Tag Herman Kitteridge

Kitteridge on Ingersoll on Free Will

In refutation of the argument for “free moral agency,” Ingersoll once used the following illustration, — itself an argument as clear as it is unanswerable: —

“It is insisted that man is free, and is responsible, because he knows right from wrong. But the compass does not navigate the ship; neither does it in any way, of itself, determine the direction that is taken. When wind and waves are too powerful, the compass is of no importance. The pilot may read it correctly, and may know the direction the ship ought to take, but the compass is not a force. So men, blown by the tempests of passion, may have the intellectual conviction that they should go another way; but of what use, of what force, is the conviction?”