What good is a will?

In Anton Leist & Holger Baumann (eds.), Action in Context. de Gruyter/Mouton (2007)
Abstract
As a philosopher of action, I might be expected to believe that the will is a good thing. Actually, I believe that the will is a great thing - awesome, in fact. But I'm not thereby committed to its being something good. When I say that the will is awesome, I mean literally that it is a proper object of awe, a response that restrains us from abusing the will and moves us rather to use it respectfully, in a way that does it justice. To say that the will is a good thing, however, would imply that having a will is better than not having one, or that using it is better than not using it - neither of which I am prepared to assert as a general rule. Speaking metaphorically, I would say that the will is like a magic wand. In fairy tales, the character who looks upon a magic wand as an unalloyed good is destined to be sadder but wiser in the end. Being a magician isn't better than being an ordinary human, just different; and a magician must value his powers by respecting them and therefore using them appropriately, even sparingly, not by using them as much as possible.
Keywords action  will  intention
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive J. David Velleman, What good is a will?
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Sarah K. Paul (2012). How We Know What We Intend. Philosophical Studies 161 (2):327-346.
J. David Velleman (2013). Sociality and Solitude. Philosophical Explorations 16 (3):324-335.

View all 6 citations

Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

321 ( #939 of 1,103,038 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

59 ( #1,087 of 1,103,038 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.