Inverse akrasia and weakness of will

Abstract

The standard account of weakness of will identifies it with akrasia, that is, with action against one's best judgment. Elsewhere I have argued that weakness of will is better understood as over-readily giving up on one's resolutions. Many cases of weak willed action will not be akratic: in over-readily abandoning a resolution an agent may well do something that they judge at the time to be best. Indeed, in so far as temptation typically gives rise to judgment shift -- to a tendency to change one's judgment so that one values the tempting option as the best -- weak willed action will typically be akratic. But conversely, strong willed action now looks as though it will be akratic. I argue though that it need not be, once we distinguish between actual judgment, and dispositions to judge. Within this framework, the issue of inverse akrasia looks rather different. I argue that whilst Huckleberry Finn plausibly does show weakness of will in abandoning his resolve to turn Jim in, it is far from clear that he is akratic: a point brought out well in Twain's later additions to the text. Whilst cases of inverse akrasia are clearly theoretically possible, I suggest that, given cognitive dissonance mechanisms, they are unlikely to be very common.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,247

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.

Similar books and articles

Akratic Believers.Amelie Rorty - 1983 - American Philosophical Quarterly 20 (2):175-183.
Emotions and the Intelligibility of Akratic Action.Christine Tappolet - 2003 - In Sarah Stroud & Christine Tappolet (eds.), Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 97--120.
Weakness of Will and Akrasia.Alfred Mele - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (3):391–404.
The Judgment of a Weak Will.Sergio Tenenbaum - 1999 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (4):875-911.
Jackson on Weakness of Will.Christopher Cordner - 1985 - Mind 94 (374):273-280.

Analytics

Added to PP
2010-01-18

Downloads
466 (#21,769)

6 months
15 (#60,465)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Richard Holton
Cambridge University

Citations of this work

Respect and the reality of apparent reasons.Kurt L. Sylvan - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3129-3156.

Add more citations

References found in this work

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
On Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1999 - Oxford University Press.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):323-354.

View all 19 references / Add more references