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  • Steven Cottam

    1. Steven Cottam is pursuing a Masters of Theology, with a concentration in Interreligious Dialogue, at Catholic Theological Union in Hyde Park, Chicago, where he is also an intern in the Catholic–Muslim Studies Program. He can be reached at the Catholic Theological Union, 5401 S. Cornell Ave., Chicago, IL 60615, USA; e-mail
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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.