What, according to Aristotle, is acrasy


Weakness of will, it seems, is an everyday phenomenon: hardly anyone who would not willingly admit to having occasionally or even frequently acted weak-willed. When asked to describe paradigmatic cases, one is not at a loss for information: the firm resolve to keep a diet that is knocked over in the face of a tempting cake, the important work that one has not completed because one has sunk in front of the television, the good one New Year's resolution that doesn't survive the first week of the year - we know something like that. It may seem all the more surprising that the existence and even the possibility of weak will is philosophically controversial.

Weakness of will seems to have the structure that an actor behaves practically irrationally under the influence of temptation. But what exactly is irrationality? Two suggestions are of particular interest here. According to one, the irrationality lies in the discrepancy between an action-related value judgment and the actually performed action, i.e. in the fact that the actor does not form an action intention that is in accordance with the value judgment. A second interpretation focuses on what happens after the actor has formed an intention to act. Often, until the point in time at which the action would have to be carried out, even some time lapses in which the intention can be exposed to strong challenges. This can lead to the actor revising the intention for good reasons, for example because new information has become available to him that sheds new light on the intended action; however, they can also lead the actor to an unsubstantiated abandonment of the original intention, and then there would be weak will. These two analyzes focus on very different phenomena; In order to keep them apart terminologically, I refer to phenomena of the first type as cases of acrasia (after akrasia, Greek for "uncontrollability"), hereby picking up the expression that was relevant in the ancient discussion in this context and that to this day - especially in English-speaking countries - is common, and phenomena of the second type as cases of weak intention.

Akrasy: The Ancient Discussion

For a long time the discussion about the possibility of weak will was a discussion about the possibility of acrasy. It begins with Socrates and finds its first climax in the 7th book of the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle. The ancient discussion is not to be presented in detail here, but only to the extent that it documents the theses and arguments with which the current discussion is still concerned. Socrates and Aristotle are united by the thesis that man also strives for what he thinks is good, i.e. tries to realize. Is this an empirical-anthropological thesis or a conceptual-analytical one? Aristotle evidently meant the latter. The thesis that something is considered good means striving for its realization is also entirely plausible if one realizes what Aristotle means by the good: What is meant is not a good, to which one can personally take a detached attitude , for example in the sense of what is socially expected or what is morally required. Rather, the point of reference of the value judgment is the subjective quality of the subject's life, his eudaimonia. And then in fact the question arises: is it possible to say meaningfully of someone that he considers something to be good in this personally committed sense if he does not try to realize it, although he thinks it is feasible? If one denies this and thus accepts the conceptual thesis, it follows analytically that someone who comes to the conclusion in a practical consideration that an action is the best all in all, acts accordingly (or tries to act). In any case, this follows if one understands “practical consideration” as Aristotle does: as a consideration that aims at the best action with regard to one's own eudaimonia that is within the power of the subject to perform. This means that practical considerations only take into account actions which the subject thinks it is capable of performing. Should an obstacle be so strong that the subject cannot overcome it, then any practical consideration would be obsolete. In other words: if you think about it despite a recognized inability, you don't think about it practically, but indulge in daydreams. Whenever a practical consideration is carried out in the full sense, the analytical rule is that all external and internal obstacles do not appear insurmountable: the good appears to be attainable. But then, based on the above thesis, it would be logically contradictory not to try to realize it.

From these considerations it follows that acrasia is impossible: the acratic does not do what he thinks is best, although he (i) correctly thinks that he (ii) could. If, however, the knowledge condition (i) and the ability condition (ii) are fulfilled, the actor is thus free in this sense or if it is up to him to do the best, he must do it if “the best” is understood in the Aristotelian sense becomes. Socrates (in Plato's Protagoras 351b-359a) does not doubt that it happens that, under the influence of the prospect of pleasant experiences, someone does not do what is best for him. He only denies that these phenomena are properly described as cases of acrasia. In fact, it is not clear to the actor that he is acting sub-optimally. He therefore does not knowingly act contrary to the better judgment. Rather, he is making a "measurement error": he is wrongly assessing the quantity of good that is associated with the alternative courses of action. Typically this happens because one does not correctly take into account the reduced perspective, so to speak, with which a temporally distant good is presented and therefore the smaller good, which appears larger due to the closeness of realizability, is considered to be larger.

The theses and arguments developed by Aristotle in Book 7 of the Nicomachean Ethics are far more differentiated. He criticizes Socrates for having submitted an analysis that does not do justice to the phenomena, but agrees with him on the central point. He, too, is convinced of a very close connection between action and the action-related value judgment that has arisen from practical considerations. He tries, however, to differentiate between the modes in which one can possess knowledge and the psychological causes that influence the transition from one mode to the other to better account for the phenomena. Unlike Socrates, he is able to grasp the conflict in which an actor is confronted with a temptation: he is not simply dealing with a measurement problem, but is under the influence of more or less strong affects and Desires (epithymia). These are not directed towards the good, but towards the pleasant. If immediate sensual and deliberate striving do not congruce (if the actor is therefore not "virtuous"), complications can arise when trying to clarify in practical considerations which action is best. The ruled succeeds in acting in accordance with the practical value judgment despite reluctant desires, the uncontrolled (akrates) does not succeed. The latter's actions, however, only appear to be in contradiction to his situational value judgment. Rather, the flare-up of desire leads to the judgment changing its status: depending on the situation, the person does not make a judgment at all, but rather satisfies their desire directly. She may (1) express a judgment verbally, but without really understanding it. She then speaks like a drunk who quotes the verses of Empedocles without insight. Or (2) the person does not even begin to think instrumentally under the influence of a desire. In both cases, the judgment that another action would be the best can only be attributed to it by disposition. The person does not knowingly renounce doing what is good, their actions do not contradict a practical value judgment in the full sense, but either a deficient form of such a judgment, or a judgment that can be made but that has not been made.

So Aristotle agrees with Socrates that no one who has full insight into the good will knowingly do the bad. The phenomena that give the impression that this is possible, actually have a different structure. When the uncontrolled's access to the system of his opinions is disturbed by the desire that flares up, his freedom, his practical ability to carry out the better action, is nullified. This does not necessarily lead to a moral excuse: to the extent that he was able to prevent the internal conflict that led to the uncontrolled action, but negligently or deliberately failed to do so, the action is attributable to him.

How satisfactory is Aristotle's proposal? Undoubtedly, his differentiations in the modes of opinion possession considerably increase the explanatory potential of an action theory which asserts a very close connection between practical judgment and action. He correctly saw that weakness of will arises in a conflict situation between deliberate judgment and a temptation that mobilizes immediate impulses. But what exactly turns out to be too weak with the akrates? According to Aristotle, he does not have the capacity (if there is one) to translate fully valid, practical value judgments into action. Not even the ability to keep judgments stable until the time for action has come. Rather, the ability to consider and judge in practice under adverse affective conditions is underdeveloped: the akrates does not succeed in keeping the relevant updated knowledge from mentally slipping away or in updating the relevant potential knowledge under these conditions. And yet it seems that we also talk about weak will in everyday life when someone is not literally overwhelmed by desires. Austin pointed out that we often give in to temptation "with calm and finesse" (Austin 1957, 146). When asked how such phenomena are to be analyzed in which we do not lose control, but rather act carefully, but nevertheless act “with weak will”, Aristotle has no answer.

Acrasy: the modern discussion

Attempts to remedy the deficiencies of the Aristotelian conception have for a long time concentrated mainly on the connection between judgment and action. Is this connection of a conceptual or causal-probabilistic kind? More recently, Richard M. Hare (1963, Chapter 5) has come to results here, which verbally differ quite clearly from the Socratic-Aristotelian position, but which essentially confirm them. Although he considers it possible that someone acts contrary to his better (in this case: moral) judgment, this is due to the fact that the person is psychologically incapable of performing the better action. Aristotle, however, has judgments in view from the outset that arise from practical considerations. Such considerations apply only to actions that the person believes are in their power. For judgments relating to such actions, Hare also believes that - provided that the assumptions about one's own abilities are correct - they necessarily have an action-causal effect. Its reasoning is Aristotelian-Socratic: the criterion for the fact that a practical (moral) value judgment is sincere is that the person acts accordingly, provided they can. Donald Davidson is also convinced of this. In two important essays (1969; 1982) he deals with the question of how one can hold on to this Aristotelian-Socratic insight without simply interpreting away the everyday phenomenon of weak will. He describes this everyday phenomenon as acrasy: knowingly acting against the judgment that an action that can be carried out is, all in all, the best. Unlike Aristotle, Davidson believes that this is also possible if the knowledge condition - and thus ipso facto the freedom condition - is not restricted: the acratic chooses the worse with a seeing eye. This poses a serious problem for Davidson, since he advocates a humean-empiricist, causal theory of action, i.e. is of the opinion that practical reasons play a causal role in the development of actions. Practical reasons are constituted by action-related value judgments. Davidson analyzes intentional actions as reasoned actions. But if reasons are the factors that cause such actions, then how could the strongest reason not be the strongest cause?

In a certain sense, Davidson thinks this is impossible: it is evident that, insofar as one acts deliberately, he is doing what he thinks is best. However, this does not preclude someone from considering something else to be the best all in all (1969). Davidson describes judgments of the form “doing x is best” as unconditional judgments, judgments of the form “doing x is best relative to reasons a-n” as conditional judgments. Judgments regarding the all in all best are conditional judgments (these judgments are “conditional” by all of the reasons considered). Since they are thus distinguished from unconditional judgments about the best, they cannot logically contradict the latter. It is therefore logically possible that someone considers x to be the best action all in all, but at the same time considers y to be the best action and consequently does y. There is, however, the norm that one should move from conditional to the corresponding unconditional judgments, provided that the conditional judgment is an all-in-all judgment. The acratic is someone who violates this norm, and does so on purpose. This form of irrationality can be represented in a conceptually consistent manner and is therefore possible. Davidson (1982) explains what is happening here psychologically by describing the mind as a set of subsystems that can causally interact. If all goes well, the judgment that is made on the basis of the reasons available in the overall system is converted into an unconditional judgment according to the norm, and the person acts accordingly. In the case of acrasia, however, a subsystem that makes another, more particular, reasoned conditional judgment causes that conviction to fail; the person then makes an unconditional judgment in the sense of the subsystem, that is, judges that x would be best to do all in all, and that y would be the best action, and does y. Acrasia is therefore logically and psychologically possible.

As I have tried to show (Schälike 2005), Davidson does not succeed in adequately satisfying the condition of freedom. Part of the everyday phenomenon of weak will is that the actor acts freely insofar as he retains control over his actions. In a controlled manner, however, one does not act when the action is triggered by some motivational factors in the person, but only when the person himself determines how he or she acts. She often does this by first evaluating her options on a practical basis. The relevant judgments are then not those of any sub-systems, but the all-in-all judgments of the overall system that carries out the practical consideration. If the person arrives at such a conditional judgment, only its transformation into an unconditional judgment stands between him and the action. Ex hypothesi, the person can undertake this transformation (condition of freedom), but deliberately fails to do so. However, this intention is not one of the overall system, but one that is formed in a subsystem. It is therefore not one that makes the person controlled. Not it, but something in it blocks the action judged as better and triggers the action judged as worse. This act is voluntary only insofar as it originates in the person, not insofar as the person controls it. The case is similar to that of the Aristotelian acratic, in which direct impulses bypassing his considerations gain power over action. Something like this may happen, but is experienced differently than the everyday phenomenon of weak will. This is related to the fact that, while in everyday life the question of attribution can be answered positively without any problems, it is problematic in Aristotle's as well as Davidson acrasia: the attributable action would at best come earlier, it would concern the negligent or deliberate confrontation with temptation.

Ursula Wolf considers the reasons why knowledgeable action against the better judgment is excluded to be of a conceptual nature. If someone knowingly does not do something that he thinks is best, although he could do so, it follows “analytically that he does not really do it thinks better ”(Wolf 1985, 133).It is thus in the Socratic-Aristotelian tradition. In order to increase its explanatory potential, she shows connections that exist between the everyday phenomenon of weak will and the phenomenon of self-deception. It indicates that we have an interest in ascribing certain practical principles when it enables us to stand out in front of ourselves and others. However, for the reasons mentioned, we can only justifiably ascribe these principles to ourselves if we are also prepared to act accordingly in the case of application - even if this prevents us from satisfying other, less prestigious wishes. If we do not do this, we can only ascribe to ourselves a self-image that integrates the attractive principles in the mode of error - more precisely, since we are dealing with interested errors, in the mode of self-deception. The illusory self-image can be maintained even in situations in which the principles in action would have to prove themselves if the person applies certain strategies, such as the strategy of rationalization: principles of action allow justified exceptions, and the person persuades himself to be one Exceptions are currently given. However, this opinion is erroneous: the real reason why the person consumes the piece of cake, for example, is that sensual enjoyment is more important to them than a good figure, which is shown by the fact that they would have eaten the cake even if they had not would have been of the (erroneous) opinion that consumption is compatible with the intention to keep a diet. Self-deception enables the person to appear to be able to hold onto their ideal self-image without having to forego enjoyment.

It is obvious that such interested errors occur very often in the self-image. However, the strategies of self-deception that Wolf describes seem inadequate to explain a type of mistake that a weak-willed person typically attributes to himself. If he sees through the deception at a later point in time, the diagnosis, according to Wolf, is an error regarding the “strength” of the evaluations, not acrasy. This latter, however, is what the weak-willed typically complains about. I have tried to show that this lawsuit can also be analyzed on the assumption that this is based on self-deception (Schälike 2004). The self-deceiver puts together an erroneous, but at no point erroneously transparent theory of action, according to which acrasy is possible: he splits his practical identity into an evaluative and a motivational part and claims that on the evaluation level he is completely behind the noble ideals stand; however, the motivation follows its own laws and sometimes refuses to obey. In this way, the everyday concept of weak will arises, namely the idea that the “true”, evaluative self is unfortunately not “strong” enough to assert itself against the dispositions on the level of the motivational self on which the decisions are made. This trait appears to enable partial exculpation, since it makes it appear permissible to hold onto the attractive self-image, at least on the evaluative level. In fact, the evaluative and motivational selves cannot be separated from one another. The person could have carried out the embarrassingly neglected act in the situation, and it is the full scope of this fact that he tries to disguise (376f.).

This argumentation assumes the Socratic-Aristotelian thesis that motivation and evaluation must necessarily congruent. Alfred R. Mele denies this thesis (1987). Acrasia is present when the actor is able to prevent an otherwise occurring discrepancy between motivation and evaluation through measures of self-control, but deliberately does not exercise this ability and therefore carries out a less evaluated action instead of a more highly evaluated one (93-95 ).

An argument by Gary Watson (1977) is relevant against conceptions of this kind (which Mele, however - wrongly in my opinion - does not accept [Mele 1987, 27-29]). Watson analyzes situations in which an actor is tempted to act contrary to his judgment. If the actor should now refrain from using the means of self-control that he believes are at his command, the conclusion that the judgment is not meant seriously, i.e. does not represent a real practical value judgment (337f.) . This includes the effort of self-control, so that this does not represent a relevant reason to forego self-control. Action against the better judgment can then only be understood in such a way that the actor cannot carry out the better action. This agrees with the Socratic-Aristotelian core thesis, but raises the question of how it can be made understandable that we differentiate between acrasia and compulsive behavior in everyday life. We call the behavior of a kleptomaniac or a claustrophobic obsessive-compulsive: they cannot help but steal or avoid narrow spaces, and in this they are evidently like the acratic who cannot resist temptation. But morally we judge the latter quite differently: we reproach him when we excuse the former. How is this to be understood? One might think that the acratic is too weak to act properly, while in the case of coercion the motives for giving in to temptation are too strong. But if the available measures of self-control are not sufficient, the motives of the acratic are obviously insurmountable for him: the acratic and the obsessive cannot do otherwise. If we make a difference here, according to Watson, we should understand that we measure the actors' ability to control themselves against our own normative standards: the acratic loses control in the face of temptations that a "normal" actor could resist, while the compulsive is overwhelmed by motives that a typical adult in our society cannot withstand (332). If we reproach the former, it is because we believe that he should and could have developed normal skills. Here, too, the moral attribution relates to earlier, typically negligent acts or omissions.

In a later work, Watson revised his view of the abilities of acratics and so-called "compulsive" (1999). He now doubts that it makes sense to say that someone is "forced" to act by their own irresistible desires. Desires are attitudes that make certain options appear in a positive light. Doing something that one finds extremely attractive is clearly different from external coercion that one counteracts unsuccessfully. Overwhelmingly strong motives do not deprive the subject of the freedom to act according to the better judgment, but rather twist this judgment in a problematic way: they impair practical judgment, the ability to react appropriately to available reasons for action, e.g. by drawing attention from them distract. Judgment and action are then quite congruent at the moment of the action, but afterwards the judgment turns out to be suboptimal when viewed calmly. Watson makes the distinction between acrasia and “compulsion” in recourse to normative expectations regarding the ability to weigh up reasons in the face of affective-motivational “interference”. Too “weak” is not so much the will as the cognitive capacity to think correctly under difficult conditions (72f.). In my opinion, this analysis represents a clear step forward over the earlier article (1977), since it is more appropriate to the phenomena and contains important insights into the nature of volitional striving. In addition, it adds an important aspect to the Aristotelian analyzes, since it makes it understandable how someone acts weak-willed, although he is practically deliberating and making a decision.

Michael Smith contradicts the Socratic-Aristotelian core thesis that acrasia is impossible in the strict sense (2003). Like Watson, he deals with the question of how one can understand that the weak-willed and the compulsive alike, under the influence of temptation, fail to take the necessary measures of self-control, but we only reproach the weak-willed for this. While Watson argues that the two differ not in terms of possessing the ability to exercise self-control, but only in terms of our normative expectations regarding the acquisition or actualization of this ability, Smith argues that the weak-willed possesses the relevant ability while the obsessive-compulsive is lacking. But what does it mean that the weak-willed can exercise self-control? Smith operates on a concept of practical ability that ties in with suggestions by David Lewis: someone has the practical ability to perform an action if he were to perform it in nearby possible worlds. For example, someone drinks too much alcohol when they think it is wrong, as they think it can have dire consequences. If he were to use certain methods of self-control, such as vividly visualizing in detail how bad the consequences could actually be, he would not get drunk. If: in nearby possible worlds he has such thoughts and resists temptation, then we are dealing with an acratic. However, if he has no thoughts in the neighboring region of the logical space that arouse motivational forces in him that allow him to resist, then he gets drunk obsessively: he is an addict, he cannot help it.

If Smith's analysis is convincing, then acrasy would prove possible after all. Whether it is convincing depends on whether his concept of freedom or practical ability is plausible. I have tried to show that this is not the case (Schälike 2006). According to Smith, the acratic does not deliberately renounce self-control, he does not take a volatile position on this possibility, rather it does not occur to him at all. Then, however, he does not experience himself as someone who is in control of whether he is taking the action and thus enabling himself to carry out the better act. Experience of control assumes that one is faced with open options. However, this is part of the phenomenon of weak will. The talk of ability without control experience is certainly not pointless, it is also relevant from the point of view of attribution theory, namely in the case of negligence: the person is responsible because at an earlier point in time they could have ensured that they could now do something for which they are responsible because of this failure, the ability is now lacking. Aristotle also recognizes that acrasy is possible in the mode of negligence. However, this is not what Smith suggests. In his opinion, the ability for self-control is definitely given in the situation. However, this does not seem to me to correspond to the experience of the actors to whom Smith's description fits, nor to our ascription practice, nor to a plausible theory of moral responsibility. We do not hold someone who does not know that he could do something and who is not responsible for this ignorance responsible for not doing it. Smith bases his explanation of the possibility of acrasy on an implausible theory of practical ability or moral responsibility.

Weak intent

It is somewhat astonishing that almost all authors who philosophically deal with weak wills only focus on the connection between practical judgment and decision-making, while disregarding the question of which problems can arise after the decision-making process has been completed. These, however, seem to make up the greater part of weak will as an everyday phenomenon. As Richard Holton observes, non-philosophers typically do not characterize weak will as acting against the better judgment, but rather describe those who are weak-willed who revise resolutions too lightly and whose will is not sufficiently stable (Holton 1999, 241). In everyday life, weak will is less acrasy than weak intention.

As Holton explains, resolutions (intentions) have a function: to a certain extent, they “store” decisions that we (have to) often make outside the action situation. For example, it can make sense to start thinking about what to do tomorrow because you now have more time, peace of mind and better access to information. However, this presupposes that the decision made in advance is still motivationally effective at the relevant point in time. This is not necessarily guaranteed, because in the meantime events can occur that lead to the loss of the intention, for example if the subject simply forgets the intention or revises it. The latter need not necessarily be irrational: the subject often comes across new information that makes the situation appear in a different light. Sometimes, however, motives that have long been considered and rejected as irrelevant lead to the subject changing his mind. And even if such a revision actually appears to be advantageous ex post, it shows an irrational tendency: Anyone who once again questions resolutions (in the belief that this is justified, but actually) without good reason, puts his time and energy into question not reasonable one. As finite beings we have to manage our resources, and the weak-willed - without noticing it, i.e. not intentionally - does not do justice to the relevant norms. Rational is the tendency to question intentions, once they have been formulated, only under certain conditions, for example if one thinks that relevant aspects of the situation have not been sufficiently taken into account or that the intention can no longer be carried out after all (249). Those who have the appropriate dispositions have willpower: the ability to withstand temptation. This ability is comparable to a muscle: exercising it requires exertion, leads to short-term fatigue, but strengthens when repeated (Holton 2003).

A lack of stability of intentions is one, but by no means the only, irrational disposition that can be described as a form of “weak will”. Neil Roughley (2005) has identified another: the tendency to develop incompatible intentions, as well as failing to develop subordinate, instrumental intentions that are necessary to make the higher-order intention fulfilled. Here too, the weak-willed unintentionally does not do justice to a norm of rationality.

It should be noted that Holton and Roughley do not consider acrasy impossible; they believe that weak intentions do not have to imply acrasia, but can - that the violation of the norms mentioned may be intentional.


The phenomenon of weak will enjoys great philosophical interest because it shows the connections between practical deliberation, practical judgment, will formation and action; the ability to analyze it adequately is considered a touchstone for theories of action and concepts of practical rationality. Concepts that deny the possibility of acrasia prove to be more explanatory than one might expect given the ubiquity of the everyday phenomenon of weak will. The Aristotelian differentiations, the possibility of explaining the appearance of acrasia by recourse to self-deception, as well as the proof that weakness of will in everyday life is typically characterized by (non-acratic) weakness of intention, increase the plausibility of these concepts considerably.


Julius Schälike is a research assistant at the Philosophy Department at the University of Konstanz.

He has published or is in preparation on the topic:

(2002) Wishes, Values ​​and Morals. Draft of an action-theoretical and ethical internalism. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann (180 p., Ct., € 25.—).

(2004) weak will and self-deception. On the rationality of the irrational and the relationship between motivation and evaluation, in: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 52, 362-380.

(2005), Irrational Mental Causality and Practical Norms A Priori. Donald Davidson's analysis of weak will and self-deception, in: Journal for Philosophical Research 59, 22-48.

(2006), Who Is Afraid of Distant Possible Worlds? Smithean and Moorean Counterfactual Analyzes of Responsibility, Capacity, and Control. MS.


Edited volumes:

Spitzley, Th.(Ed.) (2005): Weakness of will., Paderborn: Mentis (234 pp., Ct., € 22.80). (Contains Wolf 1985 as well as German translations by Platon, Aristoteles, Hare 1963, Davidson 1969 and 1982, Watson 1977, among others).

Stroud, S./Ch. Tappolet (ed.) (2003): Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality. Oxford: Clarendon Press (328 p., £ 40.-).

Books and essays:

Austin, J. L. (1957): A Plea for Excuses, in: ders., Philosophical Papers. Oxford: Oxford University Press 1979, 123-152 (316 p., £ 16.—)

Davidson, D. (1969): How is Weakness of the Will Possible ?, in: ders., Essays on Actions and Events 1980, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 21–42 (308 p., Pbk., £ 15.- )

Davidson, D. (1982): Paradoxes of Irrationality, in: R. Wollheim / J. Hopkins (ed.), Philosophical Essays on Freud. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1982, 289-305 (328 p., Out of print).

Hare, R. M. (1963): Freedom and Reason. Oxford: Oxford University Press (236 p., Pbk., £ 23.—).

Holton, R. (1999): Intention and Weakness of Will, in: The Journal of Philosophy 96, 241-262.

Holton, R. (2003): How is Strength of Will Possible ?, in: Stroud / Tappolet 2003, 39-67.

Kenny, A. (1979): Aristotle’s Theory of the Will. London: Duckworth (181 p., Out of print).

Mele, A.R. (1987): Irrationality. An Essay on Akrasia, Self-Deception, and Self-Control. Oxford: Oxford University Press (224 p., £ 19.95).

Pears, D. (1984): Motivated Irrationality. Oxford: Saint Augustine’s Press (287 pp. £ 28.—).

Roughley, N. (2005): “Three Ways of Willing Weakly”. MS.

Roughley, N. (2006): Weakness of Will and Being a Person, 2006, in: F. Kannetzky / H. Tegtmeyer (ed.), Personality. Leipzig writings on philosophy 18. Universitätsverlag Leipzig (forthcoming).

Smith, M. (2003): Rational Capacities, or: How to Distinguish Recklessness, Weakness, and Compulsion, in: ders., Ethics and the Apriori. Selected Essays on Moral Psychology and Meta-Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 114-135 (388 p., Pbk., € 35.90).

Spitzley, Th. (1992): Acting against your better judgment. A discussion of classic positions. Berlin: de Gruyter (XII, 241 pp., Ln., € 91.—).

Watson, G. (1977): Skepticism about Weakness of Will, in: Philosophical Review 86, 316-339.

Watson, G. (1999): Disordered Appetites: Addiction, Compulsion, and Dependency, in: ders., Agency and Answerability. Selected essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2004, 59-87 (387 p., Pbk., £ 21.—).

Wolf, U. (1985): On the problem of weak will, in: Journal for philosophical research 39, 21-33.