Voluntarism is a trend in philosophy of the 19th century, which actively competed with rationalism for the right to consider the will of man as the basis of everything. Today, this word often denotes political relations that are based on selfishness.
The term "voluntarism" officially appeared only in 1883, but its beginnings can be found in the works of Augustine. It denotes a philosophical trend that is idealistic and believes that human will is the dominant principle of existence. In this regard, voluntarism is opposed to rationalism, where the intellect is called the foundation of all that exists. Duns Scott at one time emphasized the important advantage of will over reason. The newest voluntarism appeared on the basis of the teachings of Immanuel Kant "Critique of Practical Reason." In it, the scientist could neither prove nor disprove the fact of the presence of unlimited will, but revealed the fact that the intellect must accept it as an axiom, otherwise morality loses its actual meaning. An important contribution to the development of voluntarism was made by the German philosopher Johann Fichte, who considered will as the foundation of personality development, and on the basis of this statement made the conclusion that "I" is a creative principle of existence, which is the source of spontaneous generation of the spiritual side of the world. Will here acts as a reasonable key to the formation of morality in a person. This theory of voluntarism, of which Schelling and Hegel were prominent followers, had opponents. Arthur Schopenhauer allowed voluntarism to take shape as an autonomous philosophical trend, he interpreted will and freedom as something irrational, lacking intelligence, sometimes unable to see. Reason and the conscious here perform a secondary function of the will. Voluntarism is closely associated with pessimistic sentiments about the lack of meaning in the world movement. Subsequently, Schopenhauer's ideas formed the basis of the philosophical research of Friedrich Nietzsche. Today, this term is much more often used to name a political action that is aimed at fulfilling subjective needs, and does not take into account the processes that took place in history. Often, voluntarism can mean subjectivism, but in reality they differ significantly.