Schopenhauer's Concept of the Will Essay by chief

Schopenhauer's Concept of the Will
Examines the views of philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer on the issue of will.
# 25475 | 1,247 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Apr 29, 2003 in Philosophy (History - 18th Century)

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The paper discusses Schopenhauer theory that the will reveals itself as the "in-itself" of each person's own phenomenal being and that the awareness we have of ourselves as will, differs greatly from that which we have of ourselves as body. However, he denied that the will's operations and the movements of the body are two distinct series of events. Typically it is thought that operations of the will cause movements of the body. The paper explains that Schopenhauer believed that such dualistic conceptions, deriving largely from Descartes, had wrought havoc in philosophy, and he argued instead that the body is the will as it appears to external perception. The paper also discusses how Schopenhauer's doctrine of the will constituted a reaction against the then dominant eighteenth-century, or "Enlightenment," conceptions of human nature.

From the Paper:

"The primacy of will exhibits itself in a number of other ways. Although we are aware of ourselves as will, our consciously formulated conceptions of our desires or what we intend are unreliable guides when the question is what we will. Sometimes Schopenhauer seems to be claiming that conscious acts of choice never determine behavior. He suggests in a number of instances that our decisions made intellectually and arrived at after weighing several possible courses of action, do not determine our conduct; the will makes the decision below the level of any rationally reflective consciousness. The sole role of the intellect is to place before the will the possibilities that lie open to the agent and to estimate their consequences. So, we never really form more than a "conjecture of our future actions, although we often mistake such conjectures for resolves; our decisions only become clear to us a posteriori, through our actions."

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