Moments of willing: on the existential power to will a change to self and world

Nigel Julian Rapport*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


‘Will’ might be a term for the energy that moves individual lives forward. ‘Wilfulness’ references character: how exercises of will characterise an individual’s life. ‘Intention’ focuses on the aim of an act of willing – while not everything one wills is what one intends – and ‘desire’ refers to the wish for something – but not necessarily something one either wills or intends to happen. ‘Motivation’ describes the reason behind a particular act of willing. All these terms might be distinguished from ‘agency’, a more general capacity to have an effect on the world and also to react to the world. A conceptual complex such as the above, under the rubric of an individual’s ‘existential power’, introduces the possibility of better doing justice to the phenomenological complexity of the conscious lives of research subjects, and also the dignity of that living. The life-history of one Rickey Hirsch is briefly adduced as case-study.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date19 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jun 2024


  • Will
  • Existential power
  • Embodiment
  • Phenomenology


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