Title: Weakness of the Will, Strength of the Will and Freedom of the Will in Gay Science 347 (and beyond)

Abstract: In Beyond Good and Evil 21 Nietzsche says that the notions of “free will” and “unfree will” are confused. Therefore, he suggests that we abandon them and start talking of “strong” and “weak” will instead. But what makes a will strong, or weak, in his view? Anderson (2013) argues that will strength amounts to a certain kind of psychological unity that enables one to control one’s drives and, consequently, to act autonomously. Conversely, when this kind of unity is missing the will is weak and the agent lacks autonomy. However, the way will strength and will weakness are characterized in Gay Science 347 shows that there is something missing in Anderson’s picture. So how does Nietzsche conceive of the autonomous agent? This is the main question I will try to answer. In doing that, I will also address a second puzzle. For in GS 347 Nietzsche resorts to the notion of “freedom of the will” to refer to the kind of genuine strength required for autonomous agency. But didn’t he say we should stop using that kind of talk? So why does he employ it here? The key to answering all these questions, I suggest, is in the link Nietzsche sees between autonomy and value creation.

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