Are we rationally required to exercise self-control?Daniel B Cohen (Charles Sturt University)
Old Arts, North Theatre
The University of Melbourne
ABSTRACT: Our preferences sometimes reverse. For instance, I might prefer to get started on my grading tomorrow -- but when tomorrow arrives, I’ll likely prefer to get started the following day instead. We are often encouraged to exercise self-control in cases like these -- to somehow get ourselves to act according to ‘yesterday’s’ preferences. But is self-control ever, in fact, rationally required? I will argue that no matter how we fill out the case -- for instance, by supposing that I resolve today to get started tomorrow or that I will tomorrow judge that I ought to get started then -- it doesn’t follow that a failure of self-control is in any way irrational.