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Akrasia in Greek Philosophy (Philosophia Antiqua) by Destrée, P. (ed.), Bobonich, Ch. (ed.), Christopher

By Destrée, P. (ed.), Bobonich, Ch. (ed.), Christopher Bobonich, Pierre Destree

The thirteen contributions of this collective provide new and difficult methods of analyzing recognized and extra overlooked texts on akrasia (lack of keep an eye on, or weak point of will) in Greek philosophy (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, Plotinus).

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Sample text

Those with strong appetites or passions are prevented from seeing the truth once the appetite or passions are enflamed and so are compelled by strong appetites or passions to see illicit pleasures or enjoyments as good. Others, who have not developed strong appetites or passions but who also do not have the craft of measurement, have either right or wrong opinion about their own good but their cognitive states are not determined by their conative dispositions. ’ If our argument in this paper is correct, those who fail to heed this advice are doomed ‘.

Otherwise the many would have to count as being ‘overcome by pleasure’ every instance in which an agent decides that it is in his interest to pursue something after he has been misinformed that it is not really, on balance, harmful. The many will rightly insist that the phenomenon to be explained occurs only when the agent’s information about the socrates on AKRASIA 9 pleasurable object remains the same and the agent nonetheless changes his assessment of the object’s value. We can make better sense of Socrates’ remarks, then, if we take him to mean that it is temporal proximity that helps explain when an object comes to have the power of appearance and that Socrates wants us to understand temporal proximity as analogous to spatial proximity.

Socrates disagrees with his successors over the possibility that virtue can exist together with strong, nonrational desire. According to Devereux, Socrates thinks they are compatible; Plato and Aristotle did not. Although we disagree with Devereux about this particular aspect of Socrates’ moral psychology, we nonetheless agree with him that there is an important difference between Socrates’ view, on the one hand, and those of Plato and Aristotle, on the other. The moral psychologies of Plato and Aristotle famously allow for the possibility of psychic stasis.

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