1. Freud cites libido as the driving force of human being (the underlying part of id)
  2. Nietzsche introduced Will to power as the driving force behind human actions
  3. And here, pain & pleasure is defined to be the main driving force

Do we have other driving forces defined for human actions during history? What are they?

  • 4
    Marx introduced economics. Hegel the evolution of the world-spirit. Commented Aug 10, 2013 at 4:45
  • 2
    Spinoza's conatus, Darwin's logic of mutation and proliferation...
    – Joseph Weissman
    Commented Aug 10, 2013 at 19:22
  • In one respect, we could say reason for both Kant and Hegel (for Hegel, the Absolute = necessity = Spirit = world-spirit)
    – virmaior
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 1:07
  • For Plato, the desire for the forms. For Aristotle, the desire for God as the absolute telos of all things. Same for Augustine and Aquinas but now with the Christian God.
    – virmaior
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 1:10
  • Buddhism introduced Karma (I think).
    – Drux
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 8:11

2 Answers 2


Kierkegaard's Will To Meaning, which was developed into Logotherapy by Viktor Frankl.

  • I took the liberty of editing your answer. Due to the passing 50 years between Kierkegaard's death and Frankl's birth, it's logically impossible that Frankl anticipated the Will to Meaning. If you wanted to express something else, please feel free to do so, as it currently stands, your answer isn't sufficiently elaborated.
    – iphigenie
    Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 16:46
  • Can you explain what you mean by will to meaning? There is no such Kierkegaard text. I think its more a retrospective interpretation (and a wrong one at that).
    – virmaior
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 1:09
  • @virmaior The Will to Meaning is one of Victor Frankl's books. I've never heard it mentioned before that his system was based on Kierkegaard's earlier work, though. So I think the answer (current version) is wrong on at least one and maybe two counts.
    – Drux
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 8:14

As regards point 1: "Freud cites libido as the driving force", Freud separates libido from the will to power:

libido has the task of making the destroying instinct innocuous, and it fulfils the task by diverting that instinct to a great extent outwards. ... The instinct is then called the destructive instinct, the instinct for mastery, or the will to power.

It is this "instinct for mastery" that Derrida focuses on in "To Speculate--On Freud" casting it as Life Drive. The gist is that the death drive and the life drive are two sides of the same coin. For instance, the drive to master one's environment can transform into aggressive warfare. (It was the aftermath of WWI that caused Freud to think of the death drive.) On another scale, problem-solving tenacity can exhibit pathologically as repetition compulsion, (same ref.).

  • 1
    Would you be willing to articulate this answer a bit more? It sounds very interesting, but right now it's mostly a tease. :-)
    – labreuer
    Commented Apr 11, 2014 at 19:44
  • I will post a reference here next time I get onto this very interesting topic. In the meantime, here is quote from Derrida's Resistances of Psychoanalysis in which he focuses on a 'philolytic' type of repetition compulsion: 'Excerpt'. An elusive form of problem solving, or rather, problem destruction. Commented Apr 11, 2014 at 20:20

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