Australasian Journal of Philosophy 68 (3):270 – 281 (1990)
|Abstract||Weakness of will has been widely discussed from at least three points of view. It has been examined historically, with Aristotle recently occupying centre stage. It has been analysed conceptually, with the question of its nature and possibility in the forefront. It has been considered normatively in relation to both rational action and moral character. My concern is not historical and is only secondarily conceptual: while I hope to clarify what constitutes weakness of will, I presuppose, rather than construct, an account of it. My chief aim is to assess the bearing of weakness of will on the rationality of actions that exhibit it--incontinent actions. Philosophers have tended to assume that incontinent action is a paradigm of irrationality, and none to my knowledge has seriously criticised this assumption. I challenge it and in doing so try to clarify rationality in general.|
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