— 244 —
But to the Agent or Man.       §21. To return then to the Enquiry about Liberty, I think the
Question is not proper, whether the Will be free, but whether, a Man be free.
Thus, I think,
      1. That so far as any one can, by the direction or choice of his
Mind, preferring the existence of any Action, to the non-existence
of that Action, and, vice versâ, make it to exist, or not exist, so far
he is free. For if I can, by a thought, directing the motion of my
Finger, make it move, when it was at rest, or vice versâ, ’tis evident,
that in respect of that, I am free: and if I can, by a like thought of my
Mind, preferring one to the other, produce either words, or silence,
I am at liberty to speak, or hold my peace: and as far as this Power
reaches, of acting, or not acting, by the determination of his own Thought
preferring either, so far is a Man free. For how can we think any one
freer than to have the power to do what he will? And so far as any
one can, by preferring any Action to its not being, or Rest to any
Action, produce that Action or Rest, so far can he do what he will.
For such a preferring of Action to its absence, is the willing of it:
and we can scarce tell how to imagine any Being freer, than to be
able to do what he wills. So that in respect of Actions, within the
reach of such a power in him, a Man seems as free, as ’tis possible for
Freedom to make him.
Locke Hum II, 21, §21, p. 244