Weakness of will as intention-violation

European Journal of Philosophy 17 (1):45-59 (2009)
According to the traditional view of weakness of will, a weak-willed agent acts in a way inconsistent with what she judges to be best.1 Richard Holton has argued against this view, claiming that ‘the central cases of weakness of will are best characterized not as cases in which people act against their better judgment, but as cases in which they fail to act on their intentions’ (1999: 241). But Holton doesn’t think all failures to act on one’s prior intentions, or all revisings of intentions, are cases of weakness of will (WW). Rather, he thinks an intention-revision is a case of WW only when it occurs ‘in circumstances in which [one] should not have revised [the intention]’. Holton points out that according to the traditional view of WW, to call an agent ‘weak-willed’ is to make descriptive claim about the agent (about whether an action in fact is inconsistent with what (s)he judges to be best). But according to Holton’s account, the question of whether the agent was weak-willed ‘will depend on which intentions [the agent] should have stuck with as a rational intender. That is a normative question’ (my emphasis) (241-3, 247-8.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0378.2007.00283.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,798
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Center for the Study of Language and Information.
The Sources of Normativity.Christine M. Korsgaard - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
On Quantifier Domain Restriction.Jason Stanley & Zoltan Gendler Szabó - 2000 - Mind and Language 15 (2‐3):219-261.
Conversational Impliciture.Kent Bach - 1994 - Mind and Language 9 (2):124-162.
On Quantifier Domain Restriction.Jason Stanley & Zoltán Gendler Szabó - 2000 - Mind and Language 15 (2&3):219--61.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
What in the World is Weakness of Will?Joshua May & Richard Holton - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 157 (3):341–360.
Resisting 'Weakness of the Will'.Neil Levy - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):134 - 155.
The Enkratic Requirement.Allen Coates - 2013 - European Journal of Philosophy 21 (2):320-333.
Resisting ‘Weakness of the Will’.Neil Levy - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):134-155.
What is the Link Between Regret and Weakness of Will?Mathieu Doucet - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (3):448-461.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

126 ( #38,851 of 2,177,981 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #166,370 of 2,177,981 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums