[Sequence] Breakdown Of Will

Willpower- Foreknown Choice Selves

In this sequence, we will be exploring this précis of this book. Specifically, we will be exploring the implications of akrasia (the act of behaving against one’s own desires).

Preliminary Posts

Content Summary

  1. An Introduction To Hyperbolic Discounting. Based on Chapter 1-3. Introduces the concepts of akrasia and utility, proceeds to model akrasia as a symptom of discount curves shaped like hyperbolas.
  2. Willpower As Preference Bundling. Based on Chapter 5. Discusses how willpower (a therapy against akrasia) comes to make our successive selves consistent with one another.  Willpower is presented as the brain subtly manipulating how it instantiates hyperbolic discount functions.
  3. Personal Rule Feedback Loops. Based on Chapter 6. Builds a mental model of preference bundling, and explores the recursive nature of personal rules.
  4. Iterated Schizophrenic’s Dilemma. Based on Chapter 6. Grounds Ainslee’s account of willpower (and preference bundling) in a modified form of Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma.
  5. Against Willpower. Based on Chapter 9. If willpower is preference bundling, then its mechanisms become available for scrutiny. Ainslee here locates four surprising implications of his theory of willpower, which suggest that it is not the unilaterally-beneficial tool that we might suspect.