more from Thomas Reid

Single Idea 23676

[catalogued under 16. Persons / F. Free Will / 3. Constraints on the will]

Full Idea

There can be no will without such a degree of understanding, at least, as gives the conception of that which we will.

Gist of Idea

A willed action needs reasonable understanding of what is to be done


Thomas Reid (Essays on Active Powers 4: Liberty of Agents [1788], 1)

Book Reference

Reid,Thomas: 'Inquiry and Essays', ed/tr. Beanblossom /K.Lehrer [Hackett 1983], p.324

A Reaction

Presumably this 'conception' includes an understanding of the probable consequences, but they are of infinite complexity. I see this as an objection to 'ultimate' free will and responsibility, because there are only ever degrees of understanding.