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Reason and Caring about in Akratic Action

Xue, Ying; (2022) Reason and Caring about in Akratic Action. Masters thesis (M.Phil.Stud), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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I shall focus on the following question: what is the relation between agents and their akratic action, in some complicated cases? I shall compare three routes: (1) akratic agents cannot be active, (2) akratic agents can act for good reasons, and (3) agents might care about their akratic action more than their better judgment. In Chapter 1, I shall explain the concept of akrasia and its irrational factors. In addition, I shall offer some cases to show the difficulties of understanding akrasia and the Irrational-passive Proposal’s shortcomings. In Chapter 2, I shall analyse Nomy Arpaly’s (2003) view on “inverse akrasia”, taking Huckleberry Finn’s case as an example, and argue that: it is plausible to say that deliberation is not necessary for responding to reasons. However, this Reason-responsive Proposal might fail to capture some interesting features of Huckleberry Finn’s case, especially the lack of the first-person justification. More details taken from the novel might show us an alternate interpretation. To set the stage for the alternative, in Chapter 3, I shall focus on two concepts offered by Harry Frankfurt (1988, 1999): caring about and volitional necessity. If their relative independence of desires and reason-responsiveness can be defended, this leaves room for a discrepancy between caring about and reason-responsiveness, which can be reduced to neither one between desires and reason-responsiveness, nor one within reason-responsiveness. In Chapter 4, I shall offer a proposal based on Chapter 3, and suggest that in some cases, agents act akratically because they do not care about their better judgments as much as they care about what their akratic action benefits. Then I shall use this Out-of-caring-about Proposal to interpret several cases to show its merits and features. In Chapter 5, I shall reply to some objections and mention one implication that the Out-of-caring-about Proposal might have.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.Phil.Stud
Title: Reason and Caring about in Akratic Action
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10142761
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