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dc.contributor.advisorDorsey, Dale
dc.contributor.authorGillette, Brandon
dc.date.accessioned2014-02-05T17:05:46Z
dc.date.available2014-02-05T17:05:46Z
dc.date.issued2013-12-31
dc.date.submitted2013
dc.identifier.otherhttp://dissertations.umi.com/ku:13114
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1808/13004
dc.description.abstractA number of persistent questions surround akrasia. Is akrasia (acting intentionally against one's own better judgment) possible? If it is, how best to explain akrasia in a way consistent with acceptable theories of normative motivation? I argue that akrasia is possible--in fact, akrasia is actual. Research in psychology and information science, suitably interpreted, contains an empirically informed account of akrasia that is consistent with the traditional philosophical concept of akrasia as notably explored by Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Hume, Hare, and Davidson. My account of akrasia appeals to our best current research in order to develop an account of how someone could have knowledge of the good without attending to that knowledge, or could make normative judgments that motivate, but that do not include all of the factors at play in a more complete normative judgment (i.e. better judgment) that would motivate the agent differently. Adopting this empirically informed account of akrasia requires abandoning positions that are incompatible with its existence. One such view is the view that normative judgments are necessarily connected to motivation (often called normative judgment internalism, or NJI). Drawing on works by Sarah Stroud and Ralph Wedgwood, I demonstrate that NJI can be amended to allow akrasia, long thought to be a straightforward counterexample to NJI, while preserving what is plausible about NJI. My account of akrasia is termed `cognitive akrasia' because I appeal to cognitive states as playing a central role in identifying and understanding akrasia. Preserving an amended NJI by means of a strongly cognitive understanding of akrasia means arguing against an opponent of NJI, which is normative judgment externalism (NJE). The most common form of NJE is Humean in character, and explains akrasia in terms of desiderative or other affective states. That is, one is akratic when one judges that A is better than B but has less desire to do A than B. My response to NJE as a view that explains akrasia is also empirically informed. I make use of clinical research into addiction and addiction treatment, because addiction has long been a fruitful source of examples of akrasia. Many addicts judge it better not to be addicts and yet occasionally or repeatedly fail to reform their addictive behavior. In this analysis, I provide a plausible family of everyday accounts of persons changing their behavior without changing their desires. I also point out that recent research indicates that specifically cognitive bias modification provides better clinical outcomes among addicts than approaches that attempt to change the addicts' desires. One important consequence of cognitive akrasia, then, is that it represents support for theories that hold that motivation can be a product of cognitive and not only affective states.
dc.format.extent156 pages
dc.language.isoen
dc.publisherUniversity of Kansas
dc.rightsThis item is protected by copyright and unless otherwise specified the copyright of this thesis/dissertation is held by the author.
dc.subjectPhilosophy
dc.subjectCognitive psychology
dc.subjectEthics
dc.subjectAkrAsia
dc.subjectInternalism
dc.subjectMoral motivation
dc.subjectMoral psychology
dc.subjectNormative judgment
dc.subjectWeakness of will
dc.titleCognitive Akrasia in Moral Psychology and Normative Motivation
dc.typeDissertation
dc.contributor.cmtememberEggleston, Ben
dc.contributor.cmtememberBricke, John
dc.contributor.cmtememberTuozzo, Tom
dc.contributor.cmtememberRobins, Sarah
dc.contributor.cmtememberRice, Mabel
dc.thesis.degreeDisciplinePhilosophy
dc.thesis.degreeLevelPh.D.
kusw.oastatusna
kusw.oapolicyThis item does not meet KU Open Access policy criteria.
dc.rights.accessrightsopenAccess


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