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MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences - Great Ideas Change the World

What New Year's resolutions say about us
commentary by MIT Philosopher Richard Holton 


    

 

         "Our ability to make resolutions
          is at the center of our sense of free will."

 


 

Story at The Boston Globe
Ideas Section
January 01, 2012| by Joshua Rothman

"Is there a way to make meaningful and effective resolutions anyway? Richard Holton, a philosopher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has spent more than a decade studying resolutions, choices, decisions, and the weaknesses and strengths of our willpower; in 2009, his book Willing, Wanting, Waiting argued that our ability to make resolutions is at the center of our sense of free will. Holton says that getting resolutions right means going beneath the surface, not just of your own behavior, but also of the mental processes behind keeping resolutions."

 

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Richard Holton
Richard Holton arrived at MIT in the Fall of 2004. He graduated from University College, Oxford in 1984, having read Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. He was a graduate student at Nuffield College, Oxford (1984-5), and the Ecole normale superieur, Paris (1985-6), before starting a Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton (1986-1991). His doctoral dissertation was in the philosophy of language; he continues to work in that area, as well as in moral psychology, ethics, and the philosophy of law.

Willing, Wanting, Waiting
Richard Holston (Oxford University Press, 2009)

MIT-SHASS | Department of Philosophy