Breakdown of Will by George Ainslie

By George Ainslie

Ainslie argues that our responses to the specter of our personal inconsistency be certain the elemental textile of human tradition. He means that everyone is extra like populations of bargaining brokers than just like the hierarchical command constructions envisaged via cognitive psychologists. this attitude is helping us comprehend lots that's perplexing in human motion and interplay: from self-defeating behaviors to willfulness, from pathological over-control and self-deception to subtler varieties of habit reminiscent of altruism, sadism, playing, and the "social construction" of trust.

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From the again Cover
Summary

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It suggests mechanisms that might give some people a high inborn susceptibility to drug reward, and it shows how taking a drug over time can reduce the brain’s sensitivity to other kinds of reward. It also underscores the likelihood that choice is fundamentally based on some kind of hedonic evaluation, as I’ll now describe. However, it doesn’t repair the flaw in conventional utility theory: It doesn’t suggest why people fail to maximize reward as they themselves see it, that is, why people should perceive a need for selfcontrol.

The banker-like curve seems to represent an added accomplishment, not a fundamental change. This is what we should expect. If a person could learn to change the discount curve she was born with, there would always be a strong incentive to do so as much as possible: If some distant prospect – a Christmas present, say – was worth only 3 utiles to you now, but by some trick you could make it worth 5 utiles, you could make yourself 2 utiles richer just by doing this trick. If you could act directly on your discount curves, you could coin reward for yourself, so to speak.

Thus experience suggests that there’s a raw process of reward that constitutes the active determinant of value. While it can be perceived abstractly, it doesn’t occur differently because of this abstraction. In the following comparison of lines, the second one continues to look longer, even after we’ve measured them and found that they are the same length: 36 How We Evaluate the Future In the same way, knowing that, all things considered, eating another dessert or putting off going to the dentist will make me less happy in the long run doesn’t of itself reduce my urge to do these things.

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