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  • Print publication year: 2005
  • Online publication date: June 2012

Part III - Systematic application of the principle of morality, or ethics in the narrower sense


First section [of ethics in the proper sense of the term]: Formal conditions for the morality of our actions

The will in particular

I could turn immediately to a synthetic–systematic statement of the formal conditions for the morality of our actions. But since formal morality, or what is generally meant by “morality” [Moralität], is also called good will, and since I myself intend to characterize it in this way, I first have to provide an account of my concept of the will [iv, 158].

To be sure, everything that pertains to this elucidation has already been presented under another name; but it is still necessary to address this subject explicitly under this name [i.e., “will”], in order to indicate the connection between my presentation of the same and the way it has usually been dealt with hitherto.

An act of willing [Wollen] is an absolutely free transition from indeterminacy to determinacy, accompanied by a consciousness of this transition. This action has been sufficiently described above. – One can distinguish the objective I, which undergoes a transition from indeterminacy to determinacy, and the subjective I, which intuits itself in this transition. In willing, however, these two are united. The will [Wille] is neither the drive nor the longing nor the desiring. In the case of a drive there is a propensity and an inclination; in the case of desiring there is, in addition, consciousness of the object of the inclination, but instead of any determinacy of the active I there is only indeterminacy.

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Fichte: The System of Ethics
  • Online ISBN: 9780511806612
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