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Alfred R. Mele [189]Alfred Remen Mele [1]
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Profile: Alfred Mele (Florida State University)
  1.  228 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2005). Decisions, Intentions, and Free Will. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29 (1):146-162.
  2.  206 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2010). Testing Free Will. Neuroethics 3 (2):161-172.
    This article describes three experiments that would advance our understanding of the import of data already generated by scientific work on free will and related issues. All three can be conducted with existing technology. The first concerns how reliable a predictor of behavior a certain segment of type I and type II RPs is. The second focuses on the timing of conscious experiences in Libet-style studies. The third concerns the effectiveness of conscious implementation intentions. The discussion of first two experiments (...)
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  3.  174 DLs
    Roy F. Baumeister, Alfred R. Mele & Kathleen D. Vohs (eds.) (2010). Free Will and Consciousness: How Might They Work? University Press.
    This volume is aimed at readers who wish to move beyond debates about the existence of free will and the efficacy of consciousness and closer to appreciating ...
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  4.  173 DLs
    Helen Beebee & Alfred R. Mele (2002). Humean Compatibilism. Mind 111 (442):201-223.
    Humean compatibilism is the combination of a Humean position on laws of nature and the thesis that free will is compatible with determinism. This article's aim is to situate Humean compatibilism in the current debate among libertarians, traditional compatibilists, and semicompatibilists about free will. We argue that a Humean about laws can hold that there is a sense in which the laws of nature are 'up to us' and hence that the leading style of argument for incompatibilism?the consequence argument?has a (...)
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  5.  149 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele & David Robb (1998). Rescuing Frankfurt-Style Cases. Philosophical Review 107 (1):97-112.
    Almost thirty years ago, in an attempt to undermine what he termed "the principle of alternate possibilities" (the thesis that people are morally responsible for what they have done only if they could have done otherwise), Harry Frankfurt offered an ingenious thought-experiment that has played a major role in subsequent work on moral responsibility and free will. Several philosophers, including David Widerker and Robert Kane, argued recently that this thought-experiment and others like it are fundamentally flawed. This paper develops a (...)
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  6.  146 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (1995). Autonomous Agents: From Self-Control to Autonomy. Oxford University Press.
    This book addresses two related topics: self-control and individual autonomy. In approaching these issues, Mele develops a conception of an ideally self-controlled person, and argues that even such a person can fall short of personal autonomy. He then examines what needs to be added to such a person to yield an autonomous agent and develops two overlapping answers: one for compatibilist believers in human autonomy and one for incompatibilists. While remaining neutral between those who hold that autonomy is compatible with (...)
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  7.  144 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (1987). Irrationality: An Essay on Akrasia, Self-Deception, and Self-Control. Oxford University Press.
    Although much human action serves as proof that irrational behavior is remarkably common, certain forms of irrationality--most notably, incontinent action and self-deception--pose such difficult theoretical problems that philosophers have rejected them as logically or psychologically impossible. Here, Mele shows that, and how, incontinent action and self-deception are indeed possible. Drawing upon recent experimental work in the psychology of action and inference, he advances naturalized explanations of akratic action and self-deception while resolving the paradoxes around which the philosophical literature revolves. In (...)
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  8.  129 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (1997). Real Self-Deception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):91-102.
    Self-deception poses tantalizing conceptual conundrums and provides fertile ground for empirical research. Recent interdisciplinary volumes on the topic feature essays by biologists, philosophers, psychiatrists, and psychologists (Lockard & Paulhus 1988, Martin 1985). Self-deception's location at the intersection of these disciplines is explained by its significance for questions of abiding interdisciplinary interest. To what extent is our mental life present--or even accessible--to consciousness? How rational are we? How is motivated irrationality to be explained? To what extent are our beliefs subject to (...)
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  9.  125 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2006). Self-Deception and Delusions. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 2 (1):109-124.
    My central question in this paper is how delusional beliefs are related to self-deception. In section 1, I summarize my position on what self-deception is and how representative instances of it are to be explained. I turn to delusions in section 2, where I focus on the Capgras delusion, delusional jealousy (or the Othello syndrome), and the reverse Othello syndrome.
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  10.  121 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2003). Agents' Abilities. Noûs 37 (3):447–470.
  11.  121 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2005). A Critique of Pereboom's 'Four-Case Argument' for Incompatibilism. Analysis 65 (285):75-80.
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  12.  121 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2008). Manipulation, Compatibilism, and Moral Responsibility. Journal of Ethics 12 (3/4):263 - 286.
    This article distinguishes among and examines three different kinds of argument for the thesis that moral responsibility and free action are each incompatible with the truth of determinism: straight manipulation arguments; manipulation arguments to the best explanation; and original-design arguments. Structural and methodological matters are the primary focus.
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  13.  114 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2009). Effective Intentions: The Power of Conscious Will. Oxford University Press.
    Each of the following claims has been defended in the scientific literature on free will and consciousness: your brain routinely decides what you will do before you become conscious of its decision; there is only a 100 millisecond window of opportunity for free will, and all it can do is veto conscious decisions, intentions, or urges; intentions never play a role in producing corresponding actions; and free will is an illusion. In Effective Intentions Alfred Mele shows that the evidence offered (...)
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  14.  109 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (1992). Akrasia, Self-Control, and Second-Order Desires. Noûs 26 (3):281-302.
    Pristine belief/desire psychology has its limitations. Recognizing this, some have attempted to fill various gaps by adding more of the same, but at higher levels. Thus, for example, second-order desires have been imported into a more stream- lined view to explicate such important notions as freedom of the will, personhood, and valuing. I believe that we need to branch out as well as up, augmenting a familiar 'philosophical psychology' with psychological items that are irreducible to beliefs and desires (for support, (...)
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  15.  106 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (1999). Kane, Luck, and the Significance of Free Will. Philosophical Explorations 2 (2):96-104.
    This paper raises a pair of objections to the novel libertarian position advanced in Robert Kane's recent book, The Significance of Free Will.The first objection's target is a central element in Kane's intriguing response to what he calls the "Intelligibility" and "Existence" questions about free will. It is argued that this response is undermined by considerations of luck.The second objection is directed at a portion of Kane's answer to what he calls "The Significance Question" about free will: "Why do we, (...)
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  16.  105 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (ed.) (1997). The Philosophy of Action. Oxford University Press.
    The latest offering in the highly successful Oxford Readings in Philosophy series, The Philosophy of Action features contributions from twelve leading figures in the field, including: Robert Audi, Michael Bratman, Donald Davidson, Wayne Davis, Harry Frankfurt, Carl Ginet, Gilbert Harman, Jennifer Hornsby, Jaegwon Kim, Hugh McCann, Paul Moser, and Brian O'Shaughnessy. Alfred Mele provides an introductory essay on the topics chosen and the questions they deal with. Topics addressed include intention, reasons for action, and the nature and explanation of internal (...)
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  17.  102 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (1990). Irresistible Desires. Noûs 24 (3):455-72.
    The topic of irresistible desires arises with unsurprising frequency in discussions of free agency and moral responsibility. Actions motivated by such desires are standardly viewed as compelled, and hence unfree. Agents in the grip of irresistible desires are often plausibly exempted from moral blame for intentional deeds in which the desires issue. Yet, relatively little attention has been given to the analysis of irresistible desire. Moreover, a popular analysis is fatally flawed. My aim in this paper is to construct and (...)
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  18.  101 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele & Paul K. Moser (1994). Intentional Action. Noûs 28 (1):39-68.
    We shall formulate an analysis of the ordinary notion of intentional action that clarifies a commonsense distinction between intentional and nonintentional action. Our analysis will build on some typically neglected considerations about relations between lucky action and intentional action. It will highlight the often- overlooked role of evidential considerations in intentional action, thus identifying the key role of certain epistemological considerations in action theory. We shall also explain why some vagueness is indispensable in a characterization of intentional action as ordinarily (...)
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  19.  100 DLs
    Tyler F. Stillman, Roy F. Baumeister & Alfred R. Mele (2011). Free Will in Everyday Life: Autobiographical Accounts of Free and Unfree Actions. Philosophical Psychology 24 (3):381 - 394.
    What does free will mean to laypersons? The present investigation sought to address this question by identifying how laypersons distinguish between free and unfree actions. We elicited autobiographical narratives in which participants described either free or unfree actions, and the narratives were subsequently subjected to impartial analysis. Results indicate that free actions were associated with reaching goals, high levels of conscious thought and deliberation, positive outcomes, and moral behavior (among other things). These findings suggest that lay conceptions of free will (...)
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  20.  94 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2007). Free Will and Luck. Philosophical Explorations 10 (2):153 – 155.
    Mele's ultimate purpose in this book is to help readers think more clearly about free will. He identifies and makes vivid the most important conceptual obstacles to justified belief in the existence of free will and meets them head on. Mele clarifies the central issues in the philosophical debate about free will and moral responsibility, criticizes various influential contemporary theories about free will, and develops two overlapping conceptions of free will--one for readers who are convinced that free will is incompatible (...)
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  21.  94 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2006). Fischer and Ravizza on Moral Responsibility. Journal of Ethics 10 (3):283-294.
    The author argued elsewhere that a necessary condition that John Fischer and Mark Ravizza offer for moral responsibility is too strong and that the sufficient conditions they offer are too weak. This article is a critical examination of their reply. Topics discussed include blameworthiness, irresistible desires, moral responsibility, reactive attitudes, and reasons responsiveness.
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  22.  93 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2005). Libertarianism, Luck, and Control. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 86 (3):381-407.
    This article critically examines recent work on free will and moral responsibility by Randolph Clarke, Robert Kane, and Timothy O’Connor in an attempt to clarify issues about control and luck that are central to the debate between libertarians (agent causationists and others) and their critics. It is argued that luck poses an as yet unresolved problem for libertarians.
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  23.  89 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2003). Emotion and Desire in Self-Deception. In Anthony Hatzimoysis (ed.), Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement. Cambridge University Press 163-179.
    According to a traditional view of self-deception, the phenomenon is an intrapersonal analogue of stereotypical interpersonal deception. In the latter case, deceivers intentionally deceive others into believing something, p , and there is a time at which the deceivers believe that p is false while their victims falsely believe that p is true. If self-deception is properly understood on this model, self-deceivers intentionally deceive themselves into believing something, p , and there is a time at which they believe that p (...)
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  24.  85 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2013). Libertarianism and Human Agency. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (1):72-92.
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  25.  84 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2003). Intentional Action: Controversies, Data, and Core Hypotheses. Philosophical Psychology 16 (2):325-340.
    This article reviews some recent empirical work on lay judgments about what agents do intentionally and what they intend in various stories and explores its bearing on the philosophical project of providing a conceptual analysis of intentional action. The article is a case study of the potential bearing of empirical studies of a variety of folk concepts on philosophical efforts to analyze those concepts and vice versa. Topics examined include double effect; the influence of moral considerations on judgments about what (...)
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  26.  81 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2009). Moral Responsibility and History Revisited. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (5):463 - 475.
    Compatibilists about determinism and moral responsibility disagree with one another about the bearing of agents’ histories on whether or not they are morally responsible for some of their actions. Some stories about manipulated agents prompt such disagreements. In this article, I call attention to some of the main features of my own “history-sensitive” compatibilist proposal about moral responsibility, and I argue that arguments advanced by Michael McKenna and Manuel Vargas leave that proposal unscathed.
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  27.  81 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2005). Dennett on Freedom. Metaphilosophy 36 (4):414-426.
    This article is my contribution to an author-meets-critics session on Daniel Dennett’s Freedom Evolves (Viking, 2003) at the 2004 meetings of the American Philosophical Association – Pacific Division. Dennett criticizes a view I defend in Autonomous Agents (Oxford University Press, 1995) about the importance of agents’ histories for autonomy, freedom, and moral responsibility and defends a competing view. Our disagreement on this issue is the major focus of this article. Additional topics are manipulation, avoidance, and avoidability.
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  28.  79 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (1997). Agency and Mental Action. Philosophical Perspectives 11 (s11):231-249.
  29.  78 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2000). Self-Deception and Emotion. Consciousness and Emotion 1 (1):115-137.
    Drawing on recent empirical work, this philosophical paper explores some possible contributions of emotion to self-deception. Three hypotheses are considered: (1) the anxiety reduction hypothesis: the function of self-deception is to reduce present anxiety; (2) the solo emotion hypothesis: emotions sometimes contribute to instances of self-deception that have no desires among their significant causes; (3) the direct emotion hypothesis: emotions sometimes contribute directly to self-deception, in the sense that they make contributions that, at the time, are neither made by desires (...)
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  30.  78 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2009). Moral Responsibility and Agents' Histories. Philosophical Studies 142 (2):161 - 181.
    To what extent should an analysis of an agent’s being morally responsible for an action that he performed—especially a compatibilist analysis of this—be sensitive to the agent’s history? In this article, I give the issue a clearer focus than it tends to have in the literature, I lay some groundwork for an attempt to answer the question, and I motivate a partial but detailed answer.
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  31.  72 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (1992). Intentions, Reasons, and Beliefs: Morals of the Toxin Puzzle. Philosophical Studies 68 (2):171 - 194.
  32.  70 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2006). Free Will and Luck. Oxford University Press.
    Mele's ultimate purpose in this book is to help readers think more clearly about free will. He identifies and makes vivid the most important conceptual obstacles to justified belief in the existence of free will and meets them head on. Mele clarifies the central issues in the philosophical debate about free will and moral responsibility, criticizes various influential contemporary theories about free will, and develops two overlapping conceptions of free will--one for readers who are convinced that free will is incompatible (...)
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  33.  69 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (1997). Understanding and Explaining Real Self-Deception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):127-134.
    This response addresses seven main issues: (1) alleged evidence that in some instances of self-deception an individual simultaneously possesses “contradictory beliefs”; (2) whether garden-variety self-deception is intentional; (3) whether conditions that I claimed to be conceptually sufficient for self-deception are so; (4) significant similarities and differences between self-deception and interpersonal deception; (5) how instances of self-deception are to be explained, and the roles of motivation in explaining them; (6) differences among various kinds of self- deception; (7) whether a proper conception (...)
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  34.  66 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (1983). Akrasia, Reasons, and Causes. Philosophical Studies 44 (3):345-368.
    The occurrence or apparent occurrence of incontinent actions challenges several influential views in ethics and the philosophy of mind, e.g., Hare's prescriptivism and the Socratic idea that we always act in the light of the imagined greatest good. It also raises, as I shall explain, an interesting and instructive problem for proponents of causal theories of action. But whereas Socrates and Hare attempt to avoid the difficulties with which akrasia confronts them by denying - wrongly, I shall argue - that (...)
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  35.  65 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2005). Motivation and Agency: Precis. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 123 (3):243–247.
    In Motivation and Agency, I defend answers to a web of questions about motivation and human agency. I benefit from – and react to – not only important philosophical work on mind, action, and morality but also relevant empirical work in such fields as the psychology of motivation, social psychology, physiological psychology, and neurobiology. The questions include the following. Can a plausible cognitivist moral theory require that moral ought-beliefs essentially encompass motivation to act accordingly? Where does the motivational power of (...)
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  36.  65 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2008). Proximal Intentions, Intention-Reports, and Vetoing. Philosophical Psychology 21 (1):1 – 14.
    Proximal intentions are intentions to do something at once. Are they ever among the causes of actions? Can agents “veto” or retract proximal intentions and refrain from acting on them in certain experimental settings? When, in controlled studies, do proximal intentions to press a button, for example, arise? And when does the agent's consciousness of these intentions arise? This article explores these questions—and evaluates some answers that have been offered—in light of the results of some recent research in neuroscience. Methods (...)
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  37.  64 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (1999). Ultimate Responsibility and Dumb Luck. Social Philosophy and Policy 16 (02):274-.
    My topic lies on conceptual terrain that is quite familiar to philosophers. For others, a bit of background may be in order. In light of what has filtered down from quantum mechanics, few philosophers today believe that the universe is causally deterministic . That is, to use Peter van Inwagen's succinct definition of “determinism,” few philosophers believe that “there is at any instant exactly one physically possible future.” Even so, partly for obvious historical reasons, philosophers continue to argue about whether (...)
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  38.  60 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (1999). Twisted Self-Deception. Philosophical Psychology 12 (2):117-137.
    In instances of "twisted" self-deception, people deceive themselves into believing things that they do not want to be true. In this, twisted self-deception differs markedly from the "straight" variety that has dominated the philosophical and psychological literature on self-deception. Drawing partly upon empirical literature, I develop a trio of approaches to explaining twisted self-deception: a motivation-centered approach; an emotion-centered approach; and a hybrid approach featuring both motivation and emotion. My aim is to display our resources for exploring and explaining twisted (...)
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  39.  58 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2000). Reactive Attitudes, Reactivity, and Omissions. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (2):447-452.
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  40.  58 DLs
    Frederick Adams & Alfred R. Mele (1992). The Intention/Volition Debate. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 22 (3):323-337.
  41.  57 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (1997). Underestimating Self-Control: Kennett and Smith on Frog and Toad. Analysis 57 (2):119–123.
  42.  56 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2006). The Folk Concept of Intentional Action: A Commentary. Journal of Cognition and Culture.
    In this commentary, I discuss the three main articles in this volume that present survey data relevant to a search for something that might merit the label “the folk concept of intentional action” – the articles by Joshua Knobe and Arudra Burra, Bertram Malle, and Thomas Nadelhoffer. My guiding question is this: What shape might we find in an analysis of intentional action that takes at face value the results of all of the relevant surveys about vignettes discussed in these (...)
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  43.  55 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2003). Philosophy of Action. In Kirk Ludwig (ed.), Donald Davidson. Cambridge University Press
    The basic subject matter of the philosophy of action is a pair of questions: (1) What are actions? (2) How are actions to be explained? The questions call, respectively, for a theory of the nature of action and a theory of the explanation of actions. Donald Davidson has articulated and defended influential answers to both questions. Those answers are the primary focus of this chapter.
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  44.  54 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele & Fiery Cushman (2007). Intentional Action, Folk Judgments, and Stories: Sorting Things Out. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1):184–201.
    How are our actions sorted into those that are intentional and those that are not? The philosophical and psychological literature on this topic is livelier now than ever, and we seek to make a contribution to it here. Our guiding question in this article is easy to state and hard to answer: How do various factors— specifically, features of vignettes—that contribute to majority folk judgments that an action is or is not intentional interact in producing the judgment? In pursuing this (...)
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  45.  53 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (1987). Are Intentions Self-Referential? Philosophical Studies 52 (3):309-329.
    What is it, precisely, that an agent intends when he intends, as we might say, to clean his stove today? What is the content of his intention? In recent years, Gilbert Harman and John Searle have maintained that all intentions are self-referential -- that is, that an adequate expression of the content of any intention makes essential reference to the intention whose content is being expressed. I shall call this the self-referentiality thesis (SRT). Harman, in his paper 'Practical Reasoning', argues (...)
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  46.  52 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2013). Manipulation, Moral Responsibility, and Bullet Biting. Journal of Ethics 17 (3):167-184.
    This article’s guiding question is about bullet biting: When should compatibilists about moral responsibility bite the bullet in responding to stories used in arguments for incompatibilism about moral responsibility? Featured stories are vignettes in which agents’ systems of values are radically reversed by means of brainwashing and the story behind the zygote argument. The malady known as “intuition deficit disorder” is also discussed.
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  47.  52 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (1988). Irrationality: A Precis. Philosophical Psychology 1 (2):173-177.
    My primary aim in Irrationality: An Essay on Akrasia, Self-Deception, and Self-Control (1987) is to show that and how akratic action and self-deception are possible. The control that normal agents have over their actions and beliefs figures in the analysis and explanation of both phenomena. For that reason, an examination of self-control plays a central role in the book. In addition, I devote a chapter each to akratic belief and the explanation of intentional action. A precis of the book will (...)
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  48.  51 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2000). Goal-Directed Action: Teleological Explanations, Causal Theories, and Deviance. Noûs 34 (s14):279 - 300.
  49.  50 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (1983). Self-Deception. Philosophical Quarterly 33 (October):366-377.
    Self-Deception, Properly understood, Is not paradoxical. Although self-Deception involves motivated false belief, It is not properly modeled after "intentional" interpersonal deception. Thus, The major source of paradox is dissolved. Moreover, Even intentional self-Deception need not be paradoxical and there is good reason to believe that a kind of self-Deception which "would" be paradoxical never occurs. Finally, In cases of self-Deception, As in instances of akratic action, There is scope for blame.
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  50.  48 DLs
    Alfred R. Mele (2000). Deciding to Act. Philosophical Studies 100 (1):81–108.
    As this passage from a recent book on the psychology of decision-making indicates, deciding seems to be part of our daily lives. But what is it to decide to do something? It may be true, as some philosophers have claimed, that to decide to A is to perform a mental action of a certain kind – specifically, an action of forming an intention to A. (Henceforth, the verb ‘form’ in this context is to be understood as an action verb.) Even (...)
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