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Velleity is the lowest degree of volition, a slight wish or tendency.[1]

Examples of usage[edit]

The marketer Matt Bailey described it as "a desire to see something done, but not enough desire to make it happen".[2]

In modern writing[edit]

Matt Bailey expressed an attempt "to bring it back, as it has more relevance now than ever."[2] He writes that:

Velleity is what keeps companies locked in this mindset of reporting useless numbers. Desiring, even expecting to someday have an epiphany of change, but not willing to change the mindset or the culture of locked-in reporting to achieve it. Nor are they willing to ask the hard questions in order to uncover what must be done.

— Matt Bailey, marketing writer[2]

In philosophy[edit]

Friedrich Nietzsche describes the velleity of an artist as a "desire to be 'what he is able to represent, conceive, and express'...."[3] Nietzsche championed the will to power, which can be encapsulated[by whom?] as starting with velleity, in his free-will theorem.

Keith David Wyma refers frequently to the "concept of velleity", citing Thomas Aquinas as a pioneer of introducing the idea into philosophy.[4]

In psychology[edit]

Psychologist Avi Sion writes, "Many psychological concepts may only be defined and explained with reference to velleity." (Emphasis in original.)[5] An example he cites is that "an ordinarily desirable object can only properly be called 'interesting' or 'tempting' to that agent at that time, if he manifests some velleity...."[5] He distinguishes between the two types of velleity - "to do something and one not to do something...."[5] Furthermore, he asserts, "The concept of velleity is also important because it enables us to understand the co-existence of conflicting values."[5] A person could thus have "double velleity" or "a mix of velleity for something and a volition for its opposite: the latter dominates, of course, but that does not erase the fact of velleity."[5]

Kathy Kolbe also lists velleity as a "key concept of conation."[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Velleity". Retrieved 4 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Matt Bailey, "Viral marketing", excerpt "Analytics 1.0 - A Case of Velleity," found at Site Logic marketing website. Accessed April 29, 2009.
  3. ^ Aaron Ridley, in "Nietzsche, philosophy and the arts," ed. by Salim Kemal, Ivan Gaskell, Daniel W. Conway, at pp. 128-131 (Cambridge University Press, 2002) ISBN 0-521-52272-2, ISBN 978-0-521-52272-4 (emphasis provided), found at Google Book search. Accessed April 29, 2009.
  4. ^ Keith David Wyma, Crucible of reason, pp. 197, 221, 223, 225, 227 (Rowman and Littlefield 2004). ISBN 978-0-7425-3538-1. Found at Google books. Accessed June 3, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e Avi Sion, "Volition and allied causal concepts," p. 190 (2004). ISBN 978-2-9700091-6-0. Found at Google books. Also found at The Logician website. All accessed June 3, 2010.
  6. ^ See Kathy Kolbe's website page on Conation. Accessed June 3, 2010.