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These observations of Judge Wilson, are deserying of notice. I should have been pleased, if he had pointed out how far the understanding, and will do respectively concur in the different operations of the mind; but this he has not done. I however believe that some operations belong wholly to the understanding, others to the will, and others to the understanding and will.
I will give a few instances. I consider, that if an object be agreeable, or disagreeable, pleasing, or displeasing to the mind; the agreeableness, or disagreeableness; pleasure, or displeasure, as it exists in the mind, is an operation of the understanding, wherein the will has no concern ; it is an effect produced in the understanding by a physical cause.There are other operations of the mind, that belong to the will exclusive of the understanaing, such as volition or willing, as I have defined it. Thoughts may be divided ; such as are excited by internal, or external impressions, belong to the understanding, and are called sensation, perception, feeling, intuition, consciousness, &c.; the rest of our thoughts belong to the will, not as volitions, but as thoughts, wherein the mind is active. Choice, as vulgarly used, is an operation of the understanding and will: there is an operation of the understanding in the perception of two or more objects; an operation of the will in attention, examen, and comparison of the objects; and an operation of the understanding in perceiving, that one object in the comparison is more pleasing, or agreeable to the mind, than another, or others, which is choice. la reasoning: both powers of the mind are concerned in every step taken. In seeing hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting, the mind may be wholly passive ; or it may be active and passive at the same time. The mivd may be wholly passive in feeling heat, or cold; or it may be active in keeping its eyes fixed on an object, and at the same time passive in seeing it. To determine whether an operation of the mind belongs to the understanding, or will, we must consider whether the mind be active, or passive in the operation ; if it be passive, the operation belongs to the understanding; if it be active, the operation belongs to the will.
OF VOLITION OR WILLING ; WHAT IT IS.
The verbs, suspend, divert, reflect, examine, ale tend to, combine, compare, add, divide, subtract; each conveys an idea of volition.
The verbs, walk, set, stand, talk, read, write, &c. express ac tions of the man; each supposeș volition, and voluntary action. But to have a more perfect understanding of volition, let us follow the mind through some of its first active, and passive steps to arrive at knowledge. Suppose , is the mind of an infant upon which no impressions have been made, and it has put forth no volitions ; but it has the pasm. sive, and active power; suppose this mind is acted upon by matter, has sensation, and in it the imprese sion, called heat, is formed"; this impression disappears, and matter again acts, and forms the ima pression called hunger. It seems this mind is now furnished with the materials for reasoning that is
to take the several active and passive steps to arrive at knowledge. It actively reflects on the first impression, and has an idea of the saine ; it actively compares this idea with the second impression, actively attends to, and examines both, and passively sees their difference, which is knowledge. In each of these active steps, the mind willed, Volition, or willing, I have defined to be an action of the mind, which tends to the production of an effect, or ac. tually produces one. Here effects were produced. The first effect was calling up the idea of the first impression, which idea was not in being before reflection began; the second effect was placing this idea and second impression in such position, that the mind could see their difference, which was noi the case before comparison ; the third effect, was a close application of the mind to the two things in the comparison, which was not before attention and examen ; the fourth effect, which seems to be the production of all the previous active and pas, sive steps, was the mind seeing the difference be. tween heat and hunger. This seeing the difference may be called the first gleam of knowledge in the mind.
I do not say the mind goes through this train of reasoning with the two first impressions it re. ceives; but I believe, whenever the mind begins
to reason about its impressions, and ideas, this is the course it takes. I believe the first volitions of every mind are at random; they take place before knowledge exists, and after experience has taught the mind to reason, it passes on from one degree of knowledge to another. I do not apprehend, that knowledge is necessary for the existence of volition; that is, volition inay exist without knowledge, as it does in the minds of infants and idiots. Their minds are 'active' in willing, tho’ they have not knowledge to direct their course. And this willing is not unprofitable to infants; for by it, they soon acquire knowledge, which serves as a light to their minds in subsequent volitions.