Back when I was able to keep up with LiveJournal*, I wrote about fascination with Weakness of Will
. It just struck me that a good model for willpower might be a neural net. In a simplified example, suppose you have a node "Sleep with this person" with two inputs: "Desire to get off" and "Desire to respect self in morning." Each input has a fixed (though it can change over time) weight. Perhaps the horny weight is 1 and the self-respect weight is -17. In that situation, the horny input would have to be 17 times as strong as the self-respect input (assuming a threshold at 0). The key to behaving virtuously therefore becomes training your decision-making neural net to the right weights. No homunculus needed.
(I suspect others have written extensively about this, but it just crystalized in my mind, so I thought I'd share.)
* When I haven't been working long hours, I've been hanging out at my girlfriend's house, and she doesn't have Internet access. I have therefore kept only rudimentary tabs on my friends page and haven't had opportunities to post. For the curious: Dragonfest was great. I then spent 24 hours from DIA dropoff to DIA pickup for a meeting in Riverside, CA which was also great. In a little over a week I'll be on my way to Burning Man, which should also be great. That's my month of August in one paragraph.