Dr. Eva Brann recently wrote an important book, Un-Willing: An Inquiry into the Rise of Will’s Power and an Attempt to Undo It (2014), which asks certain questions regarding human will: What is the will? Is it an obvious thing that we all can see in ourselves when introspecting? If so, then why is there so much disagreement in the literature about what it is? (e.g., Is it a causal force or just an epiphenomenon? Is it opposed to desire or the expression of desire? Is it an expression of individuality or is it a trans-personal force à la Schopenhauer?)
Dr. Brann thinks that the notion of the will is a historical artifact that causes needless philosophical confusion, and worse, has had a damaging effect on our culture. An excerpt from Un-Willing was published previously in the pages of The Imaginative Conservative
In the above audio link of an interview with Dr. Brann, she considers the critique of free will as described by Socrates, Augustine, Aquinas, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Sartre, and modern neurologists.
In this second segment of the interview, Dr. Brann expounds upon her picture of the less-willfull life and discusses how her historically-driven account relates to modern debates about free will.
Books by Eva Brann may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore. These podcasts originally appeared on The Partially Examined Life and appear here with gracious permission. Miss Brann welcomes questions/comments via mail: Dr. Eva Brann, St. John’s College, 60 College Avenue, Annapolis, MD, 21401-1655 (she does not use computers).
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