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Weakness of will and moral appraisal 

Weakness of will and moral appraisal
Chapter:
Weakness of will and moral appraisal
Author(s):

Lubomira Radoilska

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199641963.003.0003
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date: 14 November 2019

Could responsibility be consistently conceptualised without a notion of agential control? This chapter looks into a different kind of non-volitional conception that could support an affirmative answer: a quality-of-will based account. This account aims to ground a comprehensive theory of responsibility by reflecting on a special case of akrasia, the so-called inverse akrasia, whereby an akratic action apparently warrants positive moral appraisal in the absence of agential control. I argue that this view is mistaken. Instances of standard akrasia are consistently at odds with the notion of responsible, yet uncontrolled action. More importantly, a closer look at putative instances of inverse akrasia shows that the illusion of praiseworthiness rests on collapsing the distinction between an agent’s practical and theoretical perspectives over what constitutes a good reason for action. I conclude by identifying a residual challenge, which is to clarify the nature of the relationship between strength and goodness of will.

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