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Abigail Bruxvoort

Abstract

Folk psychology holds that resolving to do something is effective in resisting temptation. What is a resolution? Resolutions are often understood as two-tier intentions or an intention-desire pair. However, both accounts of resolution are subject to a problem. Why should we expect the second-order aspect of resolutions to resist temptation? Even if we posit that we have additional or independent reasons for the second-order intention or desire, these reasons will be insufficient in the face of temptation, because temptation makes one’s reasons for acting on tempting desires very salient. From the first-person perspective there is no neutral deliberative space from which to take stock of reasons when being tempted. I conclude that rationally resisting temptation instead requires forestalling temptation through the practical virtue of resolve. Resolve understood as a virtue involves dispositions to deliberate and desire in accordance with one’s resolutions.

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Articles