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Weak-willed Animals?

Author(s): Thomas Spitzley

Journal: Rationality, Markets and Morals
ISSN 1869-778X

Date: 2009;
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Keywords: weak will | rationality | language

The aim of this paper is to contribute to answering the conceptual question whether there can be weak-willed non-human animals. After some preliminary clarifications concerning the phenomenon of weakness of will three different accounts are examined for the conditions a being has to fulfill in order to be in a position to display weakness of will. It is argued that these conditions are very strong and that there are good reasons to assume that, e.g., only language users can be weak-willed. This is taken as an independent argument for Davidson's thesis that non-human animals which are not language users cannot act intentionally.
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