Transcription of LocHum,246[2]
— 246 —
      §24. This then is evident, That in all proposals of present Action,
a Man is not at liberty to will, or not to will, because he cannot forbear will-
ing: Liberty consisting in a power to act, or to forbear acting, and in
that only. For a Man that sits still, is said yet to be at liberty, because
he can walk if he wills it. A Man that walks is at liberty also, not
because he walks, or moves; but because he can stand still if he wills
it. But if a Man sitting still has not a power to remove himself, he
is not at liberty; so likewise a Man falling down a precipice, though
in motion, is not at liberty, because he cannot stop that motion, if
he would. This being so, ’tis plain that a Man that is walking, to
whom it is proposed to give off walking, is not at liberty, whether
he will determine himself to walk, or give off walking, or no: He
must necessarily prefer one, or t’other of them; walking or not walk-
ing: and so it is in regard of all other Actions in our power so pro-
posed, which are the far greater number. For considering the vast
number of voluntary Actions, that succeed one another every
moment that we are awake, in the course of our Lives, there are
but few of them that are thought on or proposed to the Will, ’till
the time they are to be done: And in all such Actions, as I have
shewn, the Mind in respect of willing has not a power to act, or not
to act, wherein consists Liberty: The Mind in that case has not
a power to forbear willing; it cannot avoid some determination con-
cerning them, let the Consideration be as short, the Thought as
quick, as it will, it either leaves the Man in the state he was before
thinking, or changes it; continues the Action, or puts an end to it.
Whereby it is manifest, that it orders and directs one in preference
to, or with neglect of the other, and thereby either the continua-
tion, or change becomes unavoidably voluntary.
Locke Hum II, 21, §24, p. 246