Philosophical Studies 157 (3):341–360 (2012)

Authors
Joshua May
University of Alabama, Birmingham
Richard Holton
Cambridge University
Abstract
At least since the middle of the twentieth century, philosophers have tended to identify weakness of will with akrasia—i.e. acting, or having a disposition to act, contrary to one‘s judgments about what is best for one to do. However, there has been some recent debate about whether this captures the ordinary notion of weakness of will. Richard Holton (1999, 2009) claims that it doesn’t, while Alfred Mele (2010) argues that, to a certain extent, it does. As Mele recognizes, the question about an ordinary concept here is one apt for empirical investigation. We evaluate Mele’s studies and report some experiments of our own in order to investigate what in the world the ordinary concept of weakness of will is. We conclude that neither Mele nor Holton (previously) was quite right and offer a tentative proposal of our own: the ordinary notion is more like a prototype or cluster concept whose application is affected by a variety of factors.
Keywords Knobe effect  resolution  experimental philosophy  side-effect effect
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9651-8
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References found in this work BETA

Willing, Wanting, Waiting.Richard Holton - 2009 - Oxford University Press UK.
Cognitive Representations of Semantic Categories.Eleanor Rosch - 1975 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 104 (3):192-233.
How Is Weakness of the Will Possible?Donald Davidson - 1969 - In Joel Feinberg (ed.), Moral Concepts. Oxford University Press.
The Pervasive Impact of Moral Judgment.Dean Pettit & Joshua Knobe - 2009 - Mind and Language 24 (5):586-604.
Intention and Weakness of Will.Richard Holton - 1999 - Journal of Philosophy 96 (5):241.

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Citations of this work BETA

Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind.Joshua May - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
Does Disgust Influence Moral Judgment?Joshua May - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (1):125-141.

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