When Governments Act Contrary to Their Professed Beliefs: The Case of Climate Akrasia
(Original title: Když vlády jednají v rozporu s tím, k čemu se hlásí: Případ klimatické akrasie)Filozofia
, 78 (2023)
, 211 - 223.
Type of work: Original Articles
Publication language: Czech
How can one freely act contrary to one’s better judgement about what is right? Since antiquity, this question has attracted attention of many ethicists and theorists of action as the “problem of akrasia”. On a traditional and still influential view akrasia happens when some irrational tendencies, emotions and desires override the rational part of one’s soul and cause them to act in a way which contradicts their rational beliefs about what is good and desirable. In this paper, we aim to show that the view of akrasia as a matter of practical irrationality doesn’t provide an adequate tool for understanding the complex nature of akrasia, since it obstructs an insight into the rational and social dimension of akrasia. We will argue that akrasia, far from being only an individual phenomenon, concerns also the action of broader social and political entities. We will introduce the notion of socio-political akrasia and demonstrate the seriousness of this phenomenon by analysing the case of (in)action of contemporary governments in the context of the climate crisis. Finally, we will conclude by offering a perspective on how to prevent socio-political akrasia.
Akrasia, Practical irrationality, Conflicting rationalities, Collective action, Racism, Climate change, Environmental crisis