Understanding volition

Philosophical Psychology 17 (2):247-274 (2004)
The concept of volition has a long history in Western thought, but is looked upon unfavorably in contemporary philosophy and psychology. This paper proposes and elaborates a unifying conception of volition, which views volition as a mediating executive mental process that bridges the gaps between an agent's deliberation, decision and voluntary bodily action. Then the paper critically examines three major skeptical arguments against volition: volition is a mystery, volition is an illusion, and volition is a fundamentally flawed conception that leads to infinite regress. It is shown that all these charges are untenable and the arguments are far from decisive to dismiss the concept of volition. In addition, it is suggested that a naturalistic approach, which takes philosophical inquiry as continuous with the scientific study of volition, is a promising way to demystify volition
Keywords Illusion  Infinite Regress  Metaphysics  Mystery  Volition
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DOI 10.1080/0951508042000239066
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Jing Zhu (2004). Locating Volition. Consciousness and Cognition 13 (2):302-322.
Edmund Henden (2008). What is Self-Control? Philosophical Psychology 21 (1):69 – 90.

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