Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The use of or reliance on voluntary action to maintain an institution, carry out a policy, or achieve an end.
  • n. A theory or doctrine that regards the will as the fundamental principle of the individual or of the universe.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a reliance on volunteers to support an institution or achieve an end; volunteerism
  • n. a doctrine that assigns the most dominant position to the will rather than the intellect
  • n. the political theory that a community is best organized by the voluntary cooperation of individuals, rather than by a government, which is regarded as being coercive by nature.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any theory which conceives will to be the dominant factor in experience or in the constitution of the world; -- contrasted with intellectualism. Schopenhauer and Fichte are typical exponents of the two types of metaphysical voluntarism, Schopenhauer teaching that the evolution of the universe is the activity of a blind and irrational will, Fichte holding that the intelligent activity of the ego is the fundamental fact of reality.
  • n. the principle or practice of depending on volunteers to support institutions or perform some desired action.
  • n. a political philosophy opposed to dependence on governmental action or support for social services that might be performed by private groups.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The metaphysical opinion that all existence and all actual happening is of the nature of an individual effort (against a resistance) which has on each occasion a peculiar conscious quality and is also discriminative or, at least rudimentally, purposive, and so cognitive. In so far as this opinion makes cognition essentially purposive, it agrees, in effect, with pragmatism from which, however, it differs in being a metaphysical hypothesis founded on arguments drawn from psychology, instead of being a maxim of logic deduced from an analysis of the nature of signs.
  • n. A type of psychological theory, which regards the will as fundamental, and accordingly emphasizes the volitional rather than the intellectual aspect of our nature: ordinarily opposed to intellectualism.

Etymologies

voluntary +‎ -ism (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • "The metaphysical opinion that all existence and all actual happening is of the nature of an individual effort (against a resistance) which has on each occasion a peculiar conscious quality and is also discriminative or, at least rudimentally, purposive, and so cognitive. In so far as this opinion makes cognition essentially purposive, it agrees, in effect, with pragmatism from which, however, it differs in being a metaphysical hypothesis founded on arguments drawn from psychology, instead of being a maxim of logic deduced from an analysis of the nature of signs."
    --Cent. Dict.

    October 30, 2012