Autonomy, Self-Control, and Weakness of Will

Alfred R. Mele

in The Oxford Handbook of Free Will

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780195178548
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 Autonomy, Self-Control, and Weakness of Will

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This article defends a nonstandard position on free will that is based on three topics linked to contemporary debates about free will: autonomy, self-control, and weakness of will. It argues that autonomy, and hence also free will, requires more than self-control, including ideal self-control. It considers the additional conditions required, showing how contemporary discussions of autonomy are intertwined with debates about free will. These additional conditions for genuine autonomy do not require us to choose between compatibilist and incompatibilist accounts of autonomy, because one can give a “robust, satisfiable” set of adequate conditions for both compatibilist autonomy and incompatibilist autonomy. One can thus remain agnostic on the Compatibility Question regarding autonomy and free will without giving up the belief that there are autonomous human beings. This view is called “agnostic autonomism”.

Keywords: free will; self-control; compatibilism; incompatibilism; agnostic autonimism

Article.  9234 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics

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