Locke and the Problem of Weakness of the Will

  • Richard GlauserEmail author


I defend three interconnected points relating to Locke’s discussion of akrasia in the Essay Concerning Human Understanding (II 21). First, insofar as Locke’s account of weakness of the will calls for some sort of freedom, the freedom required is freedom of thinking, not freedom of willing. Second, Locke’s conception of akrasia is relatively mild in that it does not involve a particularly deep form of practical irrationality. Third, although in the second and subsequent editions of the Essay Locke loosens the strong connection between judging and willing that was characteristic of the first edition, it is mistaken to claim that Locke entirely renounces intellectualism. What remains of intellectualism accounts for the mildness of Locke’s conception of akrasia.


Locke Akrasia/weakness of the will Action Irrationality Freedom 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of NeuchâtelNeuchâtelSwitzerland

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