Unconscious vision and the platitudes of folk psychology

Philosophical Psychology 20 (3):309 – 327 (2007)
Since we explain behavior by ascribing intentional states to the agent, many philosophers have assumed that some guiding principle of folk psychology like the following, which I call intentional states and actions (ISA), must be true: "If A and B are different actions, then the agents performing them must differ in their intentional states at the time they are performed." Recent results in the physiology of vision present a prima facie problem for this principle. These results show that some visual information that guides spatial manipulation and fine motor control is unavailable for verbal report. Plausibly, this information is not consciously available to the agent, and as such, not available to inform the content of intentional states. Thus, it is hard to see how every difference in action is subject to intentional explanation, as (ISA) requires. I articulate the prima facie problem and argue that the most plausible solution requires us to reject (ISA)
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DOI 10.1080/09515080701250228
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