Volume 18, Issue 2, Fall 2014

Australasian Continental Philosophy

Marc Champagne
Pages 209-232

Just Do It: Schopenhauer and Peirce on the Immediacy of Agency

In response to the claim that our sense of will is illusory, some philosophers have called for a better understanding of the phenomenology of agency. Although I am broadly sympathetic with the tenor of this response, I question whether the positive-theoretic blueprint it promotes truly heralds a tenable undertaking. Marshaling a Schopenhauerian insight, I examine the possibility that agency might not be amenable to phenomenological description. Framing this thesis in terms of Charles S. Peirce’s semiotic framework, I suggest a way to integrate the idea of streaming experiences with that of bodily strivings, which, owing to their primitive structure, can never be represented.