Practical reasoning and weakness of the will

Noûs 13 (2):153-171 (1979)
In a case of weak-willed action the agent acts-freely, deliberately, and for a reason-in a way contrary to his best judgment, even though he thinks he could act in accordance with his best judgment. The possibility of such actions has posed one problem in moral philosophy, the exact nature of the problem it poses another. In this essay I offer an answer to the latter problem: an explanation of why a plausible account of free, deliberate and purposive action seems to preclude the possibility of weak-willed action. I then try to resolve the first problem by developing this account in a way which allows for this possibility. The possibility of weak-willed action is made problematic by an account which sees free, deliberate and purposive action as involving the conclusion of a piece of practical reasoning. Solving the problem does not require us to abandon this conception but, rather, to notice certain special features of the relation between premises and conclusion in such reasoning.
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DOI 10.2307/2214395
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Hagit Benbaji (2013). How is Recalcitrant Emotion Possible? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (3):577-599.
Lorraine Besser-jones (2008). Social Psychology, Moral Character, and Moral Fallibility. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (2):310–332.
Jeff Sebo (2013). Multiplicity, Self-Narrative, and Akrasia. Philosophical Psychology 28 (4):589-605.

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