How does 'phenomenal will' feature in Heidegger? I mean the sense that you are initiating actions. I'm asking because I'm unsure whether this can be manifest except in the present

the dimensionality of care will ultimately be interpreted in terms of the three temporal dimensions: past (thrownness/disposedness), future (projection/understanding), and present (fallen-ness/fascination).

which Heidegger associated with idle talk and inauthenticity in general. In principle, we must surely be capable of a sense of having initiated actions or willing a skilled action we understand. But I can't link these other two dimensions of care to the sense of self agency, neither personally (I have little sense of having brought about anything in my life) nor philosophically (what, if anything, an authentic phenomenal will means).

In effect, I'm trying to work out whether a diminished sense of agency is inauthentic, and what can be done about it.

  • I think that's what I meant to ask, but it's not clear anyone will be able to help me given how I have phrased it
    – user63756
    Commented Dec 11, 2022 at 23:41
  • IDK much about Heidegger specifically, but from a general composition POV, your question sounds fine. There are probably clarification parameters that could be met more sharply, but then this is the PhilosophySE, there's only so far that requests for further clarification can be fairly taken. Sometimes readers of questions will just have to fill in the gaps on their own, to the best of their abilities, rather than endlessly defer the possibility of their understanding to some impossible-to-achieve standard of clarity on an OP's part. Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 0:24
  • i'm unsure what might be unclear @KristianBerry so an example may help me ask better questions
    – user63756
    Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 1:34
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    Oh I meant your question seems good as it stands, and though any philosophy question could always be made clearer in some general sense, trying to do so isn't necessary. E.g. your question about Adorno was good, too, etc. I get "what do you mean" thrown at me quite a bit, here, I eventually got tired of having to explain every detail of every question I asked or answer I offered and decided that if I want to engage with other posters, I have to let them read through the SEP more or whatever on their own time, I can't interpret my own words for them. Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 4:09
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    As the Buddha warned that past thought cannot be got at, present thought cannot be got at, and future thought cannot be got at in Vajra Sutra, it may be too optimistic even for the present part of the care as sensed and echoed by Heidegger's fallen-ness. The present-at-hand now of the being-in-the-world should not play any special role in the account of its Dasein's facticity than either its thrownness or projection. Thus unavoidably Heidegger transitioned his earlier phenomenal will to power to let Being be. The present when care is cared is ironically the terminal state of care... Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 22:28

2 Answers 2


I think we could consider 'phenomenal will' as resoluteness (Entschlossenheit), by which Dasein projects itself, seeking for truth (reality). Dasein does this by concern with the future — being futural — circling back on past experience and making decisions in the 'moment of vision': the present. Over and over again. A few indicative quotes here, (trusting I'm on the right track).

B&T page 388

In contradistinction to the moment of vision as the authentic Present, we call the inauthentic Present "making present". Formally understood, every Present is one which makes present, but not every Present has the character of a 'moment of vision'.

and pages 414-415

Being which Objectifies and which is alongside the present-at-hand within-the-world, is characterized by a distinctive kind of making-present. This making-present is distinguished from the Present of circumspection in that — above all — the kind of discovering which belongs to the science in question awaits solely the discoveredness of the present-at-hand. This awaiting of discoveredness has its existentiell basis in a resoluteness by which Dasein projects itself towards its potentiality-for-Being in the 'truth'. This projection is possible because Being-in-the-truth makes up a definite way in which Dasein may exist.

page 437

The resoluteness which comes back to itself and hands itself down, then becomes the repetition of a possibility of existence that has come down to us.

page 448

As historical, Dasein is possible only by reason of its temporality, and temporality temporalizes itself in the ecstatico-horizonal unity of its raptures. Dasein exists authentically as futural in resolutely disclosing a possibility which it has chosen. Coming back resolutely to itself, it is, by repetition, open for the 'monumental' possibilities of human existence.

As regards whether "a diminished sense of agency is inauthentic" — you could say diminished resoluteness is aways going to be authentic even if there is less of it, because what is proper to yourself is authentic. What is cultural and scientific, out in the world by contrast is 'ordinary' or inauthentic. (This is traditional terminology.) So if resoluteness' reality-seeking skills are diminished by impoverishment for instance, then you could say its agency is being diminished by inauthenticity, in the sense of the external situation.

  • i will get to this later, thanks
    – user63756
    Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 20:42
  • this makes sense, but isn't as helpful as i would have liked, because i am unconvinced that the empirical will never occurs in the present and authentically. if it mapped onto futurity that easily...
    – user63756
    Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 5:05
  • @stupid It does appear in the authentic present as the moment of vision. Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 7:05
  • "On the other hand, the temporality of authentic historicality, as the moment of vision of anticipatory repetition, deprives the "today" of its character as present, and weans one from the conventionalities of the "they". 443-444 Commented Dec 13, 2022 at 7:08

There is no such thing as phenomenal will for Heidegger. I have read "Being and Time", and 6 of his other works, and there is no such concept to be found as far as I recall.

Will can be interpreted in several ways, and I think you mean it in the sense of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Freud, the will as this mysterious force that drives us to act. This notion was foreign to Heidegger. He disliked Schopenhauer.

Also, you might want to check out Heidegger's text called "The Metaphysics of German Idealism". In it, Heidegger compares the core concepts of Schelling and Hegel. For Schelling the will was one of the most important concepts (which Schopenhuer took without giving Schelling due credit). However, this book pretty unreadable because it has a lot of German terms, and I would not recommend it unless you know the language.

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