Willing without a Will

Paul Katsafanas

in The Nietzschean Self

Published in print February 2016 | ISBN: 9780198737100
Published online March 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780191800641 | DOI:
Willing without a Will

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This chapter analyzes Nietzsche’s account of self-conscious willing. It is often thought that Nietzsche treats conscious choices as causally inert, epiphenomenal, or mere symptoms of underlying processes that elude our attempts at introspection. This chapter shows that this is a mistake: Nietzsche offers a subtle critique of the Kantian account of willing, rejecting in particular the claim that we are capable of suspending the effects of our motivational states. Nonetheless, he agrees with Kant that motives do not determine choice: our motives could be the same, and yet we could choose differently. Moreover, he maintains that conscious choice plays a causal role in the production of action. Although conscious thought does not make punctual, decisive contributions to the production of action, it does intervene in continuous streams of behavior, altering motives and sometimes transforming this behavior in profound ways.

Keywords: Nietzsche; willing; choice; Kant; motive; action

Chapter.  15077 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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