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qua non; if freedom is, duty may be; but if freedom is not, duty is not. The responsible must be free. This, for those holding moral responsibility to be real, is of itself a clear demonstration that freedom, that choice, is real.
There is freedom, then, in the fact of choice. It is not to be found elsewhere. All spontaneous and involuntary changes are effects determined by one's constitution and environment. Every voluntary change is an effect determined, directly or indirectly, by the will. Within the will, the effort is causally and directly determined by that antecedent desire to which preference is yielded, the motive. The intention is merely choice as a fact, as made. Only in the act of choosing is there freedom from causation.2
§ 11. In the precedent psychological sketch it is assumed that the human mind has a faculty of pure intellectual intuition, the pure reason. The reality of this faculty is likewise a metaphysical theme, one which has been much discussed by philosophic thinkers. Only a brief explanation
1 Says Kant : " While freedom is the ratio essendi of the moral law, the moral law is the ratio cognoscendi of freedom. Were there no freedom it would be impossible to trace the moral law in ourselves at all.” —Critique of Practical Reason, preface, note. Says Bishop Martensen : “Only in the domain of freedom is morality possible.” Christian Ethics, p. 3.
2 Says Kant : • Will is that kind of causality attributed to living agents, in so far as they are possessed of reason ; and freedom is such a property of that causality as enables them to originate events independently of foreign determining causes. See Elements of Psychology, SS 257 n, 272 n, 275 n.
8 See supra, § 2; also Elements of Psychology, § 113 sq., and § 124 sq. The faculty of pure reason, by which the mind cognizes necessary and universal ideas and principles, is in Greek termed volls and in German Vernunft; that which cognizes contingent matter, diávola and Verstand. Aristotle thus defines the former : Ο νους έστι περί τας αρχάς των νοητών και των όντων: η μεν γαρ επιστήμη των μετ' αποδείξεως όντων έστιν αι δ' άρχαι αναπόDELKTOL.—Magna Moralia, i, 35. Kant, the highest modern authority in this matter, detines thus : “Pure reason (Vernunft) is the faculty which contains the principles of cognizing anything absolutely à priori." – Critique of Pure Reason, Int., § vii.
of the view adopted in the present treatise is practicable in this connection.
We hold that mind is constituted with power to know both itself and things other than itself, the conditions of their existence, and their relations to each other. This cognitive constitution is fitted, not only for the empirical, but also for the pure intuition of objective reality. Consciousness, in the presence of some adventitious, empirical matter perceived by sense, external or internal, has, beside and along with sense, an intellectual power to discern in the total fact an essential element, equally adventitious, but not at all This is the power of pure reason.
That element of the total which is not the object of sense, is the object of reason; both elements are objective and real in the total thing known.
A conscious experience, for example, of a succession of mental states given in self-perception, the internal sense, involves time, which is not an object of sense, but is discerned by pure intellect or reason, as a necessary and objectively existing condition of the succession. Upon the occasion of an experience of body, the empirical intuition implies and is conditioned on a pure intuition of space, a non-sensuous object occupied by and containing the body. An experience of a change, especially of one that is constrained by conscious effort, noting that the subsequent is not detached but grows immediately from its antecedent, is an empirical occasion for the purely intellectual discernment of causation as the necessary condition of change, of a reality, a force, existing in the relation of things that change. Now from the law of relativity, that every mode of consciousness subsists by virtue of an opposition, that every affirmation is also a negation, it follows, that the idea of causation as constrained action, is necessarily supplemented by the negative correlative idea of freedom as unconstrained action. A conscious act, judged to be free, is, in the human mind, an occasion for an intuition of the pure idea of right or duty. Such action, not coming under the law of causation, is cognized as under a different law, the law of obligation.
i See Elements of Psychology, $ 58.
Thus time is a condition of event, space a condition of body, substance a condition of quality, non-contradiction a condition of thought, cause a condition of change, right a condition of obligation. Upon the metaphysical question whether these pure ideas correspond to objective realities, we observe simply, that they stand prior to things in the relation of condition to conditioned. They must be in order that things may be; the former necessary, the latter contingent. If a thing be real, its condition must be real.
We have already identified the intuition of duty in its mandatory form, that is, the moral law or law of obligation, with conscience. Even should the intuitive character of this discernment be rejected, still it would remain true that conscience, the discerning of moral law, is, like freedom, a necessary condition, and hence a postulate of Ethics.
§ 12. It is here in place to inquire what is meant by a person. We can readily conceive of beings intelligent and sentient, and having free-will, but not having conscience. In fact we thus judge of brutes. But beings destitute of moral insight, and therefore not morally accountable, are not persons; for moral insight or conscience is the differentiating essence of personality. Accordingly we define a person to be an intelligent and sentient being, having free-will, and moral insight. But, since consciousness is generic of the modes knowing and feeling, desiring and willing, it will be sufficient to define a person as a being conscious of moral insight.
1 A word borrowed from the theater where it still plays its part in dramatis personce, impersonation, etc. Its etymology is more curious than helpful. “Lat. persona, personare, to sound through ; per, through, and sonare, to sound, from sonus, sound. The persona was first a mask used by an actor, then a personage, character, part played by an actor, a person. The large-mouthed masks worn by the actors were so called from the resonance of the voice sounding through them.” — SKEAT. Persona has come to mean the inner spiritual subsistence that sounds through the mask of external individuality. It is not the collected fagot of those peculiar visible traits, which may distinguish but do not compose the man ; it is the unified sum of those common mental and moral characteristics which make him an answerable soul.
In the knowledge of our shortcomings we recognize ourselves as imperfect persons, and as such subject to the law with its penalties, of which law we have moral insight. Hence the imperfect person, the human person, is a being conscious of obligation.
The notion of an imperfect person is necessarily supplemented by the correlative notion of a perfect person. This ideal person fulfills the requirements of the law by virtue of his nature, and therefore is superior to obligation, not under the law, which is for imperfect persons only. Now perfection is complete, consummate wholeness. Hence a perfect person is a being conscious of holiness.
In the knowledge of the narrow limitation of our powers we recognize ourselves as finite beings. The notion of finite being is necessarily supplemented by the correlative notion of infinite being. This notion, combined with that of a perfect person, constitutes the notion of Deity, a perfect and infinite person, or a perfectly harmonious personality infinitated.
The moral law demands of imperfect persons perfection. This then must be possible, else the law would be brutum fulmen. Now the real object of a will determinable by moral law, is its perfect accord with the law. This perfection is holiness, a state which no human being is capable of attaining in this life. But, since it is required as practically necessary, it can be looked for only as the result of progress thereafter in infinitum. Hence, not only the present existence of persons, of imperfect persons, but also their immortality, as inseparably connected with moral law, is a postulate of Ethics. 1
§ 13. Whether there be an objectively real being corresponding to the notion of Deity, is yet another metaphysical thesis, to which attention is now directed; for the reality of a superhuman person, the supreme maker, ruler and judge of the universe, is a doctrine essential in complete ethical theory. Hence, after a very brief consideration, we shall assume it as an additional postulate of Ethics.
Logical proof of the existence of God has, in all ages, been earnestly sought by philosophic thinkers, but even yet it is hardly established as an unquestionable philosophical doctrine. Various forms of the ontological, the teleological, and the cosmological arguments have been proposed, criticised, and replaced by other forms, without settled result. We cannot here examine this august theme adequately, but will venture to offer a suggestion.2
Let the cosmological argument be formulated, not à priori as is usual, but à posteriori, adhering strictly to the logical
1 So Kant in Critique of Practical Reason ; the Dialectic, ch. iv.
2 “How can one be calm when he is called on to prove the existence of God? But let us reason gently, smothering our indignation.” — Plato in the Laws, 888 A, Ste. The several forms of argument named are effectively criticised by Kant, “the all-destroyer,' in the Critique of Pure Reason; the Dialectic, bk. ii. ch. 3, § 3 sq., concluding in § 6 : “A Supreme Being is, therefore, for the speculative reason, a mere ideal, though a faultless one, a conception which perfects and crowns the system of human cognition, but the objective reality of which can neither be proved nor disproved by pure speculative reason.
Elsewhere he says : 6. Providence has not willed that those convictions which are most necessary for our happiness should be at the mercy of subtile and finely-spun reasonings, but has delivered them directly to the natural, vulgar understanding. . . . It is altogether necessary that we should be convinced of God's existence, but not so necessary that we should be able to demonstrate it." - In the Essay: Der einzig mögliche Beweisgrund zu einer Demonstration des Daseins Gottes, 1763. It is well worth noting that the Scriptures nowhere offer logical proof of the existence of God; but, from the very outset (Genesis 1:1) throughout, it is assumed.