(c) In this latter case he can change his character only indirectly, by turning his attention to considerations fitted to awaken opposite dispositions and by thus summoning up motives to an opposite course.

There is no such thing as an act of pure will. Peters, Willenswelt, 126 ? ?Jedes Wollen ist ein Etwas wollen? ? ?all willing is a willing of something?; it has an object which the mind conceives, which awakens the sensibility and which the will strives to realize. Cause without alternative is not true cause. J. F. Watts: ?We know causality only as we know will, i.e. , where of two possible causes it makes one actual. A cause may therefore have more than one certain effect. In the external Material world we cannot find cause , but only antecedent . To construct a theory of the will from a study of the Material universe is to seek the living among the dead. Will is power to make a decision, not to be made by decisions, to decide between motives and not to be determined by motives. Who conducts the trial between motives? Only the self.? While we agree with the above in its assertion of the certainty of nature?s sequences, we object to its attribution even to nature of anything like necessity. Since nature?s laws are merely the habits of God, God?s causality in nature is the regularity, not of necessity, but of freedom. We, too, are free at the strategic points. Automatic as most of our action is, there are times when we know ourselves to have power of initiative; when we put under our feet the motives, which have dominated us in the past or when we mark out new courses of action. In these critical times we assert our manhood; but for them, we would be no better than the beasts that perish. ?Unless above himself he can erect himself, How mean a thing is man!?

Will, with no remaining power of contrary choice, may be brute will, but it is not free will. We therefore deny the relevancy of Herbert Spencer?s argument, in his Data of Ethics, and in his Psychology, 2:503 ? ?Psychical changes either conform to law, or they do not. If they do not conform to law, no science of Psychology is possible. If they do conform to law, there cannot be any such thing as free will.? Spinoza also, in his Ethics, holds that the stone, as it falls, would if it were conscious think itself free, and with as much justice as man; for it is doing that to which its constitution leads it; but no more can be said for him. Fisher, Nature and Method of Revelation, xiii ? ?To try to collect the ?data of ethics? when there is no recognition of man as a personal agent, capable of freely originating the conduct and the state?s of will for which he is morally responsible, is labor lost.? Fisher, chapter on the Personality of God, in Grounds of Theistic and Christian Belief ? ?Self-determination, as the very term signifies, is attended with an irresistible conviction that the

<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment