Receptivity and the will

Noûs 43 (3):395-427 (2009)
Abstract
This paper defends an internalist view of agency. The challenge for an internalist view of agency is to explain how an agent’s all-things-considered judgment has necessary implications for action, a challenge that lies specifically in the possibility of two species of akratic break: between judgment and intention, and between intention and action. I argue that the two breaks are not importantly different: in each case akrasia manifests a single species of irrational self-mistrust. I aim to vindicate internalism by showing how rational agency rests on our capacity for trusting receptivity to the verdict of judgment. To call the relation receptivity is to characterize it as fundamentally passive. To call it trusting receptivity is to ensure that the passivity is not incompatible with agency, since trust retains a crucial degree of control. I argue that the best way to meet the externalist argument from akrasia is to abandon the assumption that the will must be a locus of activity.
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