cautious Butler tries to exclude its perplexities as far as possible from the philosophy of practice.