Freedom and weakness of will

Ratio 21 (1):42–54 (2008)
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Abstract

Can absolute freedom of will be defended by arguing that apparent cases of diminished freedom when we act out of passion are cases of weakness of will? Rogers Albritton thought so. What is intriguing about Albritton's view is that he thought when we act from desire we are making choices, yet our desires are not functioning as reasons for those choices. So our desires must be influencing our choices in some other unspecified way that does not diminish our freedom. I challenge the coherence of this position. My strategy is to examine the views of leading theorists of the will – Descartes, Aquinas and Reid – to argue that the only clear way in which passions can influence our choices so that we can accurately be described as weak-willed and yet nevertheless free is that our passions influence our choices by providing reasons for them.

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