Control and Self‐Control

Alfred R. Mele

in Motivation and Agency

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780195156171
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833467 | DOI:
 Control and Self‐Control

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The primary purpose of this chapter is to show that data generated in well‐known experiments by physiologist Benjamin Libet can be used to support the idea that an independently plausible thesis about the connection between motivational strength and intentional action leaves ample room for self‐control. Aspects of Libet's interpretation of his data are criticized, but Libet's work does give us a sense of how much time might elapse between the acquisition of a desire to do something straightaway and the beginning of an overt action motivated by that desire. More important, it gives us a sense of possibilities for practically relevant motivational change during that span and adds to the extant case for the view that a plausible principle of the kind at issue does not place agents at the mercy of their strongest desires.

Keywords: actions; desire; intentional action; Libet; motivation; motivational change; motivational strength; self‐control

Chapter.  10865 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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