Spinoza on the problem of akrasia

European Journal of Philosophy 18 (1):41-59 (2010)

Authors
Eugene Marshall
Florida International University
Abstract
: Two common ways of explaining akrasia will be presented, one which focuses on strength of desire and the other which focuses on action issuing from practical judgment. Though each is intuitive in a certain way, they both fail as explanations of the most interesting cases of akrasia. Spinoza 's own thoughts on bondage and the affects follow, from which a Spinozist explanation of akrasia is constructed. This account is based in Spinoza 's mechanistic psychology of cognitive affects. Because Spinoza 's account explains action asissuing from modes of mind that are both cognitive and affective, it captures the intuitions that motivate the two traditional views while avoiding the pitfalls that result from their one‐sided approaches. This project will allow us a fuller understanding of Spinozist moral psychology. In addition to this historical value, the Spinozist theory may offer a satisfactory explanation of certain hard cases of akrasia while avoiding the problems be set by other theories. For this reason, the Spinozist account could also be seen as a useful contribution to our philosophical understanding of the phenomenon of akrasia
Keywords Spinoza  Early modern philosophy  Weakness of will  Akrasia  Rationalists
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0378.2008.00326.x
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References found in this work BETA

Essays on Actions and Events.Donald Davidson - 1980 - Oxford University Press.
The Philosophical Writings of Descartes.René Descartes - 1984 - Cambridge University Press.
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.John Locke - 1689 - Oxford University Press.
Freedom and Reason.R. M. Hare - 1963 - Oxford, Clarendon Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Susceptibility of Intuitive Knowledge to Akrasia in Spinoza's Ethical Thought.Sanem Soyarslan - 2014 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (4):725-747.
Two Puzzles Concerning Spinoza's Conception of Belief.Justin Steinberg - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (1):261-282.
Education and the Free Will Problem: A Spinozist Contribution.Johan Dahlbeck - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 51 (4):725-743.

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