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MIT24_120s09_lec20 - MIT OpenCourseWare http/ocw.mit.edu...

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MIT OpenCourseWare http://ocw.mit.edu 24.120 Moral Psychology Spring 2009 For information about citing these materials or our Terms of Use, visit: http://ocw.mit.edu/terms .
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24.120 MORAL PSYCHOLOGY RICHARD HOLTON XX Self-Determination Theory F UNDAMENTAL M OTIVATIONS What are our fundamental motivations? There are the obvious physical ones: food, shelter, sex. But in addition there is a set of fundamental social motivations, fundamental in the sense that they are almost universal, and that we generally cannot flourish if we fail to achieve them. 1 Although there is much debate over exactly how they should be classified, three command fairly widespread agreement. 2 The first is a desire for social acceptance . 3 The second is a desire for control : we become depressed and apathetic when we find that we cannot control our environment, either because it is uncontrollable, or because we lack the necessary competence. 4 The third, which is the one of relevance for us, is a desire for self-determination . D ECI & R YAN The idea of self-determination has been articulated and explored in the work of Edward Deci and Richard Ryan. They write: Some intentional behaviors, we suggest, are initiated and regulated through choice as an expression of oneself, whereas other intentional behaviors are pressured and coerced by intrapsychic and environmental force and thus do not represent true choice. The former behaviors are characterized by autonomous initiation and regulation and are referred to as self-determined; the latter behaviors are characterized by heteronomous initiation and regulation and are referred to as controlled. 5 True choice, they go on to say, applies only to actions that involve “an inner endorsement of one’s actions, the sense that they emanate from oneself and are one’s own”. Philosophical readers will be immediately reminded of Frankfurt. 6 But the idea isn’t quite the same. Frankfurt is
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