Akrasia and conflict in the Nicomachean Ethics

Mehmet M. Erginel
Eastern Mediterranean University
ABSTRACTIn Nicomachean Ethics VII, Aristotle offers an account of akrasia that purports to salvage the kernel of truth in the Socratic paradox that people act against what is best only through ignorance. Despite Aristotle’s apparent confidence in having identified the sense in which Socrates was right about akrasia, we are left puzzling over Aristotle’s own account, and the extent to which he agrees with Socrates. The most fundamental interpretive question concerns the sense in which Aristotle takes the akratic to be ignorant. The received view in the literature has been the intellectualist interpretation, which takes akratic agents to be so ignorant of the wrongness of what they do as to be unaware of it. In recent decades, many scholars have identified serious problems in this interpretation and have moved towards the non-intellectualist reading, the strong version of which takes clearheaded akrasia to be possible. There is, however, a glaring shortage of discussion of the difficulties facing the strong...
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DOI 10.1080/09608788.2016.1176890
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