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  1. Self-Control and the Self.Hannah Altehenger - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2183-2198.
    Prima facie, it seems highly plausible to suppose that there is some kind of constitutive relationship between self-control and the self, i.e., that self-control is “control at the service of the self” or even “control by the self.” This belief is not only attractive from a pre-theoretical standpoint, but it also seems to be supported by theoretical reasons. In particular, there is a natural fit between a certain attractive approach to self-control—the so-called “divided mind approach”—and a certain well-established approach to (...)
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  • Frankfurt’s Unwilling and Willing Addicts.Chandra Sripada - 2017 - Mind 126 (503):781-815.
    Harry Frankfurt’s Unwilling Addict and Willing Addict cases accomplish something fairly unique: they pull apart the predictions of control-based views of moral responsibility and competing self-expression views. The addicts both lack control over their actions but differ in terms of expression of their respective selves. Frankfurt’s own view is that—in line with the predictions of self-expression views—the unwilling addict is not morally responsible for his drug-directed actions while the willing addict is. But is Frankfurt right? In this essay, I put (...)
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  • What Aristotelian Decisions Cannot Be.Jozef Müller - 2016 - Ancient Philosophy 36 (1):173-195.
    I argue that Aristotelian decisions (προαιρέσεις) cannot be conceived of as based solely on wish (βούλησις) and deliberation (βούλευσις), as the standard picture (most influentially argued for in Anscombe's "Thought and Action in Aristotle", in R. Bambrough ed. New Essays on Plato and Aristotle. London: Routledge, 1965) suggests. Although some features of the standard view are correct (such as that decisions have essential connection to deliberation and that wish always plays a crucial role in the formation of a decision), Aristotelian (...)
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  • Accessing Self-Control.Polaris Koi - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    Self-control is that which is enacted to align our behaviour with intentions, motives, or better judgment in the face of conflicting impulses of motives. In this paper, I ask, what explains interpersonal differences in self-control? After defending a functionalist conception of self-control, I argue that differences in self-control are analogous to differences in mobility: they are modulated by inherent traits and environmental supports and constraints in interaction. This joint effect of individual biology and environmental factors is best understood in terms (...)
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  • Self-Control: A Mental Action in No Need of Special Motivational Powers.Sebastian Watzl - forthcoming - In M. Brent (ed.), Mental Action and the Conscious Mind.
    It has been argued that the explanation of self-control requires positing special motivational powers. Some think that we need will-power as an irreducible mental faculty; others that we need to think of the active self as a dedicated and depletable pool of psychic energy or – in today more respectable terminology – mental resources; finally, there is the idea that self-control requires postulating a deep division between reason and passion – a deliberative and an emotional motivational system. This essay argues (...)
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  • Self‐Control as a Normative Capacity.Annemarie Kalis - 2018 - Ratio 31 (S1):65-80.
    Recently, two apparent truisms about self-control have been questioned in both the philosophical and the psychological literature: the idea that exercising self-control involves an agent doing something, and the idea that self-control is a good thing. Both assumptions have come under threat because self-control is increasingly understood as a mental mechanism, and mechanisms cannot possibly be good or active in the required sense. However, I will argue that it is not evident that self-control should be understood as a mechanism, suggesting (...)
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  • The Skill of Self-Control.Juan Pablo Bermúdez - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):6251-6273.
    Researchers often claim that self-control is a skill. It is also often stated that self-control exertions are intentional actions. However, no account has yet been proposed of the skillful agency that makes self-control exertion possible, so our understanding of self-control remains incomplete. Here I propose the skill model of self-control, which accounts for skillful agency by tackling the guidance problem: how can agents transform their abstract and coarse-grained intentions into the highly context-sensitive, fine-grained control processes required to select, revise and (...)
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  • Evolving Resolve.Walter Veit & David Spurrett - 2021 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 44.
    The broad spectrum revolution brought greater dependence on skill and knowledge, and more demanding, often social, choices. We adopt Sterelny's account of how cooperative foraging paid the costs associated with longer dependency, and transformed the problem of skill learning. Scaffolded learning can facilitate cognitive control including suppression, whereas scaffolded exchange and trade, including inter-temporal exchange, can help develop resolve.
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  • Self-Control, Willpower and the Problem of Diminished Motivation.Thomas D. Connor - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (3):783-796.
    Self-control has been described as the ability to master motivation that is contrary to one’s better judgement; that is, an ability that prevents such motivation from resulting in behaviour that is contrary to one’s overall better judgement (Mele, Irrationality: An essay on Akrasia, self-deception and self-control, p. 54, 1987). Recent discussions in philosophy have centred on the question of whether synchronic self-control, in which one exercises self-control whilst one is currently experiencing opposing motivation, is actional or non-actional. The actional theorist (...)
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  • Is Synchronic Self-Control Possible?Julia Haas - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (2):397-424.
    An agent exercises instrumental rationality to the degree that she adopts appropriate means to achieving her ends. Adopting appropriate means to achieving one’s ends can, in turn, involve overcoming one’s strongest desires, that is, it can involve exercising synchronic self-control. However, contra prominent approaches, I deny that synchronic self-control is possible. Specifically, I draw on computational models and empirical evidence from cognitive neuroscience to describe a naturalistic, multi-system model of the mind. On this model, synchronic self-control is impossible. Must we, (...)
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  • Self-Control, Motivational Strength, and Exposure Therapy.Alfred R. Mele - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (2):359-375.
    Do people sometimes exercise self-control in such a way as to bring it about that they do not act on present-directed motivation that continues to be motivationally strongest for a significant stretch of time (even though they are able to act on that motivation at the time) and intentionally act otherwise during that stretch of time? This paper explores the relative merits of two different theories about synchronic self-control that provide different answers to this question. One is due to Sripada (...)
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  • The Atoms of Self‐Control.Chandra Sripada - forthcoming - Noûs.
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  • Deliberative Agency, Self-Control, and the Divided Mind.Hannah Altehenger - 2021 - Theoria 87 (3):542-558.
    According to a widely endorsed claim, intentional action is brought about by an agent’s desires in accordance with these desires’ respective motivational strength. As Jay Wallace has argued, though, this “hydraulic model” of the aetiology of intentional action has a serious flaw: it fails to leave room for genuine deliberative agency. Drawing on recent developments in the debate on self-control, the article argues that Wallace’s criticism can be addressed once we combine the hydraulic model with a so-called “divided mind” account (...)
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  • Willpower with and Without Effort.George Ainslie - 2021 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 44:1-81.
    Most authors who discuss willpower assume that everyone knows what it is, but our assumptions differ to such an extent that we talk past each other. We agree that willpower is the psychological function that resists temptations – variously known as impulses, addictions, or bad habits; that it operates simultaneously with temptations, without prior commitment; and that use of it is limited by its cost, commonly called effort, as well as by the person's skill at executive functioning. However, accounts are (...)
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  • The Mismatch Problem: Why Mele's Approach to the Puzzle of Synchronic Self‐Control Does Not Succeed.Hannah Altehenger - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    Most of us have had the experience of resisting our currently strongest desire, for example, resisting the desire to eat another cookie when eating another cookie is what we most want to do. The puzzle of synchronic self‐control, however, says that this is impossible: an agent cannot ever resist her currently strongest desire. The paper argues that one prominent solution to this puzzle – the solution offered by Al Mele – faces a serious ‘mismatch problem’, which ultimately undermines its plausibility. (...)
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  • The Science of Self-Control.Santiago Amaya - manuscript
    In this review, I discuss recent advances in philosophical and psychological approaches to self-control. The review is divided in 4 parts, in which I discuss: a) different conceptions of self-control; b) standard methods for studying it; c) some models of how self-control is exercised; and d) the connections between self-control and other relevant psychological constructs. The review was originally commissioned by the John Templeton Foundation to provide an informative overview that would knit together different strands of current debates in the (...)
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  • Character Control and Historical Moral Responsibility.Eric Barnes - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2311-2331.
    Some proponents of compatibilist moral responsibility have proposed an historical theory which requires that agents deploy character control in order to be morally responsible. An important type of argument for the character control condition is the manipulation argument, such as Mele’s example of Beth and Chuck. In this paper I show that Beth can be exonerated on various conditions other than her failure to execute character control—I propose a new character, Patty, who meets these conditions and is, I argue, morally (...)
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  • An Argument for the Law of Desire.Eric Christian Barnes - 2019 - Theoria 85 (4):289-311.
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  • Automatic Goals and Conscious Regulation in Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience.Chandra Sripada, John D. Swain, S. Shaun Ho & James E. Swain - 2014 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (2):156-157.
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  • Understanding Self-Control as a Whole Vs. Part Dynamic.Kentaro Fujita, Jessica J. Carnevale & Yaacov Trope - 2018 - Neuroethics 11 (3):283-296.
    Although dual-process or divided-mind models of self-control dominate the literature, they suffer from empirical and conceptual challenges. We propose an alternative approach, suggesting that self-control can be characterized by a fragmented part versus integrated whole dynamic. Whereas responses to events derived from fragmented parts of the mind undermine self-control, responses to events derived from integrated wholes enhance self-control. We review empirical evidence from psychology and related disciplines that support this model. We, moreover, discuss the implications of this work for psychology, (...)
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  • Self-Control and Mechanisms of Behavior: Why Self-Control is Not a Natural Mental Kind.Marcela Herdova - 2017 - Philosophical Psychology 30 (6):731-762.
    In this paper, I argue for two main hypotheses. First, that self-control is not a natural mental kind and, second, that there is no dedicated mechanism of self-control. By the first claim, I simply mean that those behaviors we label as “self-controlled” are a somewhat arbitrarily selected hodgepodge that do not have anything in common that distinguishes them from other behaviors. In other words, self-control is a gerrymandered property that does not correspond to a natural mental or psychological kind. By (...)
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