Huck Finn the inverse akratic: Empathy and justice

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (3):257 - 266 (2009)
An inverse akratic act is one who believes X, all things considered, is the correct act, and yet performs ~X, where ~X is the correct act. A famous example of such a person is Huck Finn. He believes that he is wrong in helping Jim, and yet continues to do so. In this paper I investigate Huck’s nature to see why he performs such acts contrary to his beliefs. In doing so, I explore the nature of empathy and show how powerful Huck’s empathic feelings are. Drawing from Martin L. Hoffman, I show the relationship between empathy and a principle of justice. This relationship leads to Huck acting virtuously, as Rosalind Hursthouse maintains.
Keywords inverse akrasia  Hursthouse  empathy  justice  Huck Finn  virtue ethics
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DOI 10.2307/40284290
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PhilPapers Archive Chad Kleist, Huck Finn the inverse akratic: Empathy and justice
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Nancy E. Snow (2000). Empathy. American Philosophical Quarterly 37 (1):65 - 78.

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