Macquarie, Philosophy

Addiction and the role of the self in self-control

Self-control is often conceived of in terms of the capacity to delay gratification - to prefer larger later rewards over smaller sooner rewards. For agents to be motivated by future rewards they must have more than a third-personal appreciation of the value and the consequences of various options. Self-control requires the capacity for mental time travel and identification with the person at the other end of those travels. I suggest that the second of these is often lacking in people with addiction.