This chapter extends the accounts of valuing and of agential authority to puzzles about rational willpower in the face of temptation. It explores two approaches, one that focuses on the agential authority of certain policies of action, and one that focuses on the reasonable stability of such policies. In each case, the chapter seeks to understand the implications of the basic features of our temporally extended planning agency for the rationality of certain forms of willpower. It also examines basic issues about the relations between practical reason and the metaphysics of planning agency. Donald Davidson famously emphasized that “incontinence is not essentially a problem in moral philosophy, but a problem in the philosophy of action.” This chapter argues that temptation is primarily a problem about the interaction between instrumental rationality and structures of agency. It considers an approach that appeals more broadly to the roles of evaluative rankings in the psychic economy of our agency.
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