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SELF-CONTROL FAILURE IN CATHOLICISM, ISLAM, AND COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY

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Abstract. 

Our human condition is often defined in terms of human fallibility; we are human specifically because we fail to live up to our own expectations. This paper explores various conceptions of one form of human fallibility: self-control failure. Self-control failure is examined through two conceptualizations, with each conceptualization observed through a corresponding theological and psychological lens: first, as the result of a divided, conflicted humanity, as understood by the Catholic Doctrine of Original Sin and psychological Dual-Process Theories of Cognition; and second, as the result of limited goal perception, as understood by Islamic conceptions of human memory and psychological Construal Level Theory. A concluding discussion considers two broader implications of the preceding analysis: first, that an appropriate understanding of human fallibility can help us to mitigate its effects, and second, that a conversation regarding overlapping concepts across academic disciplines and religious traditions can enrich understanding of said concepts.
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Keywords: Catholicism; Islam; Qur’an; cognitive psychology; construal level; human condition; original sin; self-control; theological anthropology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-06-01

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