Seduction, Rationality, and Willpower

Seduction, Rationality, and Willpower

Adrien Barton (Osaka University, Japan)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0525-9.ch002


This chapter starts by providing a definition and a basic taxonomy of actions of seduction, and clarifies some links between seduction and manipulation. It then considers Eric Cave's (2009, 2014) thesis that actions of seduction are problematic if they alter motives by hampering rational capacities, in particular when they lack transparency. The chapter challenges this view by arguing that there are no intrinsically rational cognitive capacities, and that the non-transparency of some triggers of attraction may actually be valuable. Therefore, the ethical focus should not be on supposedly rational capacities, but rather on willpower capacities: a seduction process that would deplete such capacities would be seriously problematic. Such a depletion should however be distinguished from other seduction strategies that aim at increasing or decreasing various desires without impairing willpower capacities. The chapter concludes by proposing a general framework for evaluating the morality of an action of seduction.
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Background: General Definitional And Ethical Issues

This section will define actions of seduction, dissociate two subclasses of them, and show the strength of this definition. It will then examine how the literature in philosophy of manipulation and seduction can help to spell out the moral problem of interference with cognitive capacities, which will be investigated in the remainder of the chapter.

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