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Humean NatureHow desire explains action, thought, and feeling$
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Neil Sinhababu

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198783893

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198783893.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 19 May 2022

Willpower

Willpower

Chapter:
(p.135) 8 Willpower
Source:
Humean Nature
Author(s):

Neil Sinhababu

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198783893.003.0008

Chapter 8 explains how we exercise willpower: by intentionally redirecting attention away from vividly represented temptation and towards less vividly represented goals. Redirecting attention raises the vividness of goals, amplifying our desire to attain them. Exercising willpower requires effort and is hard to sustain because it requires redirecting attention against the automatic tendency to attend to vividly represented objects of desire. This explanation is compatible with a Humean motivational calculus on which we always maximize expected satisfaction of our occurrent desires. It’s also compatible with the dual-process model popular in contemporary psychology, explaining how cognitive systems are implemented by desire, attention, and representational states.

Keywords:   Desire, Willpower, Attention, Vividness, Motivation

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