chapter  III
5 Pages

LIBERTY (1) MORAL FREEDOM

This view is generally combated on the strength of the universality of causation. Butthe principle of causation may itself be called in question, and to examine it would lead me beyond my purpose. It is sufR284=C here to say: (1) that in vindicating the freedom of the will the so-called Libertarian principle destroys that which it proposes to liberate. The will disappears when its continuity is broken. It is replaced by so many separate volitional acts, “free” like beads scattered sparsely on a string, that neither pull nor push one another, but move or rest each “of itself.” The “I” which wills this now has nothing to say to the “I” of yesterday or of RE4 minutes hence. Each choice is a new fact arising out of the void and plunging into it again. There is no will which abides, whether changeless or growing by successive acts of self-determination, for there is no self-determination. (2) The two arguments by which the Libertarian theory supports itself may be turned against it. The RABC is the argument from Responsibility. It is held that I cannot be responsible for my acts if they grow out of my past, and my past ultimately out of my ancestry and my circumstances. It must be replied that I cannot be held responsible unless I am the same agent that did the deed. If the doer was a will which popped up out of nothing, it was not the “I” of this moment whom you accuse, but the S44Cing disconnected “I” of that moment, which you should blame. The “ I” of this moment is free and might take a quite contrary line. Responsibility implies continued self-determination.