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Having now shewed the unsatisfactorynesse of the vulgar Doctrine concerning L: A: or Freewill which makes the Essence of it to consist in nothing but indifferency to act or not act which is commonly called Liberty of Contradiccion & indifferency to doe this or that Good or Evill that is called Liberty of Contrariety ^so that this Indifferēcy still remaines after all thinges are put which were requisite to accon, & not withstanding all Motives & engagemts to determine one way rather than another the Will continuing Ꝑfectly ^thus indiffert ill that very momt in which it detemineth it selfe; which is all one as to place Freewill in an infinite Contingency &fortuitousnesse of acting which these Philosophers also make to be the greatest Ꝑfection of Being. Wee shall proceed in the ^next place to give a more satisfactory & intelligible acct of this {natul} Power or Faculty called Freewill.

First therfore it is plain that Freewilled Beings are such things as are not wholly passive to ^other Agents without them & mocons or impulses made upon them as inanimate Bodys are, machins & Neurospasts, which are all prefectly ἑτεροκίνητα. But Freewill implys Autokinesy, which indeed it were superfluous to mencon; were it not for this, that iststhe Greatest Antagonists of Freewill both Antient & Moderne, lay their foundacon here, that all Mocon & action in the World whatsoever, is Heterokinesy & that there is noe Originall action any where that Springs from the Agent it selfe, but that it all takes its beginning from some other begin without the Agent, & therefore that not onely Brutes, but that Men also are meer Machins & Neurospasts.

But wee have shewed before that ther is aking of Autokinesy in all Cogitacons, & therefore if Brutes be not meer senselesse Machins, but are Cogitative they must needs have some action or Energie which springs from within themselves which is all one as to say that they must have somthin in them above {local motiōs} Matter & Body. But this doth not yet reach to the nature of L: A: or adequately expresse the same, because all Cogitative Beings are not Freewilled frewill being an higher kind of Autokinesie that is peculiar to some Cogitative Beings onely.

Wherefore in the next place Freewilled Beings are not onely elevanted above the Condicon of meer corporeall Machins which is a priviledge that belongs to the Lowest kind of Cogitative Beings which we call Brutes, but they have allso a Higher Autokinesie or Selfe-actvitie in them being elevated above that low Dull & Stupid Life of Brutes, which are led by the {illeg} by Ꝑticular phansys & Hormetick inclinacons passions or appetites

Cite as: Ralph Cudworth, A Discourse concerning Liberty and Necessity: Phase 1 Part 2 (excerpt: p. 1 of 53) [British Library Additional MS 4982(3)] (c.1658-c.1663),, accessed 2021-10-21.