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ments. And though the water cannot ascend, yet men never say it wants the liberty to ascend, but the faculty or power, because the impediment is in the nature of the water and intrinsical." So if man be free from extrinsic necessitation, though all his volitions be intrinsically necessitated, he is by the definition of Mr. Hobbes enjoying all the liberty of which he is capable. Let there be no external impediment in the way of the manifestation of the volition, and no matter how man comes by the volition, whether by adamantine causation crowding in upon the will from without, whether by creation, or fatalistic necessity; yet, by the theory of Hobbes, and of Edwards also, the man is not only free, but has all the liberty of which human nature is capable.
PROFESSOR HAVEN'S THEORY OF FREEDOM The definition of liberty given by professor Haven, in his generally excellent Mental Philosophy, is essentially that of Hobbes, although his application of it is widely different. “ Any faculty of the mind or organ of the body is free when ils own specific and proper action is not hindered."1 Professor Haven, however, carefully discriminates between freedom of action and freedom of will, and in application of his definition makes it the “specific and proper action” of the will to put forth volitions according to the “ inclination." : When there is no hinderance to our putting forth volitions "as we are inclined,” the will is free. But this "inclination" is of course necessitated, for all the action of the sensibilities is necessitated. Circumstances fix the inclinations, the inclinations fix the choice, and the choice fixes the volition. Here, to use Dr. Whedon's illustration, are four ninepins in a row. No. 1 (representing circumstances) knocks down No. 2, No. 2 knocks down No. 3, and that No. 4, which is the volition. No. 4 is (by the theory) “ free,” in falling, but that freedom “ consists in the absoluteness of its being knocked down by No. 3, as that is by its predecessors." The lengthening of the series only pushes the necessitation 1 Mental Philosophy, p. 538.
2 Ibid., p. 545.
further out of sight, but there it is, after all. But Professor Haven tells us that we may indirectly modify these “inclinations” by shaping our character. But how can we shape our character except by volition, and is not that volition determined by previous "inclinations ” ? This theory, then, only gives us liberty in words; it makes a promise which it cannot fulfil.
AUTHOR'S DEFINITION OF FREEDOM. Our author thus defines freedom of will : “ Supposing a given volition to be in the agent's contemplation, it is the unrestricted power of putting forth, in the same unchanged circumstances, another volition instead" (p. 25). The last word in this definition is important, as showing the true meaning of the phrase “ power of contrary choice." By this is not meant “ability to put forth two acts at the same time; choosing as one does, and as he does not,” 2 but ability to put forth another volition instead of the one actually put forth. This the author shows (as we judge) to be the freedom necessary as the foundation of moral obligation, the freedom assumed in all allegations of responsibility, in all expressions of praise and blame, the freedom that makes God's moral government a possibility.
In defining freedom, our author also, in peculiar phraseology, marks a distinction, of which he makes great use throughout his work. He sets it forth thus : “ Freedom is exemption. Either it is exemption from some impediment to the performance of some act, which is freedom to the act; or it is an exemption from a limitation, confinement, or compulsion to perform the act, and this is a freedom in direction from the act. To non-volitional objects there belongs only the first of these two freedoms. All mechanisms are free only to the sole mode of act or state in which they are, or are about to be: The clock that strikes is free not from but only to the stroke. The river that flows (and this remark meets precisely the illustration of Hobbes) is free
1 Mental Philosophy, p. 548. 2 Bib. Sacra, Vol. XX. p. 323.
only to the current, but not from ..... An agent, exempt only from impediment, and so free only to the act, has not the proper freedom of a volitional agent, but of a machine. As the clock-hammer, in the given case, is free only to the stroke, so the agent, in the given case, is free to the given volition, and not also in direction from it. He has only the freedom of a mechanical object, not the freedom of a volitional agent” (pp. 23, 24). Now it will be found that no necessitarian scheme yet invented embraces both these kinds of freedom at the same time. When closely analyzed and logically run out, every such scheme proves to be simply the clock-hammer liberty, and no more.
THE INFINITE-SERIES OBJECTION.
It will be noticed that the distinction between “ voluntary” and “volitional” avoids this objection entirely. Because our outward acts are always preceded by a volition, it by no means follows that the same thing is true of volitional acts. Yet this is the assumption on which the infinite-series objection is based, and from which comes all its force. The famous phrase," self-determining power of the will ” is, however, highly objectionable, from its manifold ambiguities, and is consequently discarded by our author, unless when carefully explained. Thus “self” may refer to “power," or to "will,” or to the agent possessing both; and “ will,” in this phrase, sometimes means the faculty, and sometimes the act of the faculty. It is not wonderful that so skilful a logician as Edwards found the phrase to involve infinite absurdities.
Edwards proposes the question : “ What determines the will ? ” yet really proceeds to discuss the question : “ What causes the particular volition?” Our author is the first, as far as we know, to point out that these two questions are really identical, — the same question in different words. Hence they are met with the same answer. The will, in its proper conditions, is a complete cause of its effect. When it
1 See Elwards's Inquiry, Part II., Sect. 1. 2 Ibid., Part I., Sect. 2.
is asked then,“ What determines it to that effect?" i.e.“ What causes it to cause that particular effect ?” the answer is “ Nothing WHATEVER,” for a complete cause needs nothing to cause it to cause its effect. A cause needs no subsidiary cause to cause it to cause. The will therefore, when in its proper causal conditions, requires no determiner; and thus 66 the tail of the infinite series is at once cut off.”
Of the several “ evasions " which Edwards invents and bestows upon Freedomists, Dr. Whedon accepts neither, since his answer differs from them all. If the will, in its conditions, is not determined at all, then it is unnecessary to tell how or by what it is determined.
NATURAL AND MORAL ABILITY. It is a universal conviction of man's moral nature, that power must underlie obligation. If then, man ought to choose what he does not, he must have volitional power adequate to such choice. If volition always follows the strongest motive, then God always requires of the sinner a volition contrary to the strongest motive-force. What now is the basis of this requirement? By the hypothesis there is a volitional powerlessness, called by necessitarians“ moral inability;" and is any basis for God's requirement of volition furnished by showing that the sinner has power to perform some outward act after he has willed ? It is volitional act that God's law requires; and by the hypothesis there is no volitional power. And, be it noted, it is volitional rather than voluntary acts that all God's commands require. Every man who is punished for sin is punished for not resisting the strongest motive; a thing that, by the Edwardean theory, no man ever did or ever can do. The conclusion does seem inevitable, that, upon this theory, in every case of disobedience, God's command is disobeyed because he has so constituted things that it cannot be obeyed. The “ ability” which Edwards makes the basis of human responsibility he himself shows to be as utterly out of man's reach, and therefore unavailable, as if it were in another world. To VOL. XXI. No. 83.
command a human sinner to do a holy deed does seem, on this theory, as inconsistent as to command him to grind corn with a water-power on the planet Herschell.
Our author gives an extended and thorough criticism of the whole Edwardean doctrine of “natural and moral abil. ity” (pp. 239 – 271). Edwards is shown, conclusively as it seems to us, to have made here a distinction illusory, if not sophistical; and first, to have demonstrated in behalf of the doctrine of necessity the non-existence of volitional power against the strongest motive force, which he calls“ moral inability;" while secondly, in behalf of the demands of responsibility, he contradictorily maintains that this “inability" is properly no inability at all, for, as he says, the word cannot properly be applied to choice, but only to actions sequent upon choice. Our author shows that this so-called “ moral cannot” has no basis in human language or literature; that the whole theory is metaphysically baseless, and leads to pulpit sophistry and equivocation.
POWER OF CONTRARY CHOICE. “ Contrary choice” is another objectionable phrase, giving rise to the plausibly sounding objection : “ What is the use of a power that is never used ?” The question might be retorted with some pertinence upon the advocates of a “natural ability” which is declared to be the basis of responsibility, and yet is ever utterly out of reach. But the force of the objection vanishes when it is seen that by “contrary choice” is meant simply alternative choice, — power to choose something else instead. But again, and this reply is unavailing for those who maintain the "invariable sequence theory,” the objector presupposes that there is a certain class or kind of motives which is never used, while the fact is that no such class exists previous to volition. The unused class is constituted such by the very act of volition. The question then is irrelevant, for all motives are alike “ used” in the volitional act. This leads us naturally to the