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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, that 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 don't always appear alike agreeable to the fame 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. 'Tis more disagreeable to fome Men than others, to counter-act a former Resolution. In these Respects, and many others which might be mention'd, different Things will be most agreeable to different Persons; and not only so, but to the same Persons at different Times.
me or State thaobject which app And the same
But possibly 'tis 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 mention'd before ; viz. The apparent Nature and Circumstances of the Objects view'd, 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 che 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 less lively.
However, I think so much is certain, that Va lition, in no one Instance that can be mentioned, is otherwise than the greatest apparent Good is, in the Manner which has been explain'd. The Choice of the Mind never departs from that which, at that Time, and with Respect to the direct and immediate Objects of 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 chufes to speak : If it suits him best to keep Silence, then he chuses 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 don't do what is agreeable to them, is the fame Thing as to say, they do what they pleafe, but don't act their Pleasure ; and that is to say, that they do what they please, and yet don't do what they please.
It appears from these Things, that in some Sense; the Will always follows the last Dietate 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 Dic-tate 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 froin Things appearing now molt agreeable; all Things being put together which pertain to the Mind's present Perceptions, Apprehensions or Ideas, in any Respect. However, 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 com. pound 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 overconic 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 la
happy as rightly to explain the Thing wherein confifts 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 greater Clearness; before I have finished what I have to say on the Subject of human Liberty.
SECTION III. i Concerning the Meaning of the Terms Necessity,
Impostībility, Inability, &c; and of Contingence. THE Words Necessary, imposible, &c. are
T abundantly used in Controversies about Freewill and moral Agency; and therefore the Sense in which they are used, should be clearly understood.
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 Neceflity; or an Explanation of the Word, any more than if I explain'd the Word must, by there being a Necessity. The Words must, can, and cannot, need Explication as much as the Words necessary, and imposible; excepting that the former 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 Termand 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 Oppo
fition. To say, that a Thing is necessary, is the same Thing as to say, that it is impossible it should not be : But the Word imposible 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 Endeavour 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 fomething that frustrates Endeavour or Desire.
Here several Things are to be noted.
1. Things are said to be necessary in generat; which are or will be notwithstanding 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 fupposable in the Case from us. The same may be observed of the Word imposible, and other such like Terms
2. These Terms necessary, impossible, irresistibles &c. do especially belong to the Controversy about Liberty and moral Agency, as used in the latter of the two Senses now mention'd, viz. as necessary or impossible to us, and with Relation to any suppofable Opposition or Endeavour of ours.
3. As the Word Necessity; in its vulgar and common Use, is relative, and has always Reference to some supposable insufficient Opposition; fo when we speak of any Thing as necessary to us, it is with Relation to some supposable Oppolition of our Wills;