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tion, separate the notion of a liquid expanse from that of water. I can also form a notion of molten brass; and, lastly, by an effort of voluntary imagining," combine the two, or conceive a “brazen sea."
I know this by my having done it just now. I am sure I formed no idea of a brazen sea until this present writing, when I did it because I wished to see if it could be done.
Let one read the chapter on imagination ; particularly that on imaginations attended with desire, and that on the formation of Milton's garden of Eden, and he will have passivity enough.
The author, somewhere in this part of his work, represents the view which a reasoner has of the parts of his argument, as the work of imagination! We will proceed now to the second topic proposed for consideration.
II. Definitions and simple terms.
The consideration of these is rendered important by their connec. tion with remarks to be made in reference to the will and its free. dom. The subject is treated by the author at p. 180, vol. i, and p. 271, vol. ii, of the Intellectual Philosophy, and in various incidental remarks, scattered through the two works.
The good old rule of definition, which has come to us from the schoolmen, is—by genus and difference. With this rule Mr. Upham finds fault. But the futility of the objection may establish the rule. It is not objected by him that the principle of the rule is bad, but that a certain definition, formed upon that model, and quoted by him, is not very intelligible. This is about as reasonable as to say that men should not raise walls by the plummet, because, in spite of the plummet, a blockhead can easily make an inclining wall.
That rule seems to me the best possible for cases to which it is applicable. It is simple, and withal serves the great purpose of binding our ideas, and keeping the relations of things ever before us.
Terms are divisible into two classes, --simple and complex. The latter may be resolved into the former; or, rather, it may be shown to what simple terms the complex one is equivalent. It is a ques. tion, how a simple term may be defined ? or, rather, how the idea of it may be conveyed to a mind which has it not ? To a mind which has it not, there is no possibility of conveying it by words ; and, as this is the main object of definition, we may say, a simple term is indefinable. But, is it necessary to reject the aid of words altogether, and say, that for the sense of such a term every one must depend upon his own mind? I think not. Mr. Upham carries this view of the case to an extreme. When he meets with a simple term, he tells us it is simple, and then leaves us to ourselves. order to perceive how far it is possible for us to circumscribe simple terms, let us select an instance.—Let it be sweetness. It is not necessary to suppose that, in every case, where an individual does not know the meaning of a simple term, he has not the idea corresponding. A Frenchman has the ideas of many simple English terms, which he cannot understand. But, for the present, let us suppose that the individual has no notion of sweetness. Are words, in that case, useless? It is granted that one cannot, by words, convey to him the notion. But, are words, therefore, to no purpose ?
Cannot one so circumscribe the idea, that when it does enter his mind, he shall know it to be the idea of sweetness ? Let us try our modes of defining. Mr. Upham tells him, sweetness is a simple term, and, therefore, indefinable. A schoolman, sweetness is the name of a certain sensation received by the palate of a person in good health, upon the presence of certain objects, &c. Now, he has no more idea of sweetness than he had before; but, 1. He knows what it is not. It is not a sight,-it is not a sound. 2. When he tastes sugar he will be able to say, the sensation I now have is of sweetness. This may serve the purpose of illustration. The word, I know, is used in other simple significations and includes more than I have mentioned.
But if this man have the idea and not the word, I may resort to a synonym. Let him be an old Roman come to new life. Hearing people talk of sweetness, he wishes to know what it is. Find out by experience, says one. Dulcedo, says another, and is understood.
True, there is a limit beyond which these operations cannot go. In the former case, there is always a part of the idea which must come by experience or not at all. Beside, there are many simple terms, for the explaining of which, words serve but little purpose. I am not disputing the strict indefinableness of simple terms. But they seem to me to be not so lawless as the author imagines.
One can hardly tell the difference, in the Intellectual Philosophy, between instincts, propensities, and desires. In the Essay, it is plainly conceded, in reference to the simple term (so called) freedom, that if an individual profess to have the idea of it, we must concede his claim,-we have no means of putting him to the test. And if he farther pretend to be conscious* of not being free, that also must be conceded. He is not free.
The importance of this topic will appear still more fully hereafter.
Words may be of use, it appears, in explaining simple terms to the following extent:-1. Synonymous words may be used, and very profitably; not to convey an idea, but to reveal it. Beside, these words are tests, the one of the other. If I know two words to be synonymous, and yet perceive that I do not use them interchangeably, I may be sure I have not the precise idea denoted by them both. 2. We may state the circumstances under which the idea will present itself as above; so that, when the person addressed has the idea, he will be able to name it.
Should an individual affirm an idea to be simple when it is complex, how is he to be refuted? Perhaps it would devolve upon the individual affirming it to be complex to prove his assertion; as, if it be simple, the argumentative proof will, perhaps, be impossible. Freedom Mr. Upham affirms to be a simple term. (See Essay on the Will, p. 226.) I affirm it to be complex. I prove it to be such by resolving it into its elements. Thus, power is a simple term ; 80 simple, as to defy the power of words to explain it. The only
I do not know whether I shall be accounted insane or not, but I cannot avoid propounding the query, How does consciousness teach men that they are free? My consciousness does not teach me either that I am or am not. It appears to me, the matter does not come under the cognizance of consciousness at all.
method of explaining such words as these is, to present the verbal connections in which they occur, or to point them out as their ideas present themselves in nature. But the idea of power in opposition to power, is complex, equivalent to the former, in a certain relation. It may be disputed whether the idea of power negatived, as in the phrase no power, be simple or complex. However, all these are included in the idea of freedom.
For, 1. Freedom is a word denoting things in a certain relation. It does not denote an object simply, but the state of an object, in reference to other objects. 2. Power is the thing related. Manifestly, nothing can be free which has not power. But, 3. That to which the power is related is also power; for power only can be opposed to freedom. And, 4. The relation is negative, for the thing related is free, i, e., not obstructed by the other power.
This, then, is freedom Sabsence of opposing power. Mr. Upham, I suppose, would call this a synonym. But, how absurd to talk of a sentence as synonymous with a word! See Essay, p. 228. Does Mr. Upham really expect that a definition will convey some other idea than that of the word defined ?
Freedom is the state of a power when unopposed by any other power. To vary the expression, though not the idea, any thing is free when its action is its own.
As the subject of freedom is an important one, apart from the definableness of terms, it may not be idleness to consider it a little farther. It may be considered, 1. In reference to the subjects to which it is attributed. 2. The subjects of it may be considered in reference to their freedom. These points will be touched, though not very systematically, in the paragraphs immediately following.
1. According to our view, freedom is power, in a certain relation. Properly, it can be affirmed only of a power. If, therefore, any thing be said to have power by accommodation, it will be said to have freedom in an accommodated sense. Hence, material things, having the one, in the one sense, must have the other, in the same.
This action is their own, not that they originate it, but that they only of material things are adapted to perform it. The piston of a steam engine is free when it is not prevented from doing what it was designed to do. If it be chained above, or obstructed below, it is not free. Here, although the action is as much that of the engineer, or of the steam, yet it is also its own, in distinction from the rudder or bowsprit; as these, no matter how adjusted, could not perform it. Any thing is free, in this sense, when it is not obstructed in the action for which it is adapted. The human eye is free when it moves within its prescribed sphere, at the bidding of the will. It is not free when it cannot take in every direction lying in front of the individual ; it is free, though totally unable to reveal what is behind the face. 2. Now, it is important to notice that, the mental faculties have this physical freedom. Imagination is free; not that it governs itself, but that it is not obstructed in the action for which it was made. But, if the brain be diseased it cannot act; it is not free. One step more :— The will itself has this physical freedom. The volition follows a certain motive, and while nothing prevents the consecution, the freedom is perfect. That there are volitions, bound to certain antecedents, is too plain to be denied. But, some one may object, and say, this is mental and voluntary freedom. I know it is mental and voluntary; but, it is also physical. It has been already explained, that mental and physical are not necessarily opposed. Wherever effects invariably follow certain antecedents there is physical law.
3. The great consideration connected with this topic is, that while material things may be divested of their freedom, by one another, mind cannot, except by itself, or by the body connected with it.
The mind cannot act except freely. You say, a man may be compelled to think of certain things, or not. But how is he compelled ? Either he directs his mind, by an effort of will, or he does not. If he does not, the mind acts by its own power; in which case it is free. The objection will, doubtless, arise, that the mental is, in such case, prescribed by the external circumstances. This leads me to notice an important consideration, which may settle the question. The mind is not appointed to act, in certain ways, absolutely without reference to occasions; but, to act so and so, under such and such circumstances. It is not like the piston of a steam engine, which, unless it be fitted to a cylinder, is no piston. In this case, the circumstances are definite. But, mind is still mind, no matter what the circumstances. It operates freely, whenever it acts, by its own laws; though the precise operation be different, according to circumstances.
Now, as compulsion can only vary the external circumstances, the mind still acting in its own way, there is no outward power which can destroy the mind's liberty.
But in the case supposed, the individual guide his mind by volition, then he is influenced by some motive; and, to be influenced by a motive without consent, is impossible. I grant that the volition may have followed physically.' Still, it is volition ; and volition is choice.
It is manifest from this that will cannot but be free.
4. This, however, is physical freedom, and implies neither virtue nor vice.
Let us now consider man as a unit, or as one being, composed of body and spirit. It is plain, 1. That he, as a man, is not free, unless all the parts are so. Though the intellectual powers and the will be free, (as they must be,) yet he is not free, if his body be confined. 2. That, though he, as a whole, be free, and the parts unobstructed by extrinsic influence, the parts may be not at liberty among themselves. The passions may domineer over the will ; the will over the conscience.
5. But all this freedom is without à moral quality. Let us then consider moral freedom.
Any thing is free when its action is its own. It is morally free when its action is so its own that it is responsible, i. e., liable to rewards and punishments, on the account of it: in other words, it is free in this sense when it originates, and so far as it originates, its own action.
This is a new element, entirely beyond the former. That creates no responsibility; this does. This cannot subsist without that; that may subsist without this.
6. From this point seem to radiate all the various theories respecting human accountability. The reader, it is hoped, will indulge a little latitude.
Dr. Adam Clarke atfirms that the will is an essentially free principle, and that to apply to it the epithet free, is absurd. Freedom constitutes it voluntary. The Christian Spectator repeats the remark, giving it a hearty concurrence. Is there any difference between them? Much every way.
As the subject is well adapted for illustration we will dwell upon it.
7. It has already been noticed that, physically, the will cannot but be free. A consideration of the character of voluntary operations suffices to evince this: Dr. Clarke, the Christian Spectator, and myself, would probably all use the same illustrations here. I have just finished the above sentence; I might have left it unfinished; or, have never begun it. Thus I am free. Nay, I cannot be otherwise. One might have taken my hand and made the marks, but he could not have compelled me to write it. More yet. He might have threatened me with death, and so have induced me to will it. But the act would have been voluntary still. I chose to do it, sooner than die. Thus, I am essentially free. There cannot be will without freedom.
.8. Dr. Clarke's mistake, as I deem it, lies in this,—that failing to distinguish moral from physical freedom, he has affirmed that of the will generally which belongs to it, only in one respect. Did Dr. Clarke forget that, according to Scripture, men are naturally free only to evil? There is no dispute but that I can, or not, omit this present writing; but, can I or not omit it morally? That is, though I am free, as a rational being, am I also free as a moral ? It is manifest, I may be, or I may not.
9. But, are the metaphysicians of the Spectator right? Or, rather, granting them mistaken, is their mistake the same with that of Dr. Clarke ? I think not. He confounded that freedom which is inseparable from rationality, with that which is inseparable from moral character; affirming both (or both in one) to be essential, while one only is so:
But they affirm moral freedom to consist in physical. They would say, man is physically free-physically, as before explained -and, so, morally. In other words, you may cease writing or not, if you please ; therefore, you may, or may not, be punished for it. I answer, not so. I
may, or may not, write. Therefore, I must abide the natural consequences. But, before I can be brought to judgment and punished, it must be seen that the act was so mine, that I am responsible. If it appear that, though I willed it, yet, my willing followed as an effect from some exterior cause, I am irresponsible.
Here our doctrine may be summed up.
1. There is a freedom of the will which is inseparable from intelligence (not to say rationality, with which some might cavil.) Brutes have it as truly as men. In this respect, the will is an essentially free principle.
2. Moral freedom implies the other, though the other does not imply it. Moral freedom is incidental, not essential. The devils have it not, and yet are rational. Doubtless they deliberate, choose, and resolve. Thus they are free, but to no good.