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  1. Agency in Mental Disorder: Philosophical Dimensions.Matt King & Josh May (eds.) - 2022 - Oxford University Press.
    How exactly do mental disorders affect one’s agency? How might therapeutic interventions help patients regain or improve their autonomy? Do only some disorders excuse morally inappropriate behavior, such as theft or child neglect? Or is there nothing about having a disorder, as such, that affects whether we ought to praise or blame someone for their moral success or failure? Our volume gathers together empirically-informed philosophers who are well equipped to tackle such questions. Contributors specialize in free will, agency, and responsibility, (...)
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  • Harnessing Moral Psychology to Reduce Meat Consumption.Joshua May & Victor Kumar - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
    How can we make moral progress on factory farming? Part of the answer lies in human moral psychology. Meat consumption remains high, despite increased awareness of its negative impact on animal welfare. Weakness of will is part of the explanation: acceptance of the ethical arguments doesn’t always motivate changes in dietary habits. However, we draw on scientific evidence to argue that many consumers aren’t fully convinced that they morally ought to reduce their meat consumption. We then identify two key psychological (...)
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  • Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind.Joshua May - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    The burgeoning science of ethics has produced a trend toward pessimism. Ordinary moral thought and action, we’re told, are profoundly influenced by arbitrary factors and ultimately driven by unreasoned feelings. This book counters the current orthodoxy on its own terms by carefully engaging with the empirical literature. The resulting view, optimistic rationalism, shows the pervasive role played by reason, and ultimately defuses sweeping debunking arguments in ethics. The science does suggest that moral knowledge and virtue don’t come easily. However, despite (...)
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  • Akrasia and Moral Motivation.Sam Shpall - 2022 - European Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):411-426.
    Offers a distinctive take on the motivation problem by way of an analysis of akrasia and the nature of rationality.
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  • Beliefs About the True Self Explain Asymmetries Based on Moral Judgment.George E. Newman, Julian De Freitas & Joshua Knobe - 2015 - Cognitive Science 39 (1):96-125.
    Past research has identified a number of asymmetries based on moral judgments. Beliefs about what a person values, whether a person is happy, whether a person has shown weakness of will, and whether a person deserves praise or blame seem to depend critically on whether participants themselves find the agent's behavior to be morally good or bad. To date, however, the origins of these asymmetries remain unknown. The present studies examine whether beliefs about an agent's “true self” explain these observed (...)
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  • Self‐Control as a Normative Capacity.Annemarie Kalis - 2018 - Ratio 31 (S1):65-80.
    Recently, two apparent truisms about self-control have been questioned in both the philosophical and the psychological literature: the idea that exercising self-control involves an agent doing something, and the idea that self-control is a good thing. Both assumptions have come under threat because self-control is increasingly understood as a mental mechanism, and mechanisms cannot possibly be good or active in the required sense. However, I will argue that it is not evident that self-control should be understood as a mechanism, suggesting (...)
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  • Consistent Belief in a Good True Self in Misanthropes and Three Interdependent Cultures.Julian De Freitas, Hagop Sarkissian, George E. Newman, Igor Grossmann, Felipe De Brigard, Andres Luco & Joshua Knobe - 2018 - Cognitive Science 42 (S1):134-160.
    People sometimes explain behavior by appealing to an essentialist concept of the self, often referred to as the true self. Existing studies suggest that people tend to believe that the true self is morally virtuous; that is deep inside, every person is motivated to behave in morally good ways. Is this belief particular to individuals with optimistic beliefs or people from Western cultures, or does it reflect a widely held cognitive bias in how people understand the self? To address this (...)
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  • The Nature of Temptation and its Role in the Development of Moral Virtue.Kevin Snider - 2021 - Dissertation, Middlesex University
    In the last 70 years there has been an explosion of philosophical and theological work on the nature of virtue and the process of virtue formation. Yet philosophers and theologians have paid little attention to the phenomenon of temptation and its role in developing virtue. Indeed, little analytic work has been done on the nature of temptation. This study aims to fill this gap in moral philosophy and theology by offering an analytic moral conception of temptation and explicating its connection (...)
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  • What’s Inside is All That Counts? The Contours of Everyday Thinking About Self-Control.Juan Pablo Bermúdez, Samuel Murray, Louis Chartrand & Sergio Barbosa - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-23.
    Does self-control require willpower? The question cuts to the heart of a debate about whether self-control is identical with some psychological process internal to the agents or not. Noticeably absent from these debates is systematic evidence about the folk-psychological category of self-control. Here, we present the results of two behavioral studies (N = 296) that indicate the structure of everyday thinking about self-control. In Study 1, participants rated the degree to which different strategies to respond to motivational conflict exemplify self-control. (...)
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  • Experimental Philosophy.Joshua Knobe, Wesley Buckwalter, Shaun Nichols, Philip Robbins, Hagop Sarkissian & Tamler Sommers - 2012 - Annual Review of Psychology 63 (1):81-99.
    Experimental philosophy is a new interdisciplinary field that uses methods normally associated with psychology to investigate questions normally associated with philosophy. The present review focuses on research in experimental philosophy on four central questions. First, why is it that people's moral judgments appear to influence their intuitions about seemingly nonmoral questions? Second, do people think that moral questions have objective answers, or do they see morality as fundamentally relative? Third, do people believe in free will, and do they see free (...)
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  • The Future of Moral Responsibility and Desert.Jay Spitzley - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (4):977-997.
    Most contemporary accounts of moral responsibility take desert to play a central role in the nature of moral responsibility. It is also assumed that desert is a backward-looking concept that is not directly derivable from any forward-looking or consequentialist considerations, such as whether blaming an agent would deter the agent from performing similar bad actions in the future. When determining which account of moral responsibility is correct, proponents of desert-based accounts often take intuitions about cases to provide evidence either in (...)
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  • I Knew I Shouldn’T Do It; But I Did It: Davidson on Causal Strength and Weakness of Will.Rafael Martins - 2019 - Investigação Filosófica 10 (2):05-20.
    Reasons for action is a widely employed methodology in practical philosophy, and especially in moral philosophy. Reasons are facts that explain and justify actions. But, conceptually, if reasons were causes, incontinent actions would be impossible. When an agent ranks an evaluation about what to do as his best judgement, it entails that he has a reason for acting as that judgement prescribes. But when an agent acts incontinently, he acts in accordance to an intention that is not aligned with his (...)
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  • Rolling Back the Luck Problem for Libertarianism.Zac Cogley - 2015 - Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (1):121-137.
    I here sketch a reply to Peter van Inwagen’s Rollback Argument, which suggests that libertarian accounts of free agency are beset by problems involving luck. Van Inwagen imagines an indeterministic agent whose universe is repeatedly ‘rolled back’ by God to the time of her choice. Since the agent’s choice is indeterministic, her choices are sometimes di erent in the imaginary rollback scenarios. I show that although this is true, this need not impair her control over what she does. I develop (...)
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  • Weakness of Will and Motivational Internalism.Voin Milevski - 2017 - Philosophical Psychology 30 (1-2):44-57.
    The unconditional version of motivational internalism says that if an agent sincerely judges that to φ in circumstances C is the best option available to her, then, as a matter of conceptual necessity, she will be motivated to φ in C. This position faces a powerful counterargument according to which it is possible for various cases of practical irrationality to completely defeat an agent’s moral motivation while, at the same time, leaving her appreciation of her moral reasons intact. In this (...)
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  • Empirical Work in Moral Psychology.Joshua May - 2017 - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Provides an overview of empirical research relevant to philosophical questions about moral thought, feeling, reasoning, and motivation. Topics include: free will and moral responsibility, egoism and altruism, moral judgment and motivation, weakness and strength of will, moral intuitions, and moral knowledge. [Originally published in 2012. Updated and expanded in 2017.].
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  • Addiction, Compulsion, and Weakness of the Will: A Dual Process Perspective.Edmund Henden - 2017 - In Nick Heather Gabriel Segal (ed.), Addiction and Choice. Rethinking the Relationship. pp. 116-132.
    How should addictive behavior be explained? In terms of neurobiological illness and compulsion, or as a choice made freely, even rationally, in the face of harmful social or psychological circumstances? Some of the disagreement between proponents of the prevailing medical models and choice models in the science of addiction centres on the notion of “loss of control” as a normative characterization of addiction. In this article I examine two of the standard interpretations of loss of control in addiction, one according (...)
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  • The Good in Happiness.Jonathan Phillips, Sven Nyholm & Shen-yi Liao - 2014 - In Tania Lombrozo, Shaun Nichols & Joshua Knobe (eds.), Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, Volume 1. Oxford University Press. pp. 253–293.
    There has been a long history of arguments over whether happiness is anything more than a particular set of psychological states. On one side, some philosophers have argued that there is not, endorsing a descriptive view of happiness. Affective scientists have also embraced this view and are reaching a near consensus on a definition of happiness as some combination of affect and life-satisfaction. On the other side, some philosophers have maintained an evaluative view of happiness, on which being happy involves (...)
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  • What Would a Deontic Logic of Internal Reasons Look Like?Rufus Duits - 2016 - Symposion: Theoretical and Applied Inquiries in Philosophy and Social Sciences 3 (4):351-373.
    The so-called ‘central problem’ of internalism has been formulated like this: one cannot concurrently maintain the following three philosophical positions without inconsistency: internalism about practical reason, moral rationalism, and moral absolutism. Since internalism about practical reason is the most controversial of these, the suggestion is that it is the one that is best abandoned. In this paper, I point towards a response to this problem by sketching a deontic logic of internal reasons that deflates moral normativity to the normativity of (...)
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  • Bridging the Gap Between Ethical Theory and Practice in Medicine: A Constructivist Grounded Theory Study.Mansure Madani, AbouAli Vedadhir, Bagher Larijani, Zahra Khazaei & Ahad Faramarz Gharamaleki - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (2):1-21.
    Physicians try hard to alleviate mental and physical ailments of their patients. Thus, they are heavily burdened by observing ethics and staying well-informed while improving health of their patients. A major ethical concern or dilemma in medication is that some physicians know their behavior is unethical, yet act against their moral compass. This study develops models of theory–practice gap, offering optimal solutions for the gap. These solutions would enhance self-motivation or remove external obstacles to stimulate ethical practices in medicine. The (...)
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  • Explaining Addiction: How Far Does the Reward Account of Motivation Take Us?Jeanette Kennett & Doug McConnell - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (5):470 - 489.
    ABSTRACT Choice theorists such as George Ainslie and Gene Heyman argue that the drug-seeking behaviour of addicts is best understood in the same terms that explain everyday choices. Everyday choices, they claim, aim to maximise the reward from available incentives. Continuing drug-use is, therefore, what addicts most want given the incentives they are aware of but they will change their behaviour if and when better incentives become available. This model might explain many typical cases of addiction, but there are hard (...)
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  • From Reflex to Reflection: Moving From the Space of Causes to the Space of Reasons and Back.Ariel Furstenberg - 2020 - Open Philosophy 3 (1):681-693.
    This article proposes to narrow the gap between the space of reasons and the space of causes. By articulating the standard phenomenology of reasons and causes, we investigate the cases in which the clear-cut divide between reasons and causes starts to break down. Thus, substituting the simple picture of the relationship between the space of reasons and the space of causes with an inverted and complex one, in which reasons can have a causal-like phenomenology and causes can have a reason-like (...)
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  • Bridging the Gap Between Ethical Theory and Practice in Medicine: A Constructivist Grounded Theory Study.Mansure Madani, AbouAli Vedadhir, Bagher Larijani, Zahra Khazaei & Ahad Faramarz Gharamaleki - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (4):2255-2275.
    Physicians try hard to alleviate mental and physical ailments of their patients. Thus, they are heavily burdened by observing ethics and staying well-informed while improving health of their patients. A major ethical concern or dilemma in medication is that some physicians know their behavior is unethical, yet act against their moral compass. This study develops models of theory–practice gap, offering optimal solutions for the gap. These solutions would enhance self-motivation or remove external obstacles to stimulate ethical practices in medicine. The (...)
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  • Weakness of Will, Reasonability, and Compulsion.James R. Beebe - 2013 - Synthese 190 (18):4077-4093.
    Experimental philosophers have recently begun to investigate the folk conception of weakness of will (e.g., Mele in Philos Stud 150:391–404, 2010; May and Holton in Philos Stud 157:341–360, 2012; Beebe forthcoming; Sousa and Mauro forthcoming). Their work has focused primarily on the ways in which akrasia (i.e., acting contrary to one’s better judgment), unreasonable violations of resolutions, and variations in the moral valence of actions modulate folk attributions of weakness of will. A key finding that has emerged from this research (...)
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  • On the Very Concept of Free Will.Joshua May - 2014 - Synthese 191 (12):2849-2866.
    Determinism seems to rule out a robust sense of options but also prevent our choices from being a matter of luck. In this way, free will seems to require both the truth and falsity of determinism. If the concept of free will is coherent, something must have gone wrong. I offer a diagnosis on which this puzzle is due at least in part to a tension already present in the very idea of free will. I provide various lines of support (...)
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  • Resolutions, Salient Reasons, and Weakness of Will.Christa M. Johnson - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5115-5138.
    Traditionally, weakness of will has been identified with an agent acting contrary to her better judgment, or akrasia. Recent empirical findings, however, have led many to conclude that the folk concept of WOW is not amenable to necessary and sufficient conditions. To this end, it has been argued that WOW attributions point to a cluster concept :341–360, 2012), a disjunctive account of WOW as either judgment or resolution violation :391–404, 2010), and a two-tiered account including both failures to adhere to (...)
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  • Akratic Action Under the Guise of the Good.Eugene Chislenko - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (5):606-621.
    Many philosophers have thought that human beings do or pursue only what we see as good. These “guise-of-the-good” views face powerful challenges and counterexamples, such as akratic action, in which we do what we ourselves believe we ought not do. I propose a new way for guise-of-the-good views to address this central counterexample by appealing to conflicting beliefs. I then answer concerns that this appeal is insufficiently explanatory, attributes too much conflict, leaves out an essential asymmetry in action against one’s (...)
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  • Hypocrisy: What Counts?Mark Alicke, Ellen Gordon & David Rose - 2012 - Philosophical Psychology (5):1-29.
    Hypocrisy is a multi-faceted concept that has been studied empirically by psychologists and discussed logically by philosophers. In this study, we pose various behavioral scenarios to research participants and ask them to indicate whether the actor in the scenario behaved hypocritically. We assess many of the components that have been considered to be necessary for hypocrisy (e.g., the intent to deceive, self-deception), factors that may or may not be distinguished from hypocrisy (e.g., weakness of will), and factors that may moderate (...)
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  • Non-Psychological Weakness of Will: Self-Control, Stereotypes, and Consequences.Mathieu Doucet & John Turri - 2014 - Synthese 191 (16):3935-3954.
    Prior work on weakness of will has assumed that it is a thoroughly psychological phenomenon. At least, it has assumed that ordinary attributions of weakness of will are purely psychological attributions, keyed to the violation of practical commitments by the weak-willed agent. Debate has recently focused on which sort of practical commitment, intention or normative judgment, is more central to the ordinary concept of weakness of will. We report five experiments that significantly advance our understanding of weakness of will attributions (...)
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  • Pushing the Intuitions Behind Moral Internalism.Derek Leben & Kristine Wilckens - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (4):510-528.
    Moral Internalism proposes a necessary link between judging that an action is right/wrong and being motivated to perform/avoid that action. Internalism is central to many arguments within ethics, including the claim that moral judgments are not beliefs, and the claim that certain types of moral skepticism are incoherent. However, most of the basis for accepting Internalism rests on intuitions that have recently been called into question by empirical work. This paper further investigates the intuitions behind Internalism. Three experiments show not (...)
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  • The ordinary concept of weakness of will.Ali Yousefi Heris - 2020 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 19 (1):123-139.
    Recently, a number of experimental philosophers have converged on the position that the ordinary concept of weakness of will does not solely consist in “judgment” or “intention” violation but is more like a cluster concept in which each factor plays contributory roles in the application of the concept. This, however, raises the question as to which factor is more central or plays a more significant role in folk’s understanding of the concept. I contend that the ordinary concept of weakness of (...)
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  • Does Disgust Influence Moral Judgment?Joshua May - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (1):125-141.
    Recent empirical research seems to show that emotions play a substantial role in moral judgment. Perhaps the most important line of support for this claim focuses on disgust. A number of philosophers and scientists argue that there is adequate evidence showing that disgust significantly influences various moral judgments. And this has been used to support or undermine a range of philosophical theories, such as sentimentalism and deontology. I argue that the existing evidence does not support such arguments. At best it (...)
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  • The ordinary concept of weakness of will.Ali Yousefi Heris - 2019 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 8 (1):123-139.
    Recently, a number of experimental philosophers have converged on the position that the ordinary concept of weakness of will does not solely consist in “judgment” or “intention” violation but is more like a cluster concept in which each factor plays contributory roles in the application of the concept. This, however, raises the question as to which factor is more central or plays a more significant role in folk’s understanding of the concept. I contend that the ordinary concept of weakness of (...)
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  • The Evaluative Nature of the Folk Concepts of Weakness and Strength of Will.Paulo Sousa & Carlos Mauro - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (4):487-509.
    This article examines the evaluative nature of the folk concepts of weakness and strength of will and hypothesizes that their evaluative nature is strongly connected to the folk concepts of blame and credit. We probed how people apply the concepts of weakness and strength of will to prototypical and non-prototypical scenarios. While regarding prototypical scenarios the great majority applied these concepts according to the predictions following from traditional philosophical analyses. When presented with non-prototypical scenarios, people were divided. Some, against traditional (...)
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  • What is the Link Between Regret and Weakness of Will?Mathieu Doucet - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (3):448-461.
    This paper argues that most contemporary accounts of weakness of will either implicitly or explicitly assume that regret is a typical or even necessary element of standard cases of weakness of will and that this assumption is mistaken. I draw on empirical and philosophical work on self-assessment to show that regret need not accompany typical weak-willed behavior, and that we should therefore revise the dominant account of the difference between weakness of will and changes of mind.
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  • Self-Control and Mechanisms of Behavior: Why Self-Control is Not a Natural Mental Kind.Marcela Herdova - 2017 - Philosophical Psychology 30 (6):731-762.
    In this paper, I argue for two main hypotheses. First, that self-control is not a natural mental kind and, second, that there is no dedicated mechanism of self-control. By the first claim, I simply mean that those behaviors we label as “self-controlled” are a somewhat arbitrarily selected hodgepodge that do not have anything in common that distinguishes them from other behaviors. In other words, self-control is a gerrymandered property that does not correspond to a natural mental or psychological kind. By (...)
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  • Weakness of Will.Sarah Stroud - 2008 - In Edward Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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