Breakdown of Will

Breakdown of Will

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George Ainslie
Cambridge University Press, 1/12/2008
EAN 9780521596947, ISBN10: 0521596947

Paperback, 272 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.7 cm
Language: English

Ainslie argues that our responses to the threat of our own inconsistency determine the basic fabric of human culture. He suggests that individuals are more like populations of bargaining agents than like the hierarchical command structures envisaged by cognitive psychologists. The forces that create and constrain these populations help us understand so much that is puzzling in human action and interaction: from addictions and other self-defeating behaviors to the experience of willfulness, from pathological over-control and self-deception to subtler forms of behavior such as altruism, sadism, gambling, and the 'social construction' of belief. This book integrates approaches from experimental psychology, philosophy of mind, microeconomics, and decision science to present one of the most profound and expert accounts of human irrationality available. It will be of great interest to philosophers and an important resource for professionals and students in psychology, economics and political science.

Part I. Breakdowns of Will
The Puzzle of Akrasia
1. Introduction
2. The dichotomy at the root of decision science
do we make choices by destres or by judgments?
3. The warp in how we evaluate the future
4. The warp can create involuntary behaviors
pains, hungers, emotions
Part II. A Breakdown of the Will
The Components of Intertemporal Bargaining
5. The elementary interaction of interests
6. Sophisticated bargaining among internal interests
7. The subjective experience of intertemporal bargaining
8. Getting evidence about a nonlinear motivational system
Part III. The Ultimate Breakdown of Will
Nothing Fails Like Success
9. The downside of willpower
10. An efficient will undermines appetite
11. The need to maintain appetite eclipses the will
12. Conclusions