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Agency and ResponsibilityA Common-Sense Moral Psychology$
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Jeanette Kennett

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199266302

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199266302.001.0001

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Humean Accounts of Reasons and Motivation: Davidson and Decision Theory 1

Humean Accounts of Reasons and Motivation: Davidson and Decision Theory 1

(p.39) 3 Humean Accounts of Reasons and Motivation: Davidson and Decision Theory1
Agency and Responsibility

Jeanette Kennett

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Humean accounts. It first examines Donald Davidson's distinctly Humean account of reasons for action in his paper ‘How is the Weakness of the Will Possible?’, and looks into his characterization of practical reasoning and weakness of will. It then investigates the possibility argued for by Jackson, Biglow, Dods, and Pargeter, that the akratic conflict is not what the folk theorists thought it was, and that the problem does not arise. However, the chapter argues that these alternative constructions of akrasia, with their explicitly reductive view of evaluation, do not succeed in capturing the phenomenon they set out to explain. The chapter concludes that the conceptual resources available to Humeans are too thin to enable them to sufficiently address the issue of justification to explain and distinguish the various failures of agency that are of main concern.

Keywords:   akratic conflict, akrasia, Donald Davidson, Jackson, Biglow, Dods, weakness of will, Humeanism, Pargeter

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