O maior problema do controle de constitucionalidade – um dos institutos básicos do Estado de direito –, com relação à sua justificação democrática, é a chamada dificuldade contra-majoritária [countermajoritarian difficulty], já apontada por Bickel. O texto apresenta o tratamento dessa questão em Habermas, Rawls e Dworkin, a partir da bioética, especialmente o caso do aborto, da eutanásia e da eugenia. Argumenta-se que a justificação moral de boa parte do controle de constitucionalidade encontra sua base em fundamentos morais impostos (...) ao legislador, a partir de uma perspectiva liberal. Tais fundamentos são reconstruídos, tendo em vista a posição tolerante de Locke concernente à problemática religiosa. PALAVRAS-CHAVE – Bioética. Constitucionalidade. Liberalismo. Liberadade religiosa. ABSTRACT The major problem of the control over constitutionality – one of the basic institutes of the rule of law –, with regard to its democratic justification, is the so-called countermajoritarian difficulty, already highlighted by Bickel. The article shows how this issue is tackled by Habermas, Rawls, and Dworkin, from the standpoint of bioethics, especially in matters of abortion, euthanasia, and eugenics. It argues that the moral justification of a great deal of the control over constitutionality finds its basis on moral grounds imposed to the legislator from a liberal perspective. Such grounds are reconstructed with a view to recasting Locke’s tolerant position concerning religious affairs. KEY WORDS – Bioethics. Constitutionality. Liberalism. Religious freedom. (shrink)
This paper deals with the application of the metabolic control theory, especially the measurement of control coefficients, to the threonine pathway inE. coli. The control coefficient of a step on a metabolic flux quantitatively assesses the flux response to the step variations. This concept is particularly relevant both in pathological situations (decrease in the activity of an enzymatic step in the metabolism) and in biotechnologies, where, on the contrary steps are amplified.Measurement of the control coefficients of the steps of a (...) metabolic network makes it possible to know those whose amplification should lead to a simultaneous increase in the fluxes. (shrink)
This book provides a comprehensive, systematic theory of moral responsibility. The authors explore the conditions under which individuals are morally responsible for actions, omissions, consequences, and emotions. The leading idea in the book is that moral responsibility is based on 'guidance control'. This control has two components: the mechanism that issues in the relevant behavior must be the agent's own mechanism, and it must be appropriately responsive to reasons. The book develops an account of both components. The authors go on (...) to offer a sustained defense of the thesis that moral responsibility is compatible with causal determinism. (shrink)
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 (...) addition, he defends an account of self-control, argues that "strict" akratic action is an insurmountable obstacle for traditional belief-desire models of action-explanation, and explains how a considerably modified model accommodates action of this sort. (shrink)
The now growing literature on the content and sources of the phenomenology of first-person agency highlights the multi-faceted character of the phenomenology of agency and makes it clear that the experience of agency includes many other experiences as components. This paper examines the possible relations between these components of our experience of acting and the processes involved in action specification and action control. After a brief discussion of our awareness of our goals and means of action, it will focus on (...) the sense of agency for a given action, understood as the sense the agent has that he or she is the author of that action. I argue that the sense of agency can be analyzed as a compound of more basic experiences, including the experience of intentional causation, the sense of initiation and the sense of control. I further argue that the sense of control may itself be analysed into a number of more specific, partially dissociable experiences. (shrink)
Are we the robots? This question surfaces often in current psychological re- search, as various kinds of robot parts-automatic actions, mental mechanisms, even neural circuits-keep appearing in our explanations of human behavior. Automatic processes seem responsible for a wide range of the things we do, a fact that may leave us feeling, if not fully robotic, at least a bit nonhuman. The complement of the automatic process in contemporary psychology, of course, is the controlled process (Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968; Bargh, (...) 1984; Posner & Snyder, 1975; Shiffrin & Schnieder, 1977), and it is in theories of controlled processes that vestiges of our humanity reappear. Controlled processes are viewed as conscious, effortful, and intentional. and as drawing on more sources of information than automatic processes. With this power of conscious will, controlled processes seem to bring the civilized quality back to psychological explanation that automatic processes leave out. Yet by reintroducing this touch of humanity, the notion of a controlled process also brings us within glimpsing range of a fatal theoretical error-the idea that there is a controller. (shrink)
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder) is a condition in which a person appears to possess more than one personality, and sometimes very many. Some recent criminal cases involving defendants with DID have resulted in "not guilty" verdicts, though the defense is not always successful in this regard. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Stephen Behnke have argued that we should excuse DID sufferers from responsibility, only if at the time of the act the person was insane (typically delusional); (...) otherwise the presumption should be that persons with DID are indeed responsible for their actions. We find their interpretation of DID and of the way in which the requirements for criminal insanity relate to this condition worrying and likely to result in injustice to DID sufferers. Our thesis is that persons with DID cannot be responsible for their actions if the usual features of the condition are present. A person with DID is a single person in the grip of a very serious mental disorder. By focusing on the features of DID which have, as we argue, the effect of deluding the patient, we try to show that such a person is unable to fulfill the ordinary conditions of responsible agency (namely, autonomy and self-control). (shrink)
Several prominent incompatibilists, e.g., Robert Kane and Derk Pereboom, have advanced an analogical argument in which it is claimed that a deterministic world is essentially the same as a world governed by a global controller. Since the latter world is obviously one lacking in an important kind of freedom, so must any deterministic world. The argument is challenged whether it is designed to show that determinism precludes freedom as power or freedom as self-origination. Contrary to the claims of its adherents, (...) the global controller nullifies freedom because she is an agent, whereas natural forces are at work in conventional deterministic worlds. Other key differences that undermine the analogy are identified. It is also shown that the argument begs the question against the classical compatibilist, who believes that determinism does not preclude alternative possibilities. (shrink)
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 (...) determinism and those who deny this, Mele shows that belief that there are autonomous agents is better grounded than belief that there are not. (shrink)
According to Jaspers, claims to the effect that one's thoughts, impulses, or actions are controlled by others belong to those schizophrenic symptoms that are not susceptible to any psychological explanation. In opposition to Jaspers, it has recently been suggested that such claims can be made intelligible by distinguishing two ingredients in our common sense notion of ownership of a thought: It is one thing for a thought to occur in my stream of consciousness; it is another for it to be (...) interpretable in terms of my propositional attitudes. I argue that this distinction cannot be sustained and pursue an alternative suggestion, drawing on Louis Sass's "solipsist interpretation" of schizophrenia. (shrink)
Sensations of acting and control have been neglected in theory of action. I argue that they form the core of action and are integral and indispensible parts of our actions, participating as they do in feedback loops consisting of our intentions in acting, the bodily movements required for acting and the sensations of acting. These feedback loops underlie all activities in which we engage when we act and generate our control over our movements.The events required for action according to the (...) causal theory, or Searle. (shrink)
Borrett, Kelly, and Kwan follow the lead of Merleau-Ponty and develop a theory of neural-network modeling that emerges out of what they find wrong with current approaches to thought and action. Specifically, they take issue with "cognitivism" and its tendency to model cognitive agents as controlling, representational systems. While attempting to make the point that pre-predicative experience/action/place (i.e. grasping) involves neither representation nor control, the authors imply that control-theoretic concepts and representationalism necessarily go hand-in-hand. The purpose of the present paper (...) is to demonstrate that this is not the case. Rather, it will be argued that such necessity is only assumed because the authors attempt to apply the control theory of servo-mechanisms to the behavior of organisms. By adopting this engineering control-theoretic perspective, the authors are led, as are most of the cognitivists with whom they disagree, to overlook critical aspects of how it is that biological systems do what they do. It is the ignoring of these critical aspects of biological control, due to the acceptance of an engineering approach to control, that makes it appear as though control theory and representationalism necessarily go hand-in-hand. (shrink)
Imitation, deliberation, and mindreading are characteristically human sociocognitive skills. Research on imitation and its role in social cognition is flourishing across various disciplines; it is here surveyed under headings of behavior, subpersonal mechanisms, and functions of imitation. A model is then advanced within which many of the developments surveyed can be located and explained. The shared circuits model explains how imitation, deliberation, and mindreading can be enabled by subpersonal mechanisms of control, mirroring and simulation. It is cast at a middle, (...) functional level of description, between the level of neural implementation and the level of conscious perceptions and intentional actions. The shared circuits model connects shared informational dynamics for perception and action with shared informational dynamics for self and other, while also showing how the action/perception, self/other and actual/possible distinctions can be overlaid on these shared informational dynamics. It avoids the common conception of perception and action as separate and peripheral to central cognition. Rather, it contributes to the situated cognition movement by showing how mechanisms for perceiving action can be built on those for active perception. (shrink)
Dubreuil (Biol Phil 25:53–73, 2010b , this journal) argues that modern-like cognitive abilities for inhibitory control and goal maintenance most likely evolved in Homo heidelbergensis , much before the evolution of oft-cited modern traits, such as symbolism and art. Dubreuil’s argument proceeds in two steps. First, he identifies two behavioral traits that are supposed to be indicative of the presence of a capacity for inhibition and goal maintenance: cooperative feeding and cooperative breeding. Next, he tries to show that these behavioral (...) traits most likely emerged in Homo heidelbergensis . In this paper, I show that neither of these steps are warranted in light of current scientific evidence, and thus, that the evolutionary background of human executive functions, such as inhibition and goal maintenance, remains obscure. Nonetheless, I suggest that cooperative breeding might mark a crucial step in the evolution of our species: its early emergence in Homo erectus might have favored a social intelligence that was required to get modernity really off the ground in Homo sapiens. (shrink)
It seems to be a truism that whenever we do something - and so, given the omnipresence of trying (Hornsby 1980), whenever we try to do something - we want to do that thing more than we want to do anything else we can do (Davidson 1970). However, according to Frog, when we have will power we are able to try not to do something that we ‘really want to do’. In context the idea is clearly meant to be that (...) what we really want to do and what we most want to do are one and the same. But how is this meant to be so much as possible? It seems to require that our desire not to do what we most want to do is both our strongest desire and not our strongest desire. And that is a blatant contradiction. This is the so-called ‘paradox of self-control’ (Mele 1987). The aim of our paper is to explain how to make sense of the story of Frog and Toad. (shrink)
The concept of voluntary motor control(VMC) frequently appears in the neuroscientific literature, specifically in the context of cortically-mediated, intentional motor actions. For cognitive scientists, this concept of VMC raises a number of interesting questions:(i) Are there dedicated, modular-like structures within the motor system associated with VMC? Or (ii) is it the case that VMC is distributed over multiple cortical as well as subcortical structures?(iii) Is there any one place within the so-calledhierarchy of motor control where voluntary movements could be said (...) to originate? And (iv) in the current neurological literature how is the adjective voluntary in VMC being used? These questions are here considered in the context of how higher- and lower-levels of motor control, plan, initiate, coordinate, sequence, and modulate goal-directed motor outputs in response to changing internal and external inputs. Particularly relevant are the conceptual implications of current neurological modeling of VMC concerning causal agency. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that, to make intentional actions fully intelligible, we need to posit representations of action the content of which is nonconceptual. I further argue that an analysis of the properties of these nonconceptual representations, and of their relation- ships to action representations at higher levels, sheds light on the limits of intentional control. On the one hand, the capacity to form nonconceptual representations of goal-directed movements underscores the capacity to acquire executable concepts of these movements, thus (...) allowing them to come under intentional control. On the other hand, the degree of autonomy these nonconceptual representations enjoy, and the specific temporal constraints stemming from their role in motor control, set limits on intentional control over action execution. (shrink)
This article focuses on maternal-fetal surgery (MFS) and on the concept of clinical equipoise that is a widely accepted requirement for conducting randomized controlled trials (RCT). There are at least three reasons why equipoise is unsuitable for MFS. First, the concept is based on a misconception about the nature of clinical research and the status of research subjects. Second, given that it is not clear who the research subject/s in MFS is/are, if clinical equipoise is to be used as a (...) criterion to test the ethical appropriateness of RCT, its meaning should be unambiguous. Third, because of the multidisciplinary character of MFS, it is not clear who should be in equipoise. As a result, we lack an adequate criterion for the ethical review of MFS protocols. In our account, which is based on Chervenak and McCullough's seminal work in the field of obstetric ethics, equipoise is abandoned. and RCT involving MFS can be ethically initiated when a multidisciplinary ethics review board (ERB), having an evidence-based assessment of the risks involved, is convinced that the value of answering the research hypothesis, for the sake of the health interests of future pregnant women carrying fetuses with certain congenital birth defects, justifies the actual risks research participants might suffer within a set limit of low/manageable. (shrink)
Decision theory explains weakness of will as the result of a conflict of incentives between different transient agents. In this framework, self-control can only be achieved by the I-now altering the incentives or choice-sets of future selves. There is no role for an extended agency over time. However, it is possible to extend game theory to allow multiple levels of agency. At the inter-personal level, theories of team reasoning allow teams to be agents, as well as individuals. I apply team (...) reasoning at the intra-personal level, taking the self as a team of transient agents over time. This allows agents to ask, not just “what should I-now do?’, but also ‘What should I, the person over time do?’, which may enable agents to achieve self-control. The resulting account is Aristotelian in flavour, as it involves reasoning schemata and perception, and it is compatible with some of the psychological findings about self-control. (shrink)
In this paper I aim to do two things. First, I attempt to illustrate an interesting pattern of argument one can find in Hume's work. Next, I employ this Humean pattern of argument to show that IF there is a cogent and intuitive argument for any form of epistemological skepticism, which despite its cogency and intuitiveness has a (literally) unbelievable conclusion, THEN we lack a very important form of doxastic self-control, which I call rational self-control (RSC), over the beliefs problematized (...) by that skeptical argument. Thus, (1) the challenge posed by skepticism is even deeper and more radical than commonly supposed: If any form of skepticism proves unanswerable and yet unbelievable, then we demonstrably lack RSC in the domain problematized by that form of skepticism. Thus, (2) one's views on skepticism may entail definite views on (at least one form of) doxastic self-control. (shrink)
Management control systems include justice implicitly, as they believe that the market provides what is just or not through the market value. Psychological literature has deemed that people can perceive which procedures and decisions are just or not. In this paper, we argue that management control systems need to include justice criteria explicitly, beyond mere market value, in both their design (formal justice) and use (informal justice). This will increase the probability that organizational members will collaborate to achieve organizational goals.
Controlled natural languages (CNL) with a direct mapping to formal logic have been proposed to improve the usability of knowledge representation systems, query interfaces, and formal specifications. Predictive editors are a popular approach to solve the problem that CNLs are easy to read but hard to write. Such predictive editors need to be able to “look ahead” in order to show all possible continuations of a given unfinished sentence. Such lookahead features, however, are difficult to implement in a satisfying way (...) with existing grammar frameworks, especially if the CNL supports complex nonlocal structures such as anaphoric references. Here, methods and algorithms are presented for a new grammar notation called Codeco, which is specifically designed for controlled natural languages and predictive editors. A parsing approach for Codeco based on an extended chart parsing algorithm is presented. A large subset of Attempto Controlled English has been represented in Codeco. Evaluation of this grammar and the parser implementation shows that the approach is practical, adequate and efficient. (shrink)
Recently, an associative learning account of cognitive control has been suggested (Verguts & Notebaert, 2009). In this so-called adaptation by binding theory, Hebbian learning of stimulus–stimulus and stimulus–response associations is assumed to drive the adaptation of human behavior. In this study, we evaluated the validity of the adaptation-by-binding account for the case of implicit learning of regularities within a stimulus set (i.e., the frequency of specific unit digit combinations in a two-digit number magnitude comparison task) and their association with a (...) particular response. Our data indicated that participants indeed learned these regularities and adapted their behavior accordingly. In particular, influences of cognitive control were even able to override the numerical distance effect—one of the most robust effects in numerical cognition research. Thus, the general cognitive processes involved in two-digit number magnitude comparison seem much more complex than previously assumed. Multi-digit number magnitude comparison may not be automatic and inflexible but influenced by processes of cognitive control being highly adaptive to stimulus set properties and task demands on multiple levels. (shrink)
William Alston’s argument against the deontological conception of epistemic justification is a classic—and much debated—piece of contemporary epistemology. At the heart of Alston’s argument, however, lies a very simple mistake which, surprisingly, appears to have gone unnoticed in the vast literature now devoted to the argument. After having shown why some of the standard responses to Alston’s argument don’t work, we elucidate the mistake and offer a hypothesis as to why it has escaped attention.
I argue that when perception plays a guiding role in intentional bodily action, it is a necessary part of that action. The argument begins with a challenge that necessarily arises for embodied agents, what I call the Many-Many Problem. The Problem is named after its most common case where agents face too many perceptual inputs and too many possible behavioral outputs. Action requires a solution to the Many-Many Problem by selection of a specific linkage between input and output. In bodily (...) action the agent perceptually selects, and in this way perceptually attends to, relevant information so as to guide the execution of specific movements. Since perceptual attention is a necessary part of solving the Many-Many Problem, it is a necessary part of bodily action. Indeed, the process of implementing a solution to the Many-Many Problem, as constrained by the agent's motivational state, just is the agent's performing an intentional bodily action in the relevant way. (shrink)
Current models of delusion converge in proposing that delusional beliefs are based on unusual experiences of various kinds. For example, it is argued that the Capgras delusion (the belief that a known person has been replaced by an impostor) is triggered by an abnormal affective experience in response to seeing a known person; loss of the affective response to a familiar person’s face may lead to the belief that the person has been replaced by an impostor (Ellis & Young, 1990). (...) Similarly, the Cotard delusion (which involves the belief that one is dead or unreal in some way) may stem from a general.. (shrink)
According to representionalists, qualia-the introspectible properties of sensory experience-are exhausted by the representational contents of experience. Representationalists typically advocate an informational psychosemantics whereby a brain state represents one of its causal antecedents in evolutionarily determined optimal circumstances. I argue that such a psychosemantics may not apply to certain aspects of our experience, namely, our experience of space in vision, hearing, and touch. I offer that these cases can be handled by supplementing informational psychosemantics with a procedural psychosemantics whereby a representation (...) is about its effects instead of its causes. I discuss conceptual and empirical points that favor a procedural representationalism for our experience of space. (shrink)
This paper considers a view according to which there are certain symmetries between the nature of belief and that of intention. I do not defend this Symmetry View in detail, but rather try to adjudicate between different versions of it: what I call Evaluative, Normative and Teleological versions. I argue that the central motivation for the Symmetry View in fact supports only a specific Teleological version of the view.
Philosophers subscribing to particular principles of statistical inference and evidence need to be aware of the limitations and practical consequences of the statistical approach they endorse. The framework proposed (for statistical inference in the field of medicine) allows disparate statistical approaches to emerge in their appropriate context. My dissertation proposes a decision theoretic model, together with methodological guidelines, that provide important considerations for deciding on clinical trial conduct. These considerations do not amount to more stopping rules. Instead, they are principles (...) that address the complexity of interpreting and responding to interim data, based on a broad range of epistemic and ethical factors. While they are not stopping rules, they would assist a Data Monitoring Committee in judging its position with regard to necessary precautionary interpretation of interim data. By vindicating a framework that accommodates a wide range of approaches to statistical inference in one important setting (clinical trials), my results pose a serious challenge for any approach that advocates a single, universal principle of statistical inference. (shrink)
This paper proposes a notion, the ?ambit? of an action, that allows the degree of distribution of an action in a multiagent system to be quantified without regard to its functionality. It demonstrates the use of that notion in the design, analysis and implementation of dynamically-reconfigurable multi-agent systems. It distinguishes between the extensional (or system) view and intensional (or agent-based) view of such a system and shows how, using the notion of ambit, the step-wise derivation paradigm of Formal Methods can (...) be used to derive the latter from the former. In closing it addresses the manner in which these ideas inform studies in the ethics of systems of artificial agents. (shrink)
Advertisers often have been accused of using techniques which manipulate and control the behavior of consumers and hence violate their autonomy. Some of these techniques are puffery, subliminal advertising, and indirect information transfer. After examining both criticisms and defenses of such practices, this paper presents an analysis of four of the concepts involved in the debate — the concepts of autonomous desire, rational desire, free choice, and control. Applying the results to the case of advertising, it is shown that advertising (...) cannot be found guilty of intrinsically or frequently violating the consumer's autonomy in any of the relevant senses of this notion. (shrink)
Causation is one of philosophy's most venerable and thoroughly-analyzed concepts. However, the study of how ordinary people make causal judgments is a much more recent addition to the philosophical arsenal. One of the most prominent views of causal explanation, especially in the realm of harmful or potentially harmful behavior, is that unusual or counternormative events are accorded privileged status in ordinary causal explanations. This is a fundamental assumption in psychological theories of counterfactual reasoning, and has been transported to philosophy by (...) Hitchcock and Knobe (2009). A different view--the basis of the culpable control model of blame (CCM)--is that primary causal status is accorded to behaviors that arouse negative evaluative reactions, including behaviors that stem from nefarious motives, negligence or recklessness, a faulty character, or behaviors that lead to harmful or potentially harmful consequences. This paper describes four empirical studies that show consistent support for the CCM. (shrink)
Most of the literature on doxastic voluntarism has concentrated on the question of the voluntariness of belief and the issue of how our actual or possible control of our beliefs bears on our justification for holding them and on how, in the light of this control, our intellectual character should be assessed. This paper largely concerns a related question on which less philosophical work has been done: the voluntariness of the grounding of belief and the bearing of various views about (...) this matter on justification, knowledge, and intellectual virtue. In part, my concern is the nature and extent of our voluntary control over our responses to reasons for believing—or over what we take to be such reasons. This paper provides a partial account of such control and, on the basis of the account, will clarify the criteria for appraising intellectual virtue. (shrink)
The question of whether or not a closed border entry policy under the unilateral control of a democratic state is legitimate cannot be settled until we first know to whom the justification of a regime of control is owed. According to the state sovereignty view, the control of entry policy, including of movement, immigration, and naturalization, ought to be under the unilateral discretion of the state itself: justification for entry policy is owed solely to members. This position, however, is inconsistent (...) with the democratic theory of popular sovereignty. Anyone accepting the democratic theory of political legitimation domestically is thereby committed to rejecting the unilateral domestic right to control state boundaries. Because the demos of democratic theory is in principle unbounded, the regime of boundary control must be democratically justified to foreigners as well as to citizens, in political institutions in which both foreigners and citizens can participate. (shrink)
Recently, a number of philosophers have begun to question the commonly held view that choice or voluntary control is a precondition of moral responsibility. According to these philosophers, what really matters in determining a person’s responsibility for some thing is whether that thing can be seen as indicative or expressive of her judgments, values, or normative commitments. Such accounts might therefore be understood as updated versions of what Susan Wolf has called “real self views,” insofar as they attempt to ground (...) an agent’s responsibility for her actions and attitudes in the fact (when it is a fact) that they express who she is as a moral agent. As such, they seem to be open to some of the same objections Wolf originally raised to such accounts, and in particular to the objection that they cannot license the sorts of robust moral assessments involved in our current practices of moral responsibility. My aim in this paper is to try to respond to this challenge, by clarifying the kind of robust moral assessments I take to be licensed by (at least some) non-volitional accounts of responsibility and by explaining why these assessments do not in general require the agent to have voluntary control over everything for which she is held responsible. I also argue that the limited applicability of the distinction between “bad agents” and “blameworthy agents” on these accounts is in fact a mark in their favor. (shrink)
The emulation theory of representation is developed and explored as a framework that can revealingly synthesize a wide variety of representational functions of the brain. The framework is based on constructs from control theory (forward models) and signal processing (Kalman filters). The idea is that in addition to simply engaging with the body and environment, the brain constructs neural circuits that act as models of the body and environment. During overt sensorimotor engagement, these models are driven by efference copies in (...) parallel with the body and environment, in order to provide expectations of the sensory feedback, and to enhance and process sensory information. These models can also be run off-line in order to produce imagery, estimate outcomes of different actions, and evaluate and develop motor plans. The framework is initially developed within the context of motor control, where it has been shown that inner models running in parallel with the body can reduce the effects of feedback delay problems. The same mechanisms can account for motor imagery as the off-line driving of the emulator via efference copies. The framework is extended to account for visual imagery as the off-line driving of an emulator of the motor-visual loop. I also show how such systems can provide for amodal spatial imagery. Perception, including visual perception, results from such models being used to form expectations of, and to interpret, sensory input. I close by briefly outlining other cognitive functions that might also be synthesized within this framework, including reasoning, theory of mind phenomena, and language. Key Words: efference copies; emulation theory of representation; forward models; Kalman filters; motor control; motor imagery; perception; visual imagery. (shrink)
On the Causal Theory of Action (CTA), internal proper parts of an agent such as desires and intentions are causally responsible for actions. CTA has increasingly come under attack for its alleged failure to account for agency. A recent version of this criticism due to François Schroeter proposes that CTA cannot provide an adequate account of either the executive control or the autonomous control involved in full-fledged agency. Schroeter offers as an alternative a revised understanding of the proper role of (...) consciousness in agency. In this paper we criticize Schroeter’s analysis of the type of consciousness involved in executive control and examine the way in which the conscious self allegedly intervenes in action. We argue that Schroeter’s proposal should not be preferred over recent versions of CTA. (shrink)
Reinterpretation of our data concerning sleep onset, motivated by the desire to pay close attention to “intra-individual regularities,” suggests that the experience of control might be a key factor in determining the subjective sense that sleep has begun. This loss of control seems akin to what Frith and others have described as “passivity experiences,” which also occur in schizophrenia. Although clearly sleep onset is not a schizophrenic episode, this similarity might help to explain other features of sleep onset. We further (...) speculate that we could build upon the discovery of various “intra-individual regularities” to construct a model of sleep onset and other forms of sleep mentation. (shrink)
Abstract Following Clarke (2002), a Lakatosian approach is used to account for the epistemic development of conspiracy theories. It is then argued that the hypercritical atmosphere of the internet has slowed down the development of conspiracy theories, discouraging conspiracy theorists from articulating explicit versions of their favoured theories, which could form the hard core of Lakatosian research pro grammes. The argument is illustrated with a study of the “controlled demolition” theory of the collapse of three towers at the World Trade (...) Center on September 11, 2001. (shrink)
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are widely taken as the gold standard for establishing causal conclusions. Ideally conducted they ensure that the treatment ‘causes’ the outcome—in the experiment. But where else? This is the venerable question of external validity. I point out that the question comes in two importantly different forms: Is the specific causal conclusion warranted by the experiment true in a target situation? What will be the result of implementing the treatment there? This paper explains how the probabilistic theory (...) of causality implies that RCTs can establish causal conclusions and thereby provides an account of what exactly that causal conclusion is. Clarifying the exact form of the conclusion shows just what is necessary for it to hold in a new setting and also how much more is needed to see what the actual outcome would be there were the treatment implemented. (shrink)
According to what I call the reductive standard-causal theory of agency, the exercise of an agent's power to act can be reduced to the causal efficacy of agent-involving mental states and events. According to a non-reductive agent-causal theory, an agent's power to act is irreducible and primitive. Agent-causal theories have been dismissed on the ground that they presuppose a very contentious notion of causation, namely substance-causation. In this paper I will assume, with the proponents of the agent-causal approach, that substance-causation (...) is possible, as I will argue against that theory on the ground that it fails as a theory of agency. I will argue that the non-reductive agent-causal theory fails to account for agency, because it fails to account for agential control: it cannot explain why the stipulated irreducible relation between the agent and an action constitutes the agent's exercise of control over the action. This objection, I will argue, applies to the agent-causal theory in particular, and to the non-reductive approach in general. (shrink)
Actions that are intended to produce harmful consequences can fail to achieve their desired effects in numerous ways. We refer to action sequences in which harmful intentions are thwarted as deviant causal chains. The culpable control model of blame (CCM)is a useful tool for predicting and explaining the attributions that observers make of the actors whose harmful intentions go awry. In this paper, we describe six types of deviant causal chains; those in which: an actor’s attempt is obviated by the (...) intervention of another person or the environment; the intended effects could not have been produced regardless of the actor’s behavior; other causes diminish the actor’s causal role; the actor brings about foreseen but undesired consequences as a result of pursuing his or her focal goal; the focal action produces a chain of increasingly remote causal events; and the actor derives unforeseen benefits from his or her nefarious actions. A basic assumption of the CCM in these cases is that attributions for the participants’ actions will depend on positive and negative evaluations of their intentions and behaviors. We describe empirical findings that are consistent with this assumption, and predict other findings for causal deviance phenomena that have not yet been investigated empirically. (shrink)
Why does it matter whether and how individuals consciously control their behavior? It matters for many reasons. Here I focus on concerns about social influences of which agents are typically unaware on aggressive behavior.
Many philosophers hold that luck excludes control-more precisely, that an event is lucky for you only if that event lies beyond your control. Call this the Lack of Control Requirement (LCR) on luck. Jennifer Lackey  has recently argued that there is no such requirement on luck. Should such an argument succeed, it would (among other things) disable a main objection to the "libertarian" position in the free will debate. After clarifying the LCR, I defend it against both Lackey's argument (...) and a novel argument different in kind from Lackey's. I undermine each of these arguments by sketching a plausible error theory for its key intuition. For each argument, there's a natural reply available to its proponents. I show that these natural replies depend on certain mistaken general principles about luck. Neither Lackey's argument nor the novel argument I consider casts serious doubt on the LCR. [Word count: 147]. (shrink)
The growing body of whistleblowing literature includes many studies that have attempted to identify the individual level antecedents of whistleblowing behavior. However, cross-cultural differences in perceptions of the ethicality of whistleblowing affect the judgment of whistleblowing intention. This study ascertains how Chinese managers/professionals decide to blow the whistle in terms of their locus of control and subjective judgment regarding the intention of whistleblowing. Hypotheses that are derived from these speculations are tested with data on Chinese managers and professionals (n = (...) 306). Statistical analysis largely supports the hypotheses, which suggests that an individual''s locus of control does moderate the relationship between ethical judgment and whistleblowing. (shrink)
The paradigmatic assumption that REM sleep is the physiological equivalent of dreaming is in need of fundamental revision. A mounting body of evidence suggests that dreaming and REM sleep are dissociable states, and that dreaming is controlled by forebrain mechanisms. Recent neuropsychological, radiological, and pharmacological findings suggest that the cholinergic brain stem mechanisms that control the REM state can only generate the psychological phenomena of dreaming through the mediation of a second, probably dopaminergic, forebrain mechanism. The latter mechanism (and thus (...) dreaming itself) can also be activated by a variety of nonREM triggers. Dreaming can be manipulated by dopamine agonists and antagonists with no concomitant change in REM frequency, duration, and density. Dreaming can also be induced by focal forebrain stimulation and by complex partial (forebrain) seizures during nonREM sleep, when the involvement of brainstem REM mechanisms is precluded. Likewise, dreaming is obliterated by focal lesions along a specific (probably dopaminergic) forebrain pathway, and these lesions do not have any appreciable effects on REM frequency, duration, and density. These findings suggest that the forebrain mechanism in question is the final common path to dreaming and that the brainstem oscillator that controls the REM state is just one of the many arousal triggers that can activate this forebrain mechanism. The “REM-on” mechanism (like its various NREM equivalents) therefore stands outside the dream process itself, which is mediated by an independent, forebrain “dream-on” mechanism. Key Words: acetylcholine; brainstem; dopamine; dreaming; forebrain; NREM; REM; sleep. (shrink)
Free will can be understood as a novel form of action control that evolved to meet the escalating demands of human social life, including moral action and pursuit of enlightened self-interest in a cultural context. That understanding is conducive to scientific research, which is reviewed here in support of four hypotheses. First, laypersons tend to believe in free will. Second, that belief has behavioral consequences, including increases in socially and culturally desirable acts. Third, laypersons can reliably distinguish free actions from (...) less free ones. Fourth, actions judged as free emerge from a distinctive set of inner processes, all of which share a common psychological and physiological signature. These inner processes include self-control, rational choice, planning, and initiative. (shrink)
Many of us assume we must either oppose or support gun control. Not so. We have a range of alternatives. Even this way of speaking oversimplifies our choices since there are two distinct scales on which to place alternatives. One scale concerns the degree (if at all) to which guns should be abolished. This scale moves from those who want no abolition (NA) of any guns, through those who want moderate abolition (MA) - to forbid access to some subclasses of (...) guns - to those who want absolute abolition (AA). The second scale concerns the restrictions (if any) on those guns that are available to private citizens. This scale moves from those who want absolute restrictions (AR) through those who want moderate restrictions (MR) to those who want no restrictions (NR) at all. Restrictions vary not only in strength but also in content. We could restrict who owns guns, how they obtain them, where and how they store them, and where and how they can carry them. (shrink)
There continues to be a debate on whether addiction is best understood as a brain disease or a moral condition. This debate, which may influence both the stigma attached to addiction and access to treatment, is often motivated by the question of whether and to what extent we can justly hold addicted individuals responsible for their actions. In fact, there is substantial evidence for a disease model, but the disease model per se does not resolve the question of voluntary control. (...) Recent research at the intersection of neuroscience and psychology suggests that addicted individuals have substantial impairments in cognitive control of behavior, but this "loss of control" is not complete or simple. Possible mechanisms and implications are briefly reviewed. (shrink)
Wheeler, Stark, and Stell have raised many interesting points concerning gun control that merit extended treatment. Here, however, I will focus only on two. I will then briefly expand on the proposal I offered in the original paper.
After outlining why the notion of conscious control of action matters to us and after distinguishing different challenges to that notion, the contribution focuses on the challenge posed by the literature on unconscious goal pursuit. Based on a conceptual clarification of the notion of consciousness, I argue that the understanding of consciousness in that literature is too restricted. The hypothesis that the behaviors reported can be accounted for by nonconceptual forms of consciousness, such as emotions and motor experiences, rather than (...) by—conscious or unconscious—conceptual level intentions tends to be disregarded, even though it promises to be empirically fruitful. (shrink)
The exercise of willpower is puzzling because it seems to require that a person both most wants to act on a wayward desire, and most wants to resist this desire, and this seems impossible. There are two accounts that try to resolve this puzzle of synchronic self-control, Jeanette Kennett and Michael Smith’s ‘non-actional’ account and Alfred Mele’s ‘ancillary action’ account. I criticize these accounts because they set too strong constraints on what kinds of synchronic self-control are possible, and thus what (...) willpower could turn out to be. I then propose a ‘divided mind’ account that helps make sense of particularly strong forms of willpower that cannot be accommodated on the alternative accounts. On the divided mind account, motivational architecture is divided between a deliberative motivational system and an emotional motivational system, and willpower is a proprietary action exclusively available to the deliberative system. I address potential objections to the divided mind account. One objection says that it is not in fact possible for a weaker desire to defeat a stronger one. A second objection says that actions that arise exclusively from parts of a mind cannot be said to belong to the whole agent. (shrink)
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.
Why is it that we think today so very differently about distributive and retributive justice? Why is the notion of desert so neglected in our thinking about distributive justice, while it remains fundamental in almost every account of retributive justice? I wish to take up this relatively neglected issue, and put forth two proposals of my own, based upon the way control functions in the two spheres.
A crucial question for egalitarians, and theorists of distributive justice in general, is whether people can be held responsible for disadvantages they bring upon themselves. One response to this question states that it would be inegalitarian to hold people responsible on the basis of their actions if their actions are not ultimately under their control and reflect instead the good or bad luck the agent had in being the type of person who happens to act in a given way. I (...) argue that even if we accept that there is something inegalitarian about holding people responsible on the basis of actions they did not ultimately control, the alternative (that is, not holding people responsible) is even more inegalitarian. Therefore, egalitarians, including so-called luck egalitarians, can and should hold people responsible on the basis of their actions, even if people lack free will and their actions are ultimately a matter of luck. Key Words: responsibility egalitarianism luck egalitarianism fairness distributive justice. (shrink)
It is a common assumption among both philosophers and psychologists that having accurate beliefs about ourselves and the world around us is always the epistemic gold standard. However, there is gathering data from social psychology that suggest that illusions are quite prevalent in our everyday thinking and that some of these illusions may even be conducive to our overall well being. In this paper, we explore the relevance of these so-called 'positive illusions' to the free will debate. More specifically, we (...) use the literature on positive illusions as a springboard for examining Saul Smilansky's so-called 'free will illusionism'. At the end of the day, we will use data from both social and developmental psychology concerning perceived control to try to show that his view is on shaky empirical footing. (shrink)
Human cognition and action are intentional and goal-directed, and explaining how they are controlled is one of the most important tasks of the cognitive sciences. After half a century of benign neglect this task is enjoying increased attention. Unfortunately, however, current theorizing about control in general, and the role of consciousness for/in control in particular, suffers from major conceptual flaws that lead to confusion regarding the following distinctions: (i) automatic and unintentional processes, (ii) exogenous control and disturbance (in a control-theoretical (...) sense) of endogenous control, (iii) conscious control and conscious access to control, and (iv) personal and systems levels of analysis and explanation. Only if these flaws are overcome will a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between consciousness and control emerge. (shrink)
I critique Matthias Steupâs account of exercising direct voluntary control over coming to have doxastic attitudes via doxastic decisions. I show that the sort of agency Steup argues is exercised in doxastic decision-making is not sufficient for agents to exercise direct voluntary control over their doxastic attitudes. This counts against such putative decisions being the locus of direct control in doxastic agency. Finally, I briefly consider what, if any, consequences the failure of Steupâs theory of doxastic agency may have for (...) epistemic deontologism. (shrink)
Some monothematic types of delusions may arise because subjects have unusual experiences. The role of this experiential component in the pathogenesis of delusion is still not understood. Focussing on delusions of alien control, we outline a model for reality testing competence on unusual experiences. We propose that nascent delusions arise when there are local failures of reality testing performance, and that monothematic delusions arise as normal responses to these. In the course of this we address questions concerning the tenacity with (...) which delusions are maintained, their often bizarre content, the patients' inability to dismiss them, and their often circumscribed character. (shrink)
A common criticism of free will or origination theories is that if what we do is not the result of an unbroken sequence of causes and effects, then it must to some degree be the product of chance. But in what sense can a chance act be intentional or deliberate, in what sense can it be based on reasons, and in what sense can a person be held responsible for it? If free and responsible action is incompatible with determinism, must (...) it not equally well be incompatible with indeterminism? Professor McCall says no. He argues that a new idea, that of a controlled indeterministic process, resolves a variety of classical dilemmas and opens the way to a new understanding of the relationship between actions, reasons, causes, and responsibility. Does he succeed? All of this, like a related line of argument by Professor McCann to which you can turn, is a long way from what seems to me the continuing arguableness of determinism and the unavoidableness of the proposition that both incompatibilism and compatibilism about freedom are false. But we all need to remember, with Cromwell, in our own bowels if not by those of Christ, that we may be mistaken. I guess that given the proportion of false to true views in the world, we need to remember it is arguable that we are more likely to be mistaken. (shrink)
In “Control, Responsibility, and Moral Assessment” Angela Smith defends her nonvoluntarist theory of moral responsibility against the charge that any such view is shallow because it cannot capture the depth of judgments of responsibility. Only voluntarist positions can do this since only voluntarist positions allow for control. I argue that Smith is able to deflect the voluntarists’ criticism, but only with further resources. As a voluntarist, I also concede that Smith’s thesis has force, and I close with a compromise position, (...) one that allows for direct moral responsibility for the nonvoluntary, but also incorporates a reasonable control condition. (shrink)
The naturalistic voluntary control (VC) theory explains free will and consciousness in terms of each other. It is central to free voluntary control of action that one can control both what one is conscious of, and also what one is not conscious of. Furthermore, the specific cognitive ability or skill involved in voluntarily controlling whether information is processed consciously or unconsciously can itself be used to explain consciousness. In functional terms, it is whatever kind of cognitive processing occurs when a (...) conscious state is voluntarily chosen. This leads to a bivalent view of cognitive processing in which there is voluntary choice either of non-routine (conscious) or routine (unconscious) kinds of processing. On this VC account, consciousness could not exist without its being possible to voluntarily choose a non-routine kind of processing. (shrink)
A crucial question for libertarians about free will and moral responsibility concerns how their accounts secure more control than compatibilism. This problem is particularly exasperating for event-causal libertarianism, as it seems that the only difference between these accounts and compatibilism is that the former require indeterminism. But how can indeterminism, a mere negative condition, enhance control? This worry has led many to conclude that the only viable form of libertarianism is agent-causal libertarianism. In this paper I show that this conclusion (...) is premature. I explain how event-causal libertarianism secures more control than compatibilism by offering a novel argument for incompatibilism. Part of the reason my solution has gone unnoticed is that it is often mistakenly assumed that an agent's control is wholly exhausted by the agent's powers and abilities. I argue, however, that control is constituted not just by what we have the ability to do, but also by what we have the opportunity to do. And it is by furnishing agents with new opportunities that event-causal libertarianism secures enhanced control. In order to defend this claim, I provide an analysis of opportunities and construct a novel incompatibilist argument to show that the opportunity to do otherwise is incompatible with determinism. (shrink)
Control consciousness is the awareness or experience of seeming to be in control of one’s actions. One view, which I will be arguing against in the present paper, is that control consciousness is a form of sensory consciousness. In such a view, control consciousness is exhausted by sensory elements such as tactile and proprioceptive information. An opposing view, which I will be arguing for, is that sensory elements cannot be the whole story and must be supplemented by direct contributions of (...) nonsensory, motor elements. More specifically, I will be arguing for the view that the neural basis of control consciousness is constituted by states of recurrent activation in relatively intermediate levels of the motor hierarchy. (shrink)
I introduce the notion of a ‘control variable’ which gives us a way of seeing how mental causation could be an unproblematic case of causation in general, rather than being some sui generis form of causation. Psychological variables may be the control variables for a system for which there are no physical control variables, even in a deterministic physical world. That explains how there can be psychological causation without physical causation, even in a deterministic physical world.
What is the role of conscious visual experience in the control and guidance of human behaviour? According to some recent treatments, the role is surprisingly indirect. Conscious visual experience, on these accounts, serves the formation of plans and the selection of action types and targets, while the control of 'online' visually guided action proceeds via a quasi-independent non-conscious route. In response to such claims, critics such as (Wallhagen , pp. 539-61) have suggested that the notions of control and guidance invoked (...) are unacceptably vague, and that that the image of 'zombie systems' guiding action fails to take account of the possibility that there is genuine but unconceptualized, unnoticed, and/or unreportable experience taking place and guiding or controlling the actions. I address both sets of concerns. I try to show that refining and clarifying the key notions of control and guidance leaves the original argument intact, as does the appeal to unconceptualized, unnoticed, or unreportable experiences. The exercise serves, however, to highlight an important complex of considerations concerning the relations between control, agency, and experience. Better understanding these relations is, I suggest, an important source of insights concerning the nature of phenomenal experience. (shrink)