Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 month ago

Please help me! define, analyze, and evaluate Aristotle's 'akrasia.' How does Aristotle's akrasia refute Socrates's ethical intellectualism?


why would this be revelant 

1 Answer

  • j153e
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Aristotle contrasts "being out of control" (akrasia) and "being in control" (enkrateia) much as Plato uses his line analogy to indicate the same two states of awareness:  Plato uses a cumulative or pyramidal line analogy, in which Eikasia (opinion as imagination) is the basic or default awareness; for Aristotle, one moves from being rational to being out of control as one moves into opinion.  E.g., Mary Sue imagines the dress makes her "look fat."  That is akrasia; when Mary Sue asks her bf or husband John, who lovingly has accompanied Mary Sue to the mall, "Does this dress make me look fat?", she is asking for John's more objective opinion based on visible evidence, i.e., what is on Plato's line building upon imagination:  belief based on visible evidence, called by Plato "Pistis."  John may say, "Of course not, Mary Sue," either truthfully in his opinion, which may be based in large part on his liking the more rotund female as normal for him, or diplomatically.  Or, if he is having a bad mall day, he might say, "Yes," or, if he's missing the Superbowl, "Yes, it makes you look fatter."

    So, when Mary Sue is making her decision to buy or not to buy, she may have a fondness for teal, which is the lovely color of the dress.  She's always fancied (imagined, in Aristotle-speak) that teal brings out her highlights.  So, if John says, "Yes, this particular dress makes you look fat," and Mary Sue goes ahead and buys it, she is, according to Aristotle the dress shop owner, demonstrating akrasia, or imagination (some might cruelly add "intuition" into this category) ruling over rationality (in that dress, she's already "bursting at the seams," with no hope of letting out the dress).

    Socrates, perhaps influenced by his unhappy marriage, would say of Mary Sue, "No one could possibly be that stupid...not even my wife."  Rationality up and down the ladder of decision = no akrasia.  In Plato's "Protagoras," Socrates as faithful character or sockpuppet says "No one goes willingly toward the bad" (aka "The devil made me do it").

    If your instructor is teaching Aristotle defeats Socrates, then it is probably akratic for you to reason otherwise :-)  So, assuming Aristotle defeats Socrates in this point, it is done by what Plato in his third portion of the line analogy gives as Dianoia:  a more evolved perspective in which some Ideas, such as Number and Geometry, show that Mary Sue's waist is 34, and the dress' measurement there is 33.  Aristotle would note that imagining you're fitting into your old high school prom dress is akratic, i.e., you are entertaining a false and imaginary opinion (vs a true insight, which = higher or pure intuition, which is Plato's highest category, Noesis or knowledge of the Forms (no pun intended)).

    Thus, for purposes of class-speak, Aristotle's common sense (sometimes people make irrational teal-brings-out-my-highlights even if the dress seems a bit snug) trumps Socrates' (as represented by Plato) notion that we are all perfect reasoning-robots.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.