The Elements of Philosophy: 1.4.28.6

“The relationships between the acts of the will and those of the sense appetites are complex.  One can arouse the sensitive appetites deliberately by willing to think about and imagine the objects that stir them.  Moreover, it often happens that a particularly strong act of the will produces a similar passion in the sense appetites, by a kind of overflow or redundance.  In their turn, the sense appetites can exert considerable influence on the will.  The freedom of the will, for instance depends on the power of reason to judge a situation calmly, taking into account all possibilities.  But when the emotions are strongly aroused the power of reason often fails to judge carefully [§39.5], and a man is precipitated into actions he would not otherwise have performed.  The emotions can fix the attention of the mind on the things that stir them and limit its capacity to reflect, and thus indirectly limit the freedom of the will.  Moreover, to act contrary to strong passions produces strong feelings of pain and sorrow, and rather than endure these, men often consent to things they would otherwise reject.  Thus, although the will is free and in supreme command of the human act, in practice it is often restricted in its freedom by the sense appetites.  (For a discussion and evaluation of the other accounts of psychological determinism, see 4:813c).”  (PART 1.  //  CHAPTER 4 PSYCHOLOGY  //  [Section] §28.  VOLITION  //  [paragraph] 6  //   [pages] 79 and 80)

 

Obiter Dicta:  Father Wallace’s words “…the sense appetites can exert considerable influence on the will.  The freedom of the will, for instance depends on the power of reason to judge a situation calmly, taking into account all possibilities.  But when the emotions are strongly aroused the power of reason often fails to judge carefully [§39.5], and a man is precipitated into actions he would not otherwise have performed.” remind me, when I was a child, of being taught “custody of the eyes”.  Custody of the eyes refers to the acts of recognizing that something is a temptation and then consciously diverting one’s attention from that/those temptation/s.

 

Key:  For an explanation of the reference and cross reference forms used in this book (e.g. [§19.6] and (11:292c), see previous posts in this blog entitled “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (7)” and “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (8)”.

The Elements of Philosophy: 1.4.28.5

“The acts of the will are often called by the same name as the emotions of the sense appetites, namely, love, hatred, desire, fear, anger, and so on.  These, however, are not the names of the will’s proper acts.  The principal proper acts of the will [§50.8] are to intend an end or purpose, to elect the means to accomplish it, to command the actions that execute it, and to rest content in the purpose accomplished (14:910d-911b).  If the purpose is to attain a good, one may call the acts of intention, election, and command acts of love; if they are aimed at destroying evil, one may call them anger; if at escaping an evil, one may call them fear, etc.  The best understanding of the acts of the will, however, is attained when they are seen in their complex interplay with the acts of the intellect that go to make up the distinctively human act [§50].  The various intellectual acts specify the acts of the will, for what one wills depends on what he knows; on the other hand, each act of the will subsequently moves the intellect to a further act of knowing until the will is brought to some rest in an enjoyment of what was initially desired or, if unsuccessful, to a sadness in not attaining what was initially desired [§50.8].”  (PART 1.  //  CHAPTER 4 PSYCHOLOGY  //  [Section] §28.  VOLITION  //  [paragraph] 5  //   [page] 79)

 

Obiter Dicta:  Knowing is insatiable and this applies, a fortiori, to healthy forms of knowing.  Knowing makes me aware of some good thing which is desirable by the will.  The act of will, reaching out toward that desirable thing leads to an awareness of, let us say, not quite acquiring that good thing…yet.  This awareness is a new act of knowing which recasts that which is desired and at which and to which the will again reaches.  This dance of knowing and reaching continues until the desired object is obtained/attained.

 

Key:  For an explanation of the reference and cross reference forms used in this book (e.g. [§19.6] and (11:292c), see previous posts in this blog entitled “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (7)” and “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (8)”.

The Elements of Philosophy: 1.4.28.4

“The most important of the powers of the soul that influence choices of will is obviously the intellect.  The will is urged toward anything that is understood to be in some way satisfying; such understanding is a function of the intellect.  On the other hand, since even understanding of an object is a finite good for the person considering it, he may refuse to acquire its complete understanding [§39.5].  Because of this he may be attracted toward an object that here and now he considers good, whereas a more complete understanding of the same object would have presented it as undesirable.  The will can also be affected indirectly by objects of the sense powers, insofar as such objects are presented with a vividness rarely found in intellectual activity.  Sense impressions and physical states, as a consequence, can influence a person’s intellectual deliberation and choice.  (For a discussion of other factors that move the will, called motives, see 9:39b, also §50.9).”  (PART 1.  //  CHAPTER 4 PSYCHOLOGY  //  [Section] §28.  VOLITION  //  [paragraph] 4  //   [pages] 78 and 79)

 

Obiter Dicta:  A new understanding I am taking away from this quote is that a person’s will is an inclination/appetite to choose what one’s mind determines is desirable.  Before reading this, I had been under the impression that the will was a totally free act which could choose anything whether desirable or undesirable or neither somehow.

 

Key:  For an explanation of the reference and cross reference forms used in this book (e.g. [§19.6] and (11:292c), see previous posts in this blog entitled “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (7)” and “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (8)”.

The Elements of Philosophy: 1.4.28.3

“Just as the object of the intellect is the true, so the object of the will is the good.  Because of this the will can be attracted to something only so far as it recognizes it to be good.  A good that can satisfy only to a limited extent is called a particular or finite good, where one that can satisfy in every conceivable aspect is called the universal or supreme good (6:620c).  Now it is commonly held that the human will is strictly determined in its nature toward an object recognized intellectually as the universal good.  If this is so, then freedom of choice is exercised only with regard to objects recognized as particular goods.  A man is not determined to these because particular goods can be viewed in two opposing ways:  (1) they may be seen as good, i.e., according to the proportionate good they possess when compared to the universal good; or (2) they may be seen as lacking in good, i.e., to the extent that they lack goodness when measured against the universal good.  Thus, any finite good can be considered under an aspect of desirability or undesirability when compared to the universal good; as desirable, it can attract the will, as undesirable, it cannot.  Not being determined by such a good, the will remains free to choose or reject it.”  (PART 1.  //  CHAPTER 4 PSYCHOLOGY  //  [Section] §28.  VOLITION  //  [paragraph] 3  //   [page] 78)

 

Key:  For an explanation of the reference and cross reference forms used in this book (e.g. [§19.6] and (11:292c), see previous posts in this blog entitled “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (7)” and “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (8)”.

The Elements of Philosophy: 1.4.28.2

“The will is a free power in man, basically because it is the appetite that follows reason.  Because reason can see several alternatives equally feasible as means of reaching one end, the will has freedom (6:95d) to elect from among them.  Thus free will (6:89a) is an ability characterizing man in the voluntary of activity of choosing or not choosing a limited good when this is presented to him.  Such voluntary activity is also called free choice (3:620a) or free decision, from the Latin expression liberium arbitrium [50.6-8].”  (PART 1.  //  CHAPTER 4 PSYCHOLOGY  //  [Section] §28.  VOLITION  //  [paragraph] 2  //   [page] 78)

 

Obiter Dicta:  In his A General Theory of Authority, Yves Simon points out that one of the reasons we need authority in our communal lives is because there are often multiple ways to accomplish a good outcome.  If there is no authority to decide which of several possible ways to use, nothing would be accomplished.

 

Key:  For an explanation of the reference and cross reference forms used in this book (e.g. [§19.6] and (11:292c), see previous posts in this blog entitled “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (7)” and “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (8)”.

The Elements of Philosophy: 1.4.28.1

“The will (14:909d) is the rational or intellectual appetite in man, i.e., the source of volition whereby he seeks goods as perceived by the power of intellect [25.1].  As the intellect is the supreme cognitive power in man, so the will is the supreme appetite in man, controlling all human behavior; and as the intellect is a spiritual power, so also is the will.  Thus all purely spiritual or rational goods are sought by the will alone, and rational and spiritual evils are rejected by the will.  It is the will that desires justice, truth, order, immortality, and the like, and hates injustice, deceit, chaos, and death.  However, the will’s objects are not limited to spiritual things—it seeks also to obtain or avoid physical goods sought by the sensitive appetites; but when the will acts in this sphere it is because it sees reasonableness in these physical goods.  Thus, the sight of food might arouse a person’s concupiscible appetite because food is pleasant to eat, but he wills to eat it only if he sees that it is reasonable here and now to do so.  Hence a man can also starve himself in spite of a contrary urging from the sensitive appetites, if in the circumstances he judges this is a reasonable thing to do.  The will ultimately controls all behavior, as long as  man is conscious and sane; even behavior motivated primarily by the sense appetites is not carried out unless the will consents [§52].”  (PART 1.  //  CHAPTER 4 PSYCHOLOGY  //  [Section] §28.  VOLITION  //  [paragraph] 1  //   [pages] 77 and 78)

 

Obiter Dicta:  “Human beings are animated bodies, not enmattered spirits.”  (Robert Sokolowski, Introduction to Phenomenology, page 26.  We are not “souls in a material vessel”.  Our bodies are not the containers/coffins of the soul.  We are not spirits in material form.  We are not material beings on a spiritual journey.  We are not “spiritual beings having human experiences”.  What we persons are are beings who are an indivisible unity of the two equally important parts of body and soul.  Soul animates and forms the body; the unity being the person.   Body is essential for the enmattered soul to exist in the world.  Without the soul, the human body is a corpse.  Both soul and body are equally and essentially important for a person’s life in this world and life in eternity.

Similarly, the most important functions of the human being; awareness, will, and intellect are (immaterial) functions/faculties/abilities of the immaterial soul.  Awareness and will and intellect can only function and exist if there is both body and soul, in the form of a unified body and soul.

 

Key:  For an explanation of the reference and cross reference forms used in this book (e.g. [§19.6] and (11:292c), see previous posts in this blog entitled “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (7)” and “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (8)”.

The Elements of Philosophy: 1.4.27.3

“The emotions are further divided into eleven different categories, six of which are impulse emotions and found in the concupiscible appetite, the remaining five contending emotions, found in the irascible appetite.  Love (8:1039b), the first impulse emotion, is the fundamental reaction that underlies all others:  it is defined as the simple tendency toward a good thing.  Desire (4:800c), which arises from love, is a tendency toward a good thing that is not yet possessed but is presently attainable.  Joy (7:1133c) follows from desire when the good thing is actually possessed.  Hatred (6:946d), the opposite of love, is the turning away from an evil thing.  Aversion or dislike arises from hatred, as an actual repugnance to an evil thing presenting itself.  Sadness (12:845a) or sorrow follows after aversion, if the evil thing actually afflicts the knowing subject.  These are the six basic impulse emotions.  Hope (cf. 7:133a) is the name given to the first of the contending emotions; it is the vehement seeking for a good object that is hard to obtain.  Courage (4:390c) is the energetic attack on evil that is hard to overcome.  Despair (4:805b) is the giving up of a good object because of difficulties, and fear (5:863b) is the urgent avoidance of an evil that is hard to escape.  Anger (1:521c), finally, is the movement toward an evil that is hard to overcome for the sake of avoiding it.  These are the five basic contending emotions.  All other emotional reactions, with their various modalities admixtures and shades of difference, can be comprised without great difficulty under one or other of these eleven basic categories (see 5:310d-317a).”  (PART 1.  //  CHAPTER 4 PSYCHOLOGY  //  [Section] §27.  SENSITIVE APPETITES  //  [paragraph] 3  //   [pages] 76 and 77)

 

Key:  For an explanation of the reference and cross reference forms used in this book (e.g. [§19.6] and (11:292c), see previous posts in this blog entitled “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (7)” and “The Elements of Philosophy:  Preface (8)”.