The Value of Volition in Islam and Existentialism

Mahmud Namazi Isfahani / Assistant Professor in Department of Philosophy IKI

Received: 2018/11/29 - Accepted: 2019/08/10


Existentialism, formed in the mid-twentieth century as an objection to all holistic inclinations, restricted its axis of attitude to human’s existence and maintained that the only device of construction of existence is freedom. For the existentialist philosophers, since the man’s genesis with special essence and nature has been denied, the man is then obliged to make his own identity with his own volition. Since there is no objective value from the existentialist philosophy’s viewpoint, and the values are formed just in the light of volition and choice, and it is not important to what end they would lead, the man comes to existence just when he does his works out of his volition and freedom. However, the question is whether any deed is valuable just because of being volitional, or the value of volition is related to things other than volition. Clearly, the answer lies in the axiological foundations of existentialism. They believe that any person must choose his own values individually. Thus, when there is no value beyond one’s ‘choice’, the very volition and choice are valuable; and since ‘choice’ is inevitable and evading it is not rational and it does not follow the causality principle, there is no objective and far-reaching standard for it. In Islamic view, however, volition – in spite of the fact that it creates superiority for the human over other creatures – has no value in itself and, put technically, it is not an independent favorite thing. Rather, the favorability and source of value of human’s volitional actions lie in human’s perfection.

KEY WORDS: value, volition, freedom, Islam and existentialism.



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