Action: Phenomenology of wishing and willing in Husserl and Heidegger

Husserl Studies 22 (2):121-135 (2006)
The problem of distinguishing between willing and wishing and their significance for both the constitution of our consciousness as well as the constitution of our practical life runs all the way through the history of philosophy. Given the persuasiveness of the problem, it might be helpful to draw a sharp distinction between a metaphysical and a psychological or phenomenological approach to the problem. The first approach may be identified with the positions that Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche held, which involved an identification of the will with reality/actuality in general, and which Heidegger tried to analyze in his later writings on the basis of his confrontation with Nietzsche. In this paper, however, I will not consider the metaphysical approach to the distinction; rather, I will focus on the second approach to distinguishing wishing and willing, which was initiated by Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics, and of which as we will see soon – Husserl and the early Heidegger are ultimately still heirs. Hence I will begin my consideration by recalling briefly the main claim in Aristotle’s discovery of the central position of will within our life.
Keywords willing  wishing  practical life  Husserl  Heidegger  Phenomenology
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DOI 10.1007/s10743-006-9006-7
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