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in the material universe. There are two special conditions precedent, corresponding to the general conditions of volition already cited.
These are : 1. Alternativity of possible actions, implying independence of objective control or causation.
2. A like plurality of impulses, counter-checking and restraining each other until a judgment is rendered, and the choice made.
Deliberative intelligence, aroused and influenced by the impelling desires, considers the alternatives, but does not causally determine the election. That the election accord with the weightier judgment is normal, but not necessary. Good and weighty reasons are often rejected in favor of trifles; as when one incurs danger to gratify curiosity. Thus choice is largely independent, both of the judgment which presumes to dictate it, and of the desires which impel it. Its conditions being fulfilled, it is free between the possible alternatives. Indeed this is the essence of choice; no freedom, no choice; no choice, no freedom.
We shall inquire presently whether there be in reality such a thing as choice.
Observe the distinction between choice making and choice made. When choosing, one is vacillating under the influence
1 Intelligence, but not choice, may be fairly likened to a balance, and reasons to the weights. Intellect deliberates (from de and librare, to weigh, from libra, a balance). It ponders the facts and the reasons with a view to choice and decision. — Elements of Psychology, $ 273, note. Deliberate preference, as well as desire, looks always forward in time. — Idem, § 255.
Nothing past is the object of deliberate preference; as no one deliberately prefers that Troy should have been destroyed; for a man does not deliberate about what has happened, but about what is future and contingent. For what is past does not admit of being undone; hence Agathon rightly says: • Of this alone even God is deprived, the power of making things that are past never to have been.'"- ARISTOTLE, Nich. Ethics, bk. vi, ch. 2, 6.
“Non tamen irritum,
- HORACE, Odes, lib. iii, car, xxix.
of opposed reasons and conflicting desires; when he has chosen, the question is resolved, his resolution is taken, he has decided what to do. This issue of choice is intention. It is static rather than dynamic; a state of mind lying between choice and effort, between election and fruition. Its duration is indefinite, varying from an imperceptible instant to any length of time awaiting opportunity. When this offers, the effort takes place, perhaps blindly, that is, without renewed or further deliberation, and the thing is done.
Effort is the complete and final expression of the free personality or ego. As choice issues in intention, so effort issues in attention, thereby inducing other mental modes, perhaps with muscular motions. In the effort the subjective voluntary action is complete, even though the intended consequents be imperfect or entirely null.
§ 10. Besides the foregoing psychological doctrines there are a number of principles more strictly philosophical, which also are prerequisite to Ethics.1
1 There are various opinions as to the proper scope and definition of philosophy, due mostly to the fact that the word is taken, as is likewise the case with many other important terms, sometimes in a generic and sometimes in a specific sense.
Taken generically it embraces as subordinate branches certain aprioric sciences, called the philosophic sciences, as logic, ethics, æsthetics, epistemology, metaphysics. This last, metaphysics, which is often loosely regarded as synonymous with philosophy, is more strictly the science of reality. It inquires into the real nature of both corporeal and mental objects, seeking to pass from the subjective to the objective, from thoughts to things. Lotze subdivides it into ontology, rational psychology, and cosmology.
Other thinkers take the still wider view that philosophy “consists in the development of a comprehensive and consistent theory of the universe."
- Külpe, Int. to Phil., § 31, 3. Paulsen warmly pronounces “Philosophie der Inbegriff aller wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnis."'- Einleitung in die Philosophie, S. 34. So also Renan: “Philosopher c'est connaître l'universe. L'universe se compose de deux mondes, le monde physique et le monde moral, la nature et l'humanité. L'étude de la nature et de l'humanité est donc toute la philosophie.”— Fragments Philosophiques, p. 292. Likewise Wundt defines philosophy as "die allgemeine Wissenschaft, welche die durch die Einzelwissenschaften vermittelten allgemeinen Erkenntnisse zu einem widerspruchslosen System zu vereinigen hat."- System der Philosophie, S. 21. This accords with the saying of Spencer: Knowledge of the lowest kind is ununified knowledge; science is partially unified knowledge; philosophy is completely unified knowledge.” Kant, discarding the narrower scholastic definitions, gives as a “world-definition " the following: “Philosophy is the science of the relation of all knowledge to the essential ends of human reason."
Taken specifically, as coördinate with the specific sciences named above,
Whether there be, truly and really, among the mental activities a choice between alternatives, is properly a metaphysical question concerning a reality. For this subjective freedom is not a fact of consciousness, and thus psychological; for consciousness is cognizant of positive facts only, and the conception of freedom is strictly negative, merely the absence of constraint. Moreover, an unconsciousness of constraint does not prove its absence, for it may conceivably exist out of consciousness. Hence the reality of choice, of freedom in willing, is a debatable question of metaphysics.
Some thinkers hold that the universal conviction of an ability to choose is a delusion which philosophy exposes; that freedom is impossible in reality, since it is contrary to the strictly universal law that every change or event is caused; and, indeed, that freedom is impossible even as a conception, for this would be contradictory to the same law, which is a necessary notion.1
Now, if the mental act called a choice be in every respect a change or event, then it must be allowed that it is caused, and so necessitated to be just what it becomes ; that there is no real choice, no possible alternative, no freedom. In other words, if the act be essentially a case of causation, then the doctrine of necessity, of bond-will, is true.
But it seems reasonable to hold that the fact, as to its essence, is out of the category of causation. In so far as it is an act passing from indecision to decision, it is obviously “philosophy is the science of principles.”— UEBERWEG, Hist. of Phil., § 1. It is thus the investigation and systematic exposition of the fundamental and universal truths that underlie all the sciences, “ the investigation of the presuppositions of science.”— KÜLPE, Int. to Phil., § 31, 4. It is evident that all sciences have their common root in philosophy so restricted; for all speak of conditions, axioms, laws, forces, possibilities, realities, etc., which they cannot undertake to establish or explain as applied in diverse senses to diverse spheres, and therefore are relegated for scientific exposition to philosophy thus specialized.
1 See my Elements of Inductive Logic, § 18.
of one ;
subject to causal constraint; for the mere presentation to the will of opposed alternatives, each conceived to be possible, as to go or stay, is a cause that necessitates the willing
I must choose, as we say. But in so far as the fact is merely a preference of this to that, which is its essence, it does not appear to be a case of causation ; for mere preference does not imply a change; it is not from that to this, but only is it this rather than that. Circumstances determine that I shall take a step, but not at all which step shall be taken. As the essence of choice, and that which distinguishes it from all other mental facts, indeed from all things else, is simply the taking of one rather than the other of two possible alternatives, and as this does not imply causation, choice may, for aught that appears, be real, freedom a reality. Moreover, causal constraint being absent, and no other being conceivable, we may conclude further that choice, freedom in willing, is a reality.2
It is evident that freedom in willing is a condition of all ethical doctrine, a postulate of Ethics. It is conditio sine
1 As of two contradictories one must be true, and it remains to decide which ; so of two alternatives one must be taken, and it remains to decide which.
2 See the discussion in Elements of Psychology, $ 276 sq. The absence of causal constraint, and our inability to conceive any other, does not imply the absence of any determining influence whatever, which absence would allow mere caprice, morally worthless causality. Determination is of two kinds, causal determination which implies necessity, and rational determination which consists with freedom. Choice is rationally determined, that is, it accords with some antecedent conditioning reason, good or bad.
6 Deliberate preference does not exist without intellect (did vola) and reason (volls).”
- ARISTOTLE, Nich. Eth., bk. vi, ch. 2. Desires also condition choice, but do not causally determine it. The saying that the choice always follows the stronger motive, which claims to settle the whole question, is an unwarranted assumption that the desire acts causally on the choice, which begs the whole question. Desire causes, not the choice, but the effort. Kant thus defines desire : “ The faculty of desire is the being's faculty of becoming by means of its ideas the cause of the actual existence of the objects of those ideas."— Critique of Practical Reason, preface, note.