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posing, that the volition or action proceeds not from myself
, but from somewhat else. Virtue supposes determination, and determination supposes a determiner; and a determiner that determines not himself is a palpable contradiction. Determination requires an efficient cause. If this cause is the being himself, I plead for no more. If not, then it is no longer his determination; that is, he is no longer the determiner but the motive, or whatever else any one will please to assign as the cause of the determination. To ask, what effects our determination, is the very same with asking, who did a thing, after being informed that such a one did it. In short, who must not feel the absurdity of saying: my volitions are produced by a foreign cause, that is, are not mine ?” Price on Morals, Lond. edition, 1758, p. 315,316. When unsophisticated minds say that a man wills, they mean that he does the willing ; is its cause. No one dreams of any other construction, till philosophy, in her effort to make the subject clearer, envelopes it in darkness. How the man causes is never asked – it can never be answered; but this does not invalidate the reality of his being the cause. The advocates of necessity are constantly falling into these popular modes of expression. They say, the mind determines ; they say also, that motive determines. What do they mean? Not the same thing by the two affirmations. Mind determines, as it is the subject of volition ; motive determines, as it is the cause of volition.
IV. Whether Motive be the Cause of Volition ?
The fourth chapter of the Dissertation is devoted to the consideration of “Motives and their Influence.” This chapter abounds with numerous strictures upon the views of Dr. West, Dr. Clarke, and others. On the justice of these criticisms we offer no opinion. What is the ground taken by Dr. Edwards, as respects the relation of motive to volition ? This is the question before us; and let us proceed to hear and examine his answer.
!. He maintains that motives have influence in the production of volitions, and charges his opponents with great inconsistency in admitting this point, and yet denying moral necessity. President Edwards insisted that motives can be causes only as they have influence, although he had admitted that an antecedent might be cause, even if it had no “positive influence.” In the first part of this position the son is true to the system of the
father. As did the father, so does the son maintain, that unless the strongest motive determine the volition to be thus rather than otherwise, there is no cause for the volition. Having adopted the definition of motive given by the Elder Edwards, he says: “Now if any act of choice be without motive in this sense, it is absolutely without a cause,” p. 372.
It is not necessary to enlarge on this point, since Edwards, and all his defenders, are ready to grant it in the fullest degree.
2. He farther asserts, that motives comprehend the entire and whole cause of volition; not only that they have influence, but all the influence in the way of cause, which is concerned in the production of volition. This is no misrepresentation of the ground which he assumes and endorses in at least one passage: * An act of choice, without a motive in the large sense of motive, as defined by President Edwards, is an event without a cause. For every cause of volition is included in President Edwards's definition of motive. ·By motive,' says he,' I mean the whole of that which moves, excites, or invites the mind to volition, whether it be one thing singly, or many things conjunctly. Accordingly in his further explanation of his idea of motive, he mentions all agreeable objects and views, all reasons and arguments, and all internal biases and tempers which have a tendency to volition; i. e. every cause or occasion of volition. And if an immediate divine influence, or any other extrinsic influence be the cause of volition, it may be called a motive in the same sense that a bias is,” p. 372. Now it will be observed, that in “ every cause or occasion of volition,” Dr. Edwards does not include the volition itself, for this is the effect; neither does he include the mind, for this he denies. “The whole of that which moves, excites, or invites the mind to volition, comprehends the whole idea of motive; the whole idea of motive comprehends every cause of volition, so that if volition be without motive, it is without any cause.” This is plain English. Had Dr. Edwards dropped his pen at this point, we should infer that he never supposed any other cause.—But let us hear him still farther.
3. He states, defines and defends the doctrine of the infallible connection between motive and volition.” He says-—“ By infallible connection between motive and volition, we mean that volition never takes place without some motive, reason, or cause of its existence, either in the views of the mind of him who is the subject of the volition, in the disposition, bias or appetite of
his mind or body, or from the influence of some extrinsic agent," p. 341. The infallible connection here spoken of, is a connection between one thing and another, without which the first never exists:—this is its distinctive characteristic. This connection as applied to the subject under discussion is between 6 volition” and “some motive, reason or cause ”—all these three terms being used synonymously. The theatre where this
motive, reason or cause is to be sought, lies in “the views of the mind,” or “ its disposition, bias, or appetite”—or "the influence of some extrinsic agent." In arguing this point on page 346, he asks, if this connection be not“ a connection just as infallible as that between cause and effect ?" It is not only as infallible, but upon his own showing it is the rery connection itself, and the only connection as an effect, which volition ever has, so far as we have yet presented the views of Dr. Edwards. In every specific volition he maintained that the connection is between that volition and the strongest“ motive, reason or cause.”
A full exposition of this doctrine must be postponed until I examine another part of his scheme, the introduction of which now would confuse the order of discussion. In passing, I wish the reader specially to notice a particular view, that is very common among writers on the side of necessity; viz. that when one thing will not erist without another thing, the relation of cause and effect exists between these two things. Had Dr. Edwards simply said, that the infallible connection is between volition and some cause, without defining the cause, his opponents could not have disagreed with him. But his argument is, that motive is that without which volition will not exist by the concession of his opponents and the verdict of common sense ; -hence he infers the truth of moral necessity, or the infallible connection between motive as the cause, and volition as its effect. This reasoning assumes, that when one thing will not exist without another, the two are related as cause and effect. Let us try this assumption for a moment. Space is that without which body will not exist ; therefore space is a cause of its existence. The position of a body in the line of another moving body is that without which the first will not move; therefore the position, simple vis inertie is a cause of the motion. The existence of an agent is that without which he cannot sin; therefore the existence is a cause of sin. The reality of moral distinctions is that without which wrong cannot be; therefore the reality is a cause of the wrong. These enthymemes might
be multiplied to any extent. President Day saw the difficulty of this assumption. He says—“Every material substance must occupy a certain portion of space. But
has nothing to do in bringing matter into existence. It is not in the proper sense the cause of matter. A body cannot move except in space. But space though a condition of the motion is not the cause." See his Examination of Edwards, p. 33. Who must not feel the unsoundness of the assumption in view of these illustrations ? To confound a condition, even though it be infallible, a sine qua non, with cause, is a great mistake in philosophy; it has done much to embarrass this discussion, and give an air of triumph to one side of the question.
If it be said that cause is to be taken in this general sense, and that it is so used by the advocates of necessity, I reply, that some things must then be included under the idea, which have not, and cannot have the nature of cause. may be, let any man invest it with the idea of cause if he can. Non-existence of a thing is the logical condition of its creation, —that without which its creation cannot be. Is non-existence therefore a cause of its creation? Those who would use cause in so large a sense, cannot have explored their own consciousness on this subject. It is a serious error in classification by which the same term is appropriated to two ideas, between which there is nothing in common. No one can complete the idea of cause without that of power; and the idea of power is not possible without the idea of a subject in which it inheres. Remove these conceptions, and you have no cause—that which does not exist, and which has no power, certainly cannot be cause. How different these conceptions from that without which some other thing will not be!
4. But let us proceed with the work of interpretation : Dr. Edwards denies that the mind is the efficient cause of volition; and we now propose to show that he makes the same denial in regard to motive. Hear what he says :-“I do not pretend that motives are the efficient causes of volition.”—“ When we assert, that volition is determined by motive, we mean not that motive is the efficient cause of it,” p. 344.-“ For moral necessity is a mere previous certainty of a moral action; and this is no more the efficient cause of the action, than the suasive motive, which is the occasion of an action," p. 375.“ If it should be said, that motive in this case is not the efficient cause of the action or doing, this is granted,” p. 381. SECOND SERIES, VOL. IX. NO. II.
The reader who recurs to the ground over which we have already passed, is hardly prepared to expect such concessions from the pen of Dr. Edwards. As yet we have no efficient cause of volition. Mind is not; and he now tells us, that motive is not. Does he mean to leave the ground without such a cause ? At the proper time we shall see.
It is very manifest, that Dr. Edwards contradicts himself, in the positions which he takes in regard to motive. But little skill in dialectics will be needed to convict himn of self-contradiction. Standing on the platform raised by the Elder Edwards, he tells us, that “every cause of volition is included in President Edwards's definition of motive ;” and yet he says, that motives are not the efficient causes of volition. Now"
every cause of volition" must mean all cause. The term is fully distributed. What follows, when we compare his two positions ? That in “every cause ” of an event, the efficient cause is not implied. Surely Dr. Edwards could not have thought of one passage when he wrote the other; they make a palpable contradiction, not the less real, because they are found in separate parts of his work. What is an efficient cause, if it be not found under the category of “ every cause ” of an event ? It may be said that Dr. Edwards uses the word motive in two senses in the different passages, which seem to contradict each other; that when speaking of motive as inclusive of “every cause,” he meant the efficient cause also; but when denying the efficiency of motive, he uses the term in a more limited sense. My reply is, that Dr. Edwards bas not said a word to indicate any such intention, and no man, in the absence of all evidence, has a right 10 assume it for him.
Again, these positions are not consistent, in view of the definition of cause which he adopts. That definition is intended to be so broad as to include all cause ; it is the only one given in his dissertation; it is substantially the one adopted by every writer on the side of necessity. It is “any antecedent, with which a consequent event is so connected, that it truly belongs to the reason, why the proposition which affirms that event, is true; whether it has any positive influence or not.” Motive he holds to be such an antecedent, and therefore it is a cause of volition. The phrase, infallible connection between motive and volition, is but another form of asserting this very doctrine of antecedence, as stated in the definition of cause.
Now observe, that the doctrine of such antecedence contains the necessarian