Single Idea 2171

[catalogued under 20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / a. Will to Act]

Full Idea

Homer left out another mental action lying between coming to a conclusion and acting on it; and he did well, since there is no such action, and the idea is the invention of bad philosophy.

Gist of Idea

The 'will' doesn't exist; there is just conclusion, then action


report of Homer (The Iliad [c.850 BCE]) by Bernard Williams - Shame and Necessity II - p.37

Book Reference

Williams,Bernard: 'Shame and Necessity' [California 1994], p.37

A Reaction

This is a characteristically empiricist view, which is found in Hobbes. The 'will' seems to have a useful role in folk psychology. We can at least say that coming to a conclusion that I should act, and then actually acting, are not the same thing.