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fidered in two different points of view-either popular or philofophical. In the popular fenfe it is unquestionably true; in the philofophical fense it is demonftrably falfe: but Mr. Locke obviously confounds these two different views of the subject; and though he admits all the premises from which the conclufions in favour of Philofophical Neceffity are deduced, he refuses to acknowledge the justnefs of thofe conclufions, because there is a sense in which men may be confidered as free agents.
In this chapter there is much extraneous matter; and Mr. Locke wanders frequently from the fubject he profeffes to difcufs, to which he never reverts without great apparent reluctance: but though there are in his digreffive obfervations very objectionable paffages, I fhall confine my remarks to those arguments and affertions which bear an immediate relation to the point. "Liberty," fays Mr. Locke, fect. 8. " is a power in any agent "to do or to forbear any particular action, according to the determination or thought of the "mind." This definition is confonant to the popular view of the fubject; and it may be called practical Liberty, which no Philofopher ever pretended to call in question. Metaphyfical Liberty is a power of forming oppofite determinations in the fame precife fituation. A man in any given circumftances may undoubtedly act as he wills or pleases; but then the act, whatever it be, is a definite act, and in the fame precife previous circumftances the fame act would invariably take place; for the act refults from the previous circumstances, and T 2 perfect
perfect uniformity in the cause must produce perfect uniformity in the effect. Whatever the ignorant or the vulgar may fancy, therefore, throughout the entire feries of caufes and effects, nothing could poffibly have happened different from what has actually taken place. The course of events is fixed and immutable, and thoughts, volitions, and actions, proceed in one uninterrupted concatenation from the beginning to the end of time, agreeably to the laws originally established by the great Creator; and it is as impoffible to disturb the regular progreffion of caufes and effects in the mental as in the material world. A river may as foon be made to flow back to its fountain, as volitions can be exempted from the neceffitating influence of motives.
Mr. Locke farther tells us, and very justly, fect. 2. that "voluntary is not opposed to neceffary, but to "involuntary;" that is, in other words, that there is no real contrariety in the ideas conveyed by the terms voluntary and neceffary, but that they may both be predicated of the fame action. A man is faid to act voluntarily when he is under no external constraint; but though he acts voluntarily, he may and must act neceffarily, if the action is determined by motives previously existing in his own breast. A man of a charitable difpofition, for inftance, beftows a benefaction for the relief of some' indigent object in distress. The act is no doubt voluntary, but it is likewife, ftrictly speaking, neceffary; for in the precife fituation of mind in which the gift
was bestowed, he was irresistibly influenced by mo tives of generofity to confer this donation: but it may be faid, he could have withheld it if he had pleafed. No doubt he could; but the question is, How he could have pleased to withhold his benefaction at the very moment in which he was pleased to bestow it? So far then Mr. Locke maintains nothing inconfiftent with the principles of Philofophical Neceffity; nay, he makes the fame diftinctions, and defends them in the fame manner, that the Neceffarians themselves are accustomed to do. Again, Mr. Locke observes, fect. 13. that "where "the power to act or forbear, according to the di"rection of thought, is wanting, there Neceffity "takes place." Moft certainly it does. In that cafe even popular Liberty is wanting. But philofophical Neceffity may take place, where the power to act or forbear, according to the direction of the thought, is not wanting. In any given or definite fituation of mind, we may either act or forbear to act, as we please. This all allow; but in the fame precife fituation of mind we cannot poffibly do both. If, in the first instance, I determine to act, let me be placed precisely in the fame fituation once more, and I must inevitably form the fame determination, as, upon the contrary fuppofition, the determination not to act must be equally limited and definite. When we fay, with a reference to any particular cafe, a man has power to act or to forbear as he pleafes, &c. there is in fact no uncertainty in the nature of the thing;
and the feeming uncertainty implied in the expreffion denotes only our own ignorance of the event. The place in which a billiard ball must finally reft, after being ftruck, is neceffarily determined by the laws of motion, though if it is not obstructed by any external impediment, we fay in common language, that it is at liberty to fettle upon any part of the billiard table.
"If this be fo," continues Mr. Locke, fect. 14. “I leave it to be confidered, whether it may not help to put an end to that long agitated and unreasonable, because unintelligible, queftion, Whether man's will be free or no? It is as infignificant to afk, whether man's will be free? as to afk, whether his fleep be fwift, or his virtue fquare? Liberty being as little applicable to the will, as motion to fleep, or figure to virtue. Liberty is a power which can belong only to agents, and cannot be an attribute of the will, which is also but a power." Now it is obvious to remark, that it is one thing, to object to the difcuffion of a question, as infignificant in itself; and an. other, to object to a particular statement of it, as improper. The question accurately ftated is, doubtless, not whether the will, but whether the man or agent be free; and Mr. Locke furely could not flatter himself that he had done much towards putting an end to the question refpecting free agency, by merely propofing a more accurate ftatement of it, though the former ftate. ment was by no means, as he afferts, either un. reasonable
reasonable or unintelligible.
By the queftion,
Whether the will be free?" was, and ftill is, univerfally understood, whether the man or intelligent agent be free in willing, or in forming volitions; and I never heard of any advocates for philofophical Liberty, who pretended that the will was free, as contra-diftinguifhed from the agent willing; so that this obfervation refolves itfelf into little better than a quibble. To the question then, "Whether a man be free?" Mr. Locke, fect. 21. anfwers to the fame effect as beføre," that a man is as free as it is poffible for freedom to make him, who poffeffes the power of acting or not acting, by the determination of his own thoughts; for how, fays he, can we think any one freer than to have the power to do what he will?" True; fo fay the Neceffitarians; but they maintain that this is perfectly confiftent with their grand axiom, that "volitions must be definite in definite circumftances." "But, fays Mr. Locke, "freedom, unless it reaches farther than this, will not ferve the turn: concerning human Liberty, therefore, this question is farther raised, Whether a man be free to will? which I think, fays he, is what is meant, when it is dif puted whether the will be free." No doubt it is; and this proves with how little juftice he reprefents it as an unintelligible queftion. As to that, he replies, "a man in refpect of willing cannot be free; for, Liberty confifting in a power to act or not to act, it is abfolutely neceffary T I 4 in