The judgment of a weak will

Abstract

In trying to explain the possibility of akrasia , it seems plausible to deny that there is a conceptual connection between motivation and evaluation ; akrasia occurs when the agent is motivated to do something that she does not judge to be good . However, it is hard to see how such accounts could respect our intuition that the akratic agent acts freely, or that there is a difference between akrasia and compulsion. It is also hard to see how such accounts could be extended to the realm of theoretical reason, but this is generally not taken Ito be a problem, because it is generally assumed that there is no similar phenomenon in the realm of theoretical reason. This paper argues that there is such a thing as theoretical akrasia, and that we can find a characterization of this phenomenon in Descartes’s Meditations. Drawing on certain passages in the Meditations, we can construct an account of theoretical akrasia; this account can then be adapted to resolve the original problem of akrasia in the realm of practical reason. The account asserts that there is a conceptual connection between motivation and evaluation in free action; it also enables us to show how the akratic agent is still acting freely when he does something that he does not judge to be the best all things considered.

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2009-01-28

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Author's Profile

Sergio Tenenbaum
University of Toronto, Mississauga

References found in this work

Belief and the Will.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1984 - Journal of Philosophy 81 (5):235-256.

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Citations of this work

Guise of the Good.Sergio Tenenbaum - 2013 - In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.
What is the Difference Between Weakness of Will and Compulsion?August Gorman - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association:1-16.
How is Recalcitrant Emotion Possible?Hagit Benbaji - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (3):577-599.
Knowing the Good and Knowing What One is Doing.Sergio Tenenbaum - 2009 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (S1):91-117.
The Guise of the Guise of the Bad.Sergio Tenenbaum - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (1):5-20.

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