September 16, 2014
“Skepticism about Weakness of Will” Summary
By: Gary Watson
In this essay Watson argues that there is no fundamental distinction between weakness of will, akrasia, and compulsive behavior. Watson said that when a person knowingly acts against their better judgment that is a weakness of their will. In particular, he challenged the common view that the weak-willed individuals are unable to resist, while a person who acts compulsively cannot resist their temptations. Watson claimed that there are two kinds of skeptical worries can be raised against weakness of will. The first is that there if no weakness of will that it truly never did exist. Secondly, Watson discusses that there was some kind of compulsive motivation was literally irresistible. Watson is the one who will develop the second area. Gary Watson reminded us of the philosopher Davidson’s account and opinion of will, and compulsion. Watson somewhat disagreed with Davidson’s account because of the discrepancy between the view that incontinence exists. In Gary Watson’s version of this Socratic view where the weakness of will is possible, he states is that a person always does what the wants to do more of, and a person will always want more than what is possible. On the Socratic view, which is called ‘weakness of will’ is really a kind of an uninformed statement as to what should be valued. Plato eventually abandoned this theory and held that non-rational parts of the soul can provide motivation that is insensitive to evaluative judgments. Socrates denied the possibility of any type of weakness because he has maintained that virtue does amount to a certain form of knowledge. A person having any kind of knowledge of good entails desiring good—so a person can fail to desire and do the better act only out of ignorance or any type of illusion. But Watson agrees more with Plato in this area, he objects to this and Socrates’ account of courage in...
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