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Self-Control and the Person: An Inter-Disciplinary Account


The goal of TeamControl is to develop and test a novel account of how we achieve self-control, in part through developing a novel account of the person and exploring its implications for self-control. I take problems of self-control to be those where a person has to resist a current temptation in order to achieve a long-term goal. In the study of self-control, there is a general disciplinary divide. In philosophy, the main focus has been on willpower; in economics/ rational choice theory, the focus has been on external mechanisms by which someone can commit her future self. In TeamControl, my team and I will bring the two approaches together. By introducing the concept of the self as a team over time and providing a novel formal model, we will bring willpower into the rational choice theory framework. Conversely, we will show that mechanisms are of relevance to philosophy, by identifying mechanisms of willpower and investigating their implications for theories of rationality.

The project is divided into four inter-related sub-projects: (1) Willpower and the Will: Mechanisms of Self-Control, (2) Selves and Teams: Intra- and Inter-Personal Analogies (3) The Person as a Team Over Time: Implications for Self- Control, (4) The Self, the Will and Psychiatry: Implications of the Theory for Borderline Personality Disorder. Between them, they bring together themes from across philosophy: philosophy of action, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind and psychology, decision theory, philosophy of psychiatry, experimental philosophy.

Together, these sub-projects will combine to make an ambitious, inter-disciplinary study of self-control resulting in contributions to a number of academic fields. TeamControl is both multi-disciplinary, engaging with the study of self-control in various fields contemporaneously, and inter-disciplinary, tackling problems in each field by using methodologies from others, and will have trans-disciplinary impact.

Call for proposal

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WC2R 2LS London
United Kingdom

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London Inner London — West Westminster
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Natalie Karen Gold (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Paul Labbett (Mr.)
EU contribution
No data

Beneficiaries (1)