Authors
Pujarini Das
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
Abstract
The book, Autonomous Agents: From Self-Control to Autonomy (1995), by Alfred R. Mele, deals primarily with two main concepts, “self-control” and “individual autonomy,” and the relationship between them. The book is divided into two parts: (1) a view of self-control, the self-controlled person, and behaviour manifesting self-control, and (2) a view of personal autonomy, the autonomous person, and autonomous behaviour. Mele (Ibid.) defines self-control as the opposite of the Aristotelian concept of akrasia, or the contrary of akrasia, which implies weakness of will, incontinence, or lack of self-control—the state of mind in which one acts against one’s better judgement. According to Mele, the concept of self-control can be approached from two perspectives: (a) how self-control affects human behaviour, and (b) how self-control-associated behavior can enhance our understanding of ‘personal autonomy’ and ‘autonomous behaviour’—personal autonomy requires self-control, and autonomous persons and autonomous behaviour are naturally found together. Therefore, I might say that self-control is essential to enhancing one’s autonomy. In part I, we find an account of self-control where Mele argues that even an ideally self-controlled person might lack autonomy. In part II, Mele gives an explicit account of autonomy and explains what must be added to self-control to achieve autonomy. This is the pivotal claim made by Mele (dismantling the intuitively connected notions of self-control and autonomy).
Keywords Free Will  Self-control  Autonomous agent  Self-controlled person
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Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry Frankfurt - 2004 - In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.
How Is Weakness of the Will Possible?Donald Davidson - 1969 - In Joel Feinberg (ed.), Moral Concepts. Oxford University Press.

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