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Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God
Section X
It is impossible to prove that if one thing can be self-existent, others cannot
The self-existent being, the supreme cause of all things, must of necessity have infinite power. This proposition is evident and undeniable. For since nothing (as has been already proved) can possibly be self-existent besides himself, and consequently all things in the universe were made by him and are entirely dependent upon him, and all the powers of all things are derived from him and must therefore be perfectly subject and subordinate to him, it is manifest that nothing can make any difficulty and resistance to the execution of his will, but he must of necessity have absolute power to do everything he pleases with the most perfect ease and in the most perfect manner at once and in a moment, whenever he wills it. The descriptions the Scripture gives of this power are so lively and emphatic that I cannot forbear mentioning one or two passages. Thus Job, ix, 4 [ff.]: "He is wise in heart and mighty in strength . . . {which} removeth the mountains, and they know it not; which overturneth them in his anger. Which shaketh the Earth out of her place and the pillars thereof tremble. Which commandeth the Sun, and it raiseth not; and sealeth up the stars. Which alone spreadeth out the heavens and treadeth upon the waters of the sea . . . Which doth great things past finding out, yea and wonders without number." Again, "Hell is naked before him and destruction hath no covering . . . He stretcheth out the North over the empty place, and hangeth the Earth upon nothing ... He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not rent under them . . . The Pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof. He divideth the sea with his power and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud . . . Lo, these are part of his ways, but how little a portion is heard of him? But the thunder of his power, who can understand?" Job, xxvi, 6 [ff.]. So likewise, Isaiah, xl, 12 [ff.]. "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance . . . Behold, the nations are as a drop of the bucket and are counted as the small dust of the balance; behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing . . . All nations before him are nothing, and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity. To whom then will ye liken God, or what likeness will ye compare unto him?" But I do not urge authority to the persons I am at present speaking to. It is sufficiently evident from reason that the supreme cause must of necessity be infinitely powerful. The only question is what the true meaning of what we call infinite power is, and to what things it must be understood to extend, or not to extend.

Now in determining this question, there are some propositions about which there is no dispute, which therefore I shall but just mention, as:

Firstly, that infinite power reaches to all possible things, but cannot be said to extend to the working [of] anything which implies a contradiction, as that a thing should be and not be at the same time; that the same things should be made and not be made, or have been and not have been; that twice two -should not make four, or that that which is necessarily false should be true. The reason whereof is plain, because the power of making a thing to be at the same time that it is not, is only a power of doing that which is nothing, that is no power at all.

Secondly, infinite power cannot be said to extend to those things which imply natural imperfection in the thing to whom such power is ascribed, as that it should destroy its own being, weaken itself or the like. These things imply natural imperfection, and are by all men confessed to be such as cannot possibly belong to the necessary self-existent being. There are also other things which imply imperfection of another kind, viz., moral imperfection, concerning which atheism takes away the subject of the question by denying wholly the difference of moral good and evil, and therefore I shall omit the consideration of them untill I come to deduce the moral attributes of God.

But some other instances there are in the question about the extent of infinite power wherein the principal difference between us and the atheists (next to the question whether the supreme cause be an intelligent being or not) does in great measure consist. As:

Firstly, that infinite power includes a power of creating matter. This has been constantly denied by all atheists both ancient and modern, and as constantly affirmed by all who believe the being, and have just notions of the attributes, of God. The only reason why the atheists have or can pretend to allege for their opinion is that the thing is in its own nature absolutely impossible. But how does it appear to be impossible? Why, only because they are not able to comprehend how it can be. For to reduce it to a contradiction, which is the alone real impossibility, this they are by no means able to do. For to say that something which once was not may since have begun to exist is neither directly, nor by any consequence whatsoever, to assert that that which is not can be while it is not; or that that which is can not-be while it is. It is true; we, who have been used to converse only with generations and corruptions and never saw anything made or created but only formed or framed, are apt to endeavor to conform our idea of creation to that of formation, and to imagine that, as in all formations there is some pre-existing matter out of which a thing is formed, so in creation there must be considered a pre-existing nothing out of which, as out of a real material cause, a thing is created; which looks indeed very like a contradiction. But this is only a confusion of ideas, just like children's imagining that darkness is some real thing which, in the morning, is driven away by the light or transformed into it. Whereas the true notion of creation is not a forming something out of nothing as out of a material cause, but only a bringing something into being that before had no being at all, or a causing something to exist now that did not exist before, or which, without this cause, would not have existed. Which no man can ever reduce to a contradiction any more than the formation of anything into a shape which it had not before can be reduced to a contradiction.

But further, the creation of matter is a thing not only not impossible in itself but what moreover, even by bare reason, is demonstrated to be true. For it is a contradiction, as I have shown above, to suppose matter necessarily existing.

Do all atheists deny free will?
Secondly, it is possible to infinite power to create an immaterial cogitative substance endowed with a power of beginning motion, and with a liberty of will or choice. This also has been always denied by all atheists. And because it is a proposition of the greatest consequence to religion and morality, therefore I shall be particular in endeavoring the proof of the several parts of it.

Men are cogitative conscious substances
Firstly, it is possible to infinite power to create an immaterial cogitative substance. That there can be such a thing as a cogitative substance, that is, a substance endowed with consciousness and thought, is granted by all because every man's own experience convinces him that he himself is such a substance. Further, that if there be or can be any such thing as immaterial substances, then it is most reasonable to believe that substances as are endowed with consciousness and thought (properties the farthest distant from the known properties of matter, and the most unlike them that can possibly be imagined) are those immaterial substances, this also will, I think, be granted by all men. The only point, therefore, that remains to be proved is that immaterial substances are not impossible, or that a substance immaterial is not a contradictory notion.

Two things are not exactly matter - energy, and
Now whoever asserts that it is contradictory must affirm that whatever is not matter is nothing, and that to say anything exists which is not matter is saying that there exists something which is nothing. Which in other words is plainly this, that whatever we have not an idea of, is nothing and impossible to be. For there is no other way to reduce "immaterial substance" to a contradiction but by supposing "immaterial" to signify the same as having no existence. And there is no possible way to prove that but by saying we have no idea of it, and therefore it neither has nor can have any existence. By which same argument "material substance" will in like manner be a contradiction, for of that also (viz., of the substance to which solidity belongs) we have no idea. But supposing it were true (as it is indeed most false) that we had a clearer idea of the substance of matter than we have of immaterial substance, still, by the same argument wherewith an atheist will prove immaterial substance to be impossible, a man born blind may demonstrate irrefragably that light or color is an impossible and contradictory notion because it is not a sound or a smell. For the power of seeing light or color is to a man born blind altogether as incomprehensible and absolutely beyond the reach of all his ideas as either the operations and perceptions, or even the simple essence, of a pure immaterial substance or spirit can be to any of us. If, therefore, the blind man's want of ideas be not a sufficient proof of the impossibility of light or color, how comes our bare want of ideas to be a demonstration of the impossibility of the being of immaterial substances? A blind man, they will say, has testimony of the existence of light. Very true. So also have we of the existence of immaterial substances.

But there is this further advantage on our side in the comparison, that a blind man accepting the testimony of others finds not by any reasoning within himself the least likelihood or probability, no not in the lowest possible degree, that there can be any such thing as light or color. But we, besides testimony, have great and strong arguments both from experience and reason that there are such things as immaterial substances, though we have no knowledge of their simple essence, as indeed of the substance even of matter itself (its simple substance, considered as abstract from and as the foundation of that essential property of solidity) we have no idea. For to say that extension is the substance of matter is the same way of thinking as to say that existence, or that duration, is the substance of matter. We have, I say, great and strong arguments both from experience and reason that there are such things as immaterial substances, though we have no idea of their simple essence. Even the very first and most universal principle of gravitation itself in all matter, since it is ever proportional not at all to the surfaces of bodies or of their particles, in any possible supposition, but exactly to the solid content of bodies, it is evident it cannot be caused by matter acting upon the surfaces of matter, which is all it [i.e., matter] can do, but must either immediately or mediately be caused by something which continually penetrates its solid substance.

Animals are self-moving (automata), beyond mere physical deterministic forces
But in animals, which have a power of self-motion, and in the more perfect sorts of them, which have still higher faculties, the thing is yet more evident. For we see and feel, and observe daily in ourselves and others, such powers and operations and perceptions as undeniably evince themselves either to be the properties of immaterial substances; or else it will follow that matter is something of whose essential powers (as well as of its substance itself) we have altogether as little idea as we have of immaterial beings. And then, how are immaterial substances more impossible than material? But of this more hereafter.

From what has been said on this head, it will be easy to answer all the objections that have been brought by any atheists against the notion of human souls being immaterial substances and distinct from body. For, since it is possible there may be such things as immaterial substances, and since if any such substances can be, there is all the reason in the world to believe that conscious and thinking substance is such (these properties being the most remote from the known properties of matter that are possible to be conceived), the foundation of all the objections against the immateriality of the soul is entirely taken away. I shall not here tarry to consider the objections in particular which have been often and wholly answered by learned pens, but shall only mention one on which all the rest depend and to which they may all be reduced. And it is this: that seeing the only means we have of perception are the five senses, and these all plainly depend upon the organs of the body, therefore the soul without the body can have no perception, and consequently is nothing. Now, besides that these very senses or perceptions, however they may be obstructed by bodily indisposition (and so do indeed depend upon the organs of the body as to their present exercise), yet in their nature are really entirely distinct powers and cannot possibly, as has been before shown, be absolutely founded in, or arise from, any of the known properties or qualities of matter — besides this, I say, of him that thus argues I would only ask this one question.

Nothing physical is by - logical - necessity
Are our five senses, by an absolute necessity in the nature of the thing, all and the only possible ways of perception? And is it impossible and contradictory that there should be any being in the universe endowed with ways of perception different from these that are the result of our present composition? Or are these things, on the contrary, purely arbitrary, and the same power that gave us these may have given others to other beings, and might, if he had pleased, have given to us others in this present state, and may yet have made us capable of different ones in another state? If they be purely arbitrary, then the want of these does by no means infer a total want of perception. But the same soul which in the present state has the powers of reflection, reason, and judgment, which are faculties entirely different from sense, may as easily in another state have different ways even of perception also. But if anyone will contend that these senses of ours are necessarily the only ways of perception, still the soul may be capable of having these very same ways of perception at any time restored to it. For as that which sees does not cease to exist when in the dark all objects are removed, so that which perceives does not necessarily cease to exist when by death all organs of perception are removed.

But what reason can any man allege why he should imagine these present senses of ours to be necessarily the only ways of perception? Is it not infinitely more reasonable to suppose that this is a mere prejudice arising from custom, and an attending to bare sense in opposition to reason?° For supposing men had been created only with four senses and had never known the use of sight, would they not then have had the very same reason to conclude there were but four possible ways of perception as they have now to fancy that there are but five? And would they not then have thought sight to have been an impossible, chimerical, and merely imaginary power, which is absolutely the same reason as they now presume the faculties of immaterial beings to be so, that is, with no reason at all? One would think men should be ashamed, therefore, to be so vain as, from their own mere negative ignorance, without any appearance or pretence of any positive argument, to dispute against the possibility of the being of things which (excepting only that they cannot frame to themselves an image or notion of them) there is a concurrence of all the reasons in the world to persuade them that such things really are. And then, as to the difficulty of conceiving the nature and manner of the union between soul and body, we know altogether as much of that as we do of the nature of the union or cohesion of the infinitely divisible parts of body, which yet no man doubts of. And therefore, our ignorance can be no more an argument against the truth of the one than it is a bar to our belief of the other.

Aristotle explained how important
"new beginnings" (ἀρχαί) are to actions that are "up to us."
Secondly, it is possible to infinite power to endow a creature with the power of beginning motion. This is constantly denied by all atheists because the consequence of it is a liberty of will, of which I shall have occasion to speak presently. But that the proposition is true, I thus prove. If the power of beginning motion be in itself a possible thing, and also possible to be communicated, then a creature may be endowed with that power. Now that the power of beginning motion is in itself a possible thing, I have already proved by showing that there must necessarily be somewhere a power of beginning motion because otherwise motion must have been from eternity, without any external cause of its being, and yet it is a thing that has no necessity of existence in its own nature. So that if there be not somewhere a principle or power of beginning motion, motion must exist without any cause or reason at all of its existence either within itself or from without which, as I have before shown, is an express contradiction. Wherefore a principle or power of beginning motion, there must of necessity be somewhere or other, and consequently it is not in itself an impossible thing.

I add: as a power of beginning motion is not itself an impossible thing because it must of necessity be in the supreme cause, so neither is it impossible to be communicated to created beings. The reason is plain, because no powers are impossible to be communicated but only those which imply self-existence and absolute independence. That a subordinate being should be self-existent or absolutely independent is indeed a contradiction. But it is no contradiction to suppose it endowed with any other power whatsoever separate from these. I know the maintainers of fate are very confident that a power of beginning motion is nothing less than being really independent, or being able to act independently from any superior cause.

But this is only a childish trifling with words. For a power of acting independently in this sense, communicated at the pleasure of the supreme cause and continued only during the same good pleasure, is no more a real and absolute independency than the power of existing (which I suppose the defenders of fate are not so fond to make a continual creation, as they are to make the power of self-motion a continual external impulse), or than the power of being conscious, or any other power whatsoever can be said to imply independence. In reality, it is altogether as hard to conceive how consciousness or the power of perception should be communicated to a created being, as how the power of self-motion should be so, unless perception be nothing else but a mere passive reception of impulse, which I suppose is as clear that it is not, as that a triangle is not a sound or that a globe is not a color. Yet no man doubts but that he himself and all others have truly a power of perception. And therefore in like manner, however hard it may be to conceive as to the manner of it, yet, since as has been now proved it can never be shown to be impossible and expressly contradictory that a power of self-motion should be communicated, I suppose no considering man can doubt but that he actually has also a power of self-motion. For the arguments drawn from continual experience and observation to prove that we have such a power are so strong, that nothing less than a strict demonstration that the thing is absolutely impossible and that it implies an express contradiction can make us in the least doubt that we have it not. We have all the same experience, the same marks and evidence exactly of our having really a power of self-motion, as the most rigid fatalist could possibly contrive to require if he was to make the supposition of a man's being endowed with that power. There is no one thing that such a man can imagine ought to follow from the supposition of self-motion, which every man does not now as much feel and actually experience in himself as it can possibly be imagined any man would do, supposing the thing were true.

Wherefore to affirm, notwithstanding all this, that the spirits by which a man moves the members of his body and ranges the thoughts of his mind are themselves moved wholly by air or subtler matter inspired into the body, and that again by other external matter, and so on (as the wheels of a clock are moved by the weights and those weights by gravitation and so on) without a man's having the least power by any principle within himself to think any one thought, or impel his own spirits in order to move any member of his body — all this is so contrary to experience and the reason of things, that unless the idea of self-motion were itself as evidently and clearly a contradiction as that two and two should make five, a man ought to be ashamed to talk at that rate. Nay, a man of any considerable degree of modesty would even in that case be almost tempted rather to doubt the truth of his faculties than take upon him to assert one such intolerable absurdity merely for the avoiding of another. There are some, indeed, who denying man the power of beginning motion would yet seem in some manner to account for their actions by allowing them a power of determining motion. But this also is a mere ludicrous trifling with words. For if that power of determining motion be no other in a man than that which is in a stone to reflect a ball one certain way, this is just nothing at all. But if he has a power of determining the motion of his spirits any way as he himself pleases, this is in all respects the very same as the power of beginning motion.

Thirdly, it is possible to infinite power to endow a creature with freedom or liberty of will. It might suffice that this is at once proved by the same argument and in the same method as I just now proved self-motion or a power of beginning motion to be possible, viz., because liberty must of necessity be in the supreme cause (as is at large proved in the ninth general head of this discourse), and therefore cannot be impossible and contradictory in the nature of the thing itself; and because it implies no contradiction to suppose it communicated (as being no harder to conceive than the aforementioned power of beginning motion); and because the arguments drawn from experience and observation are stronger on the one side of the question, than those arising merely from the difficulty of our apprehending the thing can be on the other. But forasmuch as this is a question of the greatest concern of all in matters both of religion and human life, and both Spinoza and Mr. Hobbes and their followers have with great noise and confidence denied it, I shall therefore, not contenting myself with this, endeavor to show moreover in particular the weakness of the principal arguments by which these men have pretended to demonstrate that there cannot possibly be any such power in men as a liberty of will.
The problem is not trivial to locate where the seat of liberty is
As to the propriety of the terms, whether the will be properly the seat of liberty or not, is not now to the purpose to enquire, the question being not where the seat of liberty is, but whether there be at all in man any such power as a liberty of choice and of determining his own actions or, on the contrary, his actions be all as necessary as the motions of a clock. The arguments by which Spinoza and Mr. Hobbes have attempted to maintain the latter side of the question are all plainly reducible to these two.

Firstly, that since every effect must needs be produced by some cause, therefore, as every motion in a body must have been caused by the impulse of some other body, and the motion of that by the impulse of a third, so every volition or determination of the will of man must needs be produced by some external cause. Therefore, as every motion in a body must have been caused by the impulse of some other body, and the motion of that by the impulse of a third, so every volition or determination of the will of man must needs be produced by some external cause, and that in like manner by the effect of some third. And consequently, there cannot possibly be any such thing in nature as liberty or freedom of will. Secondly, that thinking and all its modes, as willing and the like, are qualities or affections of matter. And, consequently, since it is manifest that matter has not in itself a power of beginning motion or giving itself any manner of determination whatsoever, therefore it is evident likewise that it is impossible there should be any such thing as freedom of will.

Now to these arguments I oppose, and shall endeavor briefly to demonstrate, the three following propositions.

Firstly, that every effect cannot possibly be the product of external causes, but there must of necessity be somewhere a beginning of operation or a power of acting without being antecedently acted upon, and that this power may be, and is, in man.

Secondly, that thinking and willing neither are nor can be qualities and affections of matter, and consequently are not concluded under the laws thereof.

No purely logical argument can ever prove a physical thing to be impossible
Thirdly, that even supposing the soul not to be a distinct substance from body, but that thinking and willing could be, and were indeed, only qualities or affections of matter, yet even this would not at all affect the present question, nor prove freedom of will to be impossible.

Every effect could possibly be the product of external causes. There is no logical contradiction
Firstly, every effect cannot possibly be the product of external causes, but there must of necessity be somewhere a beginning of operation, or a power of acting without being antecedently acted upon, and this power may be, and is, in man. The several parts of this proposition have been already proved in the second and ninth general heads of this discourse, and in that part of this tenth head which is concerning the possibility of the power of self-motion being communicated to created beings. I shall not, therefore, here repeat the proofs, but only apply them to Spinoza's and Mr. Hobbes's arguments, so far as is necessary to show the weakness of what they have said upon this head in opposition to the possibility of liberty or freedom of will. Now the manner of their arguing upon this head is this: that every effect must needs be owing to some cause, and that cause must produce the effect necessarily, because if it be a sufficient cause, the effect cannot but follow, and if it be not a sufficient cause, it will not be at all a cause of that thing
Here is the causal chain of physical determinism, the core argument of Hobbes' voluntarism
(thus, for instance, whatever body is moved must be moved by some other body, which itself, likewise, must be moved by some third, and so on without end); that the will, in like manner, of any voluntary agent must of necessity be determined by some external cause and not by any power of determining itself inherent in itself, and that external cause must be determined necessarily by some other cause external to it, and so on without end.

Hobbes and Spinoza deny any original beginning of motion, any uncaused cause
From all which it evidently appears that all that these men urge against the possibility of freedom extends equally to all other beings (not excepting the supreme) as well as to man; and Spinoza in express words confesses it. Wherefore, consequently, whatever noise they make of the strength and demonstrative force of their arguments, all that they say amounts at last to no more but this one most absurd conclusion: that there neither is anywhere, nor can possibly be, any principle of motion or beginning of operation at all, but everything is caused necessarily by an eternal chain of dependent causes and effects, without any independent original. All their arguments, therefore, on this head are already answered in the second and ninth general heads of this discourse, where I proved that there must of necessity be an original, independent, and free principle of motion or action, and that to suppose an endless succession of dependent causes and effects, without any original or first and self-actuating principle, is supposing a series of dependent things to be from eternity produced by nothing, which is the very same absurdity and contradiction as to suppose things produced by nothing at any definite time (the ability of nothing to produce anything being plainly the same in time or in eternity). And I have, moreover, proved ex abundanti [abundantly] in the foregoing part of this tenth head that the power of beginning motion is not only possible and certain in itself, but also possible to be communicated to finite beings, and that it actually is in man.

Clarke wants a metaphysical, non-material dualist substance to be doing the thinking
Secondly, thinking and willing neither are, nor can be, qualities or affections of matter, and consequently are not concluded under the laws thereof. That it is possible there may be immaterial substances, the notion not implying a contradiction in itself, has already been shown under the present general proposition. Further, that thinking and willing are powers entirely different from solidity, figure, and motion, and if they be different that then they cannot possibly arise from them or be compounded of them, has likewise been already proved under the eighth general head of this discourse. It follows, therefore, that thinking and willing may possibly be, nay, that they certainly and necessarily are, faculties or powers of immaterial substances, seeing they cannot possibly be qualities or affections of matter (unless we will confound, as some have done, the ideas of things, and mean by "matter" not what that word in all other cases signifies, a solid substance capable of division, figure and motion, and of whatever properties can arise from the modifications of these, but substance in general, capable of unknown powers or properties entirely different from these and from whatever can possibly result from these). In which confused sense of the word, could matter be supposed never so capable of thinking and willing; yet in that sense, as I shall show presently, it would signify nothing at all to the purpose or advantage of our adversaries.

Despite Clarke, Hobbes' material physical explanation of sensations sounds, to the modern ear, quite sensible
In the meantime, how great an absurdity it is to suppose thinking and willing to be qualities or affections of matter, in the proper and usual sense of the word, may sufficiently appear without any foreign argument from the senselessness of Mr. Hobbes's own explication of the nature and original of sensation and consciousness. The immediate cause of sensation, says he, is this: the object, or something flowing from it, presses the outermost part of the organ, and that pressure is communicated to the innermost parts of the organ where, by the resistance or reaction of the organ causing a pressure outwards contrary to the pressure of the object inwards, there is made up a phantasm or image, which phantasm, says he, is the sensation itself. Again, the cause of sensation, says he, is an object pressing the organ, which pressure is by means of the nerves conveyed to the brain and so to the heart where, by the resistance or counterpressure of the heart outwards, is made an image or phantasm, which is sensation. Now what is there in all this, that does in any the least measure tend to explain or make intelligible the real and inward nature of sense or consciousness? The object, by communicating a pressure through the organ to the sensory, does indeed raise a phantasm or image, that is, make a certain impression on the brain. But wherein consists the power of perceiving this impression and of being sensible of it? Or what similitude has this impression to the sense itself, that is, to the thought excited in the mind? Why, exactly the very same that a square has to blueness, or a triangle to sound, or a needle to the sense of pain, or the reflecting of a tennis ball to the reason and understanding of a man. So that Mr. Hobbes's definition of sensation, that it is itself (the inmost and formal nature of it) nothing but the phantasm or image made in the brain by the pressure communicated from the object is, in other words, defining blueness to be the image of a square, or sound the picture of a triangle, or pain the similitude of a sharp pointed needle. I do not here misrepresent him in the least. For he himself expressly confesses that all sensible qualities such as color, sound, and the like, are in the objects themselves nothing but motion; and because motion can produce nothing but motion (as likewise it is evident that figure and all its possible compositions can produce nothing but figure), therefore in us also the perceptions of these sensible qualities are nothing but different motions. If then the phantasm, that is, the image of the object made in the brain by figure and motion, be, as he says, the sensation itself, is not sensation bare figure and motion? And are not all the aforementioned absurdities unavoidable consequences of his opinion?

Hobbes' suggestion of a power of perception or consciousness in all matter is panpsychism
Mr. Hobbes, as I have elsewhere observed, seems indeed not to have been altogether unaware of this insuperable difficulty, but he industriously endeavors to conceal it from his readers, to impose upon them by the ambiguity of the word "phantasm." Yet for a reserve, in case he should be too hard pressed, he gives us a hint that possibly sensation may be something more, viz., a power of perception or consciousness naturally and essentially inherent in all matter; only that it wants the organs and memory of animals to express its sensation; and that, as a man, if he were supposed to have no other sense but seeing, and that so ordered as that his eyes were always immovably fixed upon one and the same object, and that also unchangeable and without the least variety — such a man could not properly be said to see, but only to be under an unintelligible kind of amazement; so all unorganized bodies may possibly have sensation or perception, but because for want of organs there is no variety in it, neither any memory or means of expressing that sensation, therefore to us it seems as if they had no such thing at all. This opinion, I say, Mr. Hobbes mentions as possible. But he does it with such hesitancy, diffidence, and sparingness, as shows plainly that he meant it only as a last subterfuge to recur to when he should be pressed with the aforementioned absurdities, unavoidably consequent upon the supposition of sensation being only figure and motion. And indeed well might he be sparing and, as it were, ashamed of this subterfuge. For it is a thing altogether as absurd as even the other opinion itself of thought being near motion. For what can be more ridiculous than to imagine that matter is as essentially conscious as it is extended? Will it not follow from this supposition that every piece of matter, being made up of entirely separable parts (that is, of parts which are as really distinct beings, notwithstanding their contiguity, as if they had been at never so great a distance one from another) is made up also of innumerable consciousnesses and infinite confusion? But it is a shame to trouble the reader with so much as the mention of any of the numberless absurdities following from that monstrous supposition.

Others, therefore, who would make thinking to be an affection of matter, and yet are ashamed to use either of the aforementioned ways, contend that God by his almighty and supreme power endows certain systems of matter with a faculty of thinking, according to his own good pleasure. But this also amounts to nothing. For besides the absurdity of supposing God to make an innumerable company of distinct beings, such as the particles of every system of matter necessarily are, to be at the same time one individual conscious being — besides this, I say, either our idea of matter is a true and distinct idea, or it is not. If it be a true and distinct idea, that is, if our idea (not of the substance of matter, for of simple substance we have no idea, but if our idea of the properties which essentially distinguish and denominate the substance) be a right idea, viz., that matter is nothing but a solid substance capable only of division, figure, and motion, with all the possible effects of their several compositions (as to us it appears to be, upon the best examination we are able to make of it and the greatest part of our adversaries themselves readily allow), then it is absolutely impossible for thinking to belong to matter because thinking, as has been before shown, cannot possibly arise from any modification or composition of any or all of these qualities. But if any man will say that our idea of matter is wrong and that by "matter" he will not here mean, as in all other cases, a solid substance capable only of division, figure, and motion with all the possible effects of their several compositions, but that he means substance in general capable of thinking and of numberless unknown properties besides, then he trifles only in putting an ambiguous signification upon the word "matter," where he ought to use the word "substance." And in that sense, to suppose thinking or any other active property possible to be in matter, and signifying only substance in general of whose powers and capacities we have no certain idea, would make nothing at all to the present purpose in our adversaries' advantage, and is at least not a clear and more intelligible way of talking than to attribute those same properties to an immaterial substance, and keep the idea of matter and its properties clear and distinct.

For I affirm, thirdly, that even supposing in these men's confused way that the soul was really not a distinct substance from body, but that thinking and willing could be and were indeed only qualities or affections of matter, yet even this would not at all affect the present question about liberty, nor prove freedom of will to be an impossible thing. For since it has been already demonstrated that thinking and willing cannot possibly be effects or compositions of figure and motion, whosoever will make thinking and willing to be qualities or affections of matter must suppose matter capable of certain properties entirely different from figure and motion. And if it be capable of properties entirely different from figure and motion, then it can never be proved, from the effects of figure and motion being all necessary, that the effects of other and totally distinct properties must likewise be necessary.

Mr. Hobbes, therefore, and his followers are guilty of a most shameful fallacy in that very argument wherein they place their main and chief strength. For, supposing matter to be capable of thinking and willing, they contend that the soul is mere matter, and knowing that the effects of figure and motion must needs be all necessary, they conclude that the operations of the mind must all therefore be necessary. That is, when they would prove the soul to be mere matter, then they suppose matter capable not only of figure and motion but also of other unknown properties; and when they would prove the will and all other operations of the soul to be necessary, then they divest matter again of all its unknown properties, and make it mere solidity endowed only with figure and motion again. Wherefore, distinguishing their ambiguous and confused use of the word "matter," they are unavoidably reduced to one of these two concessions. If by "matter" they mean a solid substance endowed only with figure and motion and all the possible effects of the variations and compositions of these qualities, then the soul cannot be mere matter because, as Mr. Hobbes himself confesses, figure and motion can never produce anything but figure and motion, and consequently (as has been before demonstrated) they can never produce so much as any secondary quality, sound, color and the like, much less thinking and reasoning. From whence it follows that the soul being unavoidably a substance immaterial, they have no argument left to prove that it cannot have a power of beginning motion, which is a plain instance of liberty. But if, on the other hand, they will by "matter" mean substance in general, capable of unknown properties totally different from figure and motion, then they must no longer argue against the possibility of liberty from the effects of figure arid motion being all unavoidably necessary, because liberty will not consist in the effects of figure and motion, but in those other unknown properties of matter which these men can no more explain or argue about than about immaterial substances.

The truth, therefore, is they must needs suppose thinking to be merely an effect or composition of figure and motion, if they will give any strength to their arguments against liberty. And then the question will be not whether God can make matter think or not (for in that question they only trifle with a word, abusing the word "matter" to signify substance in general), but the question will be whether figure and motion, in any composition or division, can possibly be perception and thought, which (as has been before said) is just such a question as if a man should ask whether it be possible that a triangle should be a sound or a globe a color. The sum is this: if the soul be an immaterial substance (as it must needs be if we have any true idea of the nature and properties of matter), then Mr. Hobbes's arguments against the possibility of liberty, [being] drawn all from the properties of matter, are vain and nothing to the purpose. But if our adversaries will be so absurd as to contend that the soul is nothing but mere matter, then either by "matter" they must understand substance in general, substance endowed with unknown powers, with active as well as passive properties (which is confounding and taking away our idea of matter, and at the same time destroying all their own arguments against liberty which they have founded wholly on the known properties of matter), or else they must speak out, as they really mean, that thinking and willing are nothing but effects and compositions of figure and motion, which I have already shown to be a contradiction in terms.

There are some other arguments against the possibility of liberty which men by attempting to answer have made to appear considerable, when in reality they are altogether beside the question. As for instance, those drawn from the necessity of the will's being determined by the last judgment of the understanding, and from the certainty of the divine prescience.

Clarke defends aginst the charge that the final determination of the will, after consideration of the alternative possibilities, implies necessity and strict causal determinism
As to the former, viz., the necessity of the will's being determined by the last judgment of the understanding, this is only a necessity upon supposition, that is to say, a necessity that a man should will a thing, when it is supposed that he does will it; just as if one should affirm that everything which is, is therefore necessary to be, because when it is it cannot but be. It is exactly the same kind of argument as that by which the true church is proved to be infallible, because truth cannot err, and they who are in the right cannot possibly, while they are so, be in the wrong. Thus, whatever a man at any time freely wills or does, it is evident (even upon supposition of the most perfect liberty) that he cannot at that time but will or do it, because it is impossible anything should be willed and not willed, whether it be freely or necessarily, or that it should be done and not done at the same time. The necessity of the will's being determined by the last judgment of the understanding is, I say, only a necessity upon supposition, a necessity that a man should will a thing, when it is supposed that he does will it. For the last judgment of the understanding is nothing else but a man's final determining, after more or less consideration, either to choose or not to choose a thing; that is, it is the very same with the act of volition. Or else, if the act of volition be distinguished from the last judgment of the understanding, then the act of volition, or rather the beginning of action consequent upon the last judgment of the understanding, is not determined or caused by that last judgment as by the physical efficient, but only as the moral motive. For the true, proper, immediate, physical efficient cause of action is the power of self-motion in men, which exerts itself freely in consequence of the last judgment of the understanding. But the last judgment of the understanding is not itself a physical efficient, but merely a moral motive upon which the physical efficient or motive power begins to act.

The necessity, therefore, by which the power of acting follows the judgment of the understanding is only a moral necessity, that is, no necessity at all in the sense wherein the opposers of liberty understand necessity. For moral necessity is evidently consistent with the most perfect natural liberty. For instance, a man entirely free from all pain of body and disorder of mind judges it unreasonable for him to hurt or destroy himself; and being under no temptation or external violence, he cannot possibly act contrary to his judgment, not because he wants a natural or physical power so to do, but because it is absurd and mischievous, and morally impossible, for him to choose to do it.

Nothing is morally impossible
Which also is the very reason why the most perfect rational creatures superior to men cannot do evil; not because they want a natural power to perform the material action, but because it is morally impossible that, with a perfect knowledge of what is best and without any temptation to evil, their will should determine itself to choose to act foolishly and unreasonably. Here, therefore, seems at last really to lie the fundamental error both of those who argue against the liberty of the will and of those who but too confusedly defend it. They do not make a clear distinction between moral motives and causes physically efficient, which two things have no similitude at all. Lastly, if the maintainers of fate shall allege that, after all, they think a man free from all pain of body and disorder of mind is under not only a moral but also a natural impossibility of hurting or destroying himself, because neither his judgment nor his will, without some impulse external to both, can any more possibly be determined to any action than one body can begin to move without being impelled by another, I answer this is forsaking the argument drawn from the necessity of the will's following the understanding, and recurs to the former argument of the absolute impossibility of there being anywhere a first principle of motion at all, which has been abundantly answered already.

Some ingenious and able writers have spoken with much confusion upon this head by mistaking, as it seems to me, the subject of the question and wherein the nature of liberty consists.

For it being evident that a free agent cannot choose whether he shall have a will or no will, that is, whether he shall be what he is or not, but (the two contradictories of acting or not acting being always necessarily before him) he must of necessity and essentially to his being a free agent perpetually will one of these two things, either to act or to forbear [from] acting, this has raised in the minds even of some considerate persons great doubts concerning the possibility of liberty.

But this difficulty, if it be any difficulty, arises merely from not apprehending rightly what liberty is. For the essence of liberty consists, not in the agent's choosing whether he shall have a will or no will, that is, whether he shall be at all an agent or no, whether he shall be what he is or no, but it consists in his being an agent, that is, in his having a continual power of choosing whether he shall act or whether he shall forbear [from] acting. Which power of agency or free choice (for these are precisely identical terms, and a necessary agent is an express contradiction) is not at all prevented by chains or prisons. For a man who chooses or endeavors to move out of his place is therein as much a free agent as he that actually moves out of his place. Nor is this free agency at all diminished by the impossibility of his choosing two contradictories at once or by the necessity that one of two contradictories must always be done. A man that sits, whether he be or be not a free agent, cannot possibly both sit and rise up at the same time; nor can he possibly choose both to act or not to act at the same time — not for want of freedom, but because the exercise of that very freedom, his freely choosing the one, does in itself necessarily make the contrary to be at that time impossible. Nor does freedom of will in any manner suppose a power in the agent of choosing whether he shall will at all, or not. For a free agent may be, and indeed essentially every free agent must be, necessarily free; that is, has it not in his power not to be free.

God is, by necessity of nature, a free agent, and he can no more possibly cease to be so than he can cease to exist. He must of necessity every moment, either choose to act or choose to forbear [from] acting because two contradictories cannot possibly be true at once. But which of these two he shall choose, in this he is at perfect liberty, and to suppose him not to be so is contradictorily supposing him not to be the first cause, but to be acted by some superior power so as to be himself no agent at all. Man also is by necessity (not in the nature of things, but through God's appointment) a free agent. And it is no otherwise in his power to cease to be such, than by depriving himself of life.

The necessity, therefore, of continually choosing one of the two, either to act or forbear [from] acting (which necessity nothing but a free agent can possibly be capable of, for necessary agents, as they are called, can neither choose to act nor to forbear [from] acting, they being indeed no agents at all) — the necessity, I say, of continually choosing one of the two, either to act or to forbear [from] acting, is not inconsistent with, or an argument against, liberty, but is itself the very essence of liberty.

The other argument which I said has also frequently been urged against the possibility of liberty is the certainty of the divine prescience. But this also is entirely besides the question. For if there be no other arguments by which it can be proved antecedently that all actions are necessary, it is certain it can never be made to appear to follow from prescience alone that they must be so. That is, if upon other accounts there be no impossibility but that the actions of men may be free, the bare certainty of the divine foreknowledge can never be proved to destroy that freedom, or make any alteration in the nature of men's actions. And, consequently, the certainty of prescience, separated from other arguments, is altogether besides the question concerning liberty. As to the other arguments usually intermingled with this question, they have all, I think, been answered already. And now, that the bare certainty of the divine foreknowledge (if upon other accounts there be no impossibility for the actions of men to be free) can never be proved to destroy that freedom, is very evident. For bare foreknowledge has no influence at all in any respect, nor affects in any measure the manner of the existence of anything. All that the greatest opponents of liberty have ever urged or can urge upon this head, amounts only to this, that foreknowledge implies certainty, and certainty implies necessity. But neither is it true that certainty implies necessity, neither does foreknowledge imply any other certainty than such a certainty only as would be equally in things though there was no foreknowledge.

For first, the certainty of foreknowledge does not cause the certainty of things but is itself founded on the reality of their existence. Whatever now is, it is certain that it is, and it was yesterday and from eternity as certainly true that the thing would be today as it is now certain that it is. And this certainty of event is equally the same whether it be supposed that the thing could be foreknown or not. For whatever at any time is, it was certainly true from eternity, as to the event, that that thing would be; and this certain truth of every future event would not at all have been the less though there had been no such thing as foreknowledge. Bare prescience, therefore, has no influence at all upon anything, nor contributes in the least towards the making it necessary.

Clarke makes a fine analogy to deflect foreknowledge as a cause. Our own knowledge that something is "certain" to happen has nothing to do with making it certain.
We may illustrate this in some measure by the comparison of our own knowledge. We know certainly that some things are, and when we know that they are, they cannot but be; yet it is evident our knowledge does not at all affect the things to make them more necessary or more certain. Now foreknowledge in God is the very same as knowledge. All things are to him as if they were equally present to all the purposes of knowledge and power. He knows perfectly everything that is, and he knows whatever shall be in the same manner as he knows what is. As, therefore, knowledge has no influence on things that are, so neither has foreknowledge on things that shall be. It is true the manner how God can foresee future things without a chain of necessary causes is impossible for us to explain distinctly, though some sort of general notion we may conceive of it. For, as a man who has no influence over another person's actions can yet often perceive beforehand what that other will do, and a wiser and more experienced man will still with greater probability foresee what another, whose disposition he is perfectly acquainted with, will in certain circumstances do, and an angel, with still much less degree of error may have a further prospect into men's future actions, so it is very reasonable to apprehend that God, without influencing men's wills by his power, yet by his foresight cannot but have as much more certain a knowledge of future free events, than either men or angels can possibly have, as the perfection of his nature is greater than that of theirs.

The distinct manner how he foresees these things is indeed impossible for us to explain. But so also are numberless other things which yet no man doubts the truth of. And if there were any strength in this argument, it would prove not against liberty but against prescience itself. For if these two things were really inconsistent and one of them must be destroyed, the introducing an absolute and universal fatality, which evidently destroys all religion and morality, would tend more of the two to the dishonor of God than the denying him a foreknowledge, which upon this supposition would be impossible and imply a contradiction to conceive him to have, and the denying of which would in such case be no more a diminution of his omniscience than the denying him the power of working contradictions is taking away his omnipotence. But the case is not thus. For though we cannot indeed clearly and distinctly explain the manner of God's foreseeing the actions of free agents, yet thus much we know, that the bare foreknowledge of any action that would upon all other accounts be free cannot alter or diminish that freedom, it being evident that foreknowledge adds no other certainty to anything than what it would equally have though there was no foreknowledge. Unless, therefore, we be antecedently certain that nothing can possibly be free and that liberty is in itself absolutely an inconsistent and contradictory notion (as I have above shown that it is not), bare foreknowledge, which makes no alteration at all in anything, will not be any way inconsistent with liberty, how great difficulty soever there may be in comprehending the manner of such foreknowledge. For if liberty be in itself possible, the bare foresight of a free action before it be done is nothing different, to any purpose in the present question, from a simple knowledge of it when it is done, both these kinds of knowledge implying plainly a certainty only of the event (which would be the same though there was no such knowledge), and not at all any necessity of the thing.

For, secondly, as foreknowledge implies not any other certainty than such as would be equally in things though there was no foreknowledge, so neither does this certainty of event in any sort imply necessity. For let a fatalist suppose what he does not yet grant, that there was in man, as we assert, a power of beginning motion, that is, of acting freely; and let him suppose further, if he please, that those actions could not possibly be foreknown. Will there not yet, notwithstanding this supposition, be in the nature of things the same certainty of event in every one of the man's actions as if they were never so fatal and necessary? For instance, suppose the man by an internal principle of motion and an absolute freedom of will, without any external cause or impulse at all, does some particular action today; and suppose it was not possible that this action should have been foreseen yesterday. Was there not nevertheless the same certainty of event as if it had been foreseen? That is, would it not, notwithstanding the supposed freedom, have been as certain a truth yesterday and from eternity that this action was an event to be performed today (though supposed never so impossible to have been foreknown) as it is now a certain and infallible truth that it is performed? Mere certainty of event, therefore, does not in any measure imply necessity; and, consequently, foreknowledge, however difficult to be explained as to the manner of it, yet (since it is manifest it implies no other certainty but only that certainty of event which the things would equally have without being foreknown) it is evident that it also implies no necessity.

And now having, as I hope, sufficiently proved both the possibility and the real existence of liberty, I shall, from what has been said on this head, draw only this one inference, that hereby we are enabled to answer that ancient and great question,πόθεν το κακόν, what is the cause and original of evil. For liberty implying a natural power of doing evil as well as good; and the imperfect nature of finite beings making it possible for them to abuse this their liberty to an actual commission of evil; and it being necessary to the order and beauty of the whole and for displaying the infinite wisdom of the creator that there should be different and various degrees of creatures whereof consequently some must be less perfect than others, hence there necessarily arises a possibility of evil, notwithstanding that the creator is infinitely good. In short, thus: all that we call evil is either an evil of imperfection, as the want of certain faculties and excellencies which other creatures have, or natural evil, as pain, death, and the like, or moral evil, as all kinds of vice. The first of these is not properly an evil. For every power, faculty or perfection which any creature enjoys being the free gift of God, which he was no more obliged to bestow than he was to confer being or existence itself, it is plain [that] the want of any certain faculty or perfection in any kind of creatures, which never belonged to their nature, is no more an evil to them than their never having been created or brought into being at all could properly have been called an evil. The second kind of evil, which we call natural evil, is either a necessary consequence of the former, as death to a creature on whose nature immortality was never conferred (and then it is no more properly an evil than the former); or else it is counterpoised in the whole with as great or greater good, as the afflictions and sufferings of good men (and then also it is not properly an evil); or else, lastly, it is a punishment (and then it is a necessary consequent of the third and last sort of evil, viz., moral evil). And this arises wholly from the abuse of liberty which God gave to his creatures for other purposes, and which it was reasonable and fit to give them for the perfection and order of the whole creation. Only they, contrary to God's intention and command, have abused what was necessary for the perfection of the whole to the corruption and depravation of themselves. And thus all sorts of evils have entered into the world, without any diminution to the infinite goodness of the creator and governor thereof.

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