Single Idea 5253

[catalogued under 20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / d. Weakness of will]

Full Idea

Socrates thought it a shocking idea that when a man actually has knowledge in him something else should overmaster it, ..but this is glaringly inconsistent with the observed facts.


'akrasia' is weakness of will (incontinence, lack of control)

Gist of Idea

Socrates was shocked by the idea of akrasia, but observation shows that it happens


comment on Socrates (reports of career [c.420 BCE]) by Aristotle - Nichomachean Ethics 1145b24

Book Reference

Aristotle: 'Ethics (Nicomachean)', ed/tr. ThomsonJ A K/TredennickH [Penguin 1976], p.228

A Reaction

Aristotle seems very confident, but it is not at all clear (even to the agent) what is going on when apparent weakness of will occurs (e.g. breaking a diet). What exactly does the agent believe at the moment of weakness?