Holton's Theory Of Weakness Of Will

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May and Holton (2012) explain that early views identified weakness of will with akrasia, which is the state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgement. Later on, in a study by Holton (1999), he states that weakness of will consists of two distinct concepts: the first idea is violating one’s judgement (akrasia), and the second idea is violating a resolution; the actual concept of weakness of will in his opinion. Following this study, Mele (2010) conducts experiments that show weakness of will to be more than just a resolution-violation, which goes against the claims that Holton (1999) makes. And now, May and Holton (2012) address Holton’s (1999) and Mele’s (2010) studies to uncover what the definition of weakness of will is.…show more content…
To prove his study is more valid than Holton’s (1999), he conducts an empirical method (surveys) on the matter. Mele’s earlier studies involve asking ordinary people the meaning of “weakness of will”, and from this, the results favour his argument, and provides evidence against Holton’s belief that weakness of will only comes from resolution-violation. In a later study, he shows his subjects the vignette “Joe”, which tests a situation where there is a judgement-violation, but no resolution-violation. Mele (2010) then asks the subjects whether or not this counts as weakness of will, where a majority agreed that it is, once again favouring Mele’s (2010) argument. However, May and Holton (2012) claim that the “Joe” vignette does contain a resolution-violation, as Joe appears to set himself to decide to quit smoking but fails to decide to quit, which might look like a weakness of will to subjects, depending on their interpretation of the…show more content…
May and Holton also empirical methods in a pursuit to answer a conceptual question: what is meant by weakness of will? From the experiments they conducted, subjects agreed weakness of will is displayed in scenarios when both types of violations were present, they had a neutral response when only one of the violations were present and disagreed when neither were present. They then incorporated a moral valence aspect to test whether this affects subject’s attributions of weakness of will. Moral valence is the “good”-ness or “bad”-ness of a situation, for example, someone succumbing to go drunkenly bully people (bad) or watch a movie (good). If the vignette resulted with the protagonist succumbing to perform a negative valence, subjects would agree they demonstrated weakness of will. These results indicate that focusing on either resolution-violations or judgement-violations (or both) strictly is not right and that there are other variables that come into play when deciding whether weakness of will is present. After reviewing different definitions for weakness of will, May and Holton (2012) doubt that weakness of will has an actual definition. Therefore, May and Holton (2012) came to the conclusion that it is a cluster concept, meaning that there are more features to weakness of will than just the judgement-violation and the resolution-violation,
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