Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||The exercise of willpower is puzzling because it seems to require that a person both most wants to act on a wayward desire, and most wants to resist this desire, and this seems impossible. There are two accounts that try to resolve this puzzle of synchronic self-control, Jeanette Kennett and Michael Smith’s ‘non-actional’ account and Alfred Mele’s ‘ancillary action’ account. I criticize these accounts because they set too strong constraints on what kinds of synchronic self-control are possible, and thus what willpower could turn out to be. I then propose a ‘divided mind’ account that helps make sense of particularly strong forms of willpower that cannot be accommodated on the alternative accounts. On the divided mind account, motivational architecture is divided between a deliberative motivational system and an emotional motivational system, and willpower is a proprietary action exclusively available to the deliberative system. I address potential objections to the divided mind account. One objection says that it is not in fact possible for a weaker desire to defeat a stronger one. A second objection says that actions that arise exclusively from parts of a mind cannot be said to belong to the whole agent.|
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