, Volume 195, Issue 12, pp 5175–5195 | Cite as

An empirical solution to the puzzle of weakness of will

  • Julia HaasEmail author
S.I.: Neuroscience and Its Philosophy


This paper presents an empirical solution to the puzzle of weakness of will. Specifically, it presents a theory of action, grounded in contemporary cognitive neuroscientific accounts of decision making, that explains the phenomenon of weakness of will without resulting in a puzzle.


Philosophy of action Reinforcement learning Weakness of will 



I would like to thank Carl Craver, Peter Dayan, John Doris, Ursula Goldenbaum, Bryce Huebner, Colin Klein, Kathryn Lindeman, Robert McCauley, Shaun Nichols, Casey O’Callaghan, Richard Patterson, Elizabeth Schechter, and two anonymous referees for helpful discussions and comments. I’m also grateful to audiences at the 2014 Pacific American Philosophical Association poster session, and at the 2015 Self-prediction in Decision Theory and Artificial Intelligence Conference, for discussions of the material presented in this paper. Special thanks go to Benjamin Henke and Julia Staffel.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyRhodes CollegeMemphisUSA

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