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Akrasia and the Self
AuthorPrice, Lisa Ann
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In this thesis I argue, contrary to the Socratic view, that akrasia is a real phenomenon. Human action can be motivated by cognitions that go beyond a person’s knowledge. In addition to the Aristotelian view that a person can act according to the relationship she has with some desire, or some object of desire, I argue that a person can also act according to the relationship that she has with herself. On the surface, akrasia does appear to be hedonistic. However, upon deeper analysis, when taking into account the phenomenological characteristics that accompany the akratic experience, I show that some forms or instances of akrasia may be akin to self-sabotage, self-punishment, and a disposition for self-abuse. Furthermore, I argue, in light of this new view, that some instances or forms of akrasia can be understood as manifestations of self-abuse that are caused by a person’s unconscious self-loathing.