The Heroic Will in Eastern and Western Perspectives

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:
The Heroic Will in Eastern and Western               Perspectives

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This chapter relates the concept of “heroic” or “striving” will to a positive attitude toward self-assertion prominent in certain Western thinkers and defends it against criticisms found in opposing Eastern traditions. Topics covered range from Hindu and Buddhist teachings through Saint Augustine to Martin Luther, Friedrich Nietzsche, and contemporary Continental thought. Heroic willing is explained in the existential conception of striving will. Comparison and contrast of “Eastern” and “Western” views on heroic willing reveals the possibility of a moderate concept of volitional determination or resolve that is distinct from its corrupt forms as the conatus ascendi or libido dominandi. It is argued that this heroic sense of “willing” was given a bad name by major schools of Eastern philosophy and by several Western thinkers who also saw it as the will to domination. The resources to establish a clearer picture of willing are found in diverse work on ethics and moral psychology in both recent analytic and Continental philosophy.

Keywords: heroic willing; striving will; Saint Augustine; Martin Luther; Friedrich Nietzsche; resolve; volitional determination; Eastern philosophy; Western philosophy; moral psychology

Chapter.  8954 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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