Document Type

Contribution to Book



Publication Date



Oxford University Press

Source Publication

Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility, Vol. 6

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Self-control is integral to successful human agency. But the capacity for self-control requires external support. This paper explores the connections between social conditions, self-control, agency, and the self. Part one offers a taxonomy of self-control. Part two examines the external conditions that support successful agency and self-control, and argues that moral security is a critical foundation for agency. Moral security refers to the degree to which an agent believes that her welfare and her projects are valued by others and by her society. Parts three and four explore how narratives about racism and poverty undermine moral security, and limit and distort the possibility of synchronic and diachronic self-control. Where moral security is undermined, the connection between self-control and diachronic goods often fails to obtain and agency contracts accordingly.


Published version. "Self-Control and Moral Security" in Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility, Vol. 6 by David Shoemaker, Neal A. Tognazzini and Justin D. Coates. Oxford : Oxford University Press, (2013-): 33-63. DOI. © 2019 Oxford University Press. Used with permission.

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