Talk:Will (philosophy)

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Table of contents[edit]

I noticed that someone put a tag so that the table of contents is on the right. Is there any reason for this? I've never seen that before. I think it should be moved to the normal position since it will make it look like a normal entry. Any objections or insight into why anyone would want the table of contents aligned right? - Jaymay (talk) 02:07, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Article quality[edit]

This is a mess, isn't it? Even if the Britannica article were more readable, what I can glean from it suggests that it applies more to the religious "problem of free will" than to "will" alone. Not that I'm suggesting we move the great chunk to free will, mind you. Mswake 03:38 Sep 2, 2002 (PDT)

I COuldnt read it all without drifting off into some dream land! I want to know something about will!!!!!! I would edit it but Im dumb Jaberwocky6669 01:02, Aug 12, 2004 (UTC)

Still a mess. Not only needs rewriting, but there's stuff to be added. - a recent source of new insight (or minimally new directions) would be George Ainslie 2001 Breakdown of Will.BobKeim 12:59 June 29, 2005 (GMT)

The 1911 Brittanica article is horrible! I shall erase the article and try to provide the skeleton for a new article.

The Brittanica article cannot be salvaged. The ideas are unnecessarily abstruse and only seem to describe the subject obliquely. Rintrah 7 July 2005 07:22 (UTC)

I am too lazy. Someone else can do it.

I will do it when I can summon the will. Rintrah 7 July 2005 07:34 (UTC)

I think this should be reverted to a version that incorporates large parts of the 1911 Britannica article. You might not have liked the style in which it was written, but it did, at least, have some content.

Most of the comments below seem to speak more to the character of a lazy readership and less to the defects of the 1911 Britannica author.

If you think it need to be updated, streamlined, or revisited, fine. Stylistically it might have much to be desired. But it at least has scholarly, encyclopedic content. --Li3crmp 15:59, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Wow. Almost six years after the original 'it's a mess' post, and it's still a mess. Surely the Britannica was better than this. (talk) 01:16, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Hi there! Did anyone notice this statement: "This view is self contradictory because ..."? I really think it needs a citation or something. It seems to me the reasoning as provided in this statement is weak or insufficiently argumented and to rebute so easily with a short and final statement an important philosofical view is, in my humble opinion, contrary to the purpose of the article. It looks more like a personal opinion of the author.

Of course it is easy to criticize and I don't feel educated enough to contribute but I thought maybe the author or someone else might want to edit that statement.

Thank you. Gigmarcel (talk) 08:58, 4 October 2008 (UTC)

"produces physical results"?[edit]

I will say no if my daughter asks for a pony, but if she doesn't ask, and I don't say no, does that mean I had no such will? The introductory definition needs work. --James S. 15:52, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

I gather your point is that for an act of the will, resolution is sufficient, even if there is no act. I'm not sure. Often, we feel resolute, but faced with the reality, we find ourselves saying, "Of course you can have a pony." It does not seem to me that the will comes into play until we act.
On the other hand, the "act" may be thought. For example, if I am a drunk, I may will myself to break into my own thoughts every time I think about alcohol. Then directing my thoughts becomes in itself an action. Rick Norwood 20:19, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Will and Free Will (was "Merge with Free will?)[edit]

I am not sure whether these should be merged or whether Will (philosophy) just ought to be deleted as it has no content not already better done there. Li3crmp 04:36, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

I think "Will" is conceptually distinct from "Free will", and therefore this article should be retained. And substantially improved. - Eyeresist 01:24, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
Eyeresist, I agree with you that the article shouldn't be merged. See the Free Will page for that discussion.
That said, I don't know if I agree with your latest changes to the article. There's no need to mention the general conversation use; this isn't Will, but rather Will (philosophy). Obviously the page is going to discuss the philosophical usage, and unfortunately there isn't a very good "overview" term for Will elsewhere aside from saying that it's defined different ways. Furthermore, there is absolutely no question in my mind that when most people think Will in philosophy, what they mean is "free will." Therefore, I strongly favor sticking free will on top.
Edit: Also, is there any particular reason for removing the musical reference from the Nietszche section? If I'm incorrect, then fine, but my understanding is that Nietzsche meant Will in a very broad sense. It didn't always have to do with morality. SnowFire 03:18, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
If most people think of "free will" when they hear the word Will, perhaps some disambiguation is in order? They are distinct concepts.
I think when we talk about free will we first ask "do we have it?" and then "exactly how free are we?" But when we talk about Will as such, I think we are talking specifically about the mental or moral force applied to mind or world, and not about whether use of this force is "free" or otherwise. (This understanding of the word "will" is directly related to the standard usage of the word (e.g. "will-power", "force of will", etc.), which is why I cited it.)
I put "free will" lower down in the article because I think it's a subcategory of Will, rather than the other way around.
Addit. I guess I removed the Britney Spears reference because I'm a snob! Also, I'm not sure Nietsche would have maintained that the ubermensch must write his own music. - Eyeresist 08:49, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
Heh. I was going for something as completely vacantly popular as I could with that reference. ;) And yes, I don't think the ubermensch needs to compose it themself necessasarily, but it drives in the point.
I agree that "will" and "free will" are not necessarily synonymous, and hence the disambiguation flavor of the page. You do have a point that simply talking about "Will" does imply that the "personal force" definition should come first. That said, free will can be thought of as a prerequisite almost- do we even have will? Is there such a thing? After all, "unfree will" doesn't make a lot of sense, so the Free Will article could well be called "Will."
That said, I see your point. Go ahead and change it back if you feel it'd be better that way; both approaches have merit. SnowFire 14:44, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
That's very cool of you. I'll change it later today - and maybe reinsert the Britney reference!
Free will is, I believe, a slightly archaic religious expression. I've seen it elsewhere called "absolute will". I think its opposite would be not "unfree will", but "limited will". "Will" in this sense seems to refer not merely to motivating force but to actual behaviour. I'm sure that some erudite person out there could explain the origin and relationship of these terms better than I. - Eyeresist 02:53, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Recent shifts.[edit]

I threw out most of what was there already; it was basically a lot of peacock comments on how important will was and how it was a crucial problem in philosophy without explaining anything. I've tried to make this be a brief overview of the types of will in philosophy along with prominent links to where you can find out more on each type, instead.

Note that the use of lower-level headers were an intentional choice; each meaning doesn't seem quite different enough for a top-level header, and it looks odd that way. SnowFire 18:53, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Will as the individuals observation of the drive of intelligence to adapt nature to the organism.[edit]

Human spirit can be observed as the drive of intelligence to counter biological evolution. Groups and social organizations can express will, but we can only directly observe this trait of intelligence firsthand through our own exercise of will. Will is the perspective of the individual as intelligence housed in the human brain strives to overcome obstacles and dominate environments and boundaries. In a nutshell, will is the observation that choice is provided by intelligent thought. What the individual chooses is a measure of willpower. Cbeast (talk) 20:09, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

This is, unless published in a refereed journal or monograph, original research. Rick Norwood (talk) 14:25, 16 September 2008 (UTC)


I've removed the comment about Schopenhauer because it is false. He may have said that the thing in itself is will, but this does not mean that the whole world is a product of each individual's volition (Willkuer). New thought ideas cannot be attributed to him. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:52, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

Willpower in Buddhism[edit]

There is no section See also, other wise I would have mentioned Viriya within the article.

-- (talk) 08:36, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Tolerant environment free will.[edit]

Most psychologists appear to believe that free will is an illusion and after-justification, but metastudies by Kurt Fischer, Christina Hinton and others at "Mind, Brain and Education" have linked the prevalence of extreme recoveries after brain damage (that are unexplainable by established neurological and psychological theories) to unusually tolerant social environments. This can be explained by the model that social pressure to justify one's actions leads to justifications that paralyze an underlying ability of practically unlimited self-correction. This is explained in greater detail on the pages "Moderating the free will debate" and "Brain" on Pure science Wiki, a wiki devoted to the scientific method unaffected by academic prestige. (talk) 09:51, 8 January 2013 (UTC)Martin J Sallberg

Idealism: Will as all[edit]

The existing section 'Idealism: Will as all' appears to conflate idealism with the thought of Aleister Crowley. Additionally, it is unsourced. I will remove it. - Crosbie 16:05, 22 June 2013 (UTC)