10 APRIL 1880, Page 22


THE new number of Mind is a very good one, in that it con- tains three articles among the main essays of very considerable interest. Mr. Leslie Stephen's attack on Mr. Balfour for his work on Philosophic Doubt seems to us, like most of Mr. Leslie Stephen's controversial work, to exhibit at least as much bitter prejudice as ability ; but we will not say anything of it here, because Mr. Balfour's book itself is treated at quite sufficient length in another page. The other papers of most interest are Mr. Sidgwick's very thoughtful criticism of Mr. Herbert Spencer's Data of Ethics, and Mr. Shadworth Hodgson's extremely lucid and interesting criticism of Dr. Ward on Free-will, a criticism, we must say, far superior in grasp and insight to Dr. Bain's paper on the same subject in the January number of Mind. Mr. Shadworth Hodgson at least takes great pains to state his opponent's exact position with all the care in his power, which Dr. Bain, we confess, seemed to us to miss, we will not say with all the care in his power, for, of course, he did not intend to ignore the kernel of his opponent's argument, but at least with much more than the negligence which seems to us to be usually in Dr. Bain's power,—much more, indeed, than we should have supposed that he had it in him to display in criticising an antagonist. We do not think that even Mr. Shadworth Hodgson has stated Dr. Ward's case with perfect accuracy, or brought to the last issue the difference between him and Dr. Ward ; but he has got much nearer to that point than it is usual, perhaps, for • Mind: a Quarterly Review of Psychology and Philaiophy. No. 18. April, 1880. London: 'Williams and Norgate. either party in this celebrated controversy to get, in appre- ciating the exact meaning of his opponent. Dr. Ward replies to Dr. Bain's recent criticism, in another part of this Review,. with what we regard as complete success. When he comes to write his reply to Mr. Shadworth Hodgson, we think he will find his task, though not to him a difficult one, one needing both more space and more illustration than was necessary for dealing with Dr. Bain. In our own remarks, we must perforce pass over the evidences of Mr. Hodgson's ability and acuteness, which are manifold, and can only venture to indicate what appear to us his most notable failures to reconcile his theory a volition with psychological facts.

Mr. Shadworth Hodgson, then, seems quite satisfied with the- following statement of his view of the case,—" liberty is a mode of • necessity, and its true name is self-determination. Dr. Ward's demonstration may fall away, yet leave this liberty in- tact ; and this liberty it is which, describe it as we may, theorise about it as we will, is the one common kernel of the matter, held by us both alike." Now, that seems to us to be either conspicuously erroneous, or, so far as it is plausible at all, to ride off on an ambiguity. It is conspicuously erroneous,. if it means only, what it certainly does mean in Mr. Shadworth Hodgson's mouth, that when men talk of controlling their own nature, they mean no more than that they are going to act under- the control of that nature in originating the effort of control itself. It rides off on an ambiguity, if it is intended to use self- control in the double sense, first of a control which merely pro- ceeds from within, and then also a control freely created from within. Mr. Hodgson, of course, himself holds only the former, regarding every act of sell-control as involuntary, if voluntary" implies that it need not have been at all. His theory compels him to take this view. But he cannot fairly pretend that this is all which the Free-willist is thinking of, when he speaks of self-control; and Mr. Hodgson is bound, we- think, to explain how the controversy ever originated, if the popular notion of freedom is so pure a chinuera that those who regard it simply as a description of our inward condition when we do what is in harmony with our inward nature, which the external circumstances, nevertheless, impede us in doing, are in no danger of being gravely misunderstood.. "The whole balancing and decision," says Mr. Shadworth Hodgson, in analysing a case of moral conflict, "takes place in the agent's consciousness, and therefore the decision is his decision, and the restraint self-restraint. The agent in solicited by opposite attractions, the decision depends on his state of mind ; his internal circumstances reacting on the opposite attractions, the external circumstances." Now, we should like very much to know how Mr. Hodgson dis- tinguishes in this passage internal from external circum- stances. His idea appears to be that the attractions which tempt a man are less internal than those which hold him back from temptation ; that when, for instance, a brave officer in the army resists, from pure principle, the temptation to fight a duel, though smarting under the apparent stain on his honour, the principle which makes him refuse is more part of him, more of the essence of his character, than the burning shame and vindictive passion which solicit him to accept the chal- lenge. Now, we should very ranch like to know how Mr. Hodgson makes this out. He says explicitly that in such a case, which Dr. Ward had taken as an illustra- tion, the military officer in question "overcomes a real desire ; but how ? By a stronger desire. He opposes a. desire which is in process of becoming a. resolve, by a desire which has already become one ; opposes a new desire which de- rives its strength from its vividness, by an old desire which derives its strength from its fixity." How in the world can a desire "derive its strength from its fixity ?" We can barely ima- gine a desire deriving fixity,—which we conjecture to mean per- manenee,—from its strength, but certainly not deriving strength from its fixity. Let a desire be ever so permanent, and if it be faint, it will, we suppose, be overcome by a very much stronger desire ; and • if volition, so far as it is distinguished from desire in one stage or other, be all a dream—which is what the determinist holds—the stronger desire must conquer the weaker one, even though the weaker one have more staying- power than the stronger one. A sudden transformation of water into steam will burst the boiler, even though the next moment the steam be dissipated for ever in the atmosphere while the greater part of the boiler remains, and admits of being mended and used to confine a lesser force of steam in

future. This tendency of the determinists to treat what they are pleased to call " fixity " as latent force which may be

-made available at any moment as actual momentum, or vis

viva, without the smallest pretence of reason,—their only excuse being that they are bound by their theory to account somehow for the evolution of victorious force, and can find no

-trace of it except in the greater tendency to recur noticeable in some of the fainter virtuous desires, as distinguished from the more vehement passions,—seems to us a pure begging of the question. Besides, when Mr. Hodgson assumes that resolve is nothing but a maturer form of desire, he settles the question his own way, without the slightest reference to any psychologi- cal justification. He asserts boldly, indeed, "A resolve is always analysable into some end or purpose compared with, and desired more than, others, then desired to the exclusion of others, then connected in thought with the means of realising it ;" but if this is really meant as an analysis of inward experience, we can only say that Mr. Shadworth Hodgson mast have access to a very different store of inward experience from that of the present writer. Of course, to psychologists who choose to say that the very statement that I resolve to do a thing is the evidence that I desire it, there is no answer to be made except that, in point of fact, we often do resolve to do what we have never de- sired to do at all. Such psychologists insist on their feelings accommodating themselves to their words, and on their words accommodating themselves to their theory. But what men usually mean by " desire " is a moral force within them which is quite independent of their volition, urging them on in the pursuit of a special end,—the object desired. And the chief token of what Dr. Ward so well calls "anti-impulsive effort"

is precisely this, that without the aid of any such force, or with the aid at best of one quite inadequate to its work, the

mind, rowing hard against the stream of its own impulses, forces itself to do what it earnestly desires not to do. "What we most desire," says Mr. Shadworth Hodgson, in describing our state of mind when we seem to be exerting a power- ful anti-impulsive effort, "at the very moment of choice, is to do our painful duty." Now, how does he prove this, which is exactly contrary to such experience of human nature as Dr. Ward and all who think with him have had P What the latter say is that desire implies apushing force ; that the greatest desire of the moment implies the greatest pushing force of the moment; and that in the case of a first miserable effort to do our duty, the thing we are conscious of is the absence of any such pushing force towards the duty, the presence of a strong force dragging us away from it, and the consciousness that if we would neutralise the latter force, it must be, not by availing ourselves of any favouring wind or current of our inner nature, but by a dead-heave of our voluntary power, to which there is nothing urging us on at all. To all this, as far as we can make out, Mr. Hodgson has nothing to reply, except, of course, that it is all illusion ; that it is impossible to conceive of an agent whose acts are determined by anything except, (1) the nature of the agent ; and (2) the external forces brought to bear upon the agent by his surroundings. Well, of course, if that be so, there is an end of the question. There is no use arguing with people who tell you that your experience must be this or that—whatever, as a matter of fact, it is,—and who, when you deny their account of what you experience, simply reply, "So much the worse for your experience." But surely, so lucid a thinker as Mr. Shadworth Hodgson might try and explain better than he does, why, in such a case as he imagines, a " desire " of the existence of which one is wholly unconscious must not only be present, but must be the strongest of one's desires at the moment, in spite of one's own complete ignorance, as well of its strength as of its existence.

The only argument we can find is this,—that according to Mr. Shadworth Hodgson. "What the agent is, manifests itself in what, under the circumstances, he does." But, then, here again the very essence of the question is begged. The whole issue depends on the question,—if there be such a thing as force at all determining our acts, whence does the force which deter- mines our anti-impulsive acts proceed? Mr. Hodgson says it proceeds from the determinate nature, the inward currents, of the mind of the agent. But that, as everybody admits, is whence our "congenial efforts," to use Dr. Ward's admirably apt term,—i.e., the efforts which are admittedly prompted by in- ward desire,—proceed. How, then, does Mr. Shadworth Hodgson distinguish anti-impulsive effort (due, as we think with Mr.

Ward, to volition, and volition alone) from congenial effort? In fact, he does not distinguish these at all. He has no wish ap- parently to make the distinction, except so far as he regards " fixed " desires as necessarily stronger than vivid impulses and passions; and as we have already said, he gives no reason either for supposing that our volitions do proceed from more permanent dispositions than the impulses we conquer,—which, indeed, is often very far from true,—or for the assumption that, even if it were so, the more permanent must be the stronger. He simply asserts that if we struggle to do a thing, it is clear we must desire to do it, or else we should not make the struggle. Now, if that be good analysis, it is equally good analysis to say that because an engine-driver has a reason why he turns steam off or on, that reason supplies him with the driving-power,—with the steam itself. Of course, a man who resists a passionate impulse has a reason for doing so. What the Free-willist maintains is not that he acts blindly or without reason, but that that reason does not supply him with any motive-power for his heavy work, and that motive-power of some kind, as well as reason, he must have. If he does not find the motive-power in strong desire,—and the absence of all such impelling desire is one of the signal features of such a case,—he must manufac- ture it, by an effort of will. And he very well knows that he may either make that effort or not make it, as he chooses. Mr. Shadworth Hodgson, with the determinists in loud chorus, denies this. But they only assert that this view of the case is "unthinkable." Unthinkable or not, we think it, and think it as that which really goes on within us, whenever such an issue is fought out in our minds. It is, we think, hard upon us that determinists, who see so much of what their opponents mean as Mr. Shadworth Hodgson, should not even make an effort to explain from their own point of view what the source of the illusion is, which, in their opinion, deceives us so utterly, —and deceives not only us, but the whole race of man.