A comparison between the principles of intellectualism and voluntarism

William Jamesfollowing suggestions put forth by Blaise Pascalsimilarly justified the will to believe, defending the absolute innocence, under certain circumstances, of religious belief entirely in the absence of evidence.

In his view, the will is not reasoning, but an irrational, unconscious urge, in relation to which the intellect represents a secondary phenomenon.

Hobbes, for example, thought that all voluntary human behavior is response to desire or aversion, which he brought together under the name "endeavor"; he based his ethical and political theories chiefly on this claim.

I find myself in agreement with him on a number of points, and concede that much else in his paper is plausible. Wise behavior, on this conception, can be nothing other than prudence, that is, the selection of appropriate means to the attainment of whatever goals one happens to have.

Whatever he demands or allows is right, and whatever he forbids is wrong. There can, accordingly, be no such thing as a conflict between reason and passion, and the only way in which willed behavior can be "irrational" is for it to be based upon some misconception—for instance, on some erroneous conception of what is a fit means to the attainment of an end that is entirely the product of the will.

Hence man is a compassionate or loving animal precisely because he is, more fundamentally, a rational animal. Plato thought that men ideally perceive certain ends or goals by their reason and then direct their wills to the attainment of these ends or goals. From chance to choice: Scribners, for a clear account of the opposition between rationalism and fideism.

This common moral understanding was seen as a prerequisite of justice, since it would be unfair to judge people on criteria of which they do not, and cannot, have knowledge. Then everything might still have a sufficient reason. Thomas Aquinas and the German theologian Meister Eckhart c.

David Hume 's defense of psychological voluntarism is best expressed in his Treatise of Human Nature, Book II, Part 3, especially Section 3; the quotations in this article are taken from L.


As for more recent advocates of the thesis, my suggestion is not that they need to be explicitly committed to this outmoded historiography. Kant was familiar with both competing traditions, intellectualism and voluntarism, and he tried to combine them in his own philosophy.

According to Intellectualism, the will itself is determined by the intellect, and the choices of the will result from those which the intellect recognizes as good. The computations of a merchant, for example, can be fallacious, but the ends for which they are undertaken can in no sense be fallacious or irrational.

Will supposes intelligence, is posterior generatione, and therefore more perfect IV Sent. For those of us who are not overly committed to this dichotomy, in this one aspect at least what it is that the voluntarism thesis seeks to explain is a historiographical artifact.

Voluntarism (philosophy)

However, the voluntarism thesis is usually understood to entail rather more than this: Selby-Bigge's edition of that work Oxford, and The neo-Platonism which underlies the whole of his philosophic speculation makes such an attitude impossible. Fichte expressed this idea when he said that a free being "wills because it wills, and the willing of an object is itself the last ground of such willing.

In the case of the voluntarism thesis, my position is still that the cumulative weight of these exceptions is sufficient to bring the thesis down, or at least stronger versions of the thesis. I will then go on to sketch the way in which he tried to do this, citing his definitions and characterisations of the close link between autonomy and dignity.

There must be something else, maybe something like an eternal soul, which commands our respect for them, and makes suicide while pregnant, abortion, and possibly cloning morally condemnable.

The emerging discussion on the freedom and self governance of individuals was no exception. Ironically, that story has best been told in recent years by John Henry. As bodily creatures, we belong to the empirical world, but as rational agents, we inhabit the noumenal sphere.


No post on voluntarism and PSR should fail to discuss Schopenhauer. But there is also another compelling story to be told about the influence of the doctrine of creation on early modern science.

Psychological Voluntarism Voluntaristic theories of psychology represent men primarily as beings who will certain ends and whose reason and intelligence are subordinate to will.

The Catholic understanding of papal authority is, you might say, intellectualist rather than voluntarist. I should say at at the outset that in places Henry seems to be defending a more modest version of the voluntarism and science thesis than the one that I have attacked.

There is thus no such thing as a rational or irrational will, although one may will imprudently in relation to other things that one wills. I will start by briefly describing two rival eighteenth century views that Kant tried to bring together.

This is, in fact, traditional in Christian thought, for even the most philosophical and rationalistic theologians, such as St. On this view, the instincts of Heimann and McGuire misled them, and they were mistaken in attributing an occasionalist understanding of causation to Boyle.

Start studying Philosophy Test 3. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. What is the essential difference between the city of the world and the city of God? (intellectualism)-Voluntarism is the theory that the will wants what it wants and reason helps achieve that.- intellectualism is that.


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Philosophical Thought Comparison Essays. A Comparison Between the Principles of Intellectualism and Voluntarism. words. 3 pages. Comparing the Similarities and Differences in the Philosophical Arguments and Definitions on the Nature of Happiness Between Aristotle and.

voluntarism A term usually contrasted with determinism, voluntarism denotes the assumption that individuals are the agents of their actions, and have some control over what they do.

Voluntarism's alliance with action contrasts with the deterministic emphasis associated with structure. This structuralist distinguished between the what, the how, and the why of psychology.

For him the what, the actual subject matter of psychology, was a catalog of the elements of consciousness that would be uncovered by careful introspection. Kant combined the basic tenets of intellectualism and voluntarism in the theological discussion of his time by arguing that while we know that reason is the basis of morality, we can have no empirical knowledge of the way practical reason works within us.

A comparison between the principles of intellectualism and voluntarism
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Edward Feser: Voluntarism and PSR