In N. H. Evans & P. Mckearney (eds.), Against Better Judgment: Akrasia in Anthropological Perspective (forthcoming)

Lubomira Radoilska
University of Kent
Contemporary analytic philosophers tend to see akrasia, or acting against one’s better judgement, as a problem of motivation. On this standard view, akratic actions are paradoxical since akratic agents know that they have a better alternative but nevertheless take up the worse, akratic option. In other words, akratic agents know what they are doing. They do not make any epistemic mistakes but – inexplicably – engage in behaviours that they correctly identify as wrong. The thought that akratic agents are not flawed as inquirers and knowers but only as agents plays a key role in turning akrasia into a textbook example of motivational only, or practical irrationality. This paper will aim to revise the standard view by emphasizing the epistemic dimensions of phenomenon, that is, the ways in which akrasia affects both how agents understand their own involvement and how they handle evidence about their prospects of success. The ambition is to show that akratic agents typically rationalise their akrasia. They do not recognise it as paradoxical or irrational. Instead, they reinterpret it as separate goal-directed actions undertaken under conditions that are not ideal for them. This rationalisation of akrasia is closely related to another epistemically deficient habit: akratic agents pay too much heed to evidence that they are unlikely to succeed. In so doing, they display too little of what philosophers have described as ‘epistemic resilience’, or more simply, ‘grit’.
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References found in this work BETA

Nicomachean Ethics.H. Aristotle & Rackham - 1968 - Harvard University Press.
Practical Reality.Jonathan Dancy - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Willing, Wanting, Waiting.Richard Holton - 2009 - Oxford University Press UK.
Achievement.Gwen Bradford - 2015 - Oxford University Press.

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