Date of Award

8-12-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Andrea Scarantino

Second Advisor

Eddy Nahmias

Third Advisor

Nicole Vincent

Abstract

Self-control is required when an agent encounters some opposition to acting on her better judgments. One such opposition is diminished motivation, that is, a lack of desire to act on a better judgment. Thomas Connor compares two views of successful self-control, actional (i.e. the view that self-control is produced by a motivated action) and non-actional (i.e. the view that self-control consists of having unmotivated thoughts), and argues that non-actional views are better at explaining successful self-control in cases of diminished motivation. I reject Connor’s suggestion that successful self-control is likely to be non-actional by presenting two arguments: (1) non-actional views do not possess an advantage in explaining successful self-control because of a failure to provide an account of how self-controlling thoughts arise when self-control is required, and (2) actional views can account for successful self-control in the case of diminished motivation, namely, by prescribing minimally taxing strategies of self-control.

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