Weakness of Will and Practical Identity

Studies in Christian Ethics 33 (4):463-478 (2020)
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Abstract

In this article, I develop an Augustinian response to some contemporary philosophical proposals concerning the problem of weakness of will. I argue that many philosophers tend to cast the problem in terms of irrationality, focusing on psychological components such as judgment, desire, and resolution. In contrast, I contend that weakness of will has more to do with the absence of a coherent conception of practical identity and with a misleading conception of practical identity that overestimates the agent’s normative and motivational capacities. I claim that the irrationality of the weak-willed agent is at best a symptom, rather than the ultimate source, of weakness of will which cannot be properly understood without first addressing the deficiency of our internal resources relative to our willing and doing.

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References found in this work

How Is Weakness of the Will Possible?Donald Davidson - 1969 - In Joel Feinberg (ed.), Moral Concepts. Oxford University Press.
Saints and Heroes.J. O. Urmson - 1958 - In A. I. Melden (ed.), Essays in Moral Philosophy. University of Washington Press.
Intention and Weakness of Will.Richard Holton - 1999 - Journal of Philosophy 96 (5):241.
Weakness of Will and Akrasia.Alfred Mele - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (3):391–404.
The Judgment of a Weak Will.Sergio Tenenbaum - 1999 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (4):875-911.

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