Franz Brentano’s critique of free will

Authored by: Denis Seron

The Routledge Handbook of Phenomenology of Agency

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138098978
eBook ISBN: 9781315104249
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



The German philosopher Franz Brentano is usually portrayed not only as one of the founding fathers of the so-called phenomenological tradition but also as having played a significant role in the history of contemporary ethics, through his theory of value and will. In spite of this, Brentano offered no proper theory of action in the vein of later attempts by direct or indirect followers. His ethics is basically about feelings, and feelings can be ethically right or wrong even if they intrinsically involve no reference to action. This is so even in the case of desire: for example, you can desire that the weather gets warmer (Montague 2017: 113). However, Brentano’s account of volitions does make reference to action. 1 Insofar as Brentano bequeathed us a fully developed theory of the will of his own, it can be said that he indirectly contributed to the theory of action. This is particularly true of his critique of free will, which this chapter aims to discuss and explore.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.