Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 5.djvu/726

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

discussed, and we should have been glad to have found that the body, and the body alone, was the subject of this most learned treatise. Such, however, is very far from being the fact, for, although Dr. Carpenter enters into no ontological discussions, and rarely mentions the soul under its old name, it is present in most pages of his book under the designation of Free-Will. Free-will it is which is the foundation of morals, which renders man responsible for his actions, which gives him the power of forming his own character, which rules and dominates, or at least ought to rule and dominate, all the emotional and intellectual functions of the brain which science shows to be the result of animal chemistry. The autocratic power of the will is the key-note of the whole book, or the red thread which runs through all its pages, as that royal mark does through the ropes and cables of Chatham. Memory is a function of the brain, and so also is judgment, and desire in all its hues, but the will is free, if you will only let it be so; free from the embarrassment of corporeal imperfection, and capable of directing and ruling the senses, the passions, and the reason to all the ends and purposes which good theologians portray as the right aspirations of the soul.

Dr. Carpenter states that—

"According to the view which it has been the special purpose of this treatise to develop, the relation of the will to mental is essentially the same as that which it has to bodily action. The measure of its exertion will be the sense of effort which we experience in intentionally exciting, directing, or restraining any particular form of mental activity" (p. 138).

The will, therefore, can direct the mind as it can direct the muscles. It can order the attention, and

"Can detach its subjects, which have at the time the greatest attractiveness for it, and can forcibly direct it to others from which their attraction would otherwise divert it" (p. 38).

If this be true, the Will exists and is free. But is it true? Can any human being intentionally choose the lesser desire, all things being considered, and all forces outside the so-called will being estimated? This great, greatest perhaps of all questions, is answered by Mr. Mill, and all the determinists, in the negative. Dr. Carpenter takes the opposite view, and founds his mental physiology upon his opinion. He thinks the will is self-determining, and capable of choosing to be influenced by the smaller attraction, and this constitutes its freedom. But if the will exists, and is free, what is it? Certainly not merely the "determinate effort to carry out a purpose previously conceived," as the author in the first instance defines it; for this bare determinate effort is the very idea of it propounded by the most logical necessitarian determinists. It is far more than this.

"We have now, however, to consider a much more obscure question, namely, the nature of the self-determining agency to which we give the name of Will.