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The Thief of TimePhilosophical Essays on Procrastination$
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Chrisoula Andreou and Mark D. White

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195376685

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195376685.001.0001

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Procrastination and the Extended Will

Procrastination and the Extended Will

(p.233) 14 Procrastination and the Extended Will
The Thief of Time

Joseph Heath (Contributor Webpage)

Joel Anderson

Oxford University Press

This chapter develops an externalist understanding of procrastination and, in particular, of how our distributed will and its supportive social scaffolding enable us to keep procrastination in check (to the extent that we are able to). Thinking about procrastination in this way has several attractive implications. Its explanation of individuals’ ability to stave off procrastination is compatible with what we are learning about the limits of human cognition and rationality. It provides a framework for thinking creatively about new kluges and scaffolding that can improve individuals’ well-being, without needing to rely on unrealistic and illiberal therapeutic strategies that involve changing individuals’ personality or cognitive style. Finally, it opens up a set of important and neglected issues within public policy, social ethics, and political philosophy, having to do with the collective responsibility for maintaining public (and perhaps even unchosen) forms of scaffolding.

Keywords:   extended mind, externalism, hyperbolic discounting, procrastination, public policy, scaffolding, self-control

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