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Recapitulation.       §71. To conclude this enquiry into humane Liberty, which as it
stood before, I my self from the beginning fearing, and a very
judicious Friend of mine, since the publication suspecting, to have
some mistake in it, though he could not particularly shew it me,
I was put upon a stricter review of this Chapter. Wherein lighting
upon a very easy, and scarce observable slip I had made, in putting
one seemingly indifferent word for another, that discovery open’d
to me this present view, which here in this second Edition, I sub-
mit to the learned World, and which in short is this: Liberty is a
power to act or not to act according as the Mind directs. A power to
direct the operative faculties to motion or rest in particular in-
stances, is that which we call the Will. That which in the train of
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our voluntary actions determines the Will to any change of opera-
tion, is some present uneasiness, which is, or at least is always
accompanied with that of Desire. Desire is always moved by Evil, to
fly it: Because a total freedom from pain always makes a necessary
part of our Happiness: But every Good, nay every greater Good does
not constantly move Desire, because it may not make, or may not
be taken to make any necessary part of our Happiness. For all that
we desire is only to be Happy. But though this general Desire of
Happiness operates constantly and invariably, yet the satisfaction
of any particular desire can be suspended from determining the will
to any subservient action, till we have maturely examin’d, whether
the particular apparent good, which we then desire, makes a part of
our real Happiness, or be consistent or inconsistent with it. The
result of our judgment upon that Examination is what ultimately
determines the Man, who could not be free if his will were determin’d
by any thing, but his own desire guided by his own Judgment. I know
that Liberty by some, is placed in an indifferency of the Man, ante-
cedent to the determination of his Will. I wish they, who lay so
much stress on such an antecedent indifferency, as they call it, had told
us plainly, whether this supposed indifferency be antecedent to the
Thought and Judgment of the Understanding, as well as to the
decree of the Will. For it is pretty hard to state it between them;
i.e. immediately after the Judgment of the Understanding, and
before the determination of the Will, because the determination of
the Will immediately follows the Judgment of the Understanding;
and to place Liberty in an indifferency, antecedent to the Thought
and Judgment of the Understanding, seems to me to place Liberty
in a state of darkness, wherein we can neither see nor say any thing
of it; at least it places it in a subject incapable of it, no Agent being
allowed capable of Liberty, but in consequence of Thought and
Judgment. I am not nice about Phrases, and therefore consent to
say with those that love to speak so, that Liberty is plac’d in
indifferency; but ’tis in an indifferency that remains after the Judgment
of the Understanding; yea, even after the determination of the
Will: And that is an indifferency not of the Man, (for after he has
once judg’d which is best, viz. to do, or forbear, he is no longer
indifferent,) but an indifferency of the operative Powers of the Man,
which remaining equally able to operate, or to forbear operating
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after, as before the decree of the Will, are in a state, which, if one
pleases, may be called indifferency; and as far as this indifferency
reaches, a Man is free, and no farther. v.g. I have the Ability to move
my Hand, or to let it rest, that operative Power is indifferent to
move, or not to move my Hand: I am then in that respect perfectly
free. My Will determines that operative Power to rest, I am yet
free, because the indifferency of that my operative Power to act, or
not to act, still remains; the Power of moving my Hand, is not at all
impair’d by the determination of my Will, which at present orders
rest; the indifferency of that Power to act, or not to act, is just as it
was before, as will appear, if the Will puts it to the trial, by order-
ing the contrary. But if during the rest of my Hand, it be seized by
a sudden Palsy, the indifferency of that operative Power is gone, and
with it my Liberty: I have no longer Freedom in that respect, but
am under a Necessity of letting my Hand rest. On the other side,
if my Hand be put into motion by a Convulsion, the indifferency
of that operative Faculty is taken away by that motion, and my
Liberty in that case is lost: For I am under a Necessity of having my
Hand move. I have added this, to shew in what sort of indifferency
Liberty seems to me to consist, and not in any other, real or
imaginary.
Locke Hum II, 21, §71, pp. 282-283-284