Understanding Strength of Will

In Fabio Bacchini Massimo Dell'Utri & Stefano Caputo (eds.), New Advances in Causation, Agency, and Moral Responsibility. Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 165-178 (2014)
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Richard Holton has presented an important criticism of two prominent accounts of action, a criticism that employs a notion of strength of will. Holton claims that these well-known accounts of action cannot explain cases in which an agent adheres to the dictates of a previous resolution in spite of a persistent desire to the contrary. In this chapter, I present an explanation and defense of Holton’s criticism of these accounts of action, and then I argue that while Holton highlights a crucial deficiency in both, his own explanation of strength of will is problematic.

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Michael Brent
Columbia University (PhD)


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