If you can do something, but are unwilling to do so, isn’t it just the same as not being able to do it? Why/ why not?




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  1. Weenis 5 months ago

    Ability and willingness are separate, but kind of linked in some ways.

    You can want to fly, but be unable.
    You can eat a turd, but be unwilling.

    Willingness doesn’t cancel ability, but willingness can affect whether the ability is exercised.

    Now, philosophically there is the idea that the will or your desires is tied to what you do. You won’t do what you don’t want to do.

    Even in a situation where you’re coerced to do something against your will, like give a robber your wallet at gunpoint, you actually were willing to give your wallet, because the alternative to giving the robber your wallet was to be shot.

    All men are free to do anything they please. Some people’s pleasure seeking falls short of what they really want to do because of the consequences.

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  2. ladybarbara 5 months ago

    I can roller skate. In my youth I was quite a good dancer on those roller skates. But, with motherhood, I stopped going to the roller rinks. I only went a few times when my sons thought it would be funny to get old “Mom” on roller skates, then I skated circles around them. Now, my old bones are brittle and easily broken. I know I could balance and skate, but I am unwilling to put my bones at such risk. So, roller skating is only a memory in my life. I guess it is the same as never having roller skated, at all. Except, I have the memories.

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  3. immortal_pirate 5 months ago

    I have the ability to fly, but that ability hinges on the willingness to purchase a ticket on either a commercial flight or a charter flight. Then there are choices to be made whether to use Delta or United, Southwest or Sun West…and I have the ability to chose, but at the moment, I don’t have the willingness to fork over my money to purchase the ticket.
    There is a third possibility that could be explored and maybe should go along with Ability vs. Willingness, and that is Desire: which at the moment I don’t have…I don’t have the desire to go anywhere on a commercial or charter flight. I’m just going to exercise the ability and willingness to stay where I am.

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  4. griz 5 months ago

    No, they are not the same.

    The asset or ability you are unwilling to use does not just cease to exist.

    It’s a lot like having two perfectly good legs but refusing to use them. You can render them atrophied and invalid by force of choice.

    But you still have them. Only now they are something that ties you down rather than something that liberates you.
    By your choice

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  5. five2one 4 months ago

    Good question. I want to say, “I don’t know”, but I can say that about anything, and why come out here and talk?

    Willingness can be a factor of ability, but it can be hard to separate the two.

    My son, for instance, has a physical handicap, right now. He can go places, but is unwilling to do so. Because that physical handicap can sneak up on him at any moment. So, the unwillingness becomes part of the lack of ability. He has the ability. But, it is hard turned off.

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