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ManipulationTheory and Practice$
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Christian Coons and Michael Weber

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199338207

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199338207.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 08 December 2021

The Implications of Ego Depletion for the Ethics and Politics of Manipulation

The Implications of Ego Depletion for the Ethics and Politics of Manipulation

(p.201) 9 The Implications of Ego Depletion for the Ethics and Politics of Manipulation

Michael Cholbi

Oxford University Press

A significant body of research suggests that self-control and willpower are resources that become depleted as they are exercised. Having to exert self-control and willpower draws down a person’s reservoir of these resources and makes subsequent such exercises more difficult. This ego depletion renders individuals more susceptible to manipulation by exerting nonrational influences on individual choice and conduct. In particular, ego depletion results in later choices being less governable by a person’s powers of self-control and willpower than earlier choices. This chapter draws out three implications of this phenomenon: (1) manipulation can exploit ego depletion through the fashioning of social environments that tax willpower or self-control; (2) ego depletion undermines the Platonic-Aristotelian picture of character and strength of will; and (3) ego depletion needs to be a more central focus of theorists of justice, since it appears to be a significant contributor to poverty and other persistent injustices.

Keywords:   self-control, willpower, ego depletion, character, manipulation, rational choice, sources of poverty

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