OlioHouse Weekend | Desire & Free Will

Jeanne Proust at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sat, Mar 16 at noon   |   90 minutes

Why does our will disobey us? What is happening when we go against our intentions? Let's gather at OlioHouse to investigate the nature of will in an original way, questioning the blurry frontiers between the normal and the abnormal, the healthy and the morbid.

Why does our will disobey us? What is happening when we go against our intentions?

The classical debates about "the weakness of the will" focus mainly on the moral aspect of the inner tension between will and desire, allegedly opposed. I know what I want to be doing, but some obscure forces push me towards doing something else, potentially radically opposed to what I know I should do rationally. In this OlioHouse weekend, we’ll be exploring some 'dysfunctions' of the will: indecisiveness, apathy, but also obsessions and addictions which are familiar to all of us.


How do philosophers approach the relationship between desires, passions, and willpower? And also, more generally, what exactly is "willpower" made of? Maybe we can precisely answer this question by observing what happens when the will dissolves itself.

It might be necessary to get away from too rigid a theory of mental faculties, where willpower is classically defined as a rational category of the mind, among memory, imagination, or judgment. Maybe what we call voluntary actions or free will are simply the expressions of the individual's physiology, character, and effective tendencies, and perhaps the lack of motivation, addictive behavior, and the inability for decision making should be reevaluated with an approach that involves philosophy, psychology, and physiology.

Let's gather at OlioHouse to investigate the nature of will in an original way, questioning the blurry frontiers between the normal and the abnormal, the healthy and the morbid.


Schedule for the weekend:

Saturday:

Noon - Arrive at OlioHouse for a communal lunch

1:00pm - A Socratic-style Olio with Jeanne - "Weakness of the will",
where we'll question: Is it possible to act against our best judgment?
Are the inner conflicts we sometimes feel happening between "desire" and "will"?

2:30pm - Free time to explore Wassaic and hangout around OlioHouse

4:00pm - Jeanne will teach Acedia, Abulia, Apathy: Mental Paralysis
Where we'll question: What happens when our will gets flabby? How about a reevaluation of laziness?

7:00pm - Communal cooking

Sunday:

9:00am: Breakfast

10:00am: Yoga led by Julia Hirsch and a wrap-up writing workshop with Jeanne centered on the topic of indecision and repetitive behaviors. We'll be sharing some ways that we deal with this in our daily lives and explore some possible remedies.


Teacher: Jeanne Proust

Jeanne Proust's research focuses on Théodule Ribot’s Diseases of the Will, both in philosophical and psychological perspectives. While teaching at different universities here in New York, Jeanne is advocating for a widening of philosophical education beyond the academic frontiers.


Venue: OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

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Think Olio is here to put the liberation back into the liberal arts.

Classically, the liberal arts, were the education considered essential for a free person to take an active part in civic life. To counter a humanities that has been institutionalized and dehumanized we infuse critical thinking, openness, playfulness, and compassion into our learning experience.

Read more about our mission, our story, and how we are doing this.

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Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.