chapter  I
26 Pages

Preliminary Definitions?

ByMortimer Taube

Those who debate the meanings or truth of propositions which assert that finite existents are free, or are determined, or causally influence other finite existents, are usually agreed on one point: and that is that many of the debates are concerned solely with the use of language. In terms of the definitions current in the seventeenth century the propositions finite existents are free and finite existents are determined could not both be true. Hence philosophers who wished to assert both propositions were led to attempt definitions of freedom and of determinism that would make the truth of both propositions compatible. The failure to comprehend the relations of determinism and causal efficacy was of serious consequence to the determination of the relation between freedom and causal efficacy. We secure ostensive definition for the concept of causation by pointing to those regions of experience where active efficiency is immediately given.