Philosophical Studies 131 (2):251-268 (2006)

Abstract
The standard philosophical view is that compulsive behaviors are caused by “irresistible” desires. Gary Watson famously argued that this view conflates compulsion with weakness of the will, and proposed differentiating weakness and compulsion by appealing to the normal strength-of-will of members of the community. This extrinsic distinction leaves no room for phenomenological differences between weakness and compulsion. Evidence from clinical psychology shows, however, that compulsion is associated with certain phenomenological features that are absent in cases of weakness. I therefore reject the irresistible desire account. Instead, I propose that psychological compulsions “wear down” an individual’s normal faculty of self-control, i.e., the will. The recurrent inhibition of the behavior by the will overexerts this faculty, causing the psychological stress noted by psychologists. This stress raises the cost of resistance until it is unbearable. The subject abandons resistance and therefore performs the behavior.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Philosophy of Mind   Philosophy of Religion
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-004-6139-4
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,599
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry Frankfurt - 2004 - In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.
Skepticism About Weakness of Will.Gary Watson - 1977 - Philosophical Review 86 (3):316-339.
How is Strength of Will Possible?Richard Holton - 2003 - In Christine Tappolet & Sarah Stroud (eds.), Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality. Oxford University Press. pp. 39-67.
Irresistible Desires.Alfred R. Mele - 1990 - Noûs 24 (3):455-72.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

What is the Difference Between Weakness of Will and Compulsion?August Gorman - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
Addictive Actions.Edmund Henden - 2013 - Philosophical Psychology 26 (3):362-382.
Reason and Desire: The Case of Affective Desires.Attila Tanyi - 2010 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 6 (2):67-89.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Interpreting Acts.Carl R. Holladay - 2012 - Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology 66 (3):245-258.
Acts in Discourse: From Monological Speech Acts to Dialogical Inter-Acts.Per Linell & Ivana Markovä - 1993 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 23 (2):173–195.
Material Differences Between History And Nature.Andrew P. Porter - 2004 - International Philosophical Quarterly 44 (2):185-200.
Acts of Requesting in Dynamic Logic of Knowledge and Obligation.Tomoyuki Yamada - 2011 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 7 (2):59-82.
Attending to Ethics in Management.James A. Waters & Frederick Bird - 1989 - Journal of Business Ethics 8 (6):493 - 497.
Transformations of Illocutionary Acts.Aaron Sloman - 1969 - Analysis 30 (2):56 - 59.
Speech Acts and Poetry.Leni Garcia - 2009 - Philosophia 37 (2).
Negative Acts.Stefanov Gheorghe - 2010 - Analele Universitatii Bucuresti - Filosofie (LIX):3-9.
Three Approaches to the Study of Speech Acts.Maciej Witek - 2013 - Dialogue and Universalism 23 (1):129-141.
On Performatives.Ivana Prelevic - 2010 - Facta Universitatis, Series: Linguistics and Literature 8 (2):105-113.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
91 ( #121,732 of 2,462,160 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #449,335 of 2,462,160 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes