A Table of the Springs of Action

Jeremy Bentham

Observations on the Table

§7. Simultaneously operating Motives---co-operating, conflicting, or both.

Seldom (it will readily be seen) does it happen, that a man's conduct stands exposed to the action of no more than one motive. Frequently, indeed---not to say commonly---does it happen, that, on one and the same occasion, it is acted upon by a number of motives, acting in opposite directions: in each of those two opposite directions respectively, sometimes by one, sometimes by more than one motive: and, on every such occasion, be it what it may, the action is, of course, the result of that one motive, or that group of simultaneously operating motives, of which on that same occasion, the force and influence happen to be the strongest.

Be this as it may, on every occasion, conduct---the course taken by a man's conduct---is at the absolute command of---is the never-failing result of---the motives,---and thence, in so far as the corresponding interests are perceived and understood, of the corresponding interests,---to the action of which, his mind---his will---has, on that same occasion, stood exposed,

Employ the term free-will---to the exclusion of the term free-will, employ the term necessity---in respect of the truth of the above observations, the language so employed will not be found to be expressive of any real difference.

Back to: Causes of misjudgment and misconduct---intellectual weakness, inborn and adoptive---sinister interest, and interest-begotten prejudice. [Section 6, A Table of the Springs of Action]
Forward to: Substitution of Motives. Acts produced by one motive, commonly ascribed to another.---Causes of this misrepresentation. [Section 8, A Table of the Springs of Action]
Up to: [A Table of the Springs of Action, Intro and Table of Contents]