From Action Theory to Projective Motivation

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:
From Action Theory to Projective               Motivation

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This chapter argues that willing in the sense of resolve or self-motivating determination is not adequately described or explained in contemporary action theory. It considers four different pictures of willing that emerge in the recent history of philosophical theories of action. However, even the best of these accounts, which equates the will with the power of decision through which we form the intentions and purposes that distinguish human action from mere behavior, misses the phenomena of projective motivation. This chapter also shows how the heroic conception of striving will adds the motivational function missing from recent analytic interpretations of willing as a stage in the genesis of intentions or free actions. Some background in the history of philosophy and psychology in the modern period is provided, focusing on the influences of Sigmund Freud, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke, among others.

Keywords: action theory; projective motivation; willing; intention; human action; striving will; decision; psychology; Sigmund Freud; Thomas Hobbes

Chapter.  17901 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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