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The Fall of Humanity: Weakness of the Will and Moral Responsibility in the Later Augustine

The Fall of Humanity: Weakness of the Will and Moral Responsibility in the Later Augustine

A. Pang-White, Ann (University of Scranton)

Medieval Philosophy and Theology 9 (2000)

Abstract

Akrasia (or, weakness of the will), often defined as “the moral state of agents who act against their better judgment”—a definition first given by Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics, depicts one of the most human of predicaments. We know what we ought to do, and we try. But, for one reason or other, we sometimes choose to act contrary to our better judgment.

Due to his widely read Confessions, St. Augustine of Hippo is often regarded as the champion of the doctrine of weakness of the will.

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