Breakdown of Will

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 19, 2001 - Business & Economics - 258 pages
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Ainslie argues that our responses to the threat of our own inconsistency determine the basic fabric of human culture. He suggests that individuals are more like populations of bargaining agents than like the hierarchical command structures envisaged by cognitive psychologists. The forces that create and constrain these populations help us understand so much that is puzzling in human action and interaction: from addictions and other self-defeating behaviors to the experience of willfulness, from pathological over-control and self-deception to subtler forms of behavior such as altruism, sadism, gambling, and the 'social construction' of belief. This book integrates approaches from experimental psychology, philosophy of mind, microeconomics, and decision science to present one of the most profound and expert accounts of human irrationality available. It will be of great interest to philosophers and an important resource for professionals and students in psychology, economics and political science.
 

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Contents

Introduction
3
The Dichotomy at the Root of Decision Science Do We Make Choices By Desires or By Judgments?
13
The Warp in How We Evaluate the Future
27
The Warp Can Create Involuntary Behaviors Pains Hungers Emotions
48
A BREAKDOWN OF THE WILL THE COMPONENTS OF INTERTEMPORAL BARGAINING
71
The Elementary Interaction of Interest
73
Sophisticated Bargaining Among Internal Interest
90
The Subjective Experience of Intertemporal Bargaining
105
The Downside of Willpower
143
An Efficient Will Undermines Appetite
161
The Need to Maintain Appetite Eclipses the Will
175
Conclusions
198
Notes
201
References
227
Name Index
247
Subject Index
253

Getting Evidence about a Nonlinear Motivational System
117
THE ULTIMATE BREAKDOWN OF WILL NOTHING FAILS LIKE SUCCESS
141

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