Proposition VIII. The knowledge of good and evil is nothing else but the emotions of pleasure or pain, in so far as we are conscious thereof.
We call a thing good or evil, when it is of service or the reverse in preserving our being, that is, when it increases or diminishes, helps or hinders, our power of activity.
Thus, in so far as we perceive that a thing affects us with pleasure or pain, we call it good or evil; wherefore the knowledge of good and evil is nothing else but the idea of the pleasure or pain, which necessarily follows from that pleasurable or painful emotion. But this idea is united to the emotion in the same way as mind is united to body; that is, there is no real distinction between this idea and the emotion or idea of the modification of the body.