Institut Jean Nicod

Accueil > Séminaires/Colloques > Colloques et conférences > Conférences > Santiago Amaya (Universidad de los Andes) "The Unity of Self-Control"



Santiago Amaya (Universidad de los Andes) "The Unity of Self-Control"

           

Date : Jeudi 16 juin, de 11h à 13h

Lieu : Salle Jaurès, ENS, 29 rue d’Ulm, 75005, Paris

           

Santiago Amaya (Universidad de los Andes)

"The Unity of Self-Control"

Discussions of self-control loom large in philosophy, the behavioral, and the cognitive sciences. Despite the fact that researchers from these backgrounds seem to be working on one and the same phenomenon (at least, they tend to take each other as working on the same phenomenon), integrating their approaches is surprisingly more complicated than initially thought. There are, in short, conceptual and methodological considerations suggesting that standard accounts are hard to fit together,some even affording conflicting predictions. Significantly, this lack of integration invites a dose of skepticism. According to it, self-control might not refer to a unified construct corresponding to a well-behaved psychological kind but, instead, to a collection of assorted capacities devoid of underlying unity.

My aim in this talk is to counter this skepticism. To do this, I propose that we understand self-control as rational decision-making in the face of motivational conflicts. I argue that this apparently simple-minded approach, if taken seriously, provides a framework to unify the many dimensions of self-control. Key to the account is a way of understanding motivational conflicts as conflicts between different types of properties rather than, for instance,between different kinds of motivational systems. 

I begin by describing the unification challenge that givesrise to skepticism about the unity of self-control. Then, I introduce the idea of rational decision-making in the face of motivational conflicts. With this, I revisit the unification challenge and explain how the tools provided here help address them. In particular, I show how we can integrate various conceptualization of self-control and understand better the diverging results obtained through different methodologies. In the end, I discuss how thepresent approach provides a template for explaining why different interventions to improve self-control actually work.


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