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Will, generally, is the faculty of the mind that selects, at the moment of decision, a desire among the various desires present; it itself does not refer to any particular desire, but rather to the mechanism responsible for choosing from among one’s desires. Within philosophy, will is important as one of the parts of the mind, along with reason and understanding. It is considered central to the field of ethics because of its role in enabling deliberate action.

One of the recurring questions discussed in the Western philosophical tradition is that of free will – and the related, but more general notion of fate – which asks how the will can be truly free if a person’s actions have either natural or divine causes which determine them. In turn, this is directly connected to discussions on the nature of freedom itself and to the problem of evil.

Volition or will is the cognitive process by which an individual decides on and commits to a particular course of action. It is defined as purposive striving and is one of the primary human psychological functions. Others include affect (feeling or emotion), motivation (goals and expectations), and cognition (thinking). Volitional processes can be applied consciously or they can be automatized as habits over time.

Most modern conceptions of volition address it as a process of conscious action control which becomes automatized (e.g. see Heckhausen and Kuhl; Gollwitzer; Boekaerts and Corno).

Schopenhauer disagreed with Kant’s critics and stated that it is absurd to assume that phenomena have no basis. Schopenhauer proposed that we cannot know the thing in itself as though it is a cause of phenomena. Instead, he said that we can know it by knowing our own body, which is the only thing that we can know at the same time as both a phenomenon and a thing in itself.

When we become conscious of ourself, we realize that our essential qualities are endless urging, craving, striving, wanting, and desiring. These are characteristics of that which we call our will. Schopenhauer affirmed that we can legitimately think that all other phenomena are also essentially and basically will. According to him, will “is the innermost essence, the kernel, of every particular thing and also of the whole. It appears in every blindly acting force of nature, and also in the deliberate conduct of man…. “Schopenhauer said that his predecessors mistakenly thought that the will depends on knowledge. According to him, though, the will is primary and uses knowledge in order to find an object that will satisfy its craving. That which, in us, we call will is Kant’s “thing in itself”, according to Schopenhauer.

Arthur Schopenhauer put the puzzle of free will and moral responsibility in these terms:

Everyone believes himself a priori to be perfectly free, even in his individual actions, and thinks that at every moment he can commence another manner of life … But a posteriori, through experience, he finds to his astonishment that he is not free, but subjected to necessity, that in spite of all his resolutions and reflections he does not change his conduct, and that from the beginning of his life to the end of it, he must carry out the very character which he himself condemns…

In his On the Freedom of the Will, Schopenhauer stated, “You can do what you will, but in any given moment of your life you can will only one definite thing and absolutely nothing other than that one thing.”


The Essential Dialectic of Force is:

{Gamma-Kappa ⇆ Kappa-Gamma ⇵ Gamma-Gamma} ↻ Kappa-Kappa


The Complete Dialectic of Force is:

{Psi-Gamma ⇆ Psi-Kappa ⇅ Psi-Theta} ↻ Psi-Epsilon



The Equivalency Dialectic of Force is:

{Will ⇆ Energy ⇅ Power} ↻ Force