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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 84, Issue 1, Winter 2010

Michael Barnwell
Pages 49-67

Aquinas’s Two Different Accounts of Akrasia

Aquinas’s analyses of akrasia can be divided into two: the discussions in his theological works and his Ethics commentary. The latter has sometimes been regarded as merely repetitive of Aristotle and unrepresentative of Aquinas’s own thoughts. As such, little attention has been paid to the specific, and sometimes significant, differences between the two treatments and to what those differences might mean. This paper remedies this situation by focusing on four such differences. I ultimately provide rationales for these differences, thereby arguing for the consistency of the two treatments and the importance of consulting Aquinas’s Ethics commentary to gain a full appreciation of his view of akrasia. Using this strategy, the paper concludes with a controversial suggestion regarding the structure of the weak akratic’s reasoning.

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