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Full extract:

Self-interest, or rather self-love, or egoism, has been more plausibly substituted as the basis of morality. But I consider our relations with others as constituting the boundaries of morality. With ourselves, we stand on the ground of identity, not of relation, which last, requiring two subjects, excludes self-love confined to a single one. To ourselves, in strict language, we can owe no duties, obligation requiring also two parties. Self-love, therefore, is no part of morality. Indeed, it is exactly its counterpart.

Sentence:

With ourselves, we stand on the ground of identity, not of relation, which last, requiring two subjects, excludes self-love confined to a single one. To ourselves, in strict language, we can owe no duties,

What does he mean by last???

By "single one" does he refer to oneself?
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Full extract:

Self-interest, or rather self-love, or egoism, has been more plausibly substituted as the basis of morality. But I consider our relations with others as constituting the boundaries of morality. With ourselves, we stand on the ground of identity, not of relation, which last, requiring two subjects, excludes self-love confined to a single one. To ourselves, in strict language, we can owe no duties, obligation requiring also two parties. Self-love, therefore, is no part of morality. Indeed, it is exactly its counterpart.

Sentence:

With ourselves, we stand on the ground of identity, not of relation, which last, requiring two subjects, excludes self-love confined to a single one. To ourselves, in strict language, we can owe no duties,

What does he mean by last??? The last thing mentioned, 'the latter', ie relation.

By "single one" does he refer to oneself? Yes, a single person, whcih in the case of self-love would be oneself.

As you probably know, this passage is by Thomas Jefferson. For a fuller discussion of ethical egoism, have a look here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethical_egoism

Best wishes, Clive
Can you say which first, which second, which third, etc????
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Hi again,
No, don't say that. It's not idiomatic.

I hope you won't be offended if I point out that you have said neither 'please' nor 'thank you' so far.

Clive
Thank you.

However, I have another question.

Are which first and which last idiomatic???
Hi,
You're welcome.

'Which first' is not idiomatic. And 'which last' seems literary and even rather old-fashioned. People ceratinly don't go around talking like that today.

Don't forget that Jefferson wrote this letter a long time ago.

Best wishes again, Clive
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Ok, thank you.
A game of chess is a finite sequence of states of which first is the initial state, the last is a terminal state, an each state-transition is permissible. Two games are formally identical if they are identical state by state.

Are you sure which first is not idiomatic?
Hi,

A game of chess is a finite sequence of states of which first is the initial state, the last is a terminal state, an each state-transition is permissible. Two games are formally identical if they are identical state by state.

Are you sure which first is not idiomatic?

This is a different kind of syntax which does not even use the term we were originally discussing, ie .'which last'.

This new text does not seen grammatical to me. I'd write it thus.

A game of chess is a finite sequence of states of which the first is the initial state, the last is the terminal state, and an "each state-transition" is permissible. Two games are formally identical if they are identical state by state.

The kind of example s you should be looking for is one that has a list of two or more things,.

eg I bought a chair, a table and a mirror, which last has a gold frame. You can't refer to the chair by saying 'which first'. Even 'which last' sounds uncommon, literary and even somewhat archaic.

Best wishes, Clive
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