University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > CamPoS (Cambridge Philosophy of Science) seminar > Guard against temptation: team reasoning and the role of intentions in exercising willpower

Guard against temptation: team reasoning and the role of intentions in exercising willpower

Add to your list(s) Download to your calendar using vCal

If you have a question about this talk, please contact .

Sometimes our judgments of what it is best to do may undergo a temporary shift at the time of action, for example in cases where we face temptation. Instrumental rationality requires that we are guided by our preferences at the time of action, similar to a condition that Michal Bratman calls ‘rational priority of present evaluation’. This raises the question of how it can be rational to resist temptation and questions about the rational standing of intentions. According to one type of account, which we can call Rational Non-Reconsideration (RNR), there is a norm of rationality that one should not reconsider one’s intentions, so one can rationally resist temptation by forming an intention not to succumb. However, these accounts have no resources if the agent does re-open the question and, I argue, involve a puzzling account of the relationship between the agent and her resolution to resist temptation. I present an account of intertemporal choice that is located within decision theory, where individuals use ‘intra-personal team reasoning’, which shows how it can be rational to resist in the face of temptation. Intra-personal team reasoning allows that there can be two levels of agency, the transient agent and the person over time. In this framework, willpower is the ability to align one’s present self with one’s extended interests by identifying with the person over time. I contrast the role of intentions in this account with their role in RNR accounts. According to intrapersonal team reasoning, both resisting and succumbing to temptation can be rational, depending on which level of agency the decision-maker identifies with at the time. I argue that instrumental rationality cannot tell someone which level of agency to identify with and explore some other types of arguments for identifying with the person over time.

This talk is part of the CamPoS (Cambridge Philosophy of Science) seminar series.

Tell a friend about this talk:

This talk is included in these lists:

Note that ex-directory lists are not shown.

 

© 2006-2018 Talks.cam, University of Cambridge. Contact Us | Help and Documentation | Privacy and Publicity