Agency, consciousness, and executive control

Philosophia 37 (1):21-30 (2009)
Abstract
On the Causal Theory of Action (CTA), internal proper parts of an agent such as desires and intentions are causally responsible for actions. CTA has increasingly come under attack for its alleged failure to account for agency. A recent version of this criticism due to François Schroeter proposes that CTA cannot provide an adequate account of either the executive control or the autonomous control involved in full-fledged agency. Schroeter offers as an alternative a revised understanding of the proper role of consciousness in agency. In this paper we criticize Schroeter’s analysis of the type of consciousness involved in executive control and examine the way in which the conscious self allegedly intervenes in action. We argue that Schroeter’s proposal should not be preferred over recent versions of CTA.
Keywords Agency  Intentional action  Causal theory of action  Consciousness  Executive control
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References found in this work BETA
Ned Block (1995). On a Confusion About a Function of Consciousness. Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.
Michael E. Bratman (2001). Two Problems About Human Agency. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 101 (3):309–326.
Tyler Burge (1997). Two Kinds of Consciousness. In Ned Block, Owen Flanagan & Güven Güzeldere (eds.), The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates. The Mit Press.

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