Jarosław JakubowskiCorresponding authorORCID id

The Phenomenology of Initiative
Following Nabert

27/2 – Fall 2022, pages 179-191
Date of online publication: 27 December 2022
Date of publication: 27 December 2022


This article starts with the hypothesis that the measure of first-person experience of initiative is not, as it has been customary to believe, the present moment. Jean Nabert’s philosophy (and especially his early work titled L’expérience intérieure de la liberté) provides tools that make it clear that the sense of initiating action that one has in the present moment carries the stigma of illusoriness. If I experience initiative in the present moment, it means that I have taken part in an activity initiated before. Therefore, even though the very moment of initiating action remains unavailable to me, the measure of initiative experience should be sought not in the present but in the past. To this end, one needs to consider the genesis of motives propelling my action. In line with Nabert’s conception, these motives—manifesting themselves as some kind of representations—are grounded in actions that I have not completed. However, the fact that the initiative I demonstrate is conditioned by these unfinished actions does not imply that my actions so far make up, by definition, a harmonious arrangement. Nevertheless, all these actions coalesce in one history, embracing my “desire to be” that constitutes my existence.


Cite this article

Jakubowski, Jarosław. “The Phenomenology of Initiative: Following Nabert.” Forum Philosophicum 27, no. 2 (2022): 179–91. doi:10.35765/forphil.2022.2702.11.


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