Will and Volition: Personal Conditions of Possibility of Being an Agent






will, volition, agency, rationality, normativity


Will is a very old important philosophical concept, an analysis of which is very specific, if not odd, comparatively with the others (when it fruitfully proceeds in terms of criteria). This concept (‘will’) is going to be used to provide and clarify conditions of possibility for person of being an agent. In doing that I refer to the correspondent pieces of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and Philosophical Investigations; and to their interpretations by M. Alvarez in “Wittgenstein on Action and Will” (2009) and D. K. Levy in “Morality without Agency” (2017). Person is essentially constituted by ‘powerless’ will in terms of ‘understanding’ that is experienced during her life. Action depends on and manifests understanding by will of a personal attitude to some states of affairs. Will does not incline a person to particular desires about preferable states of affairs or actions. Will is not about states of affairs. By willing I value the world, its portions, they appear significant, important to me. Volition is treated as related to will. Both are personal conditions of being an agent with priority of agency as capacity realized by rational actions.

Author Biography

Anna Laktionova

Doctor of Science in Philosophy, Associate Professor at the Department of Theoretical and Practical Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, 01601, Kyiv, Volodymyrska St., 64/13


Alvarez, M. (2017) Wittgenstein on Action and Will. In: H.-J. Glock, J. Hyman (Eds.), Companion to Wittgenstein (pp. 491-501).


Anscombe, G.E.M. (1957). Intention. Oxford: Blackwell.

Ayer, A.J. (1956). I think, therefore I am. In: A.J. Ayer, The Problem of Knowledge (pp. 44-52). London: MacMillan.

Beall, J.C. (2006). Modelling the "Ordinary View". In: P. Greenough, M.P. Lynch (Eds.), Truth and Realism (pp. 61-74). Oxford: Clarendon Press.


Boghossian, P. (2006). What is Relativism? In: P. Greenough, M. P. Lynch (Eds.), Truth and Realism (pp. 13-37), Oxford: Clarendon Press.


Dancy, J. (2004). Ethics without principles. New York: Clarendon Press, Oxford.


Hyman, J. (2015). Action, Knowledge, and Will. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Laktionova, A. (2015). "Cogito Ergo Sum" and Philosophy of Action. [In Ukrainian]. Sententiae, 32(1), 88-99. [=Лактіонова 2015].


Laktionova, А.V. (2016). Performative Normativity in Epistemology and Ethics. Софія. Гуманітарно-релігієзнавчий вісник, 2(6), 92-95.

Levy, D.K. (2009). Morality without agency. In: E. Zamuner, D.K. Levy (Eds.), Wittgenstein's Enduring Arguments (pp. 262-280). London, New York: Routledge.

Greenough, P., Lynch, M.P. (Eds.) (2006). Truth and Realism. Oxford: Clarendon Press.


Wittgenstein, L. (1922). Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Wittgenstein, L. (1951). Philosophical Investigations. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Wright, C. (2006). Intuitionism, Realism, Relativism and Rhubarb. In: P. Greenough, M.P. Lynch (Eds.), Truth and Realism (pp. 38-60). Oxford: Clarendon Press.



Abstract views: 220



How to Cite

Laktionova, A. (2021). Will and Volition: Personal Conditions of Possibility of Being an Agent: ANALYTICAL PHILOSOPHY . Filosofska Dumka, (4), 153–162. https://doi.org/10.15407/fd2021.04.153



Download data is not yet available.

Most read articles by the same author(s)