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Chap: ist

It is vulgarly conceived that Sensitive Appetites, Passions, & Hormæ whether they be meerly Corporiall such as Hunger, & Thirst & the like; or whether they partly arise from some antecedent Cogitation; as Anger & Feare & such others; have not properly any Liberty; Freewill or Self-power in them. Which seems to be collected from mens inward Sense & Experience, forasmuch as these Appetites Passions & Hormetick Inclinations seeme to invade us, & obtrude themselfs uppon us, we find them alsoe to be stubborn & contumacious, Stiff & refractory thinges that refuse to be Governed. Animall Appetites & Passions are thinges which have no power over themselfs to stop or excite their own Career retard or accelerate theire owne force no more then a Stone flung hath but are meer Swinges & impetuocitys of Nature. Wherfore that of the Author of the Booke de Homine may be allowed to be true in some Sense concerning them neque Appetitus Noster neque fuga nostra Causa est quare hoc vel illud cupimus vel fugimus; (h: e) non ideo Appetimus quia volumus, nec fugimus quia nolumus sed quia tum Appetitio tum Avertio ab ipsis rebus cupitis vel Exosis generata est Sequiturque necessaria præconceptum Iucundita molestiæque ab ipsis objectis adfuturæ, quid enim? an Esurimus cæteraque naturæ necessaria Appetimus quia volumus an fames Sitis et Cpidines voluntariæ sunt Appetentibus Agere, quidem Liberù esse potest ipsum autem Appetere non potest

So that if Brutes be supposed to have no other Principle of Action in them than Particular Appetites & Hormetick Inclinations, rising of themselfs or obtruded by Nature in them it seems consequent heeruppon that though they may be said to have a Liberty or Power to doe what they have an Appetite unto, <2> When there is noe Externall impediment to hinder them yet they cannot be said to have a Liberty or Power over theire Appetite themself or a Power actively to determin theire owne Actions which is that which is Commonly meant by Liberum Arbitrium & therfore they cannot be said properly to be the Cause of theire owne Actions as men are so as to deserve blame & Commendacion uppon that account for of what they doe it being not so much themselfs that act, as Nature that acts in them.

But notwithstanding this; it is utterly false which the forecited Author contends for, that all these Animall Appetites (which he calls volitions) are nothing els but meer Passion from the Objects without, Meer Corporiall Motions mechanically produced in us. for as we have before shewed, outward sense it self is not a meer Corporiall Passion from the Activity of the outward Objects uppon us, as he determins every Conception, (& therfore Intellection as well as Sense, & Imagination) to be the Action of the thinge conceived & only the Passions of the Conceiver. For in Sense besides the Locall Motion impressed upon us from without, to which the Sentient is meerly Passive there is al{so} Phancy Apparence, & Perception which is a Motion or Action of ano{ther} kind, and such as the sentient himselfe is the Originall and Active Cause of; not a locall mocion or mocion from place to place as this Author rediculously conceits cogitacion to bee, but a mocion of a different species from that, such as doth not belong to body, but is peculiar to incorporeall substance. Fancy and Perception is a thing really distinct from the locall mocion antecedent and a far greater reality in Nature then that, being not an heterokinesy as locall mocion is, but an autokinesi, a certaine mocion which though it be occasioned and invited, yet it is not efficiently caused by any thing without that which is moved, but doth originally spring from the sentient and concipient it selfe. that is from an incorporeall substance, whose nature is to bee selfe-active or to exert mocion activity and energy from it selfe. It is true indeed that Hunger thirst and the like are sensacions of something that is troublesome to the body with an appetit <3> or desire consequent thereupon to be eased or freed from the same, whence it comes to passe that these have been thought by some to be nothing but corporeall passions, from somthing without. But there are certaine other animall apetites which none that well considers them will deny but that they are the Originall activities of the Animall or soule it selfe: such as are Emulation Ambition Pride Desire of Precellency or of Honour and Applause which to think to be nothing but meer mechanicall motions is either madnesse or stupidity. These things cannot be meer passions or impressions from the corporeall Objects without which have really nothing in them transmitted by Sense but magnitude figure site and mocion. And {illeg}tionall spi{illeg} And therefore they must needs arise from that inward active and bubbling fountaine of Animall life in us Wherfore In appetites sensations and all cogitacions whatsoever there is at least a single selfe-activity of the soule, but because diverse of these energys doe necessarily arise and come forth upon such and such occasions and circumstances and because they doe not determine or bound, measure, and moderate themselves therefore Wee are not commonly thought to be so much the cause of them as Nature in us. Wherefore we are in the next place to enquire what is that Will and freewill in us that is so commonly distinguished from appetite and ὁρμὴ that it is supposed not onely to pertake of the nature of Lubency and to be such a single selfe activity of the soul as was before declared to bee in those necessary motions and emotions of Sense and Appetite Servants to sen{sat}ion but also to be above its own accion or to be Master of It & command it, which indeed is a thing that we are as plainly sensible of within our selves as wee are of the Swinges and impetuosities of Appetite but what it is & how to define it there seems to bee noe small difficulty.

< insertion from p2v > To define Will as some doe to be the last Appetite in deliberacion which Deliberacion is supposed by them to bee nothing els but the Alternacions of Appetites & fancy, or of Hopes and feares is nothing but to deny the thing it self or to affirm that there is noe such thing as Will distinct from Appetite & Passion and therefore noe Liberum Arbitrium or Freewill and whereas

< insertion ends >

Will as distinct from Animall Appetite is vulgarly defined to be a Racionall or Intellectuall Appetite that is a thing which doth so depend upon & result from racionall understanding in men as Appetite & ὁρμὴ in brutes depends vpon Phancy and Imagination.


Nay It is here readily objected that if Will be a Racionall Appetite then there could be noe voluntary act against Reason for a voluntary act is that which proceedeth from the Will and no other which seems to destroy the nature of all Sin & Vice that are supposed to be nothing els but voluntary deviations & deflexions from a Mans own reason & understanding. Moreover those Scholastick Writers themselves tell us that the understanding is determined both to its exercise & its object by the Will, wee being Sensible in our selves of a free-power over it whereby we can determine it at pleasure either to exercise itselfe act or not act, & to think act either exercise itself upon this or that. Object now & that. Will which {hath} exercised such an authority over the understanding cannot well be thought to be the Consequence result of it. the vndersta{n}ding itselfe Lastly if Will be a racionall or Intellectuall Appetite; then it can never dissent from the last dictate of the understanding It being indeed nothing els according to this Hypothesis but Intellectus extensus the understanding it selfe extended outward towards accion. To say that the Will is a Raccionall Appetite & yet that it doth not alwayes follow the last dictate of the understanding but blindly determines itselfe which way it pleases are perfectly contradictiouse and all one as if one should say that the Will is both a Racionall & an irracionall Appetite: Now if the Will do alwayes necessarily follow the last dictate of the understanding the understanding having noe Liberty in it but acting necessarily, & the Will necessarily following that necessary understanding, it is plaine that there can be noe liberty any where in the whole Soule noe selfe-flexibility or or power over our own accions, but our whole Soul would be as stiffe and unwieldy as any senslesse corporeall machine

There are indeed severall Philosophers who assert that the will doth not alwayes follow the dictate of the understanding <5> but I cannot find that these pretend to give give any definition of Will as distinct from Appetite, or render any intelligible account of it, what it should bee.

Wherefore for the Salving of this Phænomenon of Freewill & rightly explaining the nature of it wee have found it necessary to propose another psychologicall Hypothesis after this manner That whereas there is are in the Soule a multiplicity of congruition & lower & higher principles capacities of life & accion which often clash with one another as perticular appetites & passions Inferior Reason which is a larger comprehension of our own utility, and Superior Reason or the instinct of honesty besides the speculative understanding & Locomotive power there must of necessity be in the Soul one common Focus or Centre in which all these lines may meet, Some one thing in which all is recollected and knet together, somthing that is Conscious of all its congruities & capacities both higher and lower of all the cogitative powers & facultijs in the Soule. For the Seminal plantall & plastick ones (if there be any such) belong not to its cognizance Which same thing can also weild steer & guide the whole Soul & exercise a power & dominion over it arbitrate all Difference & determine all Strife & Discord in it now this can be no other than the whole Soule Redoubled upon it Selfe which being as it were with in it selfe, & comprehending it selfe, & holding it selfe as it were in its own hand, hath a Suipotestas over it selfe & can command itselfe or turne it selfe this way & that way.

This is that which in all freewilled & selfe powerfull Beings is the head & summity or topp of them the τὸ ἡγεμονικον or ruling principle in them, A[1] < insertion from p4v > A And that in the Sense of the very Stoicks themselves who vse that word so often, as when Epictetus L. 3. C. 5. Ar x. speakes of τὸ ηγεμονικον κατὰ φύσιν ἒχον τηχῆσαι, of keeping the Hegemonicon in a Right Temper according to Nature — He cannot mean Reason or the Naturall Vnderstanding it, but the Soule as Redoubled vpon itselfe & selfactive, which is the summity of it. Of the ἡγεμονους — — < insertion ends > & not the notionall & necessary understanding as some conceit the inconvenient consequences of which assertion <6> been allready suggested and yet this is not a thing devoid of light neither as that blind Will which some others would have to be the Mistress. & Governesse or Queen Regent of the Soul. & to weild the scepter of it forasmuch as this compriseth & comprehends all that is in the whole Soul It being as it were recollected the whole Soul summed up together moving and determining it selfe. This is the Abritrator of all differencces the Umphire of all controversys that where the ultimate decision of all things is made. This is that which holds the whole Frame & Machine of the Soul & (if we may so Speake thus) together & makes it move or act coherently & consistently & therefore when this is relaxated or consopited into a languor (as (it seems) in sleep) all the other strings of the Soul plaid upon without it or rather Sounding by themselves make noe musick or harmony, but thoughts prove absurdly incohærent with one another This is the ἀυτὸ-ἑκαστος in every one the T{rue} Personality is in this or that which is properly called wee for there be many things in us ἡμέτερα Ours that are not ἡμεῖς wee our selves, οὐχ ὅσα ἔχομεν ταῦτὰκὶ ἔσμεν We are not every thing that wee have in us, Animall appetites suggestions of honesty and Conscience notionall knowledge as such are things that wee have but are them not. That which is concocted into the Soul redoubled & selfe active Soul It is our very selves and nothing els whatsoever morall disposition is lodged here denominates the whole man such. This determines all the passive capability of every mans nature, and makes every man such. as he is. This is that which presides informs and actuates the whole Soul, & all other things in it are but ὕλη or matter to it, which are variously stamped from it.

Now to this that is to the Soul thus redoubled upon it selfe and presiding over the whole man belongs that which is comonly called Will when the word is taken stricktly <7> not for any Lubency in generall, but for somthing distinct from animall appetite. For this is the whole Soul recollected and knitt up together into it selfe hanging tite, and loose, hovering & suspense acting upon it selfe & determining it selfe being nimbly selfe-flexible this way & that way.

Againe this is that to which Iudgment properly so called ought to be attributed. In practicall things it seem{s} to be very plaine that it cannot be one thing that judges practically what ought to be done or not done; in Particular Cases {directing}, and another thing that commands action or willeth, but that one & the same thing doth both, that is both judgeth and willeth Nay it may very well be questioned whether there be any difference at all betwixt that Iudicrum practicè practicum that is so often barbarously CalledCall mencioned by Scholastick writers & ascribed by them to the understanding as a distinct faculty from the will & the Will it selfe or that Imperium that commands the action or whether they be not really one & the self same thing. Indeed hesitancy that these are either nothing but 2 names for one & the same thing, or else that all the difference that is between them is not Rei but Racionis, in our mode of conception onely. Which being once perceived, that vulgar controversy will presently vanish {&} appear to be ridiculous whether the Will doth always follow the last practicall judgment or not It being really all one as if they should dispute whether the will follow it self but that opinion most absurdly false which determines Negatively that the will doth not alwayes follow the last practicall judgment, in their sense, which is all one as to assert that one & the same thing may dissent from itselfe. But it is very true that the Will & last practicall judgment which are really the same thing do often dissent both from the dictate of honesty which <8> is superiour Reason & from the notionall understanding in us as also from that Inferiour Reason which comparing the future with the present dictates more truly & impartially our own private utility. It determining it selfe to adhere to the present appetite But the not distinguishing of these two Regions in the Soul whereof the one is Nature the other reduplicative selfe activity (to the latter of which both Will & practicall judgment belong) hath caused so much intricacy obscurity & confusion in this whole Controversy.

[1] A

Cite as: Ralph Cudworth, A Discourse concerning Liberty and Necessity: Phase 1 Part 3 (excerpt: pp. 1-8 of 261) [British Library Additional MS 4979] (c.1658-c.1663),, accessed 2021-01-24.