Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (4):270-277 (2019)

Kenneth Silver
Trinity College, Dublin
The standard case of weakness of will involves a strong temptation leading us to reconsider or act against our judgments. Here, however, I consider cases of what I call ‘habitual weakness', where we resolve to do one thing yet do another not to satisfy any grand desire, but out of habit. After giving several examples, I suggest that habitual weakness has been under-discussed in the literature and explore why. These cases are worth highlighting for their ubiquity, and I show three further advantages of appreciating habitual weakness as a kind of weakness: It challenges purportedly necessary conditions on akrasia, it side-steps outstanding skeptical concerns, and it provides a new model for considering the weak-willed behavior of group agents. I conclude by arguing that cases of habitual weakness are genuine cases of akrasia and weakness of will. Rather than lacking strength of will, habitual weakness involves lacking diligence, vigilance, or fortitude.
Keywords weakness of will  habit  habitual action  akrasia
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DOI 10.1002/tht3.431
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References found in this work BETA

Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.
Intention.P. L. Heath - 1960 - Philosophical Quarterly 10 (40):281.
Responsibility and Vigilance.Samuel Murray - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (2):507-527.
Skepticism About Weakness of Will.Gary Watson - 1977 - Philosophical Review 86 (3):316-339.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Skill of Self-Control.Juan Pablo Bermúdez - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.

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