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his mind, is not at liberty to think, or not to think; no
Liberty beleave it to be considered whether it may not longs nor to help to put an end to that long agitated, the will. and I think, unreasonable, because unintel ligible question, viz. Whether man's will be free, or no? For if I mistake not, it follows from what I have said, that the question itself is altogether improper; and it is as insignificant to ask, whether man's will be free, as to ask whether his sleep be swift, or his virtue square ; liberty being as little applicable to the will, as
swiftness of motion is to sleep, or squareness to virtue.
9. 15. Such is the difficulty of explain1. ing and giving clear notions of internal actions by sounds, that I must here warn my reader that ordering, directing, choosing, preferring, &c. which I have made use of, will not distinctly enough express volition, unless he will reflect on what he himself does when he wills. For example, preferring, which seems perhaps best to express the act of volition, does it not precisely. For though a man would prefer flying to walking, yet who can say he ever wills it? Volition, it is plain, is an act of the mind knowingly exerting that dominion it takes itself to have over any part of the man, by employing it in, or with-holding it from, any pårticular action. And what is the will, but the faculty to do this ? And is that faculty any thing more in effect than a power, the power of the mind to determine its thought, to the producing, continuing, or stopping any action, as far as it depends on us? For can it be denied, that whatever agent has a power to think on its own actions, and to prefer their doing or omission either to other, has that faculty called will ? Will then is nothing but such a power. Liberty, on the other side, is the power a man has to do or forbear doing any particular action, according as its doing or forbearance has the actual preference in the mind; which is the same thing as to say, according as he himself wills it.
§. 16. It is plain then, that the will is Powers be
nothing but one power or ability, and freelonging to agents.
dom another power or ability : so that to
ask, whether the will has freedom, is to ask whether one power has another power, one ability ano
ther ability ; a question at first sight too grossly absurd to make a dispute, or need an answer. For who is it that sees not that powers belong only to agents, and are attributes only of substances, and not of powers themselves ? So that this way of putting the question, viz. Whether the will be free? is in effect to ask, Whether. the will be a substance, an agent ? or at least to suppose it, since freedoin can properly be attributed to nothing else. If freedom can with any propriety of speech be applied to power, or may be attributed to the power that is in a man to produce or forbear producing motion in parts of his body, by choice or preference ; which is that which denominates him free, and is freedom itself. But if any one should ask, whether freedom were free, he would be suspected not to understand well what he said; and he would be thought to deserve Midas's ears, who, kuowing that rich was a denomination for the possession of riches, should demand wheiber riches themselves were rich.
5. 17. However the name faculty, which inen have given 10 this power called the will, and whereby they have been led into a way of talking of the will as acting, may, by an appropriation that disguises its true sense, serve a little to palliate the absurdity; yet the will in truth signifies nothing but a power, or ability, to prefer or choose : and when the will, under the name of a faculty, is considered as it is, barely as an ability to do something, the absurdity in saying it is free, or not free, will easily discover itself. For if it be reasonable to suppose and talk of faculties, as distinct beings that can act (as we do, when we say the will Ortlers, and ilie will is free) it is fit that we should make a speaking faculty, and a walking faculty, and a dancing faculty, by which those actions are produced, which are but several modes of motion; as well as we make the will and understanding to be faculties, by which the actions of choosing and perceiving are produced, wlrich are but several modes of thinking : and we may as properly say, that it is the singing faculty sings, and the dancing faculty dances; as that the will chooses, or that the understanding conceives ; or, as is Q3
usual, that the will directs the understanding, or the understanding obeys, or obeys not the will : it being altogether as proper and intelligible to say, that the power of speaking directs the power of singing, or the power of singing obeys or disobeys the power of speaking.
$. 18. This way of talking, nevertheless, has prevailed, and, as I guess, produced great confusion. For these being all different powers in the mind, or in the man, to do several actions, he exerts them as he thinks fit: but the power to do one action, is not operated on by the power of doing another action. For the power of thinking operates not on the power of choosing, nor the power of choosing on the power of thinking; no more than the power of dancing operates on the power of singing, or the power of singing on the power of dancing; as any one, who reflects on it, will easily perceive: and yet this is it which we say, when we thus speak, that the will operates on the understanding, or the understanding on the will.
$. 19. I grant, that this or that actual thought may be the occasion of volition, or exercising the power a man has to choose ; or the actual choice of the mind, the cause of actual thinking on this or that thing : as the actual singing of such a tune, may be the cause of dancing such a dance, and the actual dancing of such a dance the occasion of singing such a tyne. But in all these it is not one power that operates on another : but it is the mind that operates, and exerts these powers; it is the man that does the action, it is the agent that has power, or is able to do. For powers are relations, not agents : and that wbich has the power, or not the power to operate, is that alone which is or is not free, and not the power itself. For freedom, or not freedom, can belong to nothing, but wbat has or has not a power to act.
$. 20. The attributing to faculties that Liberty be.
which belonged not to thein, has given oclongs not to
' casion to this way of talking: but the intro-
cut of e mc
with the name of faculties, a notion of their operating,