<i>Akrasia</i> and the Apparent Good

Jessica Moss

in Aristotle on the Apparent Good

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199656349
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191742156 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Aristotle Studies Series

Akrasia and the Apparent Good

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This chapter focuses on phantasia’s role in appetites, and in particular in Aristotle’s account of akrasia, weakness of will (acting on appetite against rational desire). This chapter uses Chapter 3’s analysis of the apparent good to show that the de Anima contains an overlooked account of akrasia: the akratic is torn between a rational desire for what she judges good, and an appetite for what appears good to her phantasia. The chapter then argues that recognizing this account helps us to solve the interpretative problems that have plagued the more famous account in the ethical works: once we realize that akrasia involves a cognitive conflict similar to that involved in optical illusions, we can use Aristotle’s discussion of illusion in the de Insomniis to show why and how phantasia sometimes wins out over intellect.

Keywords: akrasia; weakness of will; phantasia; Nicomachean Ethics VII.3; illusion; de Insomniis

Chapter.  19338 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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