Conclusion: The Danger of Willfulness Revisited

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:
Conclusion: The Danger of Willfulness Revisited

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This book's defense of striving will as key part of the new existential account of personhood started with the contrast between “Eastern” and “Western” attitudes toward willing in its heroic sense. In fixing the concept of willing to be explained by the existential theory of projective motivation, it argued that it is possible to formulate a moderate version of the positive “Western” attitude toward heroic willing. Although the projective capacity of our striving will makes radical evil possible, without it, agapic love and moral virtue in general would also be impossible, great undertakings could not begin, the practices could never have developed, and human beings could not muster the staying power required for long-term devotion to the kinds of goods necessary for a flourishing society. Hence the “Western” attitude has been vindicated to this extent: human beings cannot realize their existential telos without developing the strength of will necessary for authentic caring and the kind of aretaic commitment that makes for strong practical unity among one's motives over time (and ideally throughout one's life).

Keywords: personhood; projective motivation; heroic willing; radical evil; striving will; agapic love; moral virtue; caring; aretaic commitment; Western attitude

Chapter.  3673 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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