Act Of Will

The Great Philosophers

A philosophical conversion seemed to save him. James read the works of the French philosopher Charles-Bernard Renouvier and found it an unusual solution to the problems posed by determinism. Renouvier argues that free will consists in “the sustaining of a thought because I choose to when I might have other thoughts.” One might not be able to choose which thoughts come into the mind, but an act of will can focus the mind on some thoughts at the expense of others, thoughts which then determine action.