In science, motive force is the conjunction term referring to the force or forces that cause something to move or, in a sense, the force that induces motor action. Its use can be found in terms such as electro-motive force, proton motive force, among others. Related or near synonymous terms might include motive power, mechanical effect, or motor factor.

In 1833, English mathematician John Herschel argued that heat is the motive force powering not only people but the planet. [2]

In 1900, Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud, in his On Dreams, a more concise, accessible version of his The Interpretation of Dreams, published shortly thereafter, argued that repressed wishes function as the “motive force” in dream formation. [3]

1. Drive (definition) – Stedman’s Medical Dictionary (1995), 26th Edition.
2. Schneider, Eric D. and Sagan, Dorion. (2005). Into the Cool - Energy Flow, Thermodynamics, and Life, (pg. 35). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 3. Freud, Sigmund, Strachey, James. (1952). On Dreams, (pgs. 59-60, 62-63, 67, 70). W.W. Norton & Company.

TDics icon ns