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mine; man necessarily follows his strongest impulse, and has no will other than that of the brutes. And since feelings are called into exercise largely by external things, man's action, to that extent, would . be the necessary effect of external forces acting on him.
IV. The action of motives on the will may be called influence; by this name the action of motives may be distinguished both from causal efficiency and from determination. The motives do not cause the will to determine this way rather than that; they do not determine it to determine; but they influence it by incitation to act, by impulse towards this rather than that; by appetites and desires, by affections, affinities and repulsions, by scientific, moral, æsthetic, prudential and religious feelings. These belong to the constitution. They move man to action. They interest him in objects of pursuit. Without them man would be but as a log floating in the water, desiring nothing, seeking nothing, interested in nothing, moved only by wind and wave and current. Motives, therefore, are prerequisites to the possibility of a determination; for without them man would have nothing to determine. But the motives do not cause the determination nor decide what it shall be. They merely incite and impel. They influence the man. The determination of object and action amid all these motives is the act of the will—a simple act, incapable of analytical definition. What it is, we know only in our own consciousness of choosing and willing. In the light of reason man rises above his natural impulses and all his motives, surveys and compares them and their objects, and determines. It is man's assertion in action of his own personality and superiority to nature; in the determination of the will he takes command of himself:
“Unless above himself he can erect himself,
How poor a thing is man.”
A person exerts moral influence on another only by arousing feelings which incite and impel. This may be done by presenting truth to the intellect; but not merely by that, as some theorists suppose. Feelings are communicated from one person to another by sympathy. Laughter and tears, cheerfulness and gloom, calmness and agitation, courage and fear pass from person to person by a sort of contagion. The presence of a crowd of people multiplies the power of eloquence. A loving heart adds persuasiveness to words. Moral influence goes out from music, from a commanding presence, from a magnetic personality. Enthusiasm kindles enthusiasm. The power of inspiration of a successful educator or speaker or leader is not merely the power of imparting truth to the intellect, but of rousing the motives which impel to the work in hand.
And this is as far in the way of moral influence as man can go. He can come to the confines of another's being and throw in his persuasions; he can instruct the intellect and arouse the feelings. But he cannot pass within those confines to determine and act. In the inviolable solitude of his own personality every man determines his ends and actions for himself.
Influence differs from physical force both in the objects related and in the nature of the relation. A bat and the ball which is struck by it are different in kind from a motive and a will; and the force imparted to the ball by the stroke which puts it in motion is different from the incitement or impulse of a motive. Persons sometimes speak of coercing the will. But force cannot act directly on the will; it can reach it only as it excites feeling. Force has no relevancy to the will. To speak of coercing the will is to use words without meaning. And this is not altered by the fact that molecular motion of the brain is coincident with feeling and willing; because motion cannot be identified with the phenomena of consciousness, nor transformed into them. This will be shown hereafter.
In the more intelligent brutes, appetites, desires and affections are apparently the same in kind with the natural appetites, desires and affections in man. The difference here is in the different constitution of man. As endowed with reason he is the subject of rational sensibilities inciting to action in spheres entirely closed to the brute; and he is able to compare all motives and their objects in the light of rational truths, and of moral law, and of ideals of perfection, and of good estimated by reason as of true worth, and of his relations to God. Thus he is able to rise above his nature and determine his ends and his actions. The motives incite, but they do not determine. The brute, on the other hand, is determined by the impulses of nature; it refrains from following an impulse only when impelled otherwise by a stronger impulse. A brute's ends and actions are determined for it in its nature; a man's ends and actions are determined by him in his free-will. The strongest impulse is determinant in the brute; it is not determinant in the man.
If, as some insist, brutes have reason and will the same in kind with man, that would not prove that man sinks to the brute, but only that brutes are elevated to the man. Brutes would then be moral agents, responsible for their actions and having personal rights as members of society. The question of universal suffrage would at once acquire a new significance. And a new reformatory movement would become necessary against the buying, selling and enslaving of beings, who, as endowed with reason and free-will, are persons in the image of God.
V. The determinations of the will are always made under the influence of motives.
This is a necessary inference from the positions already attained. The action of the will presupposes causal powers to be exerted and directed, and constitutional impulses of various kinds. Without these there can be no determination, for there is nothing to be determined. There cannot even be any action, for there is no incitement or motive to action.
And this accords with consciousness. Whenever we act we are conscious of some motive inciting to the action. It is only by presenting motives that we try to influence others. We never expect a man to act without a motive.
Some controversialists, opposing theories of the influence of motives supposed to be incompatible with freedom, have gone to the extreme of denying that motives have any influence on the determinations of the will. Prof. Henry P. Tappan says: The will“ is a conscious self-moving power which may obey reason in opposition to passion, or passion in opposition to reason, or both in their harmonious union ; lastly, which may act in the indifference of all, that is, without reference to reason or passion.” “The will in its utmost simplicity is pure power.” If we ask why it determines this way rather than that, it “neither admits nor requires any other explanation than this, that the will has power to do one or the other.” He also regards the indifference of the will as essential to its freedom. The will “ is a power indifferent to the agreeableness or disagreeableness of objects .... indifferent to the true and the right, to the false and the wrong. . . . From our very definition of the will it cannot be otherwise than indifferent. When it determines exclusively of both reason and sensitivity, it of course must retain in the action the indifference which it possessed before the action; but this is no less true when it determines in the direction of the reason or sensitivity. ... The will considered in its entire simplicity knows only the nisus of power.*"
Those who hold these doctrines imperil the defence of freedom. If moral freedom is possible only if the will can act without any motive and even contrary to all motives, and only if the will is in complete indifference, the consciousness and common sense of men will teach them that free will on these conditions does not exist. And in representing the will as power only, it is brought to the level of physical force, which also is power only. Why does falling water move a water-wheel, or the elastic steam drive an engine? Because it has power to do so, power acting without motives and in entire indiffer ence. How, then, does will-power differ from water-power or steam
* Review of Edwards on the Will: pp. 226, 227, 244, 245, 247, 248.
power? On the contrary it is of the essence of will that it is rational power or energizing reason which determines its own end and exertions; and its choice is in its essence an elective preference and not an action in indifference. In fact determination under the influence of motives is characteristic of rationality. Action without motives or contrary to all motives would be irrational action. Instead of being free action it would be more like the convulsions of epilepsy.
VI. The common formulas or laws of the uniform influence of motives on the determination of the will are ambiguous and worthless.
One formula supposed to enunciate the law of the uniform action of motives is this : The determination of the will is always as the strongest motive. If this means that the determination is always as the motive, the object of which reason approves as of the highest worth, it is notoriously untrue. All sin is determination contrary to the mandate of reason. If it means that the determination is always accordant with the motive which is in the consciousness strongest in intensity, it is not true. A man who has been enslaved by an appetite for tobacco or opium or alcoholic drink may resist it in obedience to reason and conscience, and yet in his desperate struggle he is vividly conscious that the appetite is strong and the impulse to duty weak. If it were true that man always determines according to the motive which is in this sense the strongest, he would be controlled as the brutes are by nature and would have no free-will. If the formula implies that we ascertain which the strongest motive was by observing to which the will consented, the formula has no significance and is equivalent to the identical proposition, “ The will always determines as it does determine."
A second form of stating the law is this: The determination of the will is always as the greatest apparent good. This springs from the Hedonistic ethics and assumes that happiness is the ultimate motive of all action. And it involves just the same ambiguity as was found in the first statement. If it means that men always choose that which in the light of intelligence they estimate as the greatest good, it is not true. If it means that they always choose that which seems to insure the greatest present gratification, it is not true; and if it were true man would not be a free agent. And if we ascertain what seemed the greatest good by observing the determination, the law has no significance further than the identical proposition that a man always determines as he does determine.
A third form of stating the law is this: The determination of the will is always as the last dictate of the understanding. This leaves out altogether the sensibilities which are the only real motives, and connects the determinations immediately with the intellect. It is also
untrue because men often determine contrary to the dictate of the understanding and in accordance with the incitation of feeling.
VII. The uniformity of human action cannot be explained by any law of the uniform influence of motives on the will. Another factor is concerned in this uniformity; it is the character in the will. By its choice the will forms in itself a character; and by action in accordance with the choice, it confirms and develops the character. This must be recognized in explaining the uniformity of human action. The attempt to explain it by some law of the uniform influence of motives assumes that the will is always characterless. Writers on the will who attempt to explain the uniformity of human action in this way, have much to say about the necessity of finding the laws of the will. But in fact they are seeking for a law of the will which shall be only a necessary uniform sequence of nature; should they succeed they would only prove that the determinations of the will are a part of the course of nature and subject to the dictum necessitatis. This would prove that personal beings do not exist and that nature is all. The real law to the determinations of the will is the moral law which declares the ends to which rational beings ought to direct their energies and the principles which ought to guide them in their actions. If personal beings exist they must at some point rise above the fixed course and uniform sequences of nature and find themselves under obligation to conform their free action to the truths, laws, ideals and ends of reason.
72. Character in the Will. I. A choice being an abiding determination of the end or object of action, constitutes character in the will. A will that has made a choice therein has a character. As an abiding elective preference of the end or object of action it is character. As choice it is always active and free. It is not nature; it is not sensibility stimulated involuntarily from without. It is elective preference or choice. It may not always be present in consciousness. But whenever it comes to the person's attention he is conscious that it is his choice and conscious that in it he is free.
II. The determination of the will exerts an influence on subsequent determinations.
A choice exerts an influence on subsequent choices. For example, in choosing learning as an object of pursuit in life in preference to wealth, that choice carries in it an influence on a multitude of subordinate choices. So Agassiz, when asked to turn aside to a lucrative use of his knowledge in the service of a great business establishment, declined, saying that he had not time to get rich.