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Unformatted text preview: indivisible kind, which is non-material yet
which controls matter?
Taking the free-will idea at its face value leads us nowhere in our study of character. If character in its totality
is organic, so is will, and it therefore resides in the tissues of our organism and is subject to its laws. In some
mental diseases the central disturbance is in the will, as Kraepelin postulates in the disease known as
Dementia Praecox. The power of choice and the power of acting according to choice disappear gradually,
leaving the individual inert and apathetic. The will may alter its directions in disease (or rather be altered) so
that BECAUSE of a tumor mass in the brain, or a clot of blood, or the extirpation of his testicles, he chooses
and acts on different principles than ever before in his life. Or you get a man drunk, introduce into his
organism the soluble narcotic alcohol, and you change his will in the sense that he chooses to be foolish or
immoral or brutal, and acts accordingly. When from Philip drunk we appeal to Philip sober, we acknowledge
that the two Philips are different and will different things. And the will of the child is not the will of the adult,
nor is that the will of the old man. If will is organic it cannot be free, but is conditioned by health, glandular
activity, tissue chemistry, age, social setting, education, intelligence.
Moreover, behind each choice and each act are motives set up by the whole past of the individual, set up by
heredity and training, by the will of our ancestors and our contemporaries. Logically and psychologically, we
cannot agree that a free agent has any conditions; and if it has any conditions, it cannot in any phase be free.
To set up an argument for free will one has to appeal to the consciousness or have a deep religious motive.
But even the ecclesiastical psychologists and even so strong a believer in free will as Munsterberg take the
stand that we may have two points of view, one--as religiously minded--that there is a free w...
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- Spring '11