It is a duty, I suppose, to add something at this point about the bodily sensations which for many writers are so important a factor in our experience of activity. 'Feelings of innervation' in the old sense have long been discarded. But it is still maintained, with a good deal of probability, that in every experience of so-called 'effort of will' there are present a number of bodily sensations - muscular contractions, tensions in the head, and so on - varying according to the specific nature of the act, but possibly with a nucleus common to all; and maintained, with a good deal less probability, that these bodily sensations are the very core of our experience of activity. Can we, perhaps, by making due use of these sensations, supplement Bradley's account of the perception of activity in a way which will make it fully satisfactory? One great difficulty in that account was, we saw, the insufficient specification of the phrase 'originating from within the self.' Suppose that, to the account of the perception of activity as 'the experience of a self-expansion apprehended as originating from within the self,' we add the rider that the 'self must be at the same time sentient of a peculiar set of bodily feelings. Will this elaboration bring us any nearer to the truth?
1 I ought not, perhaps, to have omitted to draw attention to one further item in Bradley's analysis - the 'wavering' and 'oscillation' in the felt self-expansion which he alludes to at the bottom of p. 99, and which he regards - I think - as ingredient in all experience of activity. But it seems fairly obvious that the root difficulty is not mitigated by the insertion of this condition. Plainly the experience of 'wavering' and 'oscillation' cannot be identified with the experience of 'struggle,' though Bradley almost seems to suggest such an identification in the passage just referred to. We may perfectly well have these characteristics in the 'effortless' volition in which we seem to ourselves to be merely following out the bias of our desires. Nothing is likelier than that we should, in the course of such volitions, be subjected to repeated 'checks' through adverse conditions: and the self-expansion will then be felt as a 'wavering' one. We are brought by this supplementation no whit nearer to the specific essence of the experience of activity.
I do not think that it will, no matter what varieties of bodily feeling the psychologist may choose to select. One's own introspective report is, no doubt, an unconvincing basis for argument, but I certainly do find it impossible, for my own part, to make the conditions as given exhaustively cover that which I experience in an 'effort of will.' When I imagine a typical effort of will, and then seek to reconstitute it in terms of the above analysis, I do find, indeed, all of the said elements present, even certain bodily feelings, but I find also something more. And that 'something more' is neither of the nature of bodily feelings nor ideal changes, but something sui generis - something which is incapable of description in terms which belong to other forms of experience, and which has on that account deservedly been accorded a name of its own, 'activity,' or 'effort' of will. This, of course, is the introspective result which would be expected if the experience is irreducible. And the critic will no doubt be ready with his taunt that the introspection is doctored to suit the thesis, or is, at the least, unconsciously biassed by the thesis. But I would, with all respect, invite the critic to consider carefully whether the boot is not on the other leg: whether when he 'looks into his own breast' and finds in the experience in question nothing but a complex of feelings and ideas of well-authenticated types, he is not really failing to find anything other than these because he is looking only for these. The good psychologist, like any other good scientist, is by nature sceptical of the mysterious, the 'unconnected.' His impulse is towards simplification by the establishment of unity in the differences. But it is an impulse which, if uncritically indulged, leads on occasion to a simplification which is in fact a falsification. And when the psychologist reports to us that he finds nothing unique in the experience of activity, I think that it has so led.
This line of defence is not, I grant, very satisfying by itself. But it becomes very much more cogent - conclusive, as I think - when we add to it considerations drawn from a slightly different point of view. As was remarked at an earlier stage, the critic who seeks to resolve the experience of activity into a complex of elements which give no justification for the assumption of a unique originative force, is under an obligation to make at least plausible the generation from the experience as he has analysed it of the 'illusion' of freedom which the subject of the experience does have. If the critic cannot do this, then it may fairly be retorted that his analysis is inadequate to the facts. Now I submit that this 'illusion' is not made one whit more understandable by any bodily feelings one may care to introduce into one's description. The experience of activity in a typical effort of will is ideally interpreted by the subject as signifying the introduction of a unique originative force which he exerts against the line of least resistance, and which need not have been exerted by him at all. How could bodily feelings of whatever sort possibly help to evoke such a conception? The ideal interpretation which the subject of feelings of muscular contractions, kephalic tensions, etc., naturally places upon these experiences, merely as such, is surely just that certain processes or activities are going on in certain bodily areas, and exciting appropriate psychical changes. Why should it be otherwise? The particular feelings which the critic adduces are identical in kind with innumerable other feelings which are admitted to receive from the subject of them just some such simple interpretation as this. There seems no reason to posit an exception in this particular case, save that a preconceived theory demands it. Yet if these feelings do receive from the subject of them a 'normal' interpretation, it seems impossible to understand how they should contribute in the smallest degree to the 'illusion' of unique originative force. The respective 'ideal interpretations' are as disparate as could be.