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Self Determination

( Originally Published 1916 )

Two of the postulates with which the educator takes up his task were referred to at the commencement of the last chapter. They were that the scholar persists, and that he cares. A third characteristic, equally presupposed in the educational process, is that the scholar is possessed of a certain capacity of self-determination. A machine cannot be educated ; a child can. As Huxley said, whilst expressing his entire willingness to be an automatic machine-his preference, indeed, if so he might be wholly right and good in place of being imperfect as a man—if man is a machine, he is a machine that is "capable of adjusting itself within certain limits."

Individuality of any kind, the individuality of a stone, a leaf, an animal, a man, implies a certain power to hold one's own. And the general tendency of all organic activity is to enable the organism to maintain itself, and if need arises to set it free from hampering conditions.= "A plant is self-determined in so far as it can tolerate nothing alien to its organic nature." The mind is at least possessed of power similar to this. It excludes what is alien to itself. " The self resists invasion."

But the consciousness we are seeking to account for is really a consciousness of being " free in a sense in which Nature is not." The proposition, to the working out of which the remainder of this chapter will be given, may be stated in Green's words : "It is not necessary to moral freedom that, on the part of the person to whom it belongs, there should be an indeterminate possibility of becoming and doing anything and everything. A man's possibilities of doing and becoming at any moment of his life are as thoroughly conditioned as those of an animal or a plant ; but the conditions are different. The conditions that determine what a plant or animal or any natural agent shall do or become, are not objects that it presents to itself. On the other hand, whatever conditions the man's possibilities does so through his self-consciousness. . . . An action which expresses character has no must, in the physical sense, about it. The 'can't help it' has no application to it. A character is only formed through a man's conscious presentation to himself of objects as his good, as that in which his self-satisfaction is to be found." Determinism would say, on the contrary, either that a man's actions are determined independently of his own consciousness, that is, wholly by heredity and environment and the opportunity which he owes to each, or else that his own consciousness, his psychical individuality, is determined by these, in such a way that he cannot act otherwise than he does. In either case man would be nothing more than a conscious automaton. And there seems to be only one way of escape from this. If in a given instance I do act without hesitation and seemingly on the spur of an idea, I can only claim freedom in any complete sense, if I can assure myself that I had, then or before, selected the idea, or, which is almost the same thing, selected a type of behaviour, a " universe of desire," with which the idea accords. As Green says : " Since it is not the hunger as a natural force, but his own conception of himself, as finding for the time his greatest good in the satisfaction of hunger, that -determines the act, Esau recognises himself as the author of the act." x It is thus upon the possession of the power to select the ideas which are to rule our conduct that the question of self-determination turns.

Self-determination, as the phrase itself suggests, may mean either determination of the self, and imply an alternativity of being, or determination by the self, and imply an alternativity of doing. The self may be either the object or the agent of the determining activity. The two will be seen to be essentially related, however.

As to alternativity of doing, an activity is often selected or decided upon without any reference on our part to the kind of character we are forming. We can think of action as determined by ourselves, without directly thinking of ourselves as self-determined. This is the case when we speak of " freedom of action " and mean that a selection is made by the will or the self in the presence of circumstances. If immediately presented circumstances do not by their own weight determine my actions, but I have power of choice—so far independent as not to be dominated by immediately impelling motives—I am so far, and in that sense, free. This is clearly the prior question. For if this freedom does not exist, it will be impossible to find grounds for asserting any real alternativity between two kinds of self, i.e., any power of decision to be one kind of self rather than another. The two things may with advantage be considered separately : (a) the power to decide between courses of action, and (b) the power to decide between two kinds of self ; determination of behaviour by the self, and determination of the self.

(a) The first question is as to whether there is any real alternativity in human conduct ; whether, that is, though we act in a certain way, we can act or could have acted otherwise. There are those who say that the idea that we could have chosen otherwise is pure illusion. And, of course, there does come a point at which the scale turns decisively, a point at which, if the expression is not a question-begging one, we voluntarily cease to be able to hesitate. This is what we mean by volition, and apart from it we should, as a race, suffer from the direst aboulia. At that point it is true to say we cannot choose (if we are to remain rational, purposive beings) other than we do. When we do choose, we choose ; we cannot both choose and not choose. To say that at that moment choice might be otherwise is practically to deny the fact of choice altogether. So much may be rightly meant by saying that the idea that we could have chosen otherwise than we did is an illusion. B ut if this is the meaning of not being able to choose otherwise than we do, are we not suffering from the treachery of language ? The words, " could have chosen," are so indefinite in their time-reference that they may refer either to the moment of actual choice, at which moment the matter was up for decision in its final phase—and then we could not, if choice is to be anything at_ all, have chosen otherwise than as we did ; or they may refer to the time taken up in the process of choosing. The latter is the crucial period. If within it there is real deliberation, there may be real alternativity ; and we shall then be able to assert a real freedom of choice by the self in the presence of circumstances, motives, or whatever else it be that passes before it during this period of deliberating.

As already said, the question turns upon our being or not being compelled to act upon a temporary dominating idea or tendency that has arisen in consciousness. Given such an idea or even temporarily dominating tendency, are we obliged to let it have its course? Or has the mind a directive power in respect of its ideas and tendencies even though they may be strongly charged with feeling and motive force ? To take a simple case. Some purely instinctive response, say, has led me into trouble. The fire attracted, but it burnt. Now it again attracts ; and memory warns me that if the instinctive prompting is followed it may (doubtless will) again burn. The instinctive prompting is not followed. But how comes it to be arrested ? What has fallen athwart the immediacy and uniformity of the response which characterises instinctive reactions ? To this there is only one answer, namely, that our organism (physical and psychical) is such that arrest of response plays as essential a part in all not involuntary reactions as does the necessity of response itself. The burnt child dreads the fire ; the burnt moth does not seem to do so. It is specially important to note the effects which are due to the presence in man of the higher brain. Certain of these effects, which experiment in the psycho-logical laboratory proves to exist, might almost have been anticipated. The reaction-times—that is, the periods that elapse between the incidence of the stimulus and the registering of the response—are less when the current travels only through the lowest level with the spinal cord as centre, than when it passes through the brain. Also-(and this would not have been so readily anticipated) experiments with animals whose brains have been removed show, when the reaction-times are compared with those of animals having their brains intact, that the very presence of the brain increases the reaction-time. That is to say, as Professor Hyslop points out,' when a brain is present the normal condition is one of psychological inhibition. The brain itself, in addition to being the organ of consciousness and of the higher circuiting of responses, is thus, indirectly, an organ of inhibition or of the arrest of responses. This has a direct bearing upon the question we are considering.

Inhibition is structurally provided for. This time-interval is, of course, very slight. But the flashing-in of ideas is swift. The great thing is to have a noticeable pause at all. Supposing, for example, that some instinctive reaction has, in the form that was originally given to it, to be unlearnt, the effect of inhibition is to make a break in the previously direct connection between stimulus and response. In this way an opening is made for ideas. These ideas are entertained with a view to acting in harmony with the lessons of past experience. Hence through the inhibition the necessary pause has been given for deliberation to set in ; and in deliberation we have all that is essential to real alternativity. For the power to deliberate is the power not to act upon the spur of each occasion, but to refrain until the will has expressed itself in terms of either the habitual or the rational self. In that case it is not circumstance, but our attained personality or character, that determines us in our choice.

The point at issue has, of course, to be carefully stated if we would not find ourselves on the horns of a dilemma. To state the contrasting views baldly in the form : Do we control circumstances, or do circumstances control us ? is to invite the experience of being pitched from horn to horn, reaching no result. Man is not pitted against circumstances as a cannon-ball is against a sheet of iron, to see whether it will go through or not. The cannon-ball cannot accommodate itself to the sheet of iron and say : "Well, I'm in no hurry ; I'll do a bit to-day and a bit to-morrow." An animal baffled in its assault upon some obstacle does not seem consciously to leave over the remainder of his assault to some future occasion or occasions. Each assault is finished with there and then. The same situation may provoke further assaults, which may in the accumulation of their effects prove successful ; but that is a different matter.

But when a man is confronted by baffling conditions, he may go away to consider. He a will let you know." That is to say, the matter is not finished with on the spot.

This part of the answer to the problem may be summed up in three statements, which are so mutually involved as to be little more than different ways of saying the same thing. (1) We are not obliged to act because of the presence of a given circumstance or motive. George Fox needed the wherewithal of livelihood ; but, as Carlyle notes with much gusto, he found a way of escaping from his shoe-making. Or, to illustrate from another field, complaint has at times been made, in connection with some great criminal case, that too much has been made of the motive. Such a complaint would be well grounded if the existence of s. motive were accepted as a proof of guilt. If the existence of motives *necessarily made people guilty, it would create considerable heart-searching with regard to our codes of punishment. But we do not regard the criminal as motive-driven, willy-nilly. The willing to perform a certain act, in this case a crime, we recognise as being something more than having a motive to perform it; it is endorsing a motive. As Green says, the motive which is necessarily involved in a matter of will is not merely due to the desires or aversions supposed to be present in the agent's mind. "It is constituted by the reaction of the man's self upon these, and its [his] identification of itself [himself] with one of them." Defining motive as the feeling which prompts to act in a certain way, a motive may or may not be acted upon. Indeed, opposing motives are often simultaneously before the mind, some pointing towards one way of acting, the others to its opposite. But it is contrary to the very nature of the mind to hold consciously before it mutually contradictory intentions. We cannot will to do two things, the one directly contradictory of the other. And the essence of deliberation is to enable us to bring all available motives into the balance before the scale bumps decisively ; more especially to enable us to give weight to motives affecting the wider life of the self as against the weight of some on-setting motive or desire. (2) Not only are we able to say "No !" to any single strong motive, but when many motives are present, and even when there is a strong leaning in one direction, we can hold them all at arm's length ; we can suspend our choice by deciding as we say, "to sleep on it." The man of overnight in such a case deliberately hands over the decision, or at any rate the further consideration of the matter, to the man of the next-day morning. (3) We are able, through the active quest for guiding ideas that goes on during the interval of deliberation, to whip up laggard or temporarily absent motives. This is only a more positive way of saying what has already been said under the first heading. The process of quest is something like the familiar experience of trying to remember, when by calling up one cue after another we at last hit upon the fact, the name, or the figure that had "escaped our memory." We can give the mind a chance (through the revivability of ideas) to call up motives that at the moment are off the field. In virtue of this power we are able to act upon ideas previously selected, resolves previously made. Immediately presented impulses are inhibited in order to give past determinations an opportunity to assert themselves. This is always part of what we mean by strength of will.

What the three statements of the preceding paragraph practically amount to is that a desire or an aversion has not in itself a definitely assignable energy of motivation com parable, say, to the energy of a mechanical force. The energy it has depends largely upon the direction of our attention towards it or away from it, upon the extent to which we give ourselves up to it.

Throughout, the key to the situation is the power of inhibition or arrest ; and following upon this the selective or directive power of attention. We have seen that it is of the nature of the mental life to have direction. It is also of the nature of that which has direction to pass by what does not lie in its route. Deliberation is the deciding as to which is to be our route. We may have to deliberate at times for want of clear knowledge as to which way alternatively presented paths may lead ; just as a pedestrian may have to do when he comes to a fork in the road. At other times, we have to deliberate as to which direction corresponds with our own conception of ourselves and which in the light of this conception for that occasion offers us the greatest good. The outcome of it all is that deliberation gives the self a full chance in the face of motive or circumstance. The choice is capable of being made in terms of the self and not in terms of the circumstance. True, the ultimate action or decision follows the line of the ideas to which is ultimately conceded the greatest impelling force. This is the truism which underlies the statement "a man cannot choose other than he does," when the reference is to the precise moment of decision. But the really important matter is as to whence the idea which acts as motive derives its force. Is it inherent in what during perhaps the greater part of the process of deliberating was the uppermost desire ? Or is it inherent in the entire self —that is to say, in the wider range of consciousness and experience of which the deliberative capacity puts the self in command ? If the latter, we have all that we need in order to be able to assert that the deciding between motives or in the presence of circumstances vests in the self. This final going of the self with its own volition probably accounts for the somewhat striking fact noted by Stout, that "in forming a resolution I may have great difficulty in making up my mind, because the pros and cons appear equally balanced.-But when the resolution is once made, it may be in a high degree firm and stable. . . The self of self-consciousness receives in deliberation and voluntary decision a unique qualification. It is only in these processes that we become aware of ourselves as free agents."'

So far the argument has turned mainly upon what introspection yields us in respect of our consciousness of alternativity. But in connection with the determination of conduct by the self we may note by external observation that our action is a "real factor in the course of events." When we find our ideas realising themselves, so that reality, in however small a degree, shapes itself according to our purposes, we are justified in thinking ourselves to be some-thing more- than mere spectators of Nature. We are so far factors in the course of events that "our own reactions on the world, small as they are in bulk, are integral parts of the whole thing."

(b) We have already trenched somewhat upon the second and more direct meaning of self-determination, as the determination of the self, i.e., of our own personality and character by our choices and responses.

As before, we have to decide between the two opposing views. According to one view, our self hood, equally that of the most cold-blooded murderer and that of the highest-minded hero or saint, is absolutely predetermined. In the other view, we consider selfhood as actually in the making. A certain pre-determination must be allowed, of course. If the self of the past (including factors due to the past of the race, as well as to individual experience) counted for nothing in connection with the choices and actions of the self of the present, no meaning could be given to the progressive making or up-building of selfhood. The " I am " of Descartes's formula means, at its minimum, a living entity which is in part conserved and in part progresses. "Am," that is to say, is not merely an infinitely narrow dividing line between past and future ; it is a link of connection between them. And one all-important function of volition is to be the guardian of our personal identity ; to maintain the personality already realised, in the midst of changing circumstances and varying appeal. Man's freedom so far resembles that of the forming crystal or of the chemical process that the present development absolutely presupposes the past. It differs from that of crystal or chemical element acting out inherent law in the presence of the right conditions, in that man realises the situation and, gradually acquiring insight into his own nature, forms an idea of himself. Man sees something of the plan of his own life and being. He forms such guiding concepts as " man, "human," " rational," " freedom," "duty," "self," "good," "end." Through them he arrives at a working conception of himself—far enough removed from finality though it may be—which deepens into the power to cherish ideals.

In order to be able to assert that we have a hand in the shaping of our own selfhood, practically all that need be added to the argument for alternativity between courses of conduct is a belief in the reality of moral distinctions. It is often argued that inasmuch as a man does not " make himself"—implying that God or circumstances (heredity and environment) have done all for him—man is not responsible either for what he is or for what he does. " It is not," we are sometimes told, "a question of what man is, but of whether or not he is responsible for being what he is." But the whole value and relevancy of such a statement surely depends upon the prior question of what man is. Is he rightly regarded as a moral being ? If so, in what sense ? For whether or not he is responsible is part of the question of what he is as a moral being. Upon this the whole of this portion of the discussion really turns. What is man's nature ? Is self-determination a part of it. Man, say some, did not make his own nature. And, if man did not create himself he cannot be justly blamed for his acts. Nor is it right to whip a hooligan who never had a chance to be anything but a hooligan.

" If a machine does not make itself, it is not answerable for its faults.

"If a tree does not make itself, it is not answerable for its faults.

"If a dog does not make itself, it is not answerable for its faults.

"But if a man does not make himself he is answerable for his faults."

But, may we not reply, even if man did not make his own nature, that begs no question as to what really is his nature ? It does not prove that he is not free, because he may have been made free ; and he himself, who should be the best judge, thinks he was made free. His instinctive view of himself is that he is not merely a " passenger," but a " helmsman," capable of navigating the vessel, of doing something towards determining its destination.

In the course of a recent discussion Sir Oliver Lodge restated the determinist argument, which he was opposing, in its most favourable and logical form :

(1) " It is just to punish men only for what they have really and freely done.

(2) " Man is not a free agent, being the outcome of external forces.

(3) "Therefore man ought not to be punished." There is nothing amiss with this argument if the premises are granted. It hinges upon the second premise ; and the question raised in it practically is as to whether man is or is not in any real sense a moral being.

The answer we have divided into two parts : first, that man has a real alternativity in the presence of motives or external circumstances ; and, secondly, that he feels that he has a hand in the making of himself. These necessarily overlap. In providing for the punishment of the hooligan, we are, it may be, mainly concerned with setting up alter-natives of behaviour before him. But even in so doing we are taking it for granted that he is not so irretrievably " made " as to be incapable of being anything but a hooligan. We at least hope that we are setting up a character-alternative, as well as a conduct-alternative. "In punishment," as Hegel says, "the offender is honoured as a rational being," that is, as a being capable of seeing and choosing a better way. The latent power of the hooligan to be something better was put to the test successfully by a Manchester curate some years ago. Out of sheer ruffianism and without warning or provocation, a youth attending a Lads' Club stabbed him in the arm. When the cry of " Police ! " was raised, the curate said, " No, no police !" but stripped his arm up to where the gash had been made, and calling to the culprit, bade him come and bind it up with his handkerchief. The fellow did so : and after that there was one man's presence at least in which the hooligan was tamed ; proof thus being given that the ruffianly fellow had some power of self-determination away from hooliganism. Reasons for acting in a different fashion may become grounds for making a different kind of character. And, vice versâ, the end we have in view with regard to our own character may, and often does, determine our behaviour. It was what he willed to be which led George Fox to the notable decision which Carlyle calls " perhaps the most remarkable incident in modern history."

The truth seems to be that freedom, like character itself, is a question of degree. Character is always in the making, never made ; is always being expressed, never finally expressed. Every fresh experience brings in its contribution. Every act of will is, in its own measure, a fresh determination of character. Similarly, we are more or less free in proportion as we attain to a more or less completely' developed selfhood or personality. Absolute freedom, like absolute goodness or efficiency or strength, belongs only to perfected selfhood. But even in this sense we are free to become free. If we drift into incoherence and disunity, we prove ourselves free to become unfree. This is the alternativity which underlies the power of self-determination in the sense of the determining of ourselves.

The experience of remorse is a spontaneous assertion of our belief in this moral alternativity. Is this illusion too ? Or have we really failed to attain to a selfhood that was within our reach ? It would, indeed, be a strange and un-accountable provision, either on the part of evolutionary process or special creative agency, to furnish man so universally with an illusory conviction capable of yielding the most poignant grief. Remorse is the common consciousness of the race. It is the spontaneous acceptance of responsibility for our own deeds. If it is the self that is, crying out for the self that might have been ; or some deeper self regretting the failure to attain, and chafing sadly at the altogether lesser thing which an ill-omened choice has brought ; then, remorse is real, even salutary. It may tend to make us preface future self-determination with better consideration.

One of the weightiest arguments in favour of the illusory nature of remorse, the essential sting of which is the belief that we might have acted otherwise than we did, is that when we so think we are really forgetting what our character was when we acted. " It is no use thinking—not even true to think—that we could have done better," the argument runs. " We couldn't, being the people we were." Certainly, it must be admitted that every act is in some way a showing of the self. Conduct, good or bad, is the only real proof of the kind of man the agent is, of the kind of character he has. Indeed, remorse gathers part of its intensity from this. It is not only the action, but the character which it bodies forth, that we would be glad to repudiate if we could. But the deed there, we cannot. Remorse is in part our realisation of the truth that "a thing is just what it does." That which cometh out of the man defileth the man. Conduct is symptomatic of character. All this is true ; but it does not deny the fact that there might have been an arrest of the act ; that better counsels might have prevailed. They did not, and evidently, in this one direction at least, our character is not effectually made. The act which causes us remorse proves the existence of a weak spot. But, whilst this is so, the very energy of remorse, its-intense, almost instinctive, striving to repudiate what memory relentlessly affirms, shows that we will not think of it as a hopelessly weak spot—nor as a spot that was hopelessly weak, even as compared with the pressure of motives upon it, at the time of our acting. Moreover, remorse may change to penitence, which involves the affirming of the power to seek, and the actual seeking of, a better way. If anything could prove the non-illusory character of the mood of self-conviction, it is surely this.

The making of character may at any moment take either of two courses. (1) It may be an affirming of the habitual self ; a maintaining of its claims against a clamorous, but in the view of the habitual self an irrational, appeal on the part of present desire. It may, that is, give a pause which shall prevent our having to say later : "I was not myself (i.e., my habitual self) when I did that." (2) The making of character may take place through our giving expression to the self-adjusting or progressive self ; adapting ourselves to some new environment, or moving forward in the line of our ideals. And if I did neither of these things, if I affirmed neither my habitual self nor my progressive or ideal self at some moment upon which I now look back with remorse, it was not, this voice keeps saying, because I could not have done them. The real sting of moral weakness is the consciousness of the possibility of being stronger. I do not necessarily in remorse forget what my character was when I acted. I rather regret what it was, accompanying my regret with the conviction that it needed but a little more effort, a little more restraint, or a slightly more definite fixing of attention upon an alternative course, for the whole thing to have been different. Conscience is a taskmaster but not a bully. It takes the measure of our powers. And where there was no appeal to conscience, there is no remorse.

There are only the two directions in which to look. We may take the report of man's consciousness ; and we may appeal to facts. As to the latter, our social life is built up on the assumption of individual responsibility ; and the theory fits the facts, so far as we see them. As to the former, if any one can look in upon his own consciousness and say that he finds no sign there of being responsible for himself, it is a fact for the psychologist and the philosopher to take into account. But it is beside the mark to make the same assertion about any one else, even though he be the " bottom dog" of society. What we find is that, however a man's sympathies may lead him to exonerate the "bottom dogs" of society from blame, he accepts for himself the responsibility of being the author of his own actions. We cannot disclaim this responsibility without practically denying the reality of moral distinctions and with them the validity of the richest of our intuitions of personal existence. For it is, as we have seen, in choosing or willing that we attain to our fullest sense of being. The essential self is the self-determining self. " To be a self at all, as the Greeks clearly saw—to be rational, as they put it—is to have an end, and to develop towards it."

True, there are limitations to our power of self-determination which have to be reckoned with. This is implied in the possession of a finite personality or character, on the one hand, and in our living in an environment, on the other. All that the brief re-discussion of this perennial problem has aimed at has been to show that there are senses in which the power of self-determination may be regarded as a real possession of the self.

So far as limitations arising from our environment go, it needs to be remembered that we are in no small degree makers of our own environment. For, in the first place, both outward environment and actual events are largely coloured by the minds and characters of those to whose lot they fall. We control events in no small degree by the meaning we assign to them. " It is true," says Maeterlinck, "that on certain external events our influence is of the feeblest, but we have all-powerful action on that which these events shall become in ourselves. . . . Nothing befalls us that is not of the nature of ourselves." The crowning grace of human personality is in this power to invest the conditions of life with meanings emanating from ourselves. And, in the second place, actual environments and events themselves change appreciably as our outlook upon life and our behaviour in life changes.

As to limitations that arise from the side of the self, the obvious suggestion-and one that is worthy to rank amongst the few fundamental principles of education—is that in order to minimise these limitations the individual needs practice in the use of his character. Only in this way can a character attain to and maintain determinateness of direction and strength of flow. It may weaken for want of exercise. And no small part of a right education consists in providing opportunities for the development and expression of personality. Here, again, activity or behaviour is seen to be the connecting thread which establishes continuity within the life of the self. In a suggestive address entitled " Hand and Heart," Dr. Martineau reverses the moralist's principle that a good heart is to be valued because it produces service-able deeds, and speaks of good deeds as at once the expression and the nourishment of "that greatest of possessions, a good mind." It is surprising, he adds, how practical duty enriches the fancy and the heart, and how action clears and deepens the affections. Beneficence is the true school of benevolence.

The twofold aspect of strength of character just suggested —determinateness of direction and force of flow—brings us back to the terms in which, quoting Green, the problem was stated at the outset. It has not been a question of not being determined, but of the determining conditions being different from those which obtain in nature. We are free "in a sense in which Nature is not," not because our con-duct is undetermined ; but because it is self-determined. This includes all that is implied in biological freedom, and adds to it the fact of choice.


I. There is general agreement that in willing or choosing we attain in a special degree to the consciousness of personality. We might even without violence amplify Descartes's formula, and say : Excogito, ergo sum—I think things out or think to an issue, and, in so doing, I am. In this form we have more fully expressed than in the original -our consciousness of personal partaking. (For the psycho-logical significance of excogitare, cf. the two first references in Lewis and Short's Latin Dictionary : "quod enim mali aut sceleris fingi aut excogitari potest, quod non ille conceperit? Cic. Cat. 2, 4, 7 ; ad haec igitur cogita, mi Attice, vel potius excogita, id. Att. 9, 6, 7." )

2. Habit, to have a moral significance, begins with choice.

3. There is a continuously binding effect of decisions once made. The choice of principles of behaviour has a marked effect upon future conduct, and probably can only be neutralised by a more or less deliberate choice of opposing principles. " Volition in its highest and most complex form affects not so much single acts as courses of conduct."

Professor Taylor says : " The more abiding and logically coherent my various purposes in action, the freer I am, because it is my whole self or system of rationally connected interests which is getting expression in my outward deeds " (" Elements of Metaphysics," p. 336). When, for example, a schoolmaster gives a boy who is leaving school a testimonial to his employer, he does so because of what he knows of the boy himself. A certain system or interests and purposes has been set up which determine the behaviour and character of the boy. The more coherent this system is, the surer the master is of its stability and the more confidently does he speak of the boy's character—i.e., the more confidently does he forecast his behaviour as likely to be of a certain type expressive of this character.

4. Mazzini writes "We are not free, but free to become free." Our personality, that is to say, develops. Coherency or unification, on the one hand, enlargement and enrichment, on the other, are the marks of a progressive freedom.

5. If our conduct is in any degree a real factor in the course of events, there is obviously some degree of alternativity in the course of events. Any one who believes that there are things which he or others ought to have done which were not done, that there are things which might have been but are not, things which ought to be done which yet may fail to be done—any one who really believes this, believes that things are not absolutely fore-ordained to happen in one and only one way. He holds that we really can and do play some part in the shaping of circumstances. To illustrate this elasticity of the universe in the presence of the individual will, James uses the analogy of an expert playing chess with a novice. ' The analogy serves to illustrate the alternativity which, without endangering the issue, may be regarded as characterising the movement of events. Although intending to win, the expert " cannot foresee what any one actual move of his adversary may be " (" The' Will to Believe," p. 181). But his resources are equal to all contingencies. He is prepared for all the possible moves which the novice can make and knows in advance how to meet each one of them. Meanwhile, we may add—and it is this which is really vital to the argument for freedom-the novice is learning the game. One wonders at times that men can be got to stand up night after night against a Hackenschmidt, content if they can only grip and be gripped by him for a few seconds or a few minutes at most before being thrown. The reason is that they are learning to wrestle ; and local champions vie with each other for the opportunity to meet him. The alternativity in these cases is real enough. There are more ways than one of wrestling or of playing chess. The variety of the ways is the making of the game. Even the expert maintains his expertness by constantly meeting fresh modes of attack and by the adjustments he has to make to meet them.

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