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said, that the voluntary action which is the immediate consequence and fruit of the mind's volition or choice, is determined by that which appears most

agreeable, than that the preference or choice itself is; but that the act of volition itself is always determined by that in or about the mind's view of the object, which causes it to appear most agreeable. I say, in or about the mind's view of the object, because what has infiuence to render an object in view agreeable, is not only what appears in the object viewed, but also the manner of the view, and the state and circumstances of the mind that views. Particularly to enumerate all things pertaining to the mind's view of the objects of volition, which have influence in their appearing agreeable to the mind, would be a matter of no small difficulty, and might require a treatise by itself, and is not necessary to my present purpose. I shall therefore only mention some things in general.

1. One thing that makes an object proposed to choice agreeable, is the apparent nature and circumstances of the object. And there are various things of this sort, that have a hand in rendering the object more or less agreeable; as,

1. That which appears in the object, which renders it beautiful and pleasant, or deformed and irksome to the mind; viewing it as it is in itself.

2. The apparent degree of pleasure or trouble attending the object, or the consequence of it. Such concomitants and consequences being viewed as circumstances of the object, are to be considered as belonging to it, and as it were parts of it; as it stands in the mind's view, as a proposed object of choice.

3. The apparent state of the pleasure or trouble that appears, with respect to distance of time; being either nearer or farther off. It is a thing in itself agreeable to the mind, to have pleasure speedily; and disagreeable to have it delayed; so that if there be two equal degrees of pleasure set in the mind's view, and all other things are equal, but only one is beheld as near, and the other far off;. the nearer will appear most agreeable, and so will be chosen. Because, though the agreeableness of the objects be exactly equal, as viewed in themselves, yet not as viewed in their circumstances; one of them having the additional agreeableness of the circumstance of nearness.

II. Another thing that contributes to the agreeableness of an object of choice, as it stands in the mind's view, is the manner of the view. If the object be something which appears connected with future pleasure, not only will the degree of apparent pleasure have influence, but also the manner of the view, especially in two respects.

1 With respect to the degree of judgment, or firmness of assent, with which the mind judges the pleasure to be future. Because it is more agreeable to have a certain happiness, than an uncertain one; and a pleasure viewed as more probable, all other things being equal, is more agreeable to the mind, than that which is viewed as less probable.

2. With respect to the degree of the idea of the future pleasure. With regard to things which are the subject of our thoughts, either past, present, or future, we have much more of an idea or apprehension of some things than others; that is, our idea is much more clear, lively and strong. Thus the ideas we have of sensible things by immediate sensation, are usually much more lively than those we have by mere imagination, or by contemplation of them when absent. My idea of the sun, when I look upon it, is more vivid than when I only think of it. Our idea of the sweet relish of a delicious fruit, is usually stronger when we taste it, than when we only imagine it. And sometimes the ideas we have of things by contemplation, are much stronger and clearer, than at other times. Thus, a man at one time has a much stronger idea of the pleasure which is to be enjoyed in eating some sort of food that he loves, than at

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another. Now the degree, or strength of the idea or sense that men liave of future good or evil, is one thing that has great influence on their minds to excite choice or volition. When of two kinds of future pleasure, which the mind considers of, and are presented for choice, both are supposed exactly equal by the judgment, and both equally certain, and all other things are equal, but only one of them is what the mind has a far more lively sense of, than of the other ; this has the greatest advantage by far to affect and attract the mind, and move the Will. It is now more agreeable to the mind, to take the pleasure it has a strong and lively sense of, than that which it has only a faint idea of. The view of the former is attended with the strongest appetite, and the greatest uneasiness attends the want of it; and it is agreeable to the mind to have uneasiness removed, and its appetite gratified. And if several future enjoyments are presented together, as competitors for the choice of the mind, some of them judged to be greater, and others less; the mind also having a greater sense and more lively idea of the good of some of them, and of others a less; and some are viewed as of greater certainty or probability than others; and those enjoyments that appear most agreeable in one of these respects, appear least so in others; in this case, all other things being equal, the agreeableness of a proposed object of choice will be in a degree some way compounded of the degree of good supposed by the judgment, the degree of apparent probability or certainty of that good, and the degree of the view or sense, or liveliness of the idea the mind has of that good; because all together concur to constitute the degree in which the object appears at present agreeable; and accordingly volition will be determined.

I might further observe, the state of the mind that views a proposed object of choice, is another thing that contributes to the agreeableness or disagreeableness of that object; the particular temper which the mind has by nature, or that has been introduced and established by education, example, custom, or some other means ; or the frame or state that the mind is in on a particular occasion. That object which appears agreeable to one, does not so to another. And the same object does not always appear alike agreeable, to the same person, at different times. It is most agreeable to some men, to follow their reason; and to others, to follow their appetites: to some men it is more agreeable to deny a vicious inclination, than to gratify it; others it suits best to gratify the vilest appetites. It is more disagreeable to some men than others, to counteract a former resolution. In these respects, and many others which might be mentioned, different things will be most agreeable to different persons; and not only 80, but to the same persons at different times.

But possibly it is needless and improper, to mention the frame and state of the mind, as a distinct ground of the agreeableness of objects from the other two mentioned before, viz., the apparent nature and circumstances of the objects viewed, and the manner of the view; perhaps if we strictly consider the matter

, the different temper and state of the mind makes no alteration as to the agreeableness of objects, any other way than as it makes the objects themselves appear differently beautiful or deformed, having apparent pleasure or pain attending them; and as it occasions the manner of the view to be different, causes the idea of beauty or deformity, pleasure or uneasiness to be more or

However, I think so much is certain, that volition, in no one instance that can be mentioned, is otherwise than the greatest apparent good is, in the manner which has been explained. The choice of the mind never departs from that which at that time, and with respect to the direct and immediate objects of

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less lively.

that decision of the mind, appears most agreeable and pleasing, all things considered. · If the immediate objects of the Will are a man's own actions, then those actions which appear most agreeable to him he wills. If it be now most agreeable to him, all things considered, to walk, then he wills to walk. If it be now, upon the whole of what at present appears to him, most agreeable to speak, then he chooses to speak : if it suits him best to keep silence, then he chooses to keep silence. There is scarcely a plainer and more universal dictate of the sense and experience of mankind, than that, when men act voluntarily, and do what they please, then they do what suits them best, or what is most agreeable to them. To say, that they do what they please, or what pleases them, but yet do not do what is agreeable to them, is the same thing as to say, they do what they please, but do not act their pleasure; and that is to say,

that they do what they please, and yet do not do what they please.

It appears from these things, that in some sense, the Will always follows the last dictate of the understanding. But then the understanding must be taken in a large sense, as including the whole faculty of perception or apprehension, and not merely what is called reason or judgment. If by the dictate of the understanding is meant what reason declares to be best or most for the person's happiness, taking in the whole of his duration, it is not true, that the Will always follows the last dictate of the understanding. Such a dictate of reason is quite a different matter from things appearing now most agreeable; all things being put together which pertain to the mind's present perceptions, apprehensions or ideas, in any respect. Although that dictate of reason, when it takes place, is one thing that is put into the scales, and is to be considered as a thing that has concern in the compound influence which moves and induces the Will ; and is one thing that is to be considered in estimating the degree of that appearance of good which the Will always follows ; either as having its influence added to other things, or subducted from them. When it concurs with other things, then its weight is added to them, as put into the same scale ; but when it is against them, it is as a weight in the opposite scale, where it resists the influence of other things: yet its resistance is often overcome by their greater weight, and so the act of the Will is determined in opposition to it.

The things which I have said, may, I hope, serve in some measure, to illustrate and confirm the position I laid down in the beginning of this section, viz., that the will is always determined by the strongest motive, or by that view of the mind which has the greatest degree of previous tendency to excite volition But whether I have been so happy as rightly to explain the thing wherein consists the strength of motives, or not, yet my failing in this will not overthrow the position itself; which carries much of its own evidence with it, and is the thing of chief importance to the purpose of the ensuing discourse and the truth of it, I hope, will appear with great clearness, before I have finished what I have to say on the subject of human liberty


Concerning the meaning of the terms. Necessity, Impossibility, Inability, &c., and

of Contingence.

The words necessary, impossible, &c., are abundantly used in controversito about Free Will and moral agency; and therefore the sense in which they are used, should be clearly understood.

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Here I might say, that a thing is then said to be necessary, when it must be and cannot be otherwise. But this would not properly be a definition of Necessity, or an explanation of the word, any more than if I explained the word must, by there being a necessity. The words must, can, and cannot, need explication, as much as the words necessary and impossible ; excepting that the formen are words that children commonly use, and know something of the meaning of earlier than the latter.

The word necessary, as used in common speech, is a relative term ; and relates to some supposed opposition made to the existence of the thing spoken of , which is overcome, or proves in vain to hinder or alter it. That is necessary, in the original and proper sense of the word, which is, or will be, notwithstanding all supposable opposition. To say, that a thing is necesasry, is the same thing as to say, that it is impossible it should not be : but the word impossible is manifestly a relative term, and has reference to supposed power exerted to bring a thing to pass, which is insufficient for the effect ; as the word unable is relative, and has relation to ability or endeavor which is insufficient; and as the word irresistible is relative, and has always reference to resistance which is made, or may be made to some force or power tending to an effect, and is insufficient to withstand the power or hinder the effect. The common notion of necessity and impossibility implies something that frustrates endeavor or desire.

Here several things are to be noted.

1. Things are said to be necessary in general, which are or will be not withstanding any supposable opposition from us or others, or from whatever quarter. But things are said to be necessary to us, which are or will be notwithstanding all opposition supposable in the case from us. The same may be observed of the word impossible, and other such like terms.

2. These terms necessary, impossible, irresistible, &c., do especially belong to the controversy about liberty and moral agency, as used in the latter of the two senses now mentioned, viz., as necessary or impossible to us, and with relation to any supposable opposition or endeavor of ours.

3. As the word Necessity in its vulgar and common use, is relative, and has always reference to some supposable insufficient opposition ; so when we speak of any thing as necessary to us, it is with relation to some supposable opposition of our Wills, or some voluntary exertion or effort of ou trary ; for we do not properly make opposition to an event, any otherwise than as we voluntarily oppose it. Things are said to be what must be, or necessarily are, as to us, when they are, or will be, though we desire or endeavor the contrary, or try to prevent or remove their existence : but such opposition of ours always either consists in, or implies, opposition of our Wills.

It is manifest that all such like words and phrases, as vulgarly used, are used and accepted in this manner.

A thing is said to be necessary, when we cannot help it, let us do what we will. So any thing is said to be impossible to us, when we would do it, or would have it brought to pass, and endeavor it; or at least

may be supposed to desire and seek it ; but all our desires and endeavors are, or would be vain. And that is said to be irresistible, which overcomes all our opposition, resistance, and endeavors to the contrary. And We are said to be unable to do a thing, when our supposable desires and endeavors to do it are insufficient.

We are accustomed, in the common use of language, to apply and understand these phrases in this sense ; we grow up with such a habit ; which by the daily use of these terms, in such a sense, from our childhood, becomes fixed. and settled; so that the idea of a relation to a supposed will, desire and endeavor VOL. II.


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of ours, is strongly connected with these terms, and naturally excited in our minds, whenever we hear the words used. Such ideas, and these words, are so united and associated, that they unavoidably go together ; one suggests the other, and carries the other with it, and never can be separated as long as we live. And if we use the words, as terms of art, in another sense, yet, unless we are exceeding circumspect and wary, we shall insensibly slide into the vulgar use of them, and so apply the words in a very inconsistent manner: this habitual connection of ideas will deceive and confound us in our reasonings and discourses, wherein we pretend to use these terms in that manner, as terms of art

4. It follows from what has been observed, that when these terms necessary, impossible, irresistible, unable, &c., are used in cases wherein no opposition, or insufficient will or endeavor, is supposed, or can be supposed, but the very nature of the supposed case itself excludes and denies any such opposition, will or endeavor, these terms are then not used in their proper signification, but quite beside their use in common speech. The reason is manisest; namely, that in such cases we cannot use the words with reference to a supposable opposition, will or endeavor. And therefore, if any man uses these terms in such cases, he either uses them nonsensically, or in some new sense, diverse from their original and proper meaning. As for instance; if a man should affirm after this manner, that it is necessary for a man, and what must be, that a man should choose virtue rather than vice, during the time that he prefers virtue to vice; and that it is a thing impossible and irresistible, that it should be otherwise than that he should have this choice, so long as this choice continues; such a man would use the terms must, irresistible, &c., with perfect insignificance and nonsense ; or in some new sense, diverse from their common use; which is with reference, as has been observed, to supposable opposition, unwillingness and resistance; whereas, here, the very supposition excludes and denies any such thing: for the case supposed is that of being willing and choosing.

5. It appears from what has been said, that these terms necessary, impossible, &c., are often used by philosophers and metaphysicians in a sense quite diverse from their common use and original signification : for they apply them to many cases in which no opposition is supposed or supposable. Thus they use them with respect to God's existence before the creation of the world, when there was no other being but He: so with regard to many of the dispositions and acts of the Divine Being, such as his loving himself, his loving righteousness, hating sin, &c. So they apply these terms to many cases of the inclinations and actions of created intelligent beings, angels and men ; wherein all opposition of the Will is shut out and denied, in the very supposition of the case.

Metaphysical or Philosophical Necessity is nothing different from their certainty. I speak not now of the certainty of knowledge, but the certainty that is in things themselves, which is the foundation of the certainty of the knowledge of them ; or that wherein lies the ground of the infallibility of the proposition which affirms them.

What is sometimes given as the definition of philosophical Necessity, namely, that by which a thing cannot but be, or whereby it cannot be otherwise, fails of being a proper explanation of it, on two accounts : first, the words can, or cannot, need explanation as much as the word Necessity; and the former inay as well be explained by the latter, as the latter by the former. Thus, if any one asked us what we mean, when we say, a thing cannot but be, we might explain ourselves by saying, we mean, it must necessarily be so; as well as explain Necessity, by saying, it is that by which a thing cannot but be. And secondly, this definition is liable to the forementioned great inconvenience : the words

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