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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

Frankfurt and the Problem of Self-Control

Frankfurt and the Problem of Self-Control

(p.421) 22 Frankfurt and the Problem of Self-Control
Surrounding Self-Control

Ryan Cummings

Adina L. Roskies

Oxford University Press

Frankfurt’s compatibilist account of free will considers an individual to be free when her first- and second-order volitions align. This structural account of the will, this chapter argues, fails to engage with the dynamics of will, resulting in two shortcomings: (1) the problem of directionality, or that Frankfurtian freedom obtains whenever first- and second-order volitions align, regardless of which desire was made to change, and (2) the potential for infinite regress of higher-order desires. The authors propose that a satisfying account of the genesis of second-order volitions can resolve these issues. To provide this they draw from George Ainslie’s mechanistic account of self-control, which relies on intertemporal bargaining wherein an individual’s self-predictions about future decisions affect the value of her current choices. They suggest that second-order volitions emerge from precisely this sort of process, and that a Frankfurt-Ainslie account of free will avoids the objections previously raised.

Keywords:   free will, self-control, intertemporal bargaining, second-order desire, temporal discounting

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