Single Idea 6213

[catalogued under 16. Persons / F. Free Will / 5. Against Free Will]

Full Idea

The will is not voluntary: for a man can no more say he will will, than he will will will, and so make an infinite repetition of the word 'will', which is absurd and insignificant.

Gist of Idea

A man cannot will to will, or will to will to will, so the idea of a voluntary will is absurd


Thomas Hobbes (Human Nature [1640], Ch.XII.5)

Book Reference

'British Moralists 1650-1800 Vol. 1', ed/tr. Raphael,D.D. [Hackett 1991], p.16

A Reaction

A nice simple point, allied to Nietzsche's notion that thoughts are uncontrollable (Idea 2291). Even Aquinas, who is quite a fan of free will, spotted the problem (Idea 1854). Personally I agree with Hobbes. Free will is a shibboleth.

Related Ideas

Idea 2291 A thought comes when 'it' wants, not when 'I' want [Nietzsche]

Idea 1854 We must admit that when the will is not willing something, the first movement to will must come from outside the will [Aquinas]