Is the Contemporary Account of Weakness of Will Complete?

Document Type : Research Paper


Ph.D. Student at National Taras Shevchenko University


Before an outstanding article in 1999 by Richard Holton, weakness of will was identified as an agent's action contrary to his or her better judgment, while other better choices are available. The contemporary account of weakness of will (i.e., Holton’s theory) explains it in terms of intention. Accordingly, weakness of will happens if an agent fails to stick to his or her previously formed intention unreasonably while he or she should. However, this account fails to explain all cases of weakness of will and never takes into account the different types of reasonable judgments as found in deontological theories. This paper suggests that although weakness of will can be explained in terms of intention, the object which the will refers to plays a key role in identifying a complete understanding of weakness of will.