Resisting 'Weakness of the Will'

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):134 - 155 (2010)
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Abstract

I develop an account of weakness of the will that is driven by experimental evidence from cognitive and social psychology. I will argue that this account demonstrates that there is no such thing as weakness of the will: no psychological kind corresponds to it. Instead, weakness of the will ought to be understood as depletion of System II resources. Neither the explanatory purposes of psychology nor our practical purposes as agents are well-served by retaining the concept. I therefore suggest that we ought to jettison it, in favour of the vocabulary and concepts of cognitive psychology.

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Neil Levy
Macquarie University

References found in this work

Autonomous Agents: From Self Control to Autonomy.Alfred R. Mele - 1995 - New York, US: Oxford University Press.
How Is Weakness of the Will Possible?Donald Davidson - 1969 - In Joel Feinberg (ed.), Moral concepts. London,: Oxford University Press.
The unreliability of naive introspection.Eric Schwitzgebel - 2006 - Philosophical Review 117 (2):245-273.
Intention and Weakness of Will.Richard Holton - 1999 - Journal of Philosophy 96 (5):241.

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