Decomposing the Will

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-03-25
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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There is growing evidence from the science of human behavior that our everyday, folk understanding of ourselves as conscious, rational, responsible agents may be radically mistaken. The science, some argue, recommends a view of conscious agency as merely epiphenomenal: an impotent accompaniment to the whirring unconscious machinery (the inner zombie) that prepares, decides and causes our behavior. The new essays in this volume display and explore this radical claim, revisiting the folk concept of the responsible agent after abandoning the image of a central executive, and "decomposing" the notion of the conscious will into multiple interlocking aspects and functions. Part 1 of this volume provides an overview of the scientific research that has been taken to support "the zombie challenge." In part 2, contributors explore the phenomenology of agency and what it is like to be the author of one's own actions. Part 3 then explores different strategies for using the science and phenomenology of human agency to respond to the zombie challenge. Questions explored include: what distinguishes automatic behavior and voluntary action? What, if anything, does consciousness contribute to the voluntary control of behavior? What does the science of human behavior really tell us about the nature of self-control?

Author Biography

Andy Clark is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh.

Julian Kiverstein is Postdoctoral Researcher in Philosophy at University of the Edinburgh.

Tillmann Vierkant is Lecturer of Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1
Tillmann Vierkant, Julian Kiverstein, and Andy Clark

Part I: The Zombie Challenge

Chapter 2
The Neuroscience of Volition
Adina L. Roskies

Chapter 3
Beyond Libet: Long-term Prediction of Free Choices from Neuroimaging Signals
John-Dylan Haynes

Chapter 4
Vetoing and Consciousness
Alfred R. Mele

Chapter 5
Determinism & Predictability
Richard Holton

Part II: The Sense of Agency

Chapter 6
From the Fact to the Sense of Agency
Manos Tsakiris and Aikaterini Fotopoulou

Chapter 7
Ambiguity in the Sense of Agency
Shaun Gallagher

Chapter 8
There's Nothing Life Being Free: Default Dispositions, Judgments of Freedom, and the Phenomenology of Coercion
Fabio Paglieri

Chapter 9
Agency as a Marker of Consciousness
Tim Bayne

Part III: The Function of Conscious Control: Conflict Resolution, Emotion, and Mental Actions

Chapter 10
Voluntary Action and the Three Forms of Binding in the Brain
Ezequiel Morsella, Tara C. Dennehy, and John A. Bargh

Chapter 11
Emotion Regulation and Free Will
Nico H. Frijda

Chapter 12
Action Control by Implementation Intentions: The Role of Discrete Emotions
Sam J. Maglio, Peter M. Gollwitzer, and Gabriele Oettingen

Chapter 13
Mental Action and the Threat of Automaticity
Wayne Wu

Chapter 14
Mental Acts as Natural Kinds
JoŽlle Proust

Part IV: Decomposed Accounts of the Will

Chapter 15
Managerial control and free mental agency
Tillmann Vierkant

Chapter 16
Recomposing the Will: Distributed Motivation and Computer Mediated Extrospection
Lars Hall and Petter Johansson

Chapter 17
Situationism and Moral Responsibility: Free Will in Fragments
Manuel Vargas

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