Richard Holton

in Willing, Wanting, Waiting

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780199214570
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191706547 | DOI:

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Philosophers frequently draw a distinction between cases standard temptation, that does not impugn agency, and addictive temptation, that does. This chapter concedes that there is an important distinction between the two cases, but argues that it had been misconceived. First, following empirical work by Rachel Karniol and Dale Miller, it argues that succumbing to standard temptation typically involves a judgment shift: by a cognitive dissonance effect, the agent comes to value the tempting alternative over the others. Second, it argues that addictive temptations are not irresistible; rather, following, and developing, empirical work by Kent Berridge, it is argued that they involve a decoupling of judgment and wanting. The upshot is two-fold. First, that since both of these features may be present to a greater or lesser extent, the distinction between standard and addictive temptation is not an exclusive one: many cases may involve some of each. Second, in neither case will judgment be powerful to resist temptation. Resistance must come from some other source.

Keywords: addiction; compulsion; judgement shift; cognitive dissonance; Rachel Karniol; Dale Miller; Kent Berridge

Chapter.  6074 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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