Will (philosophy)

Will (philosophy)

Will, or willpower, is a philosophical concept that is defined in several different ways.

Will as internal drive

Nietzsche defines will similarly to the "any internally motivated action" usage, but more narrowly. In this sense, will is more a "creative spark," a certain independence and stubbornness. A person who chooses not to steal because the Ten Commandments said so would be excercising free will, because it was their "choice" to follow the Ten Commandments. Someone who independently forms their own moral system or who composes a musical composition pleasing to themselves, however, would be exercising an act of will.

Idealism: Will as all

In idealist models of reality, the material world is either non-existent or is a secondary artifact of the "true" world of ideas. In such worlds, it can be said that "everything" is an act of will. Even if you are arrested by the police, this is actually an act of your will, too; if you didn't want it to happen, you could have decided otherwise. This line of thought is seen among philosophers such as Arthur Schopenhauer in his book "The World as Will and Representation"; it is also seen in proponents of a spiritual or mystical universe such as the New Thought writers Frank Channing Haddock ("The Power of Will") and William Walker Atkinson ("Personal Power Volume V: Will Power"), and the occult writer Aleister Crowley.

Free Will

The standard use of this term is as a distinction between internally motivated and caused events and external events. Jumping off a cliff would be an act of free will; accidentally falling or being pushed off a cliff would not be an act of free will.

Some people believe that seemingly "free" actions aren't actually free, or that the entire concept is a . The argument generally goes along the lines that since "internal" beliefs are affected by earlier external events, nothing is truly an internal choice, because everything you do is [determinism| [pre] determined] . Alternatively, if there is no preordained future, we may be at the mercy of the randomness of chance, which may also negate free will. Such is the definition for materialists.

For both classical and natural law thinkers, human nature can be divided into three parts, reason, will, and appetite. Reason can be divided into at least two categories, theoretical reason and practical reason. Will can also be divided into two categories, that which pushes away and that which pulls toward (anger and desire). A "free will" here is defined as a "rational appetite." In other words, when a person correctly identifies what "is" or "exists" through theoretical reason, and that person correctly discerns what is perfective and fulfilling of that which exists and therefore how to act according to practical reason, and then does that, one has a free will, or a will capable of overriding and reorganizing the appetite. The materialist view is criticized for being self-contradictory. In other words, the materialist or "naturalist" who does not believe in free will, must consider his actions and consciousness illusory. Since reason and action, under the materialist model are nothing more than what must happen due to cause-effect relationships. This view is self contradictory because if our reason is nothing but an illusion cast out by the cause-effect relationships of chemical reactions in the brain, then we have no certainty that our reason tells us anything true, and therefore no reason to believe our brain to be composed of chemicals and reactions, no reason to believe our reason guiding us to the materialists explanation is true.

In related disciplines

Psychologists also deal with issues of will; some people are highly intrinsically motivated and do whatever seems best to them, while others are "weak-willed" and easily suggestible (extrinsicly motivated) by society or outward inducement. They also study the phenomenon of Akrasia, wherein people seemingly act against their best interests and know that they are doing so (for instance, restarting cigarette smoking after having intellectually decided to quit). Advocates of Sigmund Freud's psychology stress the importance of the influence of the unconscious mind upon the apparent conscious exercise of will.

The sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies, in analysing group psychology, distinguishes between will directed at furthering the interests of the group ("Wesenwille" or "essential will"), and will directed at furthering individual goals ("Kürwille" or "arbitrary will").

Further reading

* cite book
last=St. Augustine
authorlink = Augustine of Hippo
title=On Free Choice of the Will
publisher=Hackett Pub. Co
id=ISBN 0-87220-188-0

* cite book
authorlink = Martin Luther
title=The Bondage of the Will
id=ISBN 0-8007-5342-9

* cite book
authorlink = Friedrich Nietzsche
title=The Will to Power
id=ISBN 0-394-70437-1

* cite book
authorlink = Rick Norwood
title=The Evolution of the Will
publisher=Philosophy in Science, Vol 6

* cite book
authorlink = Arthur Schopenhauer
title=The World as Will and Representation
origyear=1819, 1844
publisher=Dover Publications
id=ISBN 0-486-21761-2



External links

* [http://iautistic.com/autism-theory-of-mind-revisited.php Autistics may not experience will as we understand it]
* [http://www.willproject.org/ The Will Project] was a project proposed by Roberto Assagioli to explore all aspects and manifestations of the Will.

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