This article examines the evaluative nature of the folk concepts of weakness and strength of will and hypothesizes that their evaluative nature is strongly connected to the folk concepts of blame and credit. We probed how people apply the concepts of weakness and strength of will to prototypical and non-prototypical scenarios. While regarding prototypical scenarios the great majority applied these concepts according to the predictions following from traditional philosophical analyses, when presented with non-prototypical scenarios, people were divided. Some, against traditional analyses, did not apply these concepts, which we explain in terms of a clash of evaluations involving different sorts of blame and credit. Others applied them according to traditional analyses, which we explain in terms of a disposition to be reflective and clearly set apart the different sorts of blame and credit involved. Still others applied them in an inverse way, seemingly bypassing the traditional components resolution and best judgment, which we explain in terms of a reinterpretation of the scenarios driven by an assumption that everyone knows deep inside that the best thing to do is to act morally. This division notwithstanding, we claim that our results are largely supportive of traditional analyses (qua analyses of folk concepts).
- weakness of will, strength of will, blame, credit, folk psychology, evaluative judgments