Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




This study investigates the development of the notion of man's will upon which Kant, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche based their theories. Although this topic had been virtually neglected in the great intellectual debates of the first to the eighteenth centuries, by the nineteenth century the question of man's will--its origin, function, and value--dominated such philosophical discussions. An exploration of the differences in the perception and role of the will in the works of these three men is attempted, from Kant's redefinition of the nature of will, to Schopenhauer's redirection of its position in philosophical matters, to Nietzsche's radical reinterpretation of the entire problem. An examination of these profoundly different interpretations and implications reveals that Kant's effort to emancipate the will from its causal connections to make room for moral responsibility was transformed by Nietzsche into an attempt to liberate mankind from his own moral and metaphysical misunderstandings.

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