« EdellinenJatka »
PART II, Consequences of Edwards' System.
The second part of the review we do not propose to notice. If the Reviewer is wrong in ascribing to his author the scheme of fatalism, his reduction of that scheme to its consequences, however logically it may be effected, has no relation to the work from which it professes to be drawn, and we are not called upon to question its correctness. Nor are we at all disposed to seek for faults, in a discussion, with which, for the most part, we are highly pleased. Considered simply as an argument against the physical necessity of volitions, it is accurate, and cogent, in a very high degree ; and forces upon the advocates of that scheme, consequences, which it will be found alike impossible, to evade, or to justisy. Its absolute incompatibility with all our ideas of moral good and evil, merit and demerit, reward and punishment, in short, with all that belongs to responsibility, is pointed out clearly and impressively. Whoever adopts the system here attributed to Edwards, and has not the hardihood to adopt with it, a most appalling series of consequences, will meet in this portion of Professor Tappan's work, an obstacle over which he will find it impossible to carry his views.
PART III. Examination of Edwards' Argument against
We commence our remarks upon this third part of the review, with some observations upon the Professor's use of the most important terms of the discussion. We find occurring throughout it, passages like the following: “Will is simply cause” “ volition is the effort of that cause which we call will”—“it is a cause per se.” These, and similar expressions, occur on almost every page. If words can seltle any thing, then, according to Professor Tappan, will is
Take now a different class of expressions : divine will is infinite power; the created will is finite power" _"the only escape from necessity, is in the conception of a will as above defined, a conscious, self-moving, power"
we regard it as a contingent cuuse, a power to do or not to do.” These passages clearly evince, that Professor Tappan does not distinguish between the two ideas of cause, and
power, in a question which respects only the causation of
“ It is as conscious" says the Reviewer, "of power not to do, as of power to do; it may be called a power arbitrary and contingent.” A power arbitrary and contingent which is conscious of power? Is not here a manifest identification of the conscious mind with the will ? the power, of which that consciousness takes cognizance ?
Indeed, will, is Professor Tappan's idol. He cannot magnify it too greatly, nor attribute to it too much. On p. 225, he says,
" Let the will be taken as the chief characteristic of personality, or more properly, as the personality itself. By the personality, I mean the me, or myself. The personality, the me, the will
, a self-moving cause, directs itself by an act of attention to the reason, and receives the laws of its action. The perception of these laws is attended with the conviction of their rectitude and imperative obligation; at the same time, there is the consciousness of power to obey or to disobey them.” The will is here affirmed to be, a thing which exerts acts of consciousness, of attention, of perception, of conviction ; there seems indeed, to be no department of the mind's action which is not monopolised by this all engrossing power, or cause, or activity, which we are finally told is the me or myself. Out of all this confusion of cause with power, agent with activity, mind with will, it is proposed to prove that the will may be a self-determining power. With such advantages, the effort cannot be considered a very difficult one.
It has been by no means uncommon with writers on this sub
ject, to use the word will for the word mind; to speak carelessly of the will producing effects, when they mean that the mind produces them by willing; a negligence which Edwards censures with just severity. To Professor Tappan, however, this censure has no application. It is no negligence to which his use of these terms is to be attributed. He has a system of his own, the tendency of which is, to exalt the will, by confining all mental activity to it, and of course, to depreciate all other faculties of the mind. It is his studious conformity to this system which has produced the peculiarities we have noticed; peculiarities which, in the subsequent volumes of his work, he laboriously seeks to justify.
The Reviewer's examination of Edwards' argument against self-determination, is of course controlled by the signification which in the former part of the review, the term selfdetermination has been made to bear. If our previous remarks on this subject are correct, that signification is unauthorized; of course, in contending against the idea it gives, the Reviewer is not opposing the real doctrine of Edwards. Of the correctness of those remarks, this portion of the work furnishes additional evidence, as we shall now proceed to show.
We quote from the Inquiry the following passage as exhibiting the true issue between Edwards, and the advocates of self-determination. He contends that if the will determine itself to any act, it must do so by a previous act. To this it is replied by his opponents that the determining act is not before the act determined, in the order either of nature or of time, nor indeed distinct from it, but that the will determines the act in forming or producing it. Upon this evasion Edwards remarks as follows :
“If any should say that for the soul to exert a particular volition, is for it to cause and determine that volition, I would on this observe that the thing in question seems to be kept out of sight. The very act of volition itself is DOUBTLESS a determination of the mind. But the question is, what influences, directs, or determines the mind or will to come to such a conclusion as it does ? Or what is the cause, ground, or reason why it concludes thus, and not otherwise?"
The evasion as Edwards terms it, has for its point, that for the soul to exert a volition, is for it to cause and determine
that volition; to this Edwards fully responds with a "doubtless,” admitting the claim in its length and breadth, but contends that it does not touch the point in controversy. We have here, then, the distinct affirmation, that to exert a volition is to cause it-hat it is the soul which exerts or causes volition, and that this question of the efficient causation of volition, is not the one in controversy. The controversy respects only the question, why does the soul cause such an act, rather than a different one? The Reviewer affirms, however, that the question respects only the causation of volition, and that Edwards regards motive as the efficient cause. Though Edwards affirms numberless times, that the soul exerts volition, though he here explains, that by exerts he means causes it, our Reviewer steadily maintains his position, that the system of the Inquiry recognises only motive as the producing cause of choice, and that this is the question principally in controversy between Edwards and himself. This representation compels us to believe that the Professor has misconceived the scheme of his author, capitally, essentially, on the grand question of the whole controversy.
Prof. T. makes distinct allusion to a passage precisely similar to the one we have just quoted ; and it is somewhat curious to perceive, with what a cool deliberation he forces this system of fatalism upon Edwards, directly over it. He quotes the language of the Inquiry thus—“the question is not so much how a spirit endued with activity comes to act, as why it exerts such an act, and not another, or why it acts with a particular determination.” This does most manifestly assign the soul as the efficient cause, and the motive as only the occasion or reason, the final cause of the soul's action. Yet, explicit as it is, this language is not deemed worthy even of an "explanation.” The Reviewer contents himself with a reference to the dubious principles, which he considers himself as having previously established, that volition is identical with the strongest desire, and that this desire is produced of necessity, like any other effect; and concludes that therefore this language does not recognise the distinction which lies so evidently upon its face. « The distinction of final and efficient causes does not lie in his system.” “It belongs to the opposite system to make this distinction in all its clearness and force.”—p. 186. It would be impossible to state this distinction more palpably than Edwards has
done, both here, and in his explanation of the word cause ; or to claim it more distinctly as a part of his system. Yet these plain and forcible declarations are unscrupulously overruled, to a coincidence with what the Reviewer has elsewhere decided to be, the principles of Edwards' philosophy.
This very summary disposal, however, of the marked language of Edwards, does not entirely satisfy even the Reviewer himself. He evidently feels some lingering embarrassments, of which this reasoning does not entirely relieve him. He makes, therefore, a still more labored effort, to deprive Edwards of the benefit of this important distinction. With what a ruinous fatality to his own cause the effort is atlended, we shall now endeavor to show.
The Reviewer contends against this language, as he has already done in the instance of the determination of motion, that there is no propriety in supposing two causes to beconcerned in the production of an effect. “Every effect is particular and limited. It must necessarily be one thing and not another, have certain characteristics and not others; and the cause which determines the phenomenon, may be supposed to determine likewise all its properties. The cause of a particular motion, for example, must, in producing the motion, give it likewise a particular direction. “Selection is the attribute of the cause, and answers to particular determination in the effect. There must necessarily be one object chosen and not another. Thus, if fire be thrown among various substances it selects combustibles, and produces phenomena accordingly.” “ Volition must have an object; something is willed or chosen; particular determination and direction are therefore inseparable from every volition, and the cause which really gives it a being, must necessarily give it character and particular determination." This language denies all influence of occasional causes. There is but one cause which influences the effect, and this determines both the phenomenon and those attending peculiarities, or properties, which Edwards has attributed to a totally different one. The nature of fire is a sufficient reason for its uniform selection of combustibles; and so the nature of the will is a sufficient reason for its selection of the volitions to which it gives existence.
Now it must be admitted, that the nature of fire does constitute a sufficient account of the fact, that it always selects