Weakness of Will and Practical Identity

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


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.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,122

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 Practical Judgement.Sarah Stroud - 2003 - In Sarah Stroud & Christine Tappolet (eds.), Weakness of will and practical irrationality. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 121.
Weakness of Will.Karin Rosemarie Jasper - 1983 - Dissertation, University of Toronto (Canada)
Weakness of Will, the Background, and Chinese Thought.Chris Fraser - 2008 - In Searle’s Philosophy and Chinese Philosophy. pp. 313–33.
Weakness of will and motivational internalism.Voin Milevski - 2017 - Philosophical Psychology 30 (1-2):44-57.
Skepticism about weakness of will.Gary Watson - 1977 - Philosophical Review 86 (3):316-339.
Weakness of will and practical irrationality.Sarah Stroud & Christine Tappolet (eds.) - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Resisting 'Weakness of the Will'.Neil Levy - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):134 - 155.
Weakness of will.Sarah Buss - 1997 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 78 (1):13–44.
Weakness of will as intention-violation.Dylan Dodd - 2007 - European Journal of Philosophy 17 (1):45-59.


Added to PP

10 (#1,074,276)

6 months
5 (#366,001)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

References found in this work

Saints and heroes.J. O. Urmson - 1958 - In Abraham Irving Melden (ed.), Essays in moral philosophy. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
How Is Weakness of the Will Possible?Donald Davidson - 1969 - In Joel Feinberg (ed.), Moral concepts. London,: Oxford University 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.

View all 7 references / Add more references