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Surrounding Self-Control$
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Alfred R. Mele

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197500941

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197500941.001.0001

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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: 20 January 2022

Framing as a Mechanism for Self-Control

Framing as a Mechanism for Self-Control

Rationality and Quasi-Cyclical Preferences

(p.361) 19 Framing as a Mechanism for Self-Control
Surrounding Self-Control

José Luis Bermúdez

Oxford University Press

This chapter approaches self-control via a problem arising in decision theoretic discussions of sequential choice within a broadly Humean conception of action and motivation. How can agents stick to their plans and honor their commitments in the face of temptation, if at the moment of choice the short-term temptation motivationally outweighs the long-term goal? After introducing the sequential choice puzzle in section 19.1, section 19.2 surveys suggestive psychological work on the mechanisms of self-control, pointing to the importance of how outcomes are framed. Section 19.3 offers a solution to the sequential choice problem in terms of frame-sensitive reasoning—i.e. reasoning that allows outcomes to be valued differently depending on how they are framed, even when the agent knows that she is dealing with two (or more) different ways of framing the same outcome. Section 19.4 argues that this type of quasi-cyclical, frame-sensitive reasoning can indeed be rational.

Keywords:   self-control, weakness of will, framing, dynamic choice, delay of gratification paradigm, delay discounting, rationality

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