Much yet remains to be said before it will be possible to feel any solid justification for inviting the reader's assent to my view upon this thorniest problem of philosophy. But at the stage we have reached it seems well to pause for a moment to recapitulate in outline the main argument of the chapter.
The belief in freedom, in the sense at present roughly designated as the capacity for alternative action, rests ultimately, we saw, not only for the plain man but also for the philosopher, upon the interpretation evoked by a certain feeling or immediate experience. There is (apart, it will be remembered, from the possibility of an ethical argument) no other positive basis for the conviction of freedom. The most significant feeling in this regard is the so-called feeling of 'activity' or 'effort of will.' Everyone knows the type of experience which is denoted by these terms, and it is, I think, undeniable that the 'ideal interpretation' which such experience naturally evokes in the subject is a libertarian one. The Libertarian, I argued, has got to defend the view that this interpretation is really, as it seems to be, compelled by the experience: and he ought also to satisfy the critic that what the interpretation affirms is not inconsistent with well-accredited observation in the sphere of conduct. The Determinist's obligation to investigate the experience of activity is not so immediately obvious. He can make a case of sorts by developing the scientific or philosophic arguments for the 'universal reign of law.' But to rest in this position - to refrain from any attempt to show that the libertarian interpretation of the experience of activity is not compelled by the experience - is, apart from other objections, to acquiesce in a possible dualism between the practical and theoretical consciousness which, so long as it remains, must reflect back doubt upon the adequacy of the determinist hypothesis. It is logically imperative upon the Determinist, therefore, if he is to make his case fully cogent, to show that the so-called experience of activity does not really mean what it seems to mean: to show that the supposedly necessary interpretation which it evokes is really a misinterpretation. The condition of his showing this is that he should be able to resolve the experience in question, without remainder, into such a set of elements as clearly do not, reflectively considered, carry with them libertarian implications: and also - and this is necessary if only to confirm the veridical character of his analysis - to make it clear how an experience so constituted does generate the 'libertarian illusion.' In the later Sections of this chapter we have considered some typical attempts to 'explain away' the experience of activity along these lines, and have reached the conclusion that so far at least as these attacks are concerned, the experience must stand.
In the next chapter I (The Epistemological Approach To The Supra-Rational Absolute. Section I. Introductory) shall turn to considerations of a different order. The rebuttal of the metaphysical objections to a freedom of the kind which I defend is implicit in the matter of the earlier chapters. Not only, we have seen, is there no metaphysical necessity to believe in a rationally continuous universe. There is actually a metaphysical necessity to deny a rationally continuous universe. But there are a host of further difficulties - some serious, others, I am bound to think, frivolous - commonly alleged. Most of them are psychological in character. In course of dealing with them (as I now propose to do) I shall endeavour to render determinate what has up till now been deliberately left general, the concept of 'will-effort' or 'will-energy'.