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Alfred R. Mele [212]Alfred Remen Mele [1]
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Profile: Alfred Mele (Florida State University)
  1. Alfred R. Mele (2006). Free Will and Luck. Oxford University Press.
    Mele's ultimate purpose in this book is to help readers think more clearly about free will. He identifies and makes vivid the most important conceptual obstacles to justified belief in the existence of free will and meets them head on. Mele clarifies the central issues in the philosophical debate about free will and moral responsibility, criticizes various influential contemporary theories about free will, and develops two overlapping conceptions of free will--one for readers who are convinced that free will is incompatible (...)
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  2. Alfred R. Mele (1995). Autonomous Agents: From Self-Control to Autonomy. Oxford University Press.
    This book addresses two related topics: self-control and individual autonomy. In approaching these issues, Mele develops a conception of an ideally self-controlled person, and argues that even such a person can fall short of personal autonomy. He then examines what needs to be added to such a person to yield an autonomous agent and develops two overlapping answers: one for compatibilist believers in human autonomy and one for incompatibilists. While remaining neutral between those who hold that autonomy is compatible with (...)
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  3. Alfred R. Mele (2007). Free Will and Luck. Philosophical Explorations 10 (2):153 – 155.
    Mele's ultimate purpose in this book is to help readers think more clearly about free will. He identifies and makes vivid the most important conceptual obstacles to justified belief in the existence of free will and meets them head on. Mele clarifies the central issues in the philosophical debate about free will and moral responsibility, criticizes various influential contemporary theories about free will, and develops two overlapping conceptions of free will--one for readers who are convinced that free will is incompatible (...)
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  4.  56
    Alfred R. Mele (2003). Motivation and Agency. Oxford University Press.
    What place does motivation have in the lives of intelligent agents? Mele's answer is sensitive to the concerns of philosophers of mind and moral philosophers and informed by empirical work. He offers a distinctive, comprehensive, attractive view of human agency. This book stands boldly at the intersection of philosophy of mind, moral philosophy, and metaphysics.
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  5.  48
    Alfred R. Mele (1992). Springs of Action: Understanding Intentional Behavior. Oxford University Press.
    Tackling some central problems in the philosophy of action, Mele constructs an explanatory model for intentional behavior, locating the place and significance of such mental phenomena as beliefs, desires, reason, and intentions in the etiology of intentional action. Part One comprises a comprehensive examination of the standard treatments of the relations between desires, beliefs, and actions. In Part Two, Mele goes on to develop a subtle and well-defended view that the motivational role of intentions is of a different sort from (...)
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  6. Alfred R. Mele (2009). Effective Intentions: The Power of Conscious Will. Oxford University Press.
    Each of the following claims has been defended in the scientific literature on free will and consciousness: your brain routinely decides what you will do before you become conscious of its decision; there is only a 100 millisecond window of opportunity for free will, and all it can do is veto conscious decisions, intentions, or urges; intentions never play a role in producing corresponding actions; and free will is an illusion. In Effective Intentions Alfred Mele shows that the evidence offered (...)
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  7. Alfred R. Mele (2008). Manipulation, Compatibilism, and Moral Responsibility. Journal of Ethics 12 (3/4):263-286.
    This article distinguishes among and examines three different kinds of argument for the thesis that moral responsibility and free action are each incompatible with the truth of determinism: straight manipulation arguments; manipulation arguments to the best explanation; and original-design arguments. Structural and methodological matters are the primary focus.
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  8. Alfred R. Mele (1987). Irrationality: An Essay on Akrasia, Self-Deception, and Self-Control. Oxford University Press.
    Although much human action serves as proof that irrational behavior is remarkably common, certain forms of irrationality--most notably, incontinent action and self-deception--pose such difficult theoretical problems that philosophers have rejected them as logically or psychologically impossible. Here, Mele shows that, and how, incontinent action and self-deception are indeed possible. Drawing upon recent experimental work in the psychology of action and inference, he advances naturalized explanations of akratic action and self-deception while resolving the paradoxes around which the philosophical literature revolves. In (...)
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  9.  43
    Alfred R. Mele (2001). Self-Deception Unmasked. Princeton University Press.
    Self-deception raises complex questions about the nature of belief and the structure of the human mind. In this book, Alfred Mele addresses four of the most critical of these questions: What is it to deceive oneself? How do we deceive ourselves? Why do we deceive ourselves? Is self-deception really possible? -/- Drawing on cutting-edge empirical research on everyday reasoning and biases, Mele takes issue with commonplace attempts to equate the processes of self-deception with those of stereotypical interpersonal deception. Such attempts, (...)
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  10. Alfred R. Mele & David Robb (1998). Rescuing Frankfurt-Style Cases. Philosophical Review 107 (1):97-112.
    Almost thirty years ago, in an attempt to undermine what he termed "the principle of alternate possibilities" (the thesis that people are morally responsible for what they have done only if they could have done otherwise), Harry Frankfurt offered an ingenious thought-experiment that has played a major role in subsequent work on moral responsibility and free will. Several philosophers, including David Widerker and Robert Kane, argued recently that this thought-experiment and others like it are fundamentally flawed. This paper develops a (...)
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  11. Tyler F. Stillman, Roy F. Baumeister & Alfred R. Mele (2011). Free Will in Everyday Life: Autobiographical Accounts of Free and Unfree Actions. Philosophical Psychology 24 (3):381 - 394.
    What does free will mean to laypersons? The present investigation sought to address this question by identifying how laypersons distinguish between free and unfree actions. We elicited autobiographical narratives in which participants described either free or unfree actions, and the narratives were subsequently subjected to impartial analysis. Results indicate that free actions were associated with reaching goals, high levels of conscious thought and deliberation, positive outcomes, and moral behavior (among other things). These findings suggest that lay conceptions of free will (...)
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  12.  71
    Alfred R. Mele (1999). Ultimate Responsibility and Dumb Luck. Social Philosophy and Policy 16 (2):274.
    My topic lies on conceptual terrain that is quite familiar to philosophers. For others, a bit of background may be in order. In light of what has filtered down from quantum mechanics, few philosophers today believe that the universe is causally deterministic. That is, to use Peter van Inwagen's succinct definition of “determinism,” few philosophers believe that “there is at any instant exactly one physically possible future.” Even so, partly for obvious historical reasons, philosophers continue to argue about whether free (...)
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  13. Alfred R. Mele (2006). Self-Deception and Delusions. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 2 (1):109-124.
    My central question in this paper is how delusional beliefs are related to self-deception. In section 1, I summarize my position on what self-deception is and how representative instances of it are to be explained. I turn to delusions in section 2, where I focus on the Capgras delusion, delusional jealousy (or the Othello syndrome), and the reverse Othello syndrome.
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  14.  66
    Alfred R. Mele & Fiery Cushman (2007). Intentional Action, Folk Judgments, and Stories: Sorting Things Out. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1):184–201.
    How are our actions sorted into those that are intentional and those that are not? The philosophical and psychological literature on this topic is livelier now than ever, and we seek to make a contribution to it here. Our guiding question in this article is easy to state and hard to answer: How do various factors— specifically, features of vignettes—that contribute to majority folk judgments that an action is or is not intentional interact in producing the judgment? In pursuing this (...)
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  15.  93
    Alfred R. Mele (2009). Moral Responsibility and History Revisited. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (5):463 - 475.
    Compatibilists about determinism and moral responsibility disagree with one another about the bearing of agents’ histories on whether or not they are morally responsible for some of their actions. Some stories about manipulated agents prompt such disagreements. In this article, I call attention to some of the main features of my own “history-sensitive” compatibilist proposal about moral responsibility, and I argue that arguments advanced by Michael McKenna and Manuel Vargas leave that proposal unscathed.
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  16. Alfred R. Mele & Paul K. Moser (1994). Intentional Action. Noûs 28 (1):39-68.
    We shall formulate an analysis of the ordinary notion of intentional action that clarifies a commonsense distinction between intentional and nonintentional action. Our analysis will build on some typically neglected considerations about relations between lucky action and intentional action. It will highlight the often- overlooked role of evidential considerations in intentional action, thus identifying the key role of certain epistemological considerations in action theory. We shall also explain why some vagueness is indispensable in a characterization of intentional action as ordinarily (...)
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  17. Alfred R. Mele (1997). Real Self-Deception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):91-102.
    Self-deception poses tantalizing conceptual conundrums and provides fertile ground for empirical research. Recent interdisciplinary volumes on the topic feature essays by biologists, philosophers, psychiatrists, and psychologists (Lockard & Paulhus 1988, Martin 1985). Self-deception's location at the intersection of these disciplines is explained by its significance for questions of abiding interdisciplinary interest. To what extent is our mental life present--or even accessible--to consciousness? How rational are we? How is motivated irrationality to be explained? To what extent are our beliefs subject to (...)
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  18.  34
    Alfred R. Mele (2007). Persisting Intentions. Noûs 41 (4):735–757.
    Al is nearly finished sweeping his kitchen floor when he notices, on a counter, a corkscrew that should be put in a drawer. He intends to put the corkscrew away as soon as he is finished with the floor; but by the time he returns the broom and dustpan to the closet, he has forgotten what he intended to do. Al knows (or has a true belief) that there is something he intended to do now in the kitchen. He gazes (...)
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  19.  28
    Alfred R. Mele (forthcoming). Direct Control. Philosophical Studies:1-16.
    This article’s aim is to shed light on direct control, especially as it pertains to free will. I sketch two ways of conceiving of such control. Both sketches extend to decision making. Issues addressed include the problem of present luck and the relationship between direct control and complete control.
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  20. Alfred R. Mele (2005). Decisions, Intentions, and Free Will. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29 (1):146-162.
  21. Alfred R. Mele (2003). Agents' Abilities. Noûs 37 (3):447–470.
  22. Alfred R. Mele (2009). Moral Responsibility and History Revisited. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (5):463-475.
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  23. Helen Beebee & Alfred R. Mele (2002). Humean Compatibilism. Mind 111 (442):201-223.
    Humean compatibilism is the combination of a Humean position on laws of nature and the thesis that free will is compatible with determinism. This article's aim is to situate Humean compatibilism in the current debate among libertarians, traditional compatibilists, and semicompatibilists about free will. We argue that a Humean about laws can hold that there is a sense in which the laws of nature are 'up to us' and hence that the leading style of argument for incompatibilism?the consequence argument?has a (...)
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  24. Alfred R. Mele (2003). Intentional Action: Controversies, Data, and Core Hypotheses. Philosophical Psychology 16 (2):325-340.
    This article reviews some recent empirical work on lay judgments about what agents do intentionally and what they intend in various stories and explores its bearing on the philosophical project of providing a conceptual analysis of intentional action. The article is a case study of the potential bearing of empirical studies of a variety of folk concepts on philosophical efforts to analyze those concepts and vice versa. Topics examined include double effect; the influence of moral considerations on judgments about what (...)
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  25. Alfred R. Mele (2005). A Critique of Pereboom's 'Four-Case Argument' for Incompatibilism. Analysis 65 (285):75-80.
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  26.  61
    Alfred R. Mele (2013). Manipulation, Moral Responsibility, and Bullet Biting. Journal of Ethics 17 (3):167-184.
    This article’s guiding question is about bullet biting: When should compatibilists about moral responsibility bite the bullet in responding to stories used in arguments for incompatibilism about moral responsibility? Featured stories are vignettes in which agents’ systems of values are radically reversed by means of brainwashing and the story behind the zygote argument. The malady known as “intuition deficit disorder” is also discussed.
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  27.  10
    Alfred R. Mele (2012). Backsliding: Understanding Weakness of Will. OUP Usa.
    People backslide. They freely do things they believe it would be best on the whole not to do. Mele draws on work in social and developmental psychology and in psychiatry to motivate a view of human behavior in which both backsliding and overcoming the temptation to backslide are explicable.
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  28.  88
    Alfred R. Mele (2009). Moral Responsibility and Agents' Histories. Philosophical Studies 142 (2):161 - 181.
    To what extent should an analysis of an agent’s being morally responsible for an action that he performed—especially a compatibilist analysis of this—be sensitive to the agent’s history? In this article, I give the issue a clearer focus than it tends to have in the literature, I lay some groundwork for an attempt to answer the question, and I motivate a partial but detailed answer.
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  29.  96
    Alfred R. Mele (1997). Agency and Mental Action. Philosophical Perspectives 11 (s11):231-249.
  30.  52
    Alfred R. Mele (1996). Internalist Moral Cognitivism and Listlessness. Ethics 106 (4):727-753.
    This paper criticizes the conjunction of two theses: 1) cognitivism about first-person moral ought-beliefs, the thesis (roughly) that such beliefs are attitudes with truth-valued contents; 2) robust internalism about these beliefs, the thesis that, necessarily, agents' beliefs that they ought, morally, to A constitute motivation to A. It is argued that the conjunction of these two theses places our moral agency at serious risk. The argument, which centrally involves attention to clinical depression, is extended to a less demanding, recent brand (...)
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  31.  24
    Alfred R. Mele (2014). Luck and Free Will. Metaphilosophy 45 (4-5):543-557.
    This essay sketches a problem about luck for typical incompatibilist views of free will posed in Alfred Mele, Free Will and Luck , and examines recent reactions to that problem. Reactions featuring appeals to agent causation receive special attention. Because the problem is focused on decision making, the control that agents have over what they decide is a central topic. Other topics discussed include the nature of lucky action and differences between directly and indirectly free actions.
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  32.  10
    Alfred R. Mele (2016). Moral Responsibility: Radical Reversals and Original Designs. Journal of Ethics 20 (1-3):69-82.
    This article identifies and assesses a way of thinking that might help to explain why some compatibilists are attracted to what is variously called an internalist, structuralist, or anti-historicist view of moral responsibility—a view about the bearing of agents’ histories on their moral responsibility. Scenarios of two different kinds are considered. Several scenarios feature heavy-duty manipulation that radically changes an agent’s mature moral personality from admirable to despicable or vice versa. These “radical reversal” scenarios are contrasted with a scenario featuring (...)
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  33. Alfred R. Mele (ed.) (1997). The Philosophy of Action. Oxford University Press.
    The latest offering in the highly successful Oxford Readings in Philosophy series, The Philosophy of Action features contributions from twelve leading figures in the field, including: Robert Audi, Michael Bratman, Donald Davidson, Wayne Davis, Harry Frankfurt, Carl Ginet, Gilbert Harman, Jennifer Hornsby, Jaegwon Kim, Hugh McCann, Paul Moser, and Brian O'Shaughnessy. Alfred Mele provides an introductory essay on the topics chosen and the questions they deal with. Topics addressed include intention, reasons for action, and the nature and explanation of internal (...)
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  34. Roy F. Baumeister, Alfred R. Mele & Kathleen D. Vohs (eds.) (2010). Free Will and Consciousness: How Might They Work? University Press.
    This volume is aimed at readers who wish to move beyond debates about the existence of free will and the efficacy of consciousness and closer to appreciating ...
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  35. Alfred R. Mele (2005). Libertarianism, Luck, and Control. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 86 (3):381-407.
    This article critically examines recent work on free will and moral responsibility by Randolph Clarke, Robert Kane, and Timothy O’Connor in an attempt to clarify issues about control and luck that are central to the debate between libertarians (agent causationists and others) and their critics. It is argued that luck poses an as yet unresolved problem for libertarians.
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  36.  82
    Frederick Adams & Alfred R. Mele (1992). The Intention/Volition Debate. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 22 (3):323-337.
  37.  5
    Alfred R. Mele (2016). Moral Responsibility: Radical Reversals and Original Designs. Journal of Ethics 20 (1-3):69-82.
    This article identifies and assesses a way of thinking that might help to explain why some compatibilists are attracted to what is variously called an internalist, structuralist, or anti-historicist view of moral responsibility—a view about the bearing of agents’ histories on their moral responsibility. Scenarios of two different kinds are considered. Several scenarios feature heavy-duty manipulation that radically changes an agent’s mature moral personality from admirable to despicable or vice versa. These “radical reversal” scenarios are contrasted with a scenario featuring (...)
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  38. Alfred R. Mele (1999). Kane, Luck, and the Significance of Free Will. Philosophical Explorations 2 (2):96-104.
    This paper raises a pair of objections to the novel libertarian position advanced in Robert Kane's recent book, The Significance of Free Will.The first objection's target is a central element in Kane's intriguing response to what he calls the "Intelligibility" and "Existence" questions about free will. It is argued that this response is undermined by considerations of luck.The second objection is directed at a portion of Kane's answer to what he calls "The Significance Question" about free will: "Why do we, (...)
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  39.  25
    Alfred R. Mele (2015). Luck, Control, and Free Will: Answering Berofsky. Journal of Philosophy 112 (7):337-355.
    This article answers a question about luck, control, and free will that Bernard Berofsky raises in Nature’s Challenge to Free Will. The article focuses on a positive element of a typical libertarian view: namely, the thesis that there are indeterministic agents who sometimes act freely when their actions—and decisions in particular—are not deterministically caused by proximal causes. LFT is the target of what I call “the problem of present luck”—indeterministic luck at the time of decision. The bearing of such luck (...)
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  40.  59
    Alfred R. Mele (2000). Deciding to Act. Philosophical Studies 100 (1):81–108.
    As this passage from a recent book on the psychology of decision-making indicates, deciding seems to be part of our daily lives. But what is it to decide to do something? It may be true, as some philosophers have claimed, that to decide to A is to perform a mental action of a certain kind – specifically, an action of forming an intention to A. (Henceforth, the verb ‘form’ in this context is to be understood as an action verb.) Even (...)
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  41. Alfred R. Mele (2010). Testing Free Will. Neuroethics 3 (2):161-172.
    This article describes three experiments that would advance our understanding of the import of data already generated by scientific work on free will and related issues. All three can be conducted with existing technology. The first concerns how reliable a predictor of behavior a certain segment of type I and type II RPs is. The second focuses on the timing of conscious experiences in Libet-style studies. The third concerns the effectiveness of conscious implementation intentions. The discussion of first two experiments (...)
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  42.  72
    Alfred R. Mele (1999). Twisted Self-Deception. Philosophical Psychology 12 (2):117-137.
    In instances of "twisted" self-deception, people deceive themselves into believing things that they do not want to be true. In this, twisted self-deception differs markedly from the "straight" variety that has dominated the philosophical and psychological literature on self-deception. Drawing partly upon empirical literature, I develop a trio of approaches to explaining twisted self-deception: a motivation-centered approach; an emotion-centered approach; and a hybrid approach featuring both motivation and emotion. My aim is to display our resources for exploring and explaining twisted (...)
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  43.  31
    Alfred R. Mele (1996). Soft Libertarianism and Frankfurt-Style Scenarios. Philosophical Topics 24 (2):123-41.
  44. J. L. Ackrill, Julia Annas, M. F. Burnyeat, John M. Cooper, Marcia L. Homiak, Rosalind Hursthouse, T. H. Irwin, L. A. Kosman, Richard Kraut, John McDowell, Alfred R. Mele & Martha C. Nussbaum (1998). Aristotle's Ethics: Critical Essays. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
    The ethics of Aristotle , and virtue ethics in general, have enjoyed a resurgence of interest over the past few decades. Aristotelian themes, with such issues as the importance of friendship and emotions in a good life, the role of moral perception in wise choice, the nature of happiness and its constitution, moral education and habituation, are finding an important place in contemporary moral debates. Taken together, the essays in this volume provide a close analysis of central arguments in Aristotle's (...)
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  45.  67
    Alfred R. Mele (2000). Reactive Attitudes, Reactivity, and Omissions. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (2):447-452.
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  46.  14
    Alfred R. Mele & David Robb (2003). Bbs, Magnets and Seesaws: The Metaphysics of Frankfurt-Style Cases. In David Widerker & Michael McKenna (eds.), Moral Responsibility and Alternative Possibilities: Essays on the Importance of Alternative Possibilities. Ashgate 107--126.
  47.  52
    John Heil & Alfred R. Mele (1991). Mental Causes. American Philosophical Quarterly 28 (January):61-71.
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  48.  84
    Alfred R. Mele (2006). The Folk Concept of Intentional Action: A Commentary. Journal of Cognition and Culture.
    In this commentary, I discuss the three main articles in this volume that present survey data relevant to a search for something that might merit the label “the folk concept of intentional action” – the articles by Joshua Knobe and Arudra Burra, Bertram Malle, and Thomas Nadelhoffer. My guiding question is this: What shape might we find in an analysis of intentional action that takes at face value the results of all of the relevant surveys about vignettes discussed in these (...)
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  49. Alfred R. Mele (1990). Irresistible Desires. Noûs 24 (3):455-72.
    The topic of irresistible desires arises with unsurprising frequency in discussions of free agency and moral responsibility. Actions motivated by such desires are standardly viewed as compelled, and hence unfree. Agents in the grip of irresistible desires are often plausibly exempted from moral blame for intentional deeds in which the desires issue. Yet, relatively little attention has been given to the analysis of irresistible desire. Moreover, a popular analysis is fatally flawed. My aim in this paper is to construct and (...)
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  50.  54
    Alfred R. Mele (2014). Self-Control, Motivational Strength, and Exposure Therapy. Philosophical Studies 170 (2):359-375.
    Do people sometimes exercise self-control in such a way as to bring it about that they do not act on present-directed motivation that continues to be motivationally strongest for a significant stretch of time (even though they are able to act on that motivation at the time) and intentionally act otherwise during that stretch of time? This paper explores the relative merits of two different theories about synchronic self-control that provide different answers to this question. One is due to Sripada (...)
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