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Profile: Alfred Mele (Florida State University)
  1. Alfred R. Mele (2014). Luck and Free Will. Metaphilosophy 45 (4-5):543-557.
    This essay sketches a problem about luck for typical incompatibilist views of free will posed in Alfred Mele, Free Will and Luck , and examines recent reactions to that problem. Reactions featuring appeals to agent causation receive special attention. Because the problem is focused on decision making, the control that agents have over what they decide is a central topic. Other topics discussed include the nature of lucky action and differences between directly and indirectly free actions.
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  2. Alfred R. Mele (2014). Self-Control, Motivational Strength, and Exposure Therapy. Philosophical Studies 170 (2):359-375.
    Do people sometimes exercise self-control in such a way as to bring it about that they do not act on present-directed motivation that continues to be motivationally strongest for a significant stretch of time (even though they are able to act on that motivation at the time) and intentionally act otherwise during that stretch of time? This paper explores the relative merits of two different theories about synchronic self-control that provide different answers to this question. One is due to Sripada (...)
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  3. Alfred R. Mele (2013). A Dialogue on Free Will and Science. Oup Usa.
    A Dialogue on Free Will and Science is a brief and intriguing book discussing the scientific challenges of free will. Presented through a dialogue, the format allows ideas to emerge and be clarified and then evaluated in a natural way. Engaging and accessible, it offers students a compelling look at free will and science.
     
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  4. Alfred R. Mele (2013). Free Will, Science, and Punishment. In Thomas A. Nadelhoffer (ed.), The Future of Punishment. Oup Usa. 177.
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  5. Alfred R. Mele (2013). Libertarianism and Human Agency. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (1):72-92.
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  6. 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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  7. Alfred R. Mele (2013). Moral Responsibility, Manipulation, and Minutelings. Journal of Ethics 17 (3):153-166.
    This article explores the significance of agents’ histories for directly free actions and actions for which agents are directly morally responsible. Candidates for relevant compatibilist historical constraints discussed by Michael McKenna and Alfred Mele are assessed, as is the bearing of manipulation on free action and moral responsibility.
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  8. Alfred R. Mele (2012). Backsliding: Understanding Weakness of Will. Oup Usa.
    People backslide. They freely do things they believe it would be best on the whole not to do. Mele draws on work in social and developmental psychology and in psychiatry to motivate a view of human behavior in which both backsliding and overcoming the temptation to backslide are explicable.
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  9. Alfred R. Mele (2012). Crimes of Negligence: Attempting and Succeeding. [REVIEW] Criminal Law and Philosophy 6 (3):387-398.
    In chapter 6 of Attempts , Gideon Yaffe defends the thesis that it is “possible to attempt crimes of negligence” ( 2010 , p. 173). I am persuaded that he is right about this, provided that “attempt crimes of negligence” is read as (potentially misleading) shorthand for “attempt to bring it about that we commit crimes of negligence.” But I find certain parts of his defense unpersuasive. My discussion of those parts of his argument motivates the following thesis: Not only (...)
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  10. Alfred R. Mele (2012). Folk Conceptions of Intentional Action. Philosophical Issues 22 (1):281-297.
  11. Alfred R. Mele (2012). Who's in Charge: Free Will and the Science of the Brain. BioScience 62 (3):313-314.
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  12. Alfred R. Mele (2011). Libet on Free Will: Readiness Potentials, Decisions, and Awareness. In W. Sinnot-Armstrong & L. Nadel (eds.), Conscious Will and Responsibility. Oxford University Press. 23--33.
  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. Alfred R. Mele (2010). Approaching Self-Deception: How Robert Audi and I Part Company. Consciousness and Cognition 19 (3):745-750.
    This article explores fundamental differences between Robert Audi’s position on self-deception and mine. Although we both depart from a model of self-deception that is straightforwardly based on stereotypical interpersonal deception, we differ in how we do that. An important difference between us might be partly explained by a difference in how we understand the kind of deceiving that is most relevant to self-deception.
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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. Alfred R. Mele (2009). Have I Unmasked Self-Deception or Am I Self-Deceived?". In Clancy W. Martin (ed.), The Philosophy of Deception. Oxford University Press. 260.
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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. Alfred R. Mele (2008). Agnostic Autonomism. In James Stacey Taylor (ed.), Personal Autonomy: New Essays on Personal Autonomy and its Role in Contemporary Moral Philosophy.
    Professor Mele uses the term `autonomy' where other philosophers have spoken of `freedom', `free will' and the like. His well-worked-out paper, which is individual in more than its usage, is not committed to either of the tired doctrines that determinism is inconsistent with autonomy and that it is consistent with it. He is agnostic about which choice to make. Some proponents of the first doctrine, those who believe determinism, draw the conclusion that there is no autonomy. Some proponents of the (...)
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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. Alfred R. Mele (2007). Decisions, Intentions, Urges, and Free Will: Why Libet Has Not Shown What He Says He Has. In J. Campbell, M. O.’Rourke & D. Shier (eds.), Explanation and Causation: Topics in Contemporary Philosophy. Mit Press. 4--241.
  25. 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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  26. Alfred R. Mele (2007). Persisting Intentions. Noûs 41 (4):735–757.
    Al is nearly finished sweeping his kitchen floor when he notices, on a counter, a corkscrew that should be put in a drawer. He intends to put the corkscrew away as soon as he is finished with the floor; but by the time he returns the broom and dustpan to the closet, he has forgotten what he intended to do. Al knows (or has a true belief) that there is something he intended to do now in the kitchen. He gazes (...)
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  27. Alfred R. Mele (2007). Review of John Searle, Freedom and Neurobiology: Reflections on Free Will, Language, and Political Power. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (3).
  28. 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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  29. Mark Timmons, John Greco & Alfred R. Mele (eds.) (2007). Rationality and the Good: Critical Essays on the Ethics and Epistemology of Robert Audi. Oxford University Press.
    For over thirty years, Robert Audi has produced important work in ethics, epistemology, and the theory of action. This volume features thirteen new critical essays on Audi by a distinguished group of authors: Fred Adams, William Alston, Laurence BonJour, Roger Crisp, Elizabeth Fricker, Bernard Gert, Thomas Hurka, Hugh McCann, Al Mele, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Raimo Tuomela, Candace Vogler, and Timothy Williamson. Audi's introductory essay provides a thematic overview interconnecting his views in ethics, epistemology, and philosophy of action. The volume concludes with (...)
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  30. 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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  31. 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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  32. Alfred R. Mele (2006). Free Will: Theories, Analysis, and Data. In Susan Pockett, William P. Banks & Shaun Gallagher (eds.), Does Consciousness Cause Behavior? MIT Press. 187-205.
  33. Alfred R. Mele (2006). Practical Mistakes and Intentional Actions. American Philosophical Quarterly 43 (3):249 - 260.
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  34. 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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  35. 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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  36. 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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  37. Alfred R. Mele (2005). Action. In Frank Jackson & Michael Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy. Oxford University Press. 78-88.
    What are actions? And how are actions to be explained? These two central questions of the philosophy of action call, respectively, for a theory of the nature of action and a theory of the explanation of actions. Many ordinary explanations of actions are offered in terms of such mental states as beliefs, desires, and intentions, and some also appeal to traits of character and emotions. Traditionally, philosophers have used and refined this vocabulary in producing theories of the explanation of intentional (...)
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  38. Alfred R. Mele (2005). Agnostic Autonomism Revisited. In J. Stacey Taylor (ed.), Personal Autonomy: New Essays on Personal Autonomy and Its Role in Contemporary Moral Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
  39. Alfred R. Mele (2005). A Critique of Pereboom's 'Four-Case Argument' for Incompatibilism. Analysis 65 (285):75-80.
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  40. Alfred R. Mele (2005). Decisions, Intentions, and Free Will. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29 (1):146-162.
  41. Alfred R. Mele (2005). Discussion – Velleman on Action and Agency. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 121 (3):249 - 261.
  42. 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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  43. 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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  44. Alfred R. Mele (2005). Motivation and Agency: Replies. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 123 (3):295 - 311.
    What place does motivation have in the lives of intelligent agents? Mele's answer is sensitive to the concerns of philosophers of mind and moral philosophers and informed by empirical work. He offers a distinctive, comprehensive, attractive view of human agency. This book stands boldly at the intersection of philosophy of mind, moral philosophy, and metaphysics.
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  45. Alfred R. Mele (2004). Action: Volitional Disorder and Addiction. In Jennifer Radden (ed.), The Philosophy of Psychiatry. Oxford University Press.
    Weakness of will has perplexed philosophers since Plato's time. This chapter places some of the literature on volitional disorders and addictions in a philosophical context dating back to Plato and Aristotle in an attempt to shed light on issues that a theorist who wishes to analyze the idea of a volitional disorder will face. Key here is the notion of the irresistability and resistability of pertinent desires, which is explored in relation to George Ainslie's work on the ability to make (...)
     
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  46. Alfred R. Mele (2004). Motivated Irrationality. In Alfred R. Mele & Piers Rawling (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Rationality. Oxford University Press.
    The literature on motivated irrationality has two primary foci: action and belief. This article explores two of the central topics falling under this rubric: akratic action (action exhibiting so-called weakness of will or deficient self-control) and motivationally biased belief (including self-deception). Among other matters, this article offers a resolution of Donald Davidson's worry about the explanation of irrationality. When agents act akratically, they act for reasons, and in central cases, they make rational judgments about what it is best to do. (...)
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  47. Alfred R. Mele (2004). Outcomes of Internal Conflicts in the Sphere of Akrasia and Self-Control. In Peter Baumann & Monika Betzler (eds.), Practical Conflicts: New Philosophical Essays. Cambridge University Press. 262.
    Practical conflicts include conflicts in agents who judge, from the perspective of their own values, desires, beliefs, and the like, that one prospective course of action is superior to another but are tempted by what they judge to be the inferior course of action. A man who wants a late-night snack, even though he judges it best, from the identified perspective, to abide by his recent New Year's resolution against eating such snacks until he has lost ten pounds, is the (...)
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  48. Alfred R. Mele (2004). Review: Discussion: Velleman on Action and Agency. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 121 (3):249 - 261.
  49. Alfred R. Mele (2004). The Illusion of Conscious Will and the Causation of Intentional Actions. Philosophical Topics 32 (1/2):193-213.
  50. Alfred R. Mele (2004). Volitional Disorder and Addiction. In Jennifer Radden (ed.), The Philosophy of Psychiatry: A Companion. Oxford University Press. 78.
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