Self‐Control in Action

Alfred R. Mele

in The Oxford Handbook of the Self

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199548019
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Self‐Control in Action

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  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of Mind



This article describes a neo-Aristotelian conception of self-control, a concept that seems essential to what it means to be a mature human person. It discusses the moral condition known as akrasia and the conception of self that underpins it. While Aristotle regarded the human self to be primarily rational where reason is taken in a strong sense, this article suggests a more holistic conception of the self, where to act out of passion may not mean that one is acting without self-control. This means that the kind of inner conflict associated with akrasia should not be explained purely in terms of rational versus irrational forces.

Keywords: self-control; mature person; moral condition; akrasia; Aristotle; passion; inner conflict

Article.  10369 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Philosophy of Mind

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