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Akrasia, or “The Lust of Deceit”


Akrasia defined: ―Without mastery. The idea contained in the concept of akrasia is the tendancy to make excuses, rationalize, or justify our bad acts. It is the bad alternative to repentance. Screwtape is a master at seeking to supply rationalizations for bad choices to keep Wormwood‘s ―patient in moral blindness.

Akrasia is an Aristotelian concept found in the Ethics.


1. Aristotle: ―Vice is unconscious of itself.

2. Lewis: ―Continued disobedience to conscience makes conscience blind. (A Preface to Paradise Lost. P. 10.)

3. St. Paul: ―We suppress the truth in our unrighteousness. Romans 1:18.

Screwtape is engaged in using a corrupted form of Rhetoric to keep the patient blind.

This resource is part of a series on The Screwtape Letters. Click here to listen to the full series

Jerry Root

Jerry Root is the Christopher W. Mitchell Senior Fellow for C.S. Lewis Studies at the C.S. Lewis Institute; Emeritus Professor of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois and a visiting Professor at Biola University. He received his Ph.D. from the Open University through the Oxford Centre for Missions Studies. Jerry has nine published books, as well as numerous articles and publications about C. S. Lewis and evangelism in other books, journals, and periodicals, as well as read numerous academic papers at various academic venues. Recently, he published, Splendour in the Dark, a book about C. S. Lewis’s narrative poem Dymer (the book also includes Lewis’s 100-page poem). Jerry has lectured on Lewis topics at 79 Universities in 19 different countries.

COPYRIGHT: This publication is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.

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