In thirteen original essays, eminent scholars of the history of philosophy and of contemporary philosophy examine weakness of will, or incontinence - the phenomenon of acting contrary to one's better judgment. The volume covers all major periods of western philosophy, from antiquity through the Middle Ages and the modern period down to the present.Alfred Mele and Alasdair MacIntyre examine weakness of will from a contemporary perspective. Mele addresses the issue from the vantage point of Libertarianism. MacIntyre argues against the widespread view that actions that are out of character require special explanation, and reinterprets weakness of will as a failure to use moral lapses for moral progress. The other authors critically engage accounts of weakness of will by past philosophers: Kenneth Dorter writes on Plato, Terence H. Irwin on Aristotle, Lloyd Gerson on Plotinus, James Wetzel on Augustine, Denis J. M. Bradley on Aquinas, Tobias Hoffmann on Henry of Ghent, Giuseppe Mazzotta on Dante, Ann Hartle on Montaigne, John C. McCarthy on Descartes, Thomas E. Hill Jr. on Kant, and Tracey B. Strong on Nietzsche.The philosophical examination of weakness of will highlights central problems of action theory, such as the connections between desire, conviction, and action, between intellect and will, and between rationality and emotions. It also addresses important ethical issues such as the diversity of character dispositions, moral progress and moral education, the limits of virtue, and moral responsibility.The historical and contemporary perspectives offered in this volume will enrich current debates, not only by suggesting answers, but also by broadening the usual range of questions about weakness of will. Owing to the intimate connection of the topic with other key themes in moral philosophy, the historical and thematic studies contained in this book also provide an overview of moral philosophy as a whole.