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Picoeconomics : The Strategic Interaction of Successive Motivational States within the Person - George Ainslie


The Strategic Interaction of Successive Motivational States within the Person


Published: 25th November 2010
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Originally published in 1992, this book examines an elementary human paradox: that we are endangered by our own wishes; or, as Oscar Wilde put it, 'When the gods want to punish us they answer our prayers.' Even though this observation is ancient and confirmed by wide experience, none of the disciplines that deal with decision making explain it adequately. Dr. Ainslie uses findings from behavioral experiments to show that there is a basic tendency for humans to form temporary preferences for the poorer but earlier of two goals, when the poorer goal is closer at hand. The implications provide a rationale for puzzling behavior, from Frued's defense mechanism to the force of willpower, as well as conspicuous failures of willpower in addictions and other psychiatric disorders. This approach also sheds light on subjects that have been controversial in moral philosophy: weakness of will, self-deception, freedom, and responsibility.

The paradox of addiction
In search of the two minds
Temporary-preference theory
The interaction of interests: the effects of short-range interests
The interaction of interests
Freedom and compulsion
Self-generated reward as the basic impulse-control problem
The demon at the calliope
The texture of experience
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521158701
ISBN-10: 0521158702
Series: Studies in Rationality and Social Change
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 460
Published: 25th November 2010
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 14.0  x 2.6
Weight (kg): 0.58