An Examination of President Edwards' Inquiry Into the Freedom of the Will
"In 1754, Johnathan Edwards, who became President of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton), published Freedom of the Will, in which he described his philosophy of moral necessity and the will. According to President Edwards, "by determining the will, if the phrase be used with any meaning, must be intended, causing that the act of the will should be thus, and not otherwise: and the will is said to be determined, when, in consequence of some action, or influence, its choice is directed to, and fixed upon a particular object. As when we speak of the determination of motion, we mean causing the motion of the body to be in such a direction, rather than another." In the present book, Albert Bledsoe refutes Edwards' philosophy by re-examining Edwards' definitions for such concepts as cause, volition, effect, liberty and necessity. Bledsoe concludes that Edwards' theory of freedom of the will contains circular reasoning and is invalid"--Introduction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved).
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absurd according act of choice action or influence active admit advocate of free-agency affirm ambiguous argument assert brought to pass called causative act cause and effect cause of volition caused to act certainly and infallibly choose conceive confounds consciousness consequence contend definition deny desire determined doctrine of liberty efficient cause eternity evident exert foreknowledge foreknows free agency greatest apparent hence idea illusion implies inconsistent infer infinite series influence of motives Inquiry maxim meaning merely moral necessity motion of body neces necessarily connected necessitarian object passion passive impression perfectly perly philosophical preceding act prescience President Day President Edwards principle prior action proceed producing cause proposition prove question reason regard scheme of moral scheme of necessity self-determining power sense series of causes sophism soul speak storm of passion strongest motive suppose supposition term cause thing tion true truth universal proposition unless virtuous voli words younger Edwards
Page 97 - For the will itself is not an agent that has a will; the power of choosing itself has not a power of choosing. That which has the power of volition or choice, is the man or the soul, and not the power of volition itself.
Page 142 - To suppose the future volitions of moral agents not to be necessary events ; or, which is the same thing, events which it is not impossible but that they may not come to pass ; and yet to suppose that God certainly foreknows them, and knows all things, is to suppose God's knowledge to be inconsistent with itself.
Page 91 - ... you cannot form a notion of this faculty, conscience, without taking in judgment, direction, superintendency. This is a constituent part of the idea, that is, of the faculty itself : and to preside and govern, from the very economy and constitution of man, belongs to it. Had it strength, as it has right ; had it power, as it has manifest authority, it would absolutely govern the world.
Page 155 - Philosophical Necessity is really nothing else than the full and fixed connection between the things signified by the subject and predicate of a proposition, which affirms something to be true.
Page 3 - MAN, as the minister and interpreter of nature, does and understands as much as his observations on the order of nature, either with regard to things or the mind, permit him, and neither knows nor is capable of more.
Page 95 - ... for the most part, but not always. For the mind having in most cases, as is evident in experience, a power to suspend the execution and satisfaction of any of its desires, and so all, one after another is at liberty to consider the objects of them, examine them on all sides, and weigh them with others.
Page 131 - I cannot make freedom in man consistent with omnipotence and omniscience in God; though I am as fully persuaded of both, as of any truths I most firmly assent to. And therefore I have long since given off the consideration of that question, resolving all into this short conclusion, That if it be possible for God to make a free agent, then man is free, though I see not the way of it.
Page 91 - Thus, that principle by which we survey, and either approve or disapprove our own heart, temper, and actions, is not only to be considered as what is in its turn to have some influence ; which may be said of every passion, of the lowest appetites : but likewise as being superior ; as from its very nature manifestly claiming superiority over all others ; insomuch that you cannot...