Weakness and Compulsion

Alfred R. Mele

in Backsliding

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199896134
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949533 | DOI:
Weakness and Compulsion

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Some readers may worry that until we know how alleged weak-willed actions differ from compelled (hence unfree) actions contrary to the agent’s better judgment, we should not believe that weak-willed actions occur. This chapter shows that the worry is seriously inflated. It is argued that the leading arguments for the thesis that no actions that conflict with our better judgments can be free are unpersuasive. The chapter also identifies significant problems that any philosopher who endeavors to defend that thesis will encounter, and it sketches various ways of distinguishing between compelled actions contrary to one’s better judgment and weak-willed actions. The chapter reviews libertarian, semicompatibilist, and traditional compatibilist positions on the nature of free will.

Keywords: compatibilism; compelled actions; free will; libertarianism; semicompatibilism; weak-willed action

Chapter.  7743 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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