Spinoza's account of akrasia

Journal of the History of Philosophy 44 (3):395-414 (2006)
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Abstract

: Perhaps the central problem which preoccupies Spinoza as a moral philosopher is the conflict between reason and passion. He belongs to a long tradition that sees the key to happiness and virtue as mastery and control by reason over the passions. This mastery, however, is hard won, as the passions often overwhelm its power and subvert its rule. When reason succumbs to passion, we act against our better judgment. Such action is often termed 'akratic'. Many commentators have complained that the psychological principles that Spinoza appeals to in his account of akrasia are mere ad hoc modifications to his philosophical psychology. I show, on the contrary, that these principles follow from some of the most important and interesting aspects of Spinoza's philosophy of mind

Author's Profile

Martin Lin
Rutgers University - New Brunswick

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