Crucible of Reason
Intentional Action, Practical Rationality, and Weakness of Will
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Paperback / softback
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Number of Pages: 320
Width: 16.5 cm
Height: 22.8 cm
Weakness of will seems to be an inherent part of the human condition. We know what we ought to do and how often we knowingly, willingly fall short in actual practice. How can this be explained and what challenges does it present to systematic explanations of intentional actions? In this clear, incisive and well written inquiry, philosopher Keith Wyma subjects the thought of three prominent intentional theorists, R.M.Hare, Donald Davidson and Thomas Aquinas, to the crucible of reason to see whether and how they can account for weakness of will. Wyma is careful to clarify which actions count as incontinent or the result of weakness of will; they must be performed intentionally even as they are judged as something that ought not to be done. His in-depth study of Hare, Davidson and Aquinas on this important issue is a major contribution to understanding practical rationality and intentional action.
Wyma's book is an exemplary treatment both of the recent history of a philosophical problem and of the problem itself. He shows us how to learn from Hare, Davidson, and their critics, and then to move beyond them, finding resources in Aquinas that contribute powerfully to his impressive argument. Anyone interested either in moral philosophy or in the philosophy of action will find this book unusually rewarding. -- Alasdair MacIntyre, research professor in philosophy, University of Notre Dame