Chapter

Introduction

John Davenport

in Will as Commitment and Resolve

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780823225750
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235896 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823225750.003.0001
Introduction

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Focusing on the most influential historical accounts of motivation, as well as closely related questions in moral theory and religion, this book considers dilemmas concerning freedom of the will or the freedom required for the full range of moral responsibility. It argues that the kind of will that distinguishes persons is not simply the capacity to form an intention or to make a choice between different possible actions, but rather a capability for commitment or resolve in which the agent sets for himself some significant and often challenging project, plan, or goal. Different types of desire are also discussed, along with autonomy, emotion, and volition. The book has two main theses: that the existential conception of the striving will is a coherent and distinctive alternative to rival conceptions in Eastern thought, Western eudaimonism, and contemporary action theory; and that this existential conception is correct in predicting that projective motivation plays a central role in moral motivation and other self-defining commitments that shape the ethos of a person.

Keywords: will; commitment; resolve; projective motivation; desire; eudaimonism; action theory; motivation; autonomy; volition

Chapter.  11268 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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