David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 129 (1):105-128 (2001)
A prominent but poorly understood domain of human agency is mental action, i.e., thecapacity for reaching specific desirable mental statesthrough an appropriate monitoring of one's own mentalprocesses. The present paper aims to define mentalacts, and to defend their explanatory role againsttwo objections. One is Gilbert Ryle's contention thatpostulating mental acts leads to an infinite regress.The other is a different although related difficulty,here called the access puzzle: How can the mindalready know how to act in order to reach somepredefined result? A crucial element in the solutionof these puzzles consists in making explicit thecontingency between mental acts and mentaloperations, parallel to the contingency betweenphysical acts and bodily movements. The paper finallydiscusses the kind of reflexivity at stake in mentalacts; it is shown that the capacity to refer tooneself is not a necessary condition of the successfulexecution of mental acts.
|Keywords||Act Agency Attention Mental Act Metaphysics Mind|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Andrei A. Buckareff (2011). Action-Individuation and Doxastic Agency. Theoria 77 (4):312-332.
Similar books and articles
W. B. Gallie (1948). Dr Ewing on Mental Acts. Mind 57 (October):480-487.
Peter T. Geach (1957). Mental Acts: Their Content And Their Objects. Humanities Press.
Richard E. Aquila (1976). Intentionality: A Study Of Mental Acts. Penn St University Press.
Alfred C. Ewing (1948). Mental Acts. Mind 57 (April):201-220.
Keith Hossack (2003). Consciousness in Act and Action. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 2 (3):187-203.
Gilbert Ryle (2000). Courses of Action or the Uncatchableness of Mental Acts. Philosophy 75 (3):331-344.
Ernesto Perini-Santos (2007). La Structure de l'Acte Intellectif Dans Les Théories Ockhamiennes du Concept. Vivarium 45 (1):93-112.
Matthew Soteriou (2009). Mental Agency, Conscious Thinking, and Phenomenal Character. In Lucy O'Brien & Matthew Soteriou (eds.), Mental Actions. Oxford University Press. 231.
Richard W. Taylor (1963). The Stream of Thoughts Versus Mental Acts. Philosophical Quarterly 13 (October):311-321.
Lucy F. O'Brien (2005). Self-Knowledge, Agency, and Force. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3):580–601.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads90 ( #13,118 of 1,099,017 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #27,186 of 1,099,017 )
How can I increase my downloads?