Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality

By Sarah Stroud; Christine Tappolet | Go to book overview

6Accidie, Evaluation, and Motivation

Accidie seems to be a phenomenon in which evaluation and motivation come completely apart; someone who suffers from accidie supposedly still accepts that various things are good or valuable, but is not motivated to pursue any of them. This kind of phenomenon seems to be devastating for theories of practical reason that aim to maintain a tight connection between motivation and evaluation, and, in particular, for any theory according to which judging something to be good or valuable necessarily gives rise to a corresponding desire in the agent. 1 In this chapter I will look into what I call 'scholastic views' of practical reason, views that postulate quite a strong connection between motivation and evaluation. I will actually focus on an 'extreme' version of the view, one according to which motivation and evaluation are somehow identified. I will argue that phenomena such as accidie do not pose a threat even to such an extreme version of the scholastic view. I will argue that these versions of a scholastic view can not only account for the phenomenon, but they might help us understand in which ways accidie may be a form of irrationality. If all this is correct, there is no reason to think that such phenomena present a threat to the general view that motivational states

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