Journal of Consciousness Studies 5 (2):224-234 (1998)

Christine James
Valdosta State University
The philosophical study of irrationality can yield interesting insights into the human mind. One provocative issue is self-defeating behaviours, i.e. behaviours that result in failure to achieve one’s apparent goals and ambitions. In this paper I consider a self-defeating behaviour called choking under pressure, explain why it should be considered irrational, and how it is best understood with reference to skills. Then I describe how choking can be explained without appeal to a purely Freudian subconscious or ‘sub-agents’ view of mind. Finally, I will recommend an alternative way to understand self-defeating behaviour which comes from a synthesis of Peter Strawson’'s explanation of ‘self-reactive attitudes’, Mark Johnston’'s notion of ‘mental tropisms’, and revised Freudian descriptions of the causes of self-defeating behaviour.
Keywords philosophy of psychology  irrationality  normative ethics  choking under pressure  philosophy of mind  self-deception  self-defeat  intentionality
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Delusions, Irrationality and Cognitive Science.John Rust - 1990 - Philosophical Psychology 3 (1):123-138.
Incoherence and Irrationality.Donald Davidson - 1985 - Dialectica 39 (4):345-54.
Irrationality: A Precis.Alfred R. Mele - 1988 - Philosophical Psychology 1 (2):173-177.
Self-Deception and Internal Irrationality.Dion Scott-Kakures - 1996 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (1):31-56.
Functional Irrationality.Mary Tjiattas - 2000 - The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 9:133-140.
Rationality and Schizophrenic Delusion.Ian Gold & Jakob Hohwy - 2000 - Mind and Language 15 (1):146-167.
Multiple Personality and Irrationality.Grant Gillett - 1991 - Philosophical Psychology 4 (1):103-118.
Self-Defeating Arguments.John L. Pollock - 1991 - Minds and Machines 1 (4):367-392.


Added to PP index

Total views
1,376 ( #3,388 of 2,462,331 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
139 ( #4,238 of 2,462,331 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes