Akrasia, or weakness of will, is a complicated phenomenon. It may be best to describe it with an example than to offer a philosophical definition of it, which is sure to be controversial.
(WW) Merrie is convinced that is it, all things considered, better for her to study than to go to the party. Merrie freely goes to the party.
Some people have argued that, in light of the actuality of akrasia, compatibilism is false. “Compatibilists can’t handle cases like (WW),” it is said, “therefore, compatibilism is false.” I’m not sure these typical arguments succeed. The reason is simply due to a technical matter. Let me make that point first, then I’ll table it and address a contemporary expression of the argument against compatibilism from akrasia.
Here’s the problem with the above form of reasoning: (more…)