Weakness of will and divisions of the mind

European Journal of Philosophy 12 (2):199–213 (2004)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Some authors have argued that, in order to give an account of weakness of the will, we must assume that the mind is divisible into parts. This claim is often referred to as the partitioning claim. There appear to be two main arguments for this claim. While the first is conceptual and claims that the notion of divisibility is entailed by the notion of non-rational mental causation (which is held to be a necessary condition of weakness of the will), the second is explanatory and claims that the notion of divisibility is required for the causal explanation of weak-willed action. In this paper I want to argue that the partitioning claim remains unsupported, no matter how it is interpreted, and that weakness of the will can be made perfectly good sense of without the idea that the mind is divisible into parts. In fact, there are available various explanatory models each of which characterizes different psychological mechanisms that may be involved in weakness of will, none of which depends on any claims about mental division. I describe three familiar mechanisms and argue that weakness of will may occur as the result of any one of them.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,594

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Weakness of Will and Rational Action.Robert Audi - 1990 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 68 (3):270 – 281.
Resisting 'Weakness of the Will'.Neil Levy - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):134 - 155.
Weakness of Will and Akrasia.Alfred Mele - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (3):391–404.
Weakness of Will as Intention-Violation.Dylan Dodd - 2009 - European Journal of Philosophy 17 (1):45-59.
Weakness of Will.Gwynneth Matthews - 1966 - Mind 75 (299):405-419.
Weakness of Will.Frank Jackson - 1984 - Mind 93 (369):1-18.


Added to PP

100 (#122,266)

6 months
1 (#418,924)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Edmund Henden
Oslo Metropolitan University

Citations of this work

Fehler im Haus der Vernunft.Matthias Vogel - 2009 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 57 (1):73-95.
El problema de la akrasia en las Disertaciones de Epicteto.Rodrigo Sebastián Braicovich - 2008 - Logos. Anales Del Seminario de Metafísica [Universidad Complutense de Madrid, España] 41:109-130.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Mind and World.John McDowell - 1994 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Mind and World.Huw Price & John McDowell - 1994 - Philosophical Books 38 (3):169-181.
Motivated Irrationality.David Pears - 1984 - St. Augustine's Press.

View all 9 references / Add more references