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Francis Garden - 1878 - Table of contents

Diccionario filosófico
Complete edition

Diccionario de Filosofía
Brief definition of the most important concepts of philosophy.


A Dictionary of English Philosophical Terms Francis Garden

Vocabulary of Philosophy, Psychological, Ethical, Metaphysical
William Fleming

Biografías y semblanzas Biographical references and lives of philosophers

Brief introduction to the thought of Ortega y Gasset

History of Philosophy Summaries

Historia de la Filosofía
Explanation of the thought of the great philosophers; summaries, exercises...

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Jaime Balmes

Historia de la Filosofía
Digital edition of the History of Philosophy by Zeferino González

Vidas, opiniones y sentencias de los filósofos más ilustres
Complete digital edition of the work of Diogenes Laertius

Compendio de las vidas de los filósofos antiguos

A brief history of Greek Philosophy
B. C. Burt


A Short History of Philosophy





Will. This word, both as substantive and verb, is used in a wide range of senses, partly from the want of a sufficient variety of names in our language for things essentially different, such as wish, purpose, choice, self-determination, and partly from those who employ it having different theories of these. This is not the place to discuss those theories. I will content myself with pointing out that will as a substantive and as denoting a faculty of man, has constantly been taken in the sense of self-determination, and uniformly so by Kant and Coleridge. It is that in virtue of which each man is a cause of his own moral condition, that without which there would be no moral condition, and actions would be neither good nor bad.


It is in virtue of will that we are spirits, and as such above nature, and without the chain of cause and effect, in which nature consists. It need not therefore perplex us that will should transcend the sphere of conception, and be incapable of definition. In these respects it but ranks with all that is highest, deepest, and ultimate, without and within us. It is therefore eminently a mystery, but a mystery which we cannot set aside without rebellion against the evidence of consciousness.

The sense of will, though thus residing in consciousness, is one which has grown, and become more a matter of thought to us than it was to the ancient world. No doubt the Christian faith is the main cause of this. Aristotle investigates the voluntary in the third book of the Nicomachean Ethics, but stops at προάιρεσις arbitrium. S. Maximus,(1) following and transcribing him, is obliged to go farther; for in contemplating the mystery of our Lord's double nature, he is forced to say that it involved not only two θέλημάτα, but that in the same person there may be more than one προάιρεσις, and therefore he proceeds to ἐξουσις and the γνωμικον θέλημά. We may well believe that the contemplation of this awful subject, rendered necessary by the controversies of the time, enlarged the view and strengthened the consciousness of will in man, as indeed the appeal of the Gospel to the inmost spirit would at any rate have done.


(1) L. Maximus ad Marin.



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