Irresistible impulse

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


A first conjecture would be that an irresistible impulse is an impulse that functions much like embarrassment functions in the situation just described. A second conjecture therefore suggests itself, and this is that an irresistible impulse is a desire which both causes and differentially explains an agent's action, but which, in addition, is so strong that it is impossible for the agent who possesses it to have had an even stronger desire which would have outweighed it. What matters in ascertaining whether an impulse is or is not resistible is not whether the agent could have had some alternative desire that would have outweighed the impulse in question. It might be thought that the existence of irresistible impulses would provide a rich source of excuses for bad behaviour. An irresistible impulse is an impulse which eludes an agent's exercise of his capacity for self-control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIntention in Law and Philosophy
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781351739191
ISBN (Print)9781138734654
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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