Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (5):943-955 (2017)

Teemu Toppinen
University of Helsinki
I explore the prospects of capturing and explaining, within a non-cognitivist framework, the enkratic principle of rationality, according to which rationality requires of N that, if N believes that she herself ought to perform an action, φ, N intends to φ. Capturing this principle involves making sense of both the possibility and irrationality of akrasia – of failing to intend in accordance with one’s ought thought. In the first section, I argue that the existing non-cognitivist treatments of enkrasia/akrasia by Allan Gibbard and Michael Ridge are not satisfying. In the second section, I propose that non-cognitivists should perhaps say roughly the following: to think that one ought to φ is to prefer φ-ing to the alternative courses of action, or to have a stronger desire to φ than to choose any alternative action. I outline an account of the strength of desire, which allows for the possibility of intending to act against one’s strongest desires, and makes it intelligible why rationality would nevertheless require that one’s strongest desires and intentions be aligned. This would allow the non-cognitivist to explain how akrasia is both possible and irrational. In the last section, I briefly suggest that this leaves non-cognitivists in a nice position in comparison to at least some of the competition, when it comes to capturing enkrasia.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10677-017-9819-9
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,172
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Being Realistic About Reasons.T. M. Scanlon - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
The Moral Problem.Michael Smith (ed.) - 1994 - Wiley.

View all 69 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

How Verbal Reports of Desire May Mislead.Alex Gregory - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (4):241-249.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Is the Enkratic Principle a Requirement of Rationality?Andrew Reisner - 2013 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 20 (4):436-462.
Enkrasia.John Broome - 2013 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 20 (4):425-436.
Doing Without Desiring.Steven E. Swartzer - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Against Cognitivism About Practical Rationality.John Brunero - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 146 (3):311-325.
Editorial.Julian Fink - 2013 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 20 (4):422-424.
Akrasia and Uncertainty.Ralph Wedgwood - 2013 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 20 (4):483–505.
Expressivism and Moral Certitude.Jonas Olson Krister Bykvist - 2009 - Philosophical Quarterly 59 (235):202-215.
Expressivism and Moral Certitude.Krister Bykvist & Jonas Olson - 2009 - Philosophical Quarterly 59 (235):202-215.
An Alternative to Relativism.John K. Davis - 2010 - Philosophical Topics 38 (2):17-37.
The Motivation Question.Nicholas Southwood - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (12):3413-3430.
Moral Cognitivism Vs. Non-Cognitivism.Mark van Roojen - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2013 (1):1-88.


Added to PP index

Total views
22 ( #515,360 of 2,517,841 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #272,606 of 2,517,841 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes