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."
Thus, even though it arose from national views, in its esseiice it is not national (as, for instance, the Israelite creed), but individualistic, and at the same time universal.
It becomes equivalent to economic laisser-faire and "Manchesterism," and as such it must fight its own corner with those who now take into consideration many national factors which had no place in the early utilitarian individualistic regime of Cobden's own day.
Many of the arguments by which the Sceptics enforced their ad vocacy of a suspense of judgment are antiquated in type, but many also are, within the limits of the individualistic theory of knowledge, quite unanswerable.