Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER 4: On the Union of the Mind with the Body, and on a Separate State 1 - Logic, Metaphysics, and the Natural Sociability of Mankind
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CHAPTER 4: On the Union of the Mind with the Body, and on a Separate State 1 - Francis Hutcheson, Logic, Metaphysics, and the Natural Sociability of Mankind 
Logic, Metaphysics, and the Natural Sociability of Mankind, ed. James Moore and Michael Silverthorne, texts translated from the Latin by Michael Silverthorne, introduction by James Moore (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2006).
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On the Union of the Mind with the Body, and on a Separate State1
The command of the mind over the body
The power of the soul to move the limbs of its body is familiar. But whether it is the action (efficacia) of the mind or will that moves the parts of the body directly by itself without the intervention of a superior nature has not been adequately explored. We feel a certain power of the mind, or energy, particularly in the initial moment, whenever we make an effort to move the limbs of the body in any manner. Reports of anatomists cast doubt on whether this action initiates these motions of itself. For it is well known that the movement of an exterior limb depends directly upon a certain movement of the nerves and muscles, of which we are barely conscious and which we never desire or will to exist. Similarly, in the other direction, the arousal of sensations in the mind follows directly upon a certain motion of the nerves which is connected with the brain, though the mind does not perceive this motion; it almost always feels that the motion exists in a certain part of the body at a distance from the brain or even outside the body. There are therefore pious and learned men who attribute all this to a certain divine force.2
[It is also very well known by experience that perceptible motions of the blood and the finer humors accompany all the more intense actions and states of the mind, even those which are connected with barely perceptible things; but there is no sense of them in our tranquil thoughts. However, since thought, like all motions of the mind, is aroused, retained, put aside, and modified by command of the will, it is obvious that none of them is in any way wholly dependent upon the power of inert matter, which cannot change its state or motion.]3
The union of mind with body
Concerning the union of mind and body, we know nothing beyond those powers or constant intimations of powers, by which they seem to affect each other, so that certain bodily movements immediately follow decisions of the mind, and in turn sensations in the mind follow the movements aroused in the body, and they in turn stimulate various appetites and passions which are accompanied by internal and external motions. However, there are several parts of the body which the mind cannot directly move by its own will and whose movements it cannot stop or change, and the continual motions in the body on which life chiefly depends do not give rise to any sensations in the mind; and indeed this would not be at all useful but rather distressing.
[For this reason some believe that the soul does not move the body and the body does not affect the soul by its own powers or by a necessary connection between them, but by the intervention of a superior cause, since the power of the soul reaches only to certain parts of the body, and only certain parts of the body have the power of affecting the soul; and neither has been formed by our design. Nor does the great disparity between these substances seem to be consistent with such a natural and necessary mutual power. Accordingly, they believe that God himself unites souls with bodies at birth, and equally that he causes them to act upon one another in accordance with a fixed law, as he is the same always, and is everywhere present and active.]4
The survival of the soul after death depends on the will of God
Concerning the survival of the soul in separation from the body, all that has been securely established is that we have no awareness or memory of our existence or of any events before our birth, but we do have a probable expectation that the soul will survive the dissolution of the body.5 There is first the fact that we do not see any substance perishing, and cannot show by valid arguments that any substance does perish, and we cannot infer from the death of the body that a thing which is completely different from it will also perish. There is also the fact that the hope and longing for immortality has prevailed among all peoples in all centuries. [The holiness and justice of God require it.] And the government of the universe itself under a just and kindly God seems to require it, so that truly good men whom we often see oppressed by many external ills, and exposed to serious distress simply because they are good, may not fail to receive an appropriate reward for their virtues, and that wicked men, for whom all things turn out well and as they would wish, may not go unpunished. The kindly providence of our most holy governor would not permit either of these things, but for the happiness of his whole commonwealth will keep the majesty of his most excellent laws sacrosanct, safeguarded by fitting penalties.6
This is the only condition on which virtue deserves approval
All things in the physical world have been formed with so much art and skill by the supreme creator of all things, and so many features of the fabric of the human mind also show the benevolence and wisdom of the supreme creator. Yet many aspects of the government of this great commonwealth, which contains the whole human race, remain imperfect and need to be corrected, and if we regard only our present life, this is altogether unworthy of so great, so kind, and so powerful a ruler, and deserves universal condemnation. But all of this may easily be rectified if souls survive bodies, so that the whole fabric and government of the world become fully worthy of the great and good God. Who will doubt then that souls survive, and that the entire government of the whole universe is most perfect? We see considerable evidence of such a pattern even in the present state of things. For often things which in relation to a certain time would be blameworthy if viewed in isolation, because they appear to be sad, cruel, and unjust, and all the responsibility for them seems to rest on God himself, will be found in the end, when they are considered together with their necessary consequences even in this life, to have been planned according to a most intelligent and kindly design.
Immortality is especially desired and expected by the best people
What too of the fact that the nearer a man’s mind approaches the perfection of his own nature, as he looks toward the immense expanse of future time, and recognizes God as the creator and ruler of the world, and despises all things terrestrial and transitory, and at the same time views the common happiness of all men with a kindly intention, and embraces the whole human race with the greatest love and benevolence, how displeasing will the whole government of the world seem to him and all the design and providential plan of the supreme ruler, if all things are really to be destroyed by death? For it is not given to men to enjoy constant and unalloyed good, not even to the best of men for whom this life is often painful and passed amid sorrow and tears (not to speak of the many innocent children who die an early and tragic death), nor is it allowed to hope for other things for oneself or one’s family or the human race beyond these brief and fleeting things soon to be snatched away by death, which human reason itself warns us to despise, bidding us love and long for immortal and eternal things. [And it is not credible that God, who has shown himself supremely intelligent and kind, should have willed to render empty and vain these ardent desires and prayers of the very best men which he himself seems to have implanted and to have specially commended to us.]7
What natural theology is
All philosophy is pleasant and profitable, but no part is richer and more fertile than that which holds the knowledge of God, and which is called natural theology.1 It exhibits what philosophers have perceptively uncovered or diligently argued in sole reliance on the powers of human reason; it does not touch those things which the great and good God in his supreme love for man has designed to teach those who have been inspired by his divinity with marvelous signs beyond man’s normal reach. For imperfect as it is, this knowledge of the highest matters is not only delightful and worthy of a man in itself, but also offers supreme inducements to every virtue and to all honest modes of life, while at the same time laying firm foundations of true magnanimity, constancy, and peace.
In giving a brief synopsis of this science, we shall deal briefly with the most important topics which philosophers treat at length: first, that most serious question whether there is a God, next the attributes of God, and finally the divine operations.
[1 ]The corresponding chapters in de Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, are sec. 2, chaps. 9 and 10, pp. 37-45.
[2 ]Malebranche, The Search After Truth, pp. 46-47, 59-60; and Baxter, Enquiry, pp. 395-407.
[3 ]This paragraph was added in 1744.
[4 ]This paragraph was added in 1744. The authors involved in this paragraph are again Malebranche and Baxter. See Part I, chap. 5, sec. 5, p. 109 and note 15.
[5 ]De Vries considered life after death to be a certainty; inasmuch as the soul is not material, it was therefore created by God from nothing, Determinationes Ontologicae, II, X, 3-4, p. 42. Hutcheson considered that we have only probable reasons to believe in the survival of the soul after death.
[6 ]The argument that divine providence has made such provision for the happiness of the human race was developed at length by Hutcheson in A System of Moral Philosophy.
[7 ]The final sentence was added in 1744.
[1 ]This was the part of Hutcheson’s metaphysics that he continued to teach at the University of Glasgow. He did not teach those parts of metaphysics that dealt with ontology and the human mind; those subjects were taught by the Professor of Logic. See the introduction, p. xxii. He taught natural theology because in the universities of Scotland and the Netherlands in the early eighteenth century it was considered that natural theology was the foundation of morality. See Gershom Carmichael, “Synopsis of Natural Theology,” in Natural Rights, p. 230, and de Vries, Determinationes Ontologicae, III, 1, p. 47.