How does a person get to be akratic (uncontrolled)?
According to Aristotle there are six ethical characters: hyper agathon (super good), virtuous (stable in achieving the golden mean/moderation), controlled (knows the right thing to do and does it but does not desire to), uncontrolled ( knows the right thing to do but does not desire to do it so they don’t), vicious (habit of doing the vice), and bestial (does not have use of reason). He also says that most people are either controlled (krates) or uncontrolled (akrasia) with the majority falling under akrasia. Aristotle disagreed with Socrate’s belief that, “No one who either knows or believes that there is another possible course of action, better than the one he is following, will ever continue on his present course,” (Stroud, 2008). Aristotle held the view that the opponent of moral conduct was the failure to do the right thing when our reason is clear on what is right and what is not (Kemerling, 2011). Aristotle’s explanation for this kind of action or akrasia is that pathos, or our emotions, pulled a stronger motivational force than reason (Kraut, 2012). This weakness affects a person’s reason; therefore when he or she is confronted with two conflicting influences, reason vs. emotion, that person’s knowledge is temporarily corrupted but later restored (Kraut, 2012). Aristotle also reasons that akrasia may be based out of impetuosity (Kraut, 2012). That is, a person who is faced with a decision does not reason about a decision to make but rather decides rashly. Whether it be impetuosity or weakness, Aristotle thought that both forms of akrasia ended in one’s full comprehension of what he or she should have done yet too late. However, one large difference between the two is that in the case of weakness, the akratic action is preceded by rational cognition of what is right, yet the person consciously decides not to take the right action.
Kemerling, G. (2011, November). Aristotle: Ethics...
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