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in metaphysics ; and that the metaphysician, who recognizes
moral convictions to be not less real nor less weighty facts
than those of physical science, is bound to qualify, limit, or
interpret the law when applied to moral actions in accordance
with his wider and more comprehensive view of experience.
The truth is, that though the law of uniformity is fulfilled in
the subsequent series of events proceeding from an originat-
ing cause, it does not apply in an absolute unqualified manner
to the primary originating cause itself. '^^

Objections from Physiology, Physics, and Statistics. —
Physiology. — According to certain physiologists, e.g., Dr.
Maudsley, G. H. Lewes, and Luys, Physiology has disproved
the freedom of the Will. This science, it is asserted, has
established that the connexion between bodily and mental
states is so intimate and continuous that each modification
of the mind is inexorably conditioned by some definite mole-
cular change in the substance of the organism. But since
the uniformity is rigid among the corporeal changes^ it must
be equally so among the mental correlates. To this we may



-3 See an admirable article by Father H. Lucas in The Month,
February, 1S77, pp. 248, seq.



FREE-WILL AND DETERMINISM. 421



reply, that equally distinguished authorities on physiological
science deny any such conflict as is alleged between Free-
will and that science.^^ As regards the facts asserted, we
admit, ot course, a very close dependence of mind on body, —
the scholastic doctrine that the soul is the form of the body
always laid stress on this truth, — but we emphatically deny
that anything approaching to the shadow of a proof that
every act of the former is conditioned and determined by the
latter has been made out.

Physics. — The establishment of the Law of the Conser-
vation of Energy is asserted to have disproved Free-will.
This argument applies not merely to free-volition, but to all
conscious states, and would prove, if valid, that no bodily
movement has ever been influenced by any mental act in the
history of the world 1 We shall examine the difficulty later.

Statistics. — It is alleged that Free-will is disproved by the
existence of the Moral sciences. Buckle, who used to be
the classical author on this line oi attack, maintains that the
actions of men " vary in obedience to the changes in the
surrounding society, . . . that such variations are the result
of large and general causes which, working upon the aggre-
gate of society, must produce certain consequences without
regard to the volition of those particular men of whom the
society is composed." He concludes that "suicide is merely
the product of the general conditions of society, and the
individual felon only carries into effect what is a necessary
consequence of preceding circumstances." This is proved by
the evidence of statistics, " a branch of knowledge which,
though still in its infancy, has already thrown more light
on the study of human nature than all the sciences put
together." 31 fhe same objection adopted by Mill, Bain, and

^^ See the writings of Beale, Carpenter, and Ladd. Carpenter's
Mental Physiology is replete with excellent observations on this
subject. Ladd writes: "Nothing of scientific value which Physio-
logical Psychology has to offer, throws any clear light on the
problem of the 'freedom of the will.' . . . When M. Luys, for
example, maintains that to imagine ' we think of an object by a
spontaneous eftbrt of the mind is an illusion,'' and that, in fact, the
. object is only forced on us by the cunning conjurer, the brain,
'because the cell-territory where that object resides has been
previously set vibrating in the brain,' he is controverting a plain
and universal dictum of consciousness by his private and unveri-
fiable hypothesis on a question of cerebral Physiology where
experts and novices are alike ignorant. Physiology neither dis-
proves nor verifies the postulate of free-will ; accordingly this
postulate must be raised and discussed on other grounds." {Physio-
logical Psychology, p. 544.)

31 History of Civilization in England, pp 24, 30.



422 RATIONAL LIFE.



most other determinists, is evidently considered by them to
be one of their most irresistible arguments. Let us first recall
the precise point at issue. The defenders of moral freedom
maintain that within a certain limited sphere man's volition,
and consequently his action, is not inevitably predetermined
by his character and surroundings. They admit : (a) that his
spontaneous or indeliberate acts are merely the outcome of
motive and disposition ; (b) that he can never act without
some motive — the most common forms of which being im-
mediate pleasure, permanent self-interest, and duty ; (c) that
even in deliberate or free actions he is largely influenced,
though not inevitably determined, by superior force of attrac-
tion. Thus, a man accustomed to give way to a particular
temptation, will very probably yield again — though freely —
when it recurs. It is now at once evident how easily general
uniformity, even in individual conduct, is reconcilable with
the libertarian view. Furthermore, statistics deal with
societies of men, not with the particular human being, and
there is no contradiction in the existence of regularity among
actions of the community taken as a whole, while the
members freely vary. " It is precisely because individual
actions are not reducible to any fixed law, or capable of
representation by any numerical calculation, that statistical
averages acquire their value as substitutes." -^^

32 Mansel, Prolegomena Logica, p. 343. The inefficiency of the
statistic objection is well shown from two widely opposed views of
Causation by Dr. Venn and Dr. Martineau. Dr. Venn points out :
(i) That there is a certain illegitimate gain in the apparent force of
the difficulty by the selection of sensational cases, such as the
regularity of suicides, misdirected letters, and the like. The
emotional shock of surprise aroused by such discoveries makes us
mistake their logical value, which does not exceed that of regularity
in meals, or in wearing clothes. (2) Mere uniformity of an average
proves nothing as to invariable determination of the individual
action. Were there a purely random or chance factor among the
agencies at work, this would not affect deductions from the theory
of Probability. If a sufficiently large number of observations were
taken we would be justified in expecting that the random occurrences
on the positive and negative sides would be approximately equal.
Thus in tossing a collection of pennies, whether they were com-
pletely necessitated or partly free we should expect a uniform
average of heads and tails in the long run. (3) "The antecedents
and consequents in the case of our volitions must clearly be
supposed to be very nearly immediately in succession, if anything
approaching to causation is to be established." But nothing of the
kind is or can be attempted in statistical averages. It is probable
that no two of the three hundred suicides in London last year were
precisely alike in antecedents; and very few, if any, of this year



FREE-WILL AND DETERMINISM. 423



Theological Objection : Divine Prescience and Free-will. —
It is argued that God could not foresee with certainty our
actions were they free. This is properly a theological
difficulty ; and for an adequate answer we refer to the volume
of this series on Natural Theology. We may, however, point
out that it is not strictly accurate to speak of Godi foreseeing
events to come. With Him it is a question of actual insight,
of intuitive vision. The past and future are both alike ever
present to His infinite changeless intelligence. Not only all
that has been and all that will be, but even all events that
would occur under any conceivable circumstances lie unfolded
before His omniscient mind. It is true that we cannot imagine
the nature of such an eternal intelligence, any more than the
snail which takes a week to cross a field, can conceive the
human vision that simultaneously apprehends in the flash of
a single glance leagues of a landscape ; but this does not
disprove the fact. Logical dependence in the order of knoidedge
is not the same thing as causal dependence in the ontological
order, that of being. Our certainty regarding past or present
volitions of ourselves or of others does not affect their
freedom ; neither does God's vision of our future free actions.
He sees them because they will occur ; but their occurrence
is not necessitated by the certainty of His knowledge.

Finally, it is asserted that if volition is not as rigidly
ruled by the law of Uniform Causation as other events,
then a science of Psychology is impossible. The objec-
tion possesses about equal force with that which alleges
that if some miracles are admitted to have occurred in the
life of our Lord, or of His Saints, all physical science is
thereby annihilated. Mr. Spencer sums up the whole case
thus : " To reduce the general question to its simplest form :
Psychical changes either conform to law, or they do not.
If they do not conform to law, this work, in common with all
works on the subject, is sheer nonsense : no science of
Psychology is possible. If they do conform to law, there

resembled in all details these of last year. If it could, for instance,
be shown that three hundred individuals of last year, and again of
this year, under the action of three hundred precisely similar sheaves
of motives put an end to their lives, then the determinist would have
made some progress. The statistician does not attempt to show such
similarity. " In fact, instead of having secured our A and B (motive
and volition) here in closest intimacy of succession to one another,
we find them separated by a considerable interval, often indeed we
merely have an A or a B by itself." (Venn, Logic of Chance, c. ix.
§§ 16 — 21.) Cf. Martineau, op. cit. pp. 255 — 272. We need scarcely
say that with his theological explanation later on of the relation of
God's foreknowledge to our free volitions, we do not agree.



424 RATIONAL LIFE.



cannot be any such thing as Free-will." ^^ Xhe alternative J
is, of course, especially as regards Mr. Spencer's portly |
volumes, awful to contemplate. Such a calamity is not, !
however, inevitable. It is a misconception of the doctrine to
afiirm that the reality of Free-will can seriously affect the
scientific character of Empirical Ps3'chology. The inter-
ference of free volition, though ethically momentous, may be |
psychologically very small. There still may remain sensibility,
imagination, memory, intellectual cognition, sensuous appetite,
automatic or involuntary movement, habit, and the emotions,
as law-abiding as ever. With such wide dominions under
the sway of uniformity, and with the Free-will itself subject
to the conditions we have enumerated, all anxiety as regards
the reconciliation of Freedom with Psychological science
disappears.

Readings on the IF///.— St. Thomas, Sum. i. qq. 82. 83.; W. G.
Ward, Philosophy of Theism, Essays 6, 7, 10, 11, 17; Martineau,
A Study of Religion, Vol. II. pp. 195 — 328 ; Carpenter, Mental
Physiology, Introduction to 4th Edit, and c. ix. ; Father Lucas,
Essays in The Month, 1877; Ladd, Physiological Psychology, pp. 524 —
544. French literature is much richer on this subject. A good
compact work is Leon Noel's La Conscience du Libre Arbitre (Louvain,
1899); G. Fonsegrive's exhaustive £55^/ sur le Libre Arbitre (2nd
Edit. Paris, 1896), contains much valuable matter; Abbe Piat's
La Liberie (Paris, 1895), Vol. I. contains useful historical matter;
Vol. II. has a good chapter on the argument from consciousness.
J. Gardair, Les Passions et la Volonte (1892), pp. 300 — 440, expounds
the scholastic doctrine well. See also T. de Regnon's able work,
Metaphysique des Causes. The German reader will find a good treat-
ment of the whole subject in Dr. Gutberlet's D/t WiUensfreiheit und
ihre Gegner (Fulda, 1893).

33 Principles of Psych. I. § 220.



t
.1.



CHAPTER XX.

THE EMOTIONS. EMOTIONAL AND RATIONAL

LANGUAGE.

Feeling and Emotion. — We have already (c.xi.)
investigated the nature and conditions of Feehng,
understood as the agreeable or disagreeable tone
of mental activity — what recent writers call the
phenomenon of pleasiire-pain. We shall now briefly
treat of Feeling as synonymous with the Emotions.
This latter term, which literally means a movement
or perturbation of the soul, is commonly employed
to denote certain complex forms of cognitive and
appetitive consciousness in which the latter element
is predominant. This is especially observable in the
connotation of the term passion which, although the
usage is not rigidly fixed, generally signifies in
English either a violent actual emotion or a deep-
seated permanent tendency to some particular species
of emotion. The latter sense is exemplified in the
principle that passion is sharpened and intensified,
whilst emotion is dulled and enfeebled by re-iterated
or prolonged stimulation.^

1 Cf. Hoffding : "By Emotion {Ajfekt) is understood a sudden
boiling up of feeling which for a time overwhelms the mind and
prevents the free and natural combination of the cognitive elements.
Passion, sentiment, or disposition {Leidenschajt), on the other hand,
is the movement of feeling become second nature, deeply rooted by



426 RATIONAL LIFE.



Scholastic View of Emotion. — The schoolmen, who were
interested in the emotions on ethical rather than psycho-
logical grounds, discussed these states, in so far as they
handled them at all, in their treatment of the Passions. These
latter they defined as intense excitations of the appetitive
faculty. The passiones seusibiles vel animales, which they
especially studied, are acts of sensitive appetency. They
recognized eleven chief forms, which they divided into two
great classes, called the passiones concupiscibiles and the
passiones irascibiles. In the former class the object of the
mental state acts directly on the faculty as agreeable or
repugnant in itself; whilst the object of the irascible appetite
is apprehended subject to some condition of difficulty or
danger. In scholastic phraseology the object of the appetitus
or passio concupiscihilis is boniun vel malum simpliciter : that
of the appetitus irascibilis is bomim vel malum arduum. Six
passiones concupiscibiles were enumerated, — joy or delight and
sadness, desire and aversion or abhorrence, love and hatred.
These are the affections of the appetitive faculty viewed as
present, future, and absolute, or without any reference to
time. The five passiones irascibiles are hope and despair,
courage and fear, and anger. The first pair of emotions are
the acts elicited by the appetitive side of the mind in presence
of arduous good, according as the difficulty of attainment is
apprehended as slight or insuperable. Courage and fear are
the feelings awakened by threatening evil viewed as more or
less avoidable ; whilst anger is aroused by present evil.

Whatever view be taken in regard to this scheme as
a scientific classification, but little reflexion is required to see
that the several emotions mentioned are really phenomena of
the appetitive faculty of the mind emerging out of cognition.
Appetency embraces the conscious tendency /row evil, as well
as towards good ; for these two inclinations are only negative
and positive phases of the same energy. But this faculty
must also be the root of the mental states arising in the
actual presence of good or ill. The words desii e and appetite,
indeed, bring more prominently before us the notion of an
absent good, since it is in striving after such an object this
power most impressively manifests itself. Still, it cannot be
maintained that it is by a diffeirent faculty we stretch after, or
yearn for a distant joy, and take complacency in its actual

custom. . . . ' Emotion,' says Kant, ' takes effect as a flood which
bursts its dam ; passion as a stream which wears for itself an ever-
deepening channel ; emotion is like a fit of intoxication which is
slept off ; passion as a madness brooding over one idea, which sinks
in ever deeper.' . . . Feeling begins as emotion, and passes — if it
finds sufficient food— into passion." (Outlines, p. 283.)



THE EMOTIONS. 427



possession. It is not by three separate powers, but by one
and tlie same, that we dishke evil in general, shrink from its
approach, and are sad in its presence. Hope is similarly a
desire to attain an arduous good, unsteadied by a cognitive
element of doubt ; whilst despair is a painful prostration
resulting from a negative phase of the same activity. The
affinity of courage ^ndfear to the two former states, and their
like derivation from the positive and negative forms of
appetitive activity, are obvious. Both involve intellectual
appreciation of the threatening danger, but whilst in the one
case the will is strong and determined, in the other it shrinks
back in feeble irresolution. Anger implies at once dislike and
desire of revenge.

Chief forms of Emotion. — Amongst the feelings
which have attracted most psychological interest are
the following: (i) Self-regarding emotions. (2) Those
of an altruistic character. (3) Feelings attached to
intellectual activity. (4) ^Esthetic feelings. (5) Moral
sentiment. These classes are not mutually exclusive.

Self-regarding Emotions. — Emotions with respect
to Self take a variety of shapes. Though sometimes
termed Egoistic, they may be ethically either good or
bad. The pleasurable forms appear as self-esteem, self-
complacency, self-commiseration, and the like ; whilst
among painful feelings are remorse, self-condemnation,
and shame. They are all different phases of self-love ;
and so products of the Appetitive Faculty. There is
in man an instinctive desire of his own happiness ; and
consequently satisfaction in contemplating the possession
of whatever increases it. Every excellence possessed,
every good attained, every praiseworthy action done,
forms agreeable food for self- reflexion.

Pride and Vanity. — The special form of self-love
exhibited in an inordinate desire of our own excellence
is termed pride. This vice is not self-confidence, nor
the consciousness of any virtue we may happen to
possess, nor even the confession to others that we do
possess such virtues. These may indeed be symptoms ;
but the essence of the vice lies in the craving for undue
superiority. Closely related to pride is vanity, or vain-
glory. The primary meaning of this term is inordinate
desire for glory, that is, for fame or esteem among men.



428 RATIONAL LIFE.

In ordinary language vanity usually signifies either the
seeking of praise on account of some trifling or paltry
performance not really worthy of honour, or the act of
setting an exaggerated value on the varying standard
of human approbation. Vanity is thus incompatible
with true greatness, which must be capable of rightly
estimating both personal gifts and the fickle judgments
of other men. In self-commisevation we indulge in a
sweet feeling of pity over the injustice of our position,
or the unfortunate circumstances in which we have
been placed. There is a peculiar joy in the possession
of a grievance which often causes its removal to leave
an " aching void." But the trial must, in such cases,
have been of a nature to be easily appreciated by our
neighbours. The explanation of the state would seem
to be, that the satisfaction derived from the imagined
interest or importance our particular trouble gives us
in the eyes of others, with the agreeable and inexhaus-
tible fund of conversation it supplies, more than counter-
balance the inconvenience.

Remorse and Shame. — In remorse and sliame we
have painful species of self-reflexion. In the former
there is both sovroiv and self-condemnation for our past
action. It may, or may not, be mingled with shame.
The most important element in this latter state is the
pain caused by the representation of the disapproval
or contempt of others. As their admiration is agree-
able, their dis-esteem is mortifying. It should be
noticed that shame is in itself essentially different from
moral self-condemnation. Our contrition for sinful
action may indeed be mingled with shame at the
appearance our conduct presents in the eyes of our
fellow-men; but those writers who would resolve the
moral sentiment into mere shame ignore most important
facts. A man ma}' experience the keenest self-con-
demnation on account of an action such as a duel, in
v/hich social approval was completely with him, whilst
he suffers a torturing consciousness in consequence of
some involuntary act or some trifling piece of ill-
manners, which he knows has not the faintest shadow
of moral taint about it.



The emotions. 429



The Sense of Power. — Among the self-regarding emotions
may be also classed a feeling concerning which much has been
written by modern psychologists — the sense of power. The
term " sense " is of course not here used in the strict signifi-
cation of cognitive faculty, but as equivalent to an emotional
form of consciousness of an abstract character. We must
distinguish two elements or grades in this sentiment, — the
desire of power, and the complacent pleasure in its actual pos-
session. It is in this latter stage that we have the complete
emotion ; and the luxury of the state consists in the conscious
satisfaction of a desire of wide range.

The longing for power first exhibits itself in the simple
shape of the impulse towards the exercise of our physical
faculties. We have already shown it to be a universal law of
our being that appropriate action of our various energies is
agreeable. Consequentl}-, although the original instinct is of
the nature of a spontaneous impulse towards activity without
the representation of any pleasure to be attained, yet, after-
wards, the memory and idea of this resulting gratification
come to reinforce the impulse. The child shows this active
instinct in the constant and vigorous exercise of its limbs and
voice. It evidently rejoices in its power of exerting its
members and creating surprising effects in the world around.

Every advance in the efficiency of our command over our
faculties means enlarged potentialities of satisfaction, and
the consciousness of such increased efficiency is agreeable.
As the bat, gun, or horse become parts of our personality, its
special perfections curiously afford a joy similar to that
generated by the knowledge of our own physical or intellec-
tual superiority over our neighbours. Even the fact that our
tailor has cut our coat in a particular way, that a pet rabbit
winks one of his eyes in an eccentric manner, or that a pig
which we have purchased surpasses in fatness those of our
less fortunate acquaintances, carries with it in our imagi-
nation an undefinable dignity, which, blending with our
other excellences, helps to swell this grateful emotion of self-
importance. When, instead of material implements, other
men become the instruments of our will, the range of our
power is at once indefinitely extended. It is too in the desire
to gain sway over our fellow-creatures, whether by intellectual
labour, by eloquence, by literary work, or by military force,
that the passion is seen in its most striking forms ; and it is
in success in these directions that the emotion assumes its
most luxuriant and its most dangerous character.

Fear and Anger are ordinarily classed as self-
regavding emotions ; but may be aroused in behalf of



V,



430 RATIONAL LIFE



other beings. Both are manifested throughout the
entire animal kingdom. Both seem to be instinctive,
at least in a vague form, in the infant; and both exhibit
themselves at a very early age. Their general utility
for the protection of the individual is obvious ; but
when excessive they are directly injurious. Fear is
purely painful. It may be defined as the pain of anti-
cipated pain. Anger may be in part pleasant. It includes
both the pain of felt injury and the agreeable con-
sciousness of reacting against the cause of our pain.
The intensity and power of the evil pleasure of revenge
are only too well known. Physically, fear, apart from
the exertion of flight, which it may excite, causes
depression, lowering of vitality, derangement of the
digestive organs. If the fear be great the imagination
is excited, impressions are exaggerated, the faculty of
judgment and reasoning is disordered, and control ot
attention is impaired. Consequently, from an educa-



Online LibraryMichael MaherPsychology: empirical and rational → online text (page 43 of 63)