14 July 2016
08 December 2014
The Philosophy and Science of Self-Control
10 September 2013
07 May 2013
19 January 2013
SelfControl: the app
05 December 2012
Stephanie Jarrett's Liberating Aboriginal People from Violence
Self-control and glucose
11 May 2011
Old philosophy badged as new science?
04 February 2011
Akst on self-control
09 January 2011
America back to spending like there's no tomorrow
30 October 2010
Gopnik's Philosophical Baby on Restraint
"The executive-control one-cookie/two-cookie experiments were first done back in the sixties. Years later they turned out to be a remarkably good predictor of teenage success at school. Children who were more able to defer gratification when they were five years old became teenagers who were more likely to be rated as competent and mature, and their SAT scores were consistently higher than those of children who couldn't tolerate the delay.
Some psychologists have even suggested that teenagers who literally don't feel they have a future are most likely to behave self-destructively. Michael Chandler looked at teenagers in aboriginal communities in Canada. These teenagers are notoriously at risk for suicide, as well as less drastically self-destructive actions. Chandler found that adolescents at risk for suicide had a less coherent sense of themselves. They were less likely to connect their current, past, and especially future selves than children who were less at risk."
[ref: M. Chandler and T. Proulx, 2006, 'Changing selves in changing worlds: youth suicide on the fault-lines of colliding cultures', Archives of Suicide Research, special issue: Suicide among indigenous peoples: The Research, 10 (2) (Mar 2006), 125-40.]
05 October 2010
Judy Stove on self-control in education
03 October 2010
The "inner voice of reason" promotes self-control
30 March 2010
18 March 2010
Toilet training report
29 December 2009
Warrane monograph on Restraint Project
It contains four papers:
* Temperance in Australia: The Restraint Project (James Franklin)
* From Moral to Medical: The retreat of self-control in Australia in the twentieth century (Judy Stove)
* Self-control in the Big Scheme of Things (Andrew Mullins)
* Temperance and the Modern Temper: Aristotle and Aquinas revisited (Lucy Smith)
Copies are available from Warrane College or from James Franklin.
Final Report on Restraint Project Grant
10 September 2009
Grog War republication
04 September 2009
Judy Stove in Romania
She spoke about the early Quaker missionaries in Australia, who founded the temperance movement, but were not advocates of abstinence. Her thesis was that their commitment to true moderation rather than abstinence was largely a function of Quaker pragmatism, but was also grounded in principles which rejected the prohibition of a practice just because it could be abused.
In her capacity as a visitor from distant Australia, she was also briefly interviewed by Romanian TV about the Restraint Project.
Under the Influence
18 July 2009
The long-term decline of violence
08 June 2009
Emma Tom on the Aristotelian mean
04 June 2009
Roger Scuton on temperance
01 June 2009
Stephanie Jarrett on indigenous violence
22 April 2009
Warrane Autumn Seminar, 2 May 2009
17 April 2009
No medication, no control
05 April 2009
Self-deception and self-control
02 March 2009
Talk on Restraint Project, Mar 4, Sydney
Time and Place for Philorum Group @ Central
1st and 3rd Wednesdays of every month.
18:15 for a 18:30 Start. Finish 21:30
(Feel free to come and go at any point during the night.)
The Members Bar, Floor 1
(Keep winding up to the top of the stairs.)
The Gaelic Club
64 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills
(100 metres from a Central railway station exit.)
Cost: Free (Patronise the bar).
08 January 2009
Rudd's Handouts Feed Statewide Betting Binge
"When Kevin Rudd announced his $10.4 billion package of handouts to stave off recession, some said it was a gamble. The Prime Minister could hardly have known how true that would be. The millions of dollars handed to pensioners and lower-income families in the second week of December fuelled a betting and gaming binge across Victoria. 'We called it 'Kevin Rudd Thursday',' said the manager of one Melbourne Tabaret, revealing just how big a windfall gaming venues struck. Staff arrived at 8am on December 11 to find people queueing to play the pokies, cashed up with a minimum handout to single pensioners of $1400...."
Bank Deposits Guarantee a 'Moral Hazard'?
Self-control and Religious Practice
22 December 2008
"DrinkWise is an evidence based organization focused on promoting change towards a more responsible drinking culture in Australia. DrinkWise aims to contribute to the development of a drinking culture in Australia that reduces alcohol related harm and thereby maximizes the benefits from moderate alcohol consumption...Reducing alcohol abuse and the harm it causes, lies at the heart of the DrinkWise mission for a healthy drinking culture. The long term aim is to see intoxication, ‘risky’ and ‘high risk’ drinking behaviour become socially unacceptable."
In March this year the Rudd government introduced a new campaign directed at reducing binge-drinking in Australia. It's called, 'Don't turn a Night out into a Nightmare'.
Madoff relied on "Irrational Euphoria"
I asked a very senior regulator about this, a man who has been involved in formulating public policy for many years, and he said the answer was depressingly simple.People are prone to believe what they want to believe, he said, and in rising markets a kind of irrational euphoria takes hold in which we are not inclined to ask difficult questions..."
Full article on BBC News website.
16 December 2008
The Northern Territory Emergency Response
The intervention was extremely controversial. Here is the Australian government website account of it.
George Newhouse in The Guardian writes, "The Australian government's intervention in Aboriginal communities is discriminatory and dehumanising."
ANTaR - Australians for native Title and Reconciliation - write, "We welcome the significant additional resources ($587 million) that have been directed towards Northern Territory Aboriginal communities as a result of the Intervention. However, ANTaR is also concerned that unless changes are made to the Federal Government's approach, its attempt to stop child abuse in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities will fail."
A useful overall summary of different views about responses to the intervention by different Australian groups is offered here.
A year later there have been some attempts to assess whether the intervention was effective. Thus in the Sydney Morning Herald in March, , Galarrwuy Yunupingu warns, "Children as young as 12 are still vulnerable to sexual abuse and manipulation by men selling alcohol, drugs and pornography in the mining town of Nhulunbuy in north-east Arnhem land", and claims, "The missionary days were good...The missionaries looked after the kids much better than the Government does today."
In the SMH in June , "Russell Skelton finds that the year-old intercession in Northern Territory indigenous communities hasn't lived up to the hype."
These links were grabbed somewhat at random. If anyone else has more, please post.
'Science of Virtues' project in Illinois
"The Arete Initiative at the University of Chicago is pleased to announce a new $3 million research program on a New Science of Virtues. This is a multidisciplinary research initiative that seeks contributions from individuals and from teams of investigators working within the humanities and the sciences. We support highly original, scholarly projects that demonstrate promise of a distinctive contribution to virtue research and have the potential to begin a new field of interdisciplinary study."
15 December 2008
A Rare Case of Voluntary 'Salary Restraint'
"Quentin Skinner stepped down as Regius professor of modern history at the University of Cambridge this year at the age of 67.... Alison Richard, vice-chancellor of Cambridge, offered to keep Professor Skinner on at the history faculty's expense. But Professor Skinner said that, although he would have liked to stay after almost half a century at the university, he was "too expensive" and the faculty would be better served by employing two younger members of staff at the same cost...."
Stats on youth risk-taking
12 December 2008
Binge-Drinking amongst NZ Uni Students
Australian (views on) temperance
The talks were:
“Welcome. Overview of the Project”
James Franklin (UNSW)
“Addiction and the Elements of Self-control”
Jeanette Kennett (ANU and Monash University)
“Mistakes in restraining petrol sniffing”
“From the Culture of Wowserism to the culture of Healthism: Law, Custom, Fashion and Etiquette in Australian Smoking, 1900-1990s”
Ian Tyrrell (UNSW)
“A Case of Life and Death: Crime & Self-Control in Gin Lane"
Judy Stove (Research Assistant, Restraint Project)
“Restraint, Art and Moralism”
Craig Taylor (Flinders University)
“Pornography, Censorship and Strategies for Self-Regulation”
Gerald Keaney (University of Queensland)
“The Phenomenon of Extended Childhood Incontinence: Abandonment of Toilet-training of Today’s Infants & Toddlers”
“Summing up. Where to From Here?”
Catherine Legg (University of Waikato)
Copies of many of the talks are now available on the conference website.
If anyone who attended the conference is reading the blog and would like to discuss any of the issues further - please feel free to post here.
09 December 2008
British stiff upper lip
05 December 2008
Bill Cosby preaches black self-reliance
"From Birmingham to Cleveland and Baltimore, at churches and colleges, Cosby has been telling thousands of black Americans that racism in America is omnipresent but that it can’t be an excuse to stop striving. As Cosby sees it, the antidote to racism is not rallies, protests, or pleas, but strong families and communities. Instead of focusing on some abstract notion of equality, he argues, blacks need to cleanse their culture, embrace personal responsibility, and reclaim the traditions that fortified them in the past. Driving Cosby’s tough talk about values and responsibility is a vision starkly different from Martin Luther King’s gauzy, all-inclusive dream..."
"The Return of Goodness"
Is Pornography Adultery?
27 November 2008
Indigenous violence rooted in culture
13 November 2008
A Related Conference
29 September 2008
Australian Temperance: Miniconference 6 Dec 2008
16 September 2008
23 July 2008
Story on Indigenous Violence Database
02 July 2008
Australian Database of Indigenous Violence
25 April 2008
Research Associate job advertised
01 April 2008
Casual workers sought
06 February 2008
Toilet training, first place to learn self-control
Judy Stove on Akrasia
26 September 2007
Gambling addict: Red carpet treatment
His reaction - to sue the pants off them - is also a strategy worth considering.
27 July 2007
Fetal alcohol syndrome
13 July 2007
More on Porn's Effect on Relationships
10 July 2007
18 June 2007
Happiness and Restraint
15 May 2007
Temperance movement in Goulburn
06 April 2007
Credit card debt for "experiences"
"A lot of young people with credit card debt think they are buying abstract nouns - experiences, memories, togetherness, exploration and freedom.
When you use debt to buy abstract nouns you can explain away the guilt. You are not a shallow materialist living beyond your means if you slap air fares, mobile phone bills and scuba diving lessons on the plastic. Oh no. You are simply living life to the fullest. The anti-consumerist consumerist says things such as "you can't put a price on memories", "keeping in touch is more important than money" and "I have no regrets because I've had some fantastic experiences". Been there, done that."
01 March 2007
Narcissism index goes through roof
26 February 2007
23 February 2007
Project report, first year
17 February 2007
"In Pornified (an awful choice of title for an interesting book), Pamela Paul builds a sustained argument showing the detrimental effect of pornography on American life. The initial chapters are fairly neutral in tone, but as the book progresses her stance against pornography becomes more pronounced. Her assumptions are not religious and she does not repeat old anti-porn arguments that insist the pornography leads to rape. Rather, she provides evidence that most pornography is degrading to women; men use pornography in secret and especially with Internet pornography, they tend to spend hours each week using it, and this changes their expectations of how their female partners should look and behave and thus hurts their relationships; many men start using pornography compulsively, and drift into more hardcore pornography, bestiality and child pornography; children and young people are starting to learn about sex from pornography and model their behavior on what they see..."
21 January 2007
09 January 2007
Judy Stove on Greeks
11 December 2006
Links of Interest
"Converging on happiness" discusses some Aristotle.
"What is Morality? " interviews Stan Van Hooft on his book on Virtue Ethics
The following article is by an Economics academic, "Time Inconsistency, Self-Control and Remembrance". (lots of formulae!)
08 December 2006
Weber: "Unrestrained" capitalism?
"Unlimited greed for gain is not in the least identical with capitalism, and still less its spirit. Capitalism may even by identical with the restraint, or at least a rational tempering, of this irrational impulse".
05 December 2006
Violent video games
02 December 2006
School Principal and Pornography: 'Moral' or 'Lifestyle' Issue?
I'm interested in this because according to the liberal perspective which it is increasingly taboo to challenge in popular culture, there should be no problem with what a school principal views in private, as long as it does not affect the quality of his work (and in this case he seems in fact to have been an exceptionally high achiever).
Yet it seems this is not what where people's true moral intuitions lie in cases such as this...?
NZ Drinking Age Legislation Again
Another attempt was made to raise to 20 the age at which New Zealanders can buy alcohol from bottle shops (although it allowed for 18-20 y.o.s to buy and consume drinks on licensed premises). One of the bill's aims was to stop the current widespread practice of 18 y.o.s buying large quantities of alcohol for 14 & 15 y.o. friends. When the legal age for buying alcohol was 20, it was argued, the 'trickle-down' got to 17 & 18 y.o.s and thus was not so bad. There were howls of protest from 18 y.o.s about their rights, with little thought given to the argument that they might have forfeited those rights by buying alcohol for 14 & 15 y.o.s when the drinking age was lowered and they were in effect trusted to behave responsibly.
The bill was defeated. Reading between the lines it seems there was much backroom manoeuvring going on:
01 December 2006
Learning Self-Control: The Marshmallow Studies
Neil Levy: "There's a wonderful set of studies showing how children gradually learn self-control, the so-called Marshmallow Studies, after the reward that was given to children. Children are asked just to delay gratification in these studies. They were told, 'You can have one marshmallow now, or two marshmallows if you wait. You can have one marshmallow whenever you like. If you wait long enough, I'll give you two.' Very young children can't wait; within a few seconds, they're eating the first marshmallow. The older the child gets, the longer it can wait, and the length of waiting, the ability to defer gratification, is a very good predictor of a whole range of other achievements later in life. So for instance, it's a very good predictor - much better than IQ I believe, predictor of academic success. The child is learning how to delay its gratification to make itself a single being able to pursue goals which are maximally beneficial to itself, or which it perceives as maximally beneficial to itself, and it does that by learning a set of techniques which distract the self, distract the parts that want immediate gratification, which squelch them, which weaken their power. And I think these are the kinds of mechanisms that unify the self."
20 November 2006
Triumph of the Airheads
03 November 2006
Judy Stove's paper on restraint in Jane Austen
06 October 2006
Cognitive restraint paper
11 August 2006
Smoking Ban Deters Gamblers
08 August 2006
First publication by Restraint Project
31 July 2006
The Epistemology of Temperance
1) consult a religious text and do what it says blindly
2) some kind of Aristotelian naturalistic theory of human flourishing (I take it this is the line you are most interested in pursuing, Jim...?)
3) stop when it starts to feel bad (a.k.a. 'intuition')
Could there be any way of integrating 2) and 3)? It strikes me that 3) on its own is not enough - that this what "The Sixties Experiment" showed. OTOH one might argue that the way 12-step programs work at the end of the day is purely by forcing one to sit with the true consequences of one's own excessive behaviors and feel them.
Violence in Maori Communities
Anyway, this has prompted a certain amount of public soul-searching amongst prominent Maori concerning the violence in Maori communities. Alan Duff, author of "Once Were Warriors", has come out with a very conservative (though perhaps excessively jaundiced) line, and once again, liberal welfare reaps criticism rather than praise:
28 July 2006
NZ Again: Encouraging People to Commit to Education
but they do air on the mainstream channels.
New Zealand Govt confronts Kiwi obesity...
I see this is also happening in NSW:
27 July 2006
More On The Alcohol Issue: New Zealand Status Quo
In 2005 there was a bill put forward in Parliament to raise the drinking age back to 20. Doctors were significant campaigners for it:
But the bill was defeated.
Recently, there has been an ad campaign on TV, "It's not the drinking. It's how we drink" (!) with quite vivid scenarios depicted of people making idiots out of themselves in various ways. More details here: http://www.alcohol.org.nz/CampaignItsNotTheDrinking.aspx. It would be interesting to look at some statistics regarding these ads' effectiveness.
10 July 2006
Tom Frame on temperance
29 May 2006
Muslim "Just say no"
24 May 2006
04 May 2006
Wierzbicka book, re epistemic restraint
What I've been up to
Christopher Hookway has an interesting paper on 'epistemic akrasia'. One example he examines in detail is that of a mother who receives word that her son has committed a horrible crime and naturally doesn't want to believe it. This can be a genuine epistemological analogue to ethical akrasia, but only if the mother is actually aware that she is, for example, refusing to examine or accept all available evidence. Part of his conclusion is that some of our epistemic virtues are 'managerial' - correct husbanding of finite epistemic resources.
I've also just come across a paper by Michael Bishop entitled, "In Praise of Epistemic Irresponsibility: How Lazy and Ignorant can you Be?" (Synthese 2000). But I haven't read it yet.
Ideally I'd like to work up a paper on this stuff for the AAP, but don't have much time left...
02 May 2006
AFR Magazine piece on the project
26 April 2006
Austen and Ancients Update
Just a note to let you know what I've been doing since November. First of all, working on Self-Control in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park - complementing Susan's work on Pride and Prejudice. Till 1900, Fanny Price was a favourite heroine, but then no one had a good word to say for her, for the next 90 years - paralleling the fate of self-control itself.
Since then, I've started looking at the ancient Greek concept of _sophrosune_ (self-control). Because that's a very big subject, I'm focusing at present on a few key texts - Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Euripides' Hippolytus, Plato's Charmides and Republic, and Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics. _Sophrosune_ meant a whole lot of things, from wisdom, to self-control, to minding your own business, to, in the New Testament, sobriety. Cicero translated Plato's _sophrosune_ as _temperantia_, which leaves us with temperance - in its greater and lesser meanings. It was always a complex thing.
Please post, or email me (email@example.com), with any thoughts or comments.
20 April 2006
Galak article on `Damaged people'
`A damaged people' by Michael Galak. The idea is that societies where people don't quietly queue (e.g. Russia and remote Aboriginal communities, both of which the author knows) have very high levels of public anxiety similar in principle to abused people in normal societies. The people in those disturbed societies are depressed, shout in public, harm themselves and others, have no initiative etc. Those of you with access to Quadrant might like to read it and post a comment; others interested can ask me and I'll send a copy.