Post-Kantian European Philosophy Seminar Week 2 HT18

Post-Kantian Seminar

Immanuel Kant

Speaker:  Matt Burch (Essex)

Title: 'Varieties of Failed Action: A Heideggerian Approach'


Contemporary debates about weakness of will have generated what seem to be irresolvable disagreements. For example, some maintain that, strictly speaking, it’s impossible to act intentionally against one’s better judgment, and so we ought to understand weak-willed acts as failures of agential control for which it’s inappropriate to blame agents or to hold them accountable. To the contrary, others argue that this exculpatory logic flies in the face of our everyday moral practices regarding weak-willed failures, and that weakness of will is best understood as a species of full-blown intentional action. In this presentation, I will argue that such protracted disagreements about weakness of will result from the fact that none of the approaches to agency represented in these debates quite does justice to the phenomena under discussion. As an alternative, then, I propose a Heideggerian approach to agency that saves the target phenomena without falling prey to the weaknesses of the other available views. 


Convenors: Dr Joseph Schear, Dr Manuel Dries, and Prof Mark Wrathall

Webpage: Post-Kantian European Philosophy