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in any supposed case, that he prefer the one to the other; upon which preference or volition the action, or its forbearance, certainly follows.” This, without doubt, is perfectly confonant to the principles of philosophical Necessity, Nay,this argument is always urged by the advocates of that hypothesis as irrefra, gable; for the action, as Mr. Locke obferves, certainly following the volition, and volitions being founded upon previous ideas of preference, from precisely similar situations of mind, volitions and actions precisely similar mustinevitably result.
“ But the next thing demanded, says Mr. Locke, sect. 25. is, Whether a man be at liberty to will which of the two he pleases, motion or rest?” A question of which the absurdity is manifest. It is to ask, Whether a man can will what he wills, or be pleased with what he is pleased with?--A question which needs no answer.” True ; and it is a question, therefore, which Mr. Locke might have spared himself the trouble of proposing. It is self-evident, thatman has the liberty or rather the power to will that which he wills; and all that the Necessitarians pretend is, that man has not the Liberty or power of willing that which he does not will.“ In this, then," he repeats, fect. 28. “ consists freedom; in our being able to act or not to act, according as we shall chuse or will.” Thus far then Mr. Locke coincides with the advocates for philofophical Necessity, though his concessions are generally involved in a cloud of words; and he is still desirous, as it should seem, of ranking
amongst amongst the friends of philosophical Liberty. Our actions he allows to be necessarily determined by our volitions. He now goes on to ask, sect. 29. “ What determines the will?” To which he answers, • The mind or the intelligent agent itself, exerting its power this or that particular way; or, more explicitly, the mind is determined by motives grounded upon feelings of satisfaction or uneasiness.” This account is entirely consistent with the system of Neceflity; for the advocates of that hypothesis infist as strongly as Mr. Locke, that our actions are the result of our volitions, which are them. felves produced by motives, or by the mind actuated by a regard to motives; and as those motives were themselves produced by causes previ. ously existing, it follows that motives, volitions, and actions, are all the definite effects of definite causes, and that they are all links of that
golden everlasting chain, “Whose strong embrace holds heaven, and earth, and main."
It has, I think, been fufficiently demonstrated, that Mr. Locke's principles respecting human agency did not in reality differ from those of Hartley, Leibnitz, Collins, &c. and that, in order to have been consistent, he ought to have avowed himself a believer in the doctrine of philofophical Necessity: but this, as it seems, he was previously determined against ; and a very curious expedient, it must be owned, he has discovered, to serve as a salvo for his reputation in this critical
dilemma. " It is natural,” says he, sect. 47. suppose, that the greatest and most pressing uneafiness or motive should determine the will to the next action; and so it does for the most part, but not always : for the mind has a power to suspend the execution of its defires ; is at liberty to confider, examine, and weigh them; and in this lies the Liberty that man has. This seems to me the source of all Liberty; and in this seems to consist what is improperly stiled free-will.” Sect. 52., “ This is the hinge on which turns the Liberty of intellectual beings; all the Liberty of which men are capable lies in this, that they can suspend their de fires; all we can do is, to hold our wills undetermined, till we have examined the good and evil of what we desire. What follows after that, fol. lows in a chain of consequences linked one to another,” &c. &c. Now, if Mr. Locke had been writing a practical treatise of morality, I am far from denying that he would have done well to have laid so great a stress upon the power we have of fufpending our determinations, I never heard of any
Neceffarian writer who was in the least inclined to call it in question, or who, upon proper occafions, was not disposed to urge men to the practice of it as much as others; but that Mr. Locke should introduce it into a philofophical work, and should fancy that he had established the hypothesis of philosophical Liberty, merely by proving that man has a power of suspending his yolitions, is not a little astonishing. The argų
ment is so futile, that were it not advanced by lo great a man, it could scarcely be deemed, as Mr. Locke has truly faidof an absurd question relating to the will, proposed by himself, to deserve an answer. “ Volitions, says Mr. Locke, are determined by mo. tives.” Of course, therefore, say the Necessitarians, the strongest motive must determine the volition. “For the most part,” replies Mr. Locke, “ it does so, but not always; for the mind has a power to sufpend its determinations, to weigh, examine, and de. liberate, before it finally resolves,” &c. Who denies all this ? But surely a degree of fagacity far inferior to that possessed by Mr. Locke might fuffice to convince us, that a determination to suspend a volition is a mental act, no less real than the final determination itself: that it is subject to the fame laws, and can no more be produced without a motive than any other volition. We are no less actuated by motives, and no less deterinined by the strongest motive, when we form a resolution to deliberate or to fufpend our final judgment, than in any other supposable case; and to pretend that we are ever influenced by the weaker motive to reject the stronger, is an absurdity almost too gross for refutation. If we determine to act, there must be some motive influencing the determination; and that motive, whatever it may be, is without question the strongest motive, because it does influence the determination. On the other hand, if we determine not to act, or to suspend action, the determination must likewise be founded on some motive which, so long as it influences the volition, is the predominant, that is, the strongest motive, Of what advantage then to the Anti-neceffarian hypothesis is this boasted power of suspension ? It is a power perfectly analogous to all the other powers of the human mind; a power which can. not be exerted independently of motives: and, so far as it is the result of motives, the Necessitarians are far from calling in question its reality; and they are as well convinced as Mr. Locke of its utility. The inconsistency of Mr. Locke upon this subject is very remarkable: he repeatedly tells us, and truly tells us, that Liberty consists only in a power of acting, or forbearing to act : but, upon reconsidering his own assertions, he is apparently alarmed at the coincidence of his system with that of certain unpopular writers ; and he must therefore find or make a difference, or at least a distinction, between them. So, after much obscure and useless prefatory matter, he retracts what he had before positively affirmed, and informs us, that Liberty consists in the power of suspending our volitions. One might reasonably suppose, that this power was included in the power of forbearing to act; but we are told there is a very important distinction between them; for the power of forbearance cannot be exercised but in consequence of the prevalence of some motive; but the power of suspension may, it seems, be ex. erted in direct opposition to the prevailing motive. Surely the hypothesis of philofophical