Akrasia and perceptual illusion

de Anima III.10 characterizes akrasia as a conflict between phantasia (“imagination”) on one side and rational cognition on the other: the akratic agent is torn between an appetite for what appears good to her phantasia and a rational desire for what her intellect believes good. This entails that akrasia is parallel to certain cases of perceptual illusion. Drawing on Aristotle's discussion of such cases in the de Anima and de Insomniis , I use this parallel to illuminate the difficult discussion of akrasia in Nicomachean Ethics VII.3, arguing that its account of akrasia as involving ignorance is compatible with, and in fact crucially supplements, the more straightforward account we find elsewhere in the corpus of akrasia as a struggle between desires.
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DOI 10.1515/AGPH.2009.06
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