Self-Control  book cover
1st Edition


  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after January 31, 2023
ISBN 9780815357346
January 31, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
256 Pages

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USD $44.95

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Book Description

Self-control is a fundamental part of what it is to be a human being. It poses important philosophical and psychological questions about the nature of belief, motivation, judgment, and decision-making. More immediately, failures of self-control can have high costs, resulting in ill-health, loss of relationships and even violence and death, whereas strong self-control is also often associated with having a virtuous character. What exactly is self-control? If we lose control can we still be free? Can we be held responsible for loss of self-control?

In this thorough and clearly written introduction to the philosophy of self-control the authors examine and assess the following topics and questions:

  • the importance of self-control
  • what is self-control?
  • self-control and the law of desire
  • mechanisms of self-control
  • how is it possible to lose self-control?
  • blameworthiness and (the loss of) self-control
  • externalist self-control
  • pathologies of self-control.

Combining philosophical analysis with surveys of the latest psychological research, and including chapter summaries, suggestions for further reading and a glossary of key terms, Self-Control is essential reading for students of philosophy of mind and psychology, moral psychology, free will and ethics. It will also be of interest to those in related fields such as psychology and cognitive science.

Table of Contents


1. The Importance of Self-Control

2. What is Self-Control?

3. Self-Control and the Law of Desire

4. Mechanisms of Self-Control

5. How is it Possible to Lose Self-Control?

6. Blameworthiness and (the Loss of) Self-Control

7. Externalist Self-Control

8. Pathologies of Self-Control




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'Self-Control weaves together philosophical analysis and scientific evidence to provide a balanced tour of this important topic. The chapters are concise yet comprehensive and punctuated with concrete examples of self-control - and its failures - from real life and fiction. The authors expertly guide readers through traditional philosophical debates as well as cutting-edge issues, such as pathologies of self-control.' - Josh May, University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA