About this topic
Summary Some philosophers see agent's awareness or the sense of intentional agency at the root of self-awareness and self-knowledge. At the same time, there is debate as to whether or not self-consciousness play a role in the causation of action. Further, there is currently much debate with respect to the empirical foundations of the sense of agency and the ways in which the sense of agency can be disturbed.
Key works Recently, O'Brien 2007 has proposed an account of self-consciousness in terms of agent's awareness. Rödl 2007 has also proposed such an account, which is inspired by Kant. Roessler & Eilan 2003 is a collection of recent essays on various topics related to agency and self-consciousness at the intersection of philosophy and psychology.
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  1. The Thought of a Principle: Rödl’s Fichteanism.Bruno G. Anthony - forthcoming - In Marina Bykova (ed.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Fichte. Bloomsbury.
    Sebastian Rödl portrays much of his work as attempts at articulating a German idealist view of self-consciousness. Although he rarely engages directly with German idealist texts, his accounts of first-person and second-person knowledge arrive at strikingly Fichtean theses regarding the necessary identity of subject and object in the former and the necessary reciprocity of subject and other in the latter. Despite this affinity, I argue, Rödl's accounts lack a feature that is essential to Fichte's and, indeed, to German idealism's distinctive (...)
  2. Being Human: The Problem of Agency.Margaret Scotford Archer - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
    Humanity and the very notion of the human subject are under threat from postmodernist thinking which has declared not only the 'Death of God' but also the 'Death of Man'. This book is a revindication of the concept of humanity, rejecting contemporary social theory that seeks to diminish human properties and powers. Archer argues that being human depends on an interaction with the real world in which practice takes primacy over language in the emergence of human self-consciousness, thought, emotionality and (...)
  3. Philosophical Implications of Affective Neuroscience.Stephen Asma, Jaak Panksepp, Rami Gabriel & Glennon Curran - 2012 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (3-4):6-48.
    These papers are based on a Symposium at the COGSCI Conference in 2010. 1. Naturalizing the Mammalian Mind 2. Modularity in Cognitive Psychology and Affective Neuroscience 3. Affective Neuroscience and the Philosophy of Self 4. Affective Neuroscience and Law.
  4. Hegel the normativist the priority of practice, self-consciousness as a social achievement and subject of normative states in chapter IV of the phenomenology of spirit.Eduardo Assalone - 2015 - Ideas Y Valores 64 (158):61-84.
    Se desarrolla la concepción normativista de la autoconciencia hegeliana, de acuerdo con los aportes de los denominados "neohegelianos de Pittsburgh", así como de otros autores anglosajones como Robert Pippin, Terry Pinkard y Paul Redding. Se presenta el recorrido de la autoconciencia en el capítulo IV de la Fenomenología del Espíritu, y se desarrollan algunos rasgos que pueden extraerse de dicha presentación, de acuerdo con la lectura normativista de los autores mencionados. The normativist conception of Hegelian self-consciousness according to the contributions (...)
  5. Dissociation During Trauma: The Ownership-Agency Tradeoff Model.Yochai Ataria - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (4):1037-1053.
    Dissociation during trauma lacks an adequate definition. Using data obtained from interviews with 36 posttraumatic individuals conducted according to the phenomenological approach, this paper seeks to improve our understanding of this phenomenon. In particular, it suggesting a trade off model depicting the balance between the sense of agency and the sense of ownership : a reciprocal relationship appears to exist between these two, and in order to enable control of the body during trauma the sense of ownership must decrease. When (...)
  6. Sense of Ownership and Sense of Agency During Trauma.Yochai Ataria - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (1):199-212.
    This paper seeks to describe and analyze the traumatic experience through an examination of the sense of agency—the sense of controlling one’s body, and sense of ownership—the sense that it is my body that undergoes experiences. It appears that there exist two levels of traumatic experience: on the first level one loses the sense of agency but retains the sense of ownership, whilst on the second one loses both of these, with symptoms becoming progressively more severe. A comparison of the (...)
  7. Expression and Self-Consciousness.Stina Bäckström - 2016 - Philosophical Topics 44 (1):163-182.
    This article argues that nonverbal spontaneous expressions of mental states in human beings involve self-consciousness. We—language-using rational creatures—are capable of knowing our smiles, winces, and frustrated frowns in a self-conscious way. This distinguishes expressions from mere reflexes and mere physiological responses. Such a capacity is, further, essential to such forms of behavior. This is shown by the difficulty of constructing a coherent scenario where we—keeping our rational and conceptual capacities otherwise intact—can nonverbally express our mental states but where we lack (...)
  8. Why Computers Can't Act.Lynne Rudder Baker - 1981 - American Philosophical Quarterly 18 (April):157-163.
    To be an agent, one must be able to formulate intentions. To be able to formulate intentions, one must have a first-person perspective. Computers lack a first-person perspective. So, computers are not agents.
  9. Narrators and Comparators: The Architecture of Agentive Self-Awareness. [REVIEW]Tim Bayne & Elisabeth Pacherie - 2007 - Synthese 159 (3):475 - 491.
    This paper contrasts two approaches to agentive self-awareness: a high-level, narrative-based account, and a low-level comparator-based account. We argue that an agent's narrative self-conception has a role to play in explaining their agentive judgments, but that agentive experiences are explained by low-level comparator mechanisms that are grounded in the very machinery responsible for action-production.
  10. Benjamin, Horkheimer, and Adorno: Modes of Historical Reflection and the Problem of Authoritative Statements.Sara Beardsworth - 2005 - Idealistic Studies 35 (1):61-72.
    The paper considers what united and divided Benjamin and Horkheimer-Adorno in terms of their respective confrontations with the question of what it is to articulate the past historically. It presents their shared self-consciousness of the difficult task of responding critically to a problem conceived of as the entanglement of the concept of history with domination. For the problem imbues conceptualization itself and therefore threatens the value of the authoritative statements made in their own critical reflection on it. I show that (...)
  11. Absolve You to Yourself: Emerson's Conception of Rational Agency.James Bell - 2007 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 50 (3):234 – 252.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson famously warned his readers against the dangers of conformity and consistency. In this paper, I argue that this warning informs his engagement with and opposition to a Kantian view of rational agency. The interpretation I provide of some of Emerson's central essays outlines a unique conception of agency, a conception which gives substance to Emerson's exhortations of self-trust. While Kantian in spirit, Emerson's view challenges the requirement that autonomy requires acting from a conception of the law. The (...)
  12. The Spirit and the Heap: Berkeley and Hume on the Self and Self-Consciousness.Talia Mae Bettcher - 1999 - Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
    This dissertation concerns an important dispute between George Berkeley and David Hume. The dispute involves Berkeley's defense of his conception of the self as a spirit, a purely active being which perceives ideas; and Hume's elimination of that conception via his own, according to which the self is merely a heap, a causally connected system of perceptions. At bottom, this difference in the way that the self is conceptualized is informed by a fundamental difference in philosophical starting-point. Berkeley seeks to (...)
  13. Searle on Natural Agency.John Bishop - 1990 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 68 (3):282 – 300.
  14. How We Recognize Our Own Actions.Sarah-Jayne Blakemore - 2009 - In Nancey Murphy, George Ellis, O. ’Connor F. R. & Timothy (eds.), Downward Causation and the Neurobiology of Free Will. Springer Verlag. pp. 145--151.
  15. Self-Awareness and Action.Sarah-Jayne Blakemore & Chris Frith - 2003 - Current Opinion in Neurobiology. Special Issue 13 (2):219-224.
  16. Self-Location and Agency.Bill Brewer - 1992 - Mind 101 (401):17-34.
    We perceive things in the external world as spatially located both with respect to each other and to ourselves, such that they are in principle accessible from where we seem to be. I hear the door bang behind me; I feel the pen on the desk over to my right; and I see you walking beneath the line of pictures, from left to right in front of me. By displaying these spatial relations between its objects and us, the perceivers, perception (...)
  17. What Is Self-Consciousness?Bruya Brian - 2012 - In Labirinti della mente: Visioni del mondo. Siena, Italy: Società bibliografica toscana. pp. 223-233.
    In this article, I delineate seven aspects of the process of self-consciousness in order to demonstrate that when any of the aspects is compromised, self-consciousness goes away while consciousness persists. I then suggest that the psychological phenomenon of flow is characterized by a loss of self-consciousness. The seven aspects are: 1) implicit awareness that the person and the self are identical; 2) awareness of an event or circumstance in the world internal or external to the person; 3) awareness that this (...)
  18. The Indexical 'I' the First Person in Thought and Language.Ingar Brinck - 1997 - Kluwer Academic Publishers.
    The subjct of this book is the first person in thought and language. The main question is what we mean when we say 'I'. Related to it are questions about what kinds of self-consciousness and self-knowledge are needed in order for us to have the capacity to talk about ourselves. The emphasis is on theories of meaning and reference for 'I', but a fair amount of space is devoted to 'I'-thoughts and the role of the concept of the self in (...)
  19. Representation and Self-Awareness in Intentional Agents.Ingar Brinck & Peter Gärdenfors - 1999 - Synthese 118 (1):89 - 104.
    Several conditions for being an intrinsically intentional agent are put forward. On a first level of intentionality the agent has representations. Two kinds are described: cued and detached. An agent with both kinds is able to represent both what is prompted by the context and what is absent from it. An intermediate level of intentionality is achieved by having an inner world, that is, a coherent system of detached representations that model the world. The inner world is used, e.g., for (...)
  20. Mental Action. Edited by Lucy O'Brien and Matthew Soteriou. (Oxford UP, 2009. Pp. X + 286. Price £50.00).Andrei A. Buckareff - 2012 - Philosophical Quarterly 62 (247):401-403.
  21. Philosophy, Methodology and Action Research.Carr Wilfred - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 40 (4):421-435.
    The aim of this paper is to examine the role of methodology in action research. It begins by showing how, as a form of inquiry concerned with the development of practice, action research is nothing other than a modern 20th century manifestation of the pre‐modern tradition of practical philosophy. It then draws in Gadamer's powerful vindication of the contemporary relevance of practical philosophy in order to show how, by embracing the idea of ‘methodology’, action research functions to sustain a distorted (...)
  22. A Metacognitive Model of the Feeling of Agency Over Bodily Actions.Glenn Carruthers - forthcoming - Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research and Practice.
    I offer a new metacognitive account of the feeling of agency over bodily actions. On this model the feeling of agency is the metacognitive monitoring of two cues: i) smoothness of action: done via monitoring the output of the comparison between actual and predicted sensory consequences of action and ii) action outcome: done via monitoring the outcome of action and its success relative to a prior intention. Previous research has shown that the comparator model offers a powerful explanation of the (...)
  23. The Case for the Comparator Model as an Explanation of the Sense of Agency and its Breakdowns.Glenn Carruthers - 2011 - Consciousness and Cognition 21 (1):30-45.
    I compare Frith and colleagues’ influential comparator account of how the sense of agency is elicited to the multifactorial weighting model advocated by Synofzik and colleagues. I defend the comparator model from the common objection that the actual sensory consequences of action are not needed to elicit the sense of agency. I examine the comparator model’s ability to explain the performance of healthy subjects and those suffering from delusions of alien control on various self-attribution tasks. It transpires that the comparator (...)
  24. A Comparison of Fortunes : The Comparator and Multifactorial Weighting Models of the Sense of Agency.Glenn Carruthers - unknown
    The sense of agency over bodily actions is the feeling that one is the agent of one's actions. In this paper I examine the prospects of Frith and colleagues' influential comparator account of how the sense of agency over one's bodily actions is elicited, in comparison to the multifactorial weighting model advocated by Synofzik and colleagues in response to some problems with this account. I examine two problems for the comparator model. I consider the common objection that the actual sensory (...)
  25. A Problem for Wegner and Colleagues' Model of the Sense of Agency.Glenn Carruthers - 2010 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (3):341-357.
    The sense of agency, that is the sense that one is the agent of one’s bodily actions, is one component of our self-consciousness. Recently, Wegner and colleagues have developed a model of the causal history of this sense. Their model takes it that the sense of agency is elicited for an action when one infers that one or other of one’s mental states caused that action. In their terms, the sense of agency is elicited by the inference to apparent mental (...)
  26. Commentary on Synofzik, Vosgerau and Newen.Glenn Carruthers - 2009 - Consciousness and Cognition 18 (2):515 - 520.
    Synofzik, Vosgerau, and Newen (2008) offer a powerful explanation of the sense of agency. To argue for their model they attempt to show that one of the standard models (the comparator model) fails to explain the sense of agency and that their model offers a more general account than is aimed at by the standard model. Here I offer comment on both parts of this argument. I offer an alternative reading of some of the data they use to argue against (...)
  27. Mallas Que la Autoconciencia Teje : Desde El Actuar Hasta El Espacio y la Materia = Meshes Woven by Self-Consciousness : From Taking Action to Space and Matter.Mário Jorge de Carvalho - 2012 - Endoxa 30 (30):173.
  28. Dilemma della prima persona e fenomenologia dell’azione: quanto è minimale l’autocoscienza?Mariaflavia Cascelli - 2016 - Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia 7 (1):61-74.
    Riassunto : Negli ultimi anni sempre maggiore attenzione viene data alla possibilità che una forma minima, pre-riflessiva di auto-coscienza preceda l’auto-coscienza introspettiva. Diversi sono stati i tentativi fatti per sostenere che questa forma “sottile” di auto-coscienza sia un prerequisito necessario della coscienza. Dopo una breve considerazione dei problemi semantici ed epistemologici relativi all’uso del pronome di prima persona, questo articolo si concentrerà sulla letteratura che analizza le eccezioni al principio di immunità dall’errore per misidentificazione dalla prospettiva della fenomenologia dell’agentività. Il (...)
  29. Human Agency and Language.Taylor Charles - 1999 - Philosophical Papers 1.
  30. Culture and Reason.Xunwu Chen - 1994 - Dissertation, Fordham University
    The concern about human reason is the dominant preoccupation in contemporary philosophy. Many contributors have developed significant insights into reason. MacIntyre points out an intrinsic connection among reason, tradition, conflict and history; reason is a tradition-constituted capacity to justify inquiry and the life of a society. Habermas shows the normativity of reason, seeing reason as an intersubjectivity embodied in communicative praxis and a set of communicative norms. Brown insists that reason is a rhetorical creativity, the capacity to construct meaning and (...)
  31. World and Subject: Themes From McDowell.Tony Cheng - 2008 - Dissertation, National Chengchi University, Taiwan
    This essay is an inquiry into John McDowell’s thinking on ‘subjectivity.’ The project consists in two parts. On the one hand, I will discuss how McDowell understands and responds to the various issues he is tackling; on the other, I will approach relevant issues concerning subjectivity by considering different aspects of it: a subject as a perceiver, knower, thinker, speaker, agent, person and (self-) conscious being in the world. The inquiry begins by identifying and resolving a tension generated by the (...)
  32. Meaning Things and Meaning Others.Carleton B. Christensen - 1997 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (3):495-522.
    At least phenomenologically the way communicative acts reveal intentions is different from the way non-communicative acts do this: the former have an “addressed” character which the latter do not. The paper argues that this difference is a real one, reflecting the irreducibly “conventional” character of human communication. It attempts to show this through a critical analysis of the Gricean programme and its methodologically individualist attempt to explain the “conventional” as derivative from the “non-conventional”. It is shown how in order to (...)
  33. Specifying the Self for Cognitive Neuroscience.Kalina Christoff, Diego Cosmelli, Dorothée Legrand & Evan Thompson - 2011 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 15 (3):104-112.
  34. Will, Action, and Normativity (Husserl and Kant). / Volonte, Action Et Normativite (Husserl Et Kant).Ion Copoeru - 2005 - Studia Philosophica 1.
    The unitary description both of the thing and of the other allowed to the Husserlian phenomenology to overcome the classical distinction between representation and will and to treat the volition and action as specific objects. In the following paper we shall investigate the basic concepts of a phenomenology of will and action comparing it with Kant's position in this respect. Our research will focus on the phenomenological description of the passage from the inchoative moment of the action to the action (...)
  35. Identity Dynamics, Action and Context.Anne Marie Costalat-Founeau - 1999 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 29 (3):289–300.
    The aim of this article is to present an investigation of the action-representation relationship, via the processes which arise from the effects of one’s action and the effects of one’s capacity . These effects are, in our view, of major importance, for they link social legitimation and the personal skill necessary for the preparation and carrying out of action. We look at this complex relationship, and propose a model, the capacity model, which situates action as an executory regulator of representation, (...)
  36. Contract or Coincidence: George Herbert Mead and Adam Smith on Self and Society.Timothy M. Costelloe - 1997 - History of the Human Sciences 10 (2):81-109.
    Although a number of commentators have remarked upon the simi larities between aspects of George Herbert Mead's social psychology and Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, there has been no sys tematic attempt to document the connection. This article attempts to do precisely that. First, the legitimacy of the connection is established by showing the likelihood that Mead knew this particular work by Smith, and by bringing together the various treatments of the matter made by commentators. Since Mead himself does (...)
  37. Understanding Others, Reciprocity, and Self-Consciousness.Katja Crone - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-12.
    The article explores the basic conceptual relationship between social cognition, intersubjectivity and self-consciousness. A much-debated recent approach to social cognition, the so-called interaction theory, is the view that the ability to perceive, understand and interpret the behavior of others relies on interaction in the sense of mutual coordination of the embodied agents involved. It will be shown that this notion of reciprocity is too weak in order to fully account for social understanding. It will be argued that the idea of (...)
  38. Facets of Self-Consciousness - Special Issue of Grazer Philosophische Studien (84).Katja Crone, Kristina Musholt & Anna Strasser (eds.) - 2012 - Rodopi.
  39. Facets of Self-Consciousness.Katja Crone, Kristina Musholt & Anna Strasser (eds.) - 2012 - Rodopi.
    This special issue of Grazer Philosophische Studien brings together a number of carefully selected and timely articles that explore the discussion of different facets of self-consciousness from multiple perspectives. The selected articles mainly focus on three topics of the current debate: the relationship between conceptual and nonconceptual ways of self-representation; the role of intersubjectivity for the development of self-consciousness; the temporal structure of self-consciousness. A number of previously underexposed, yet important connections between different approaches are explored. The articles not only (...)
  40. A Process View of Consciousness and the "Self": Integrating a Sense of Connectedness with a Sense of Agency.R. Curtis - 1992 - Psychological Inquiry 3:29-32.
  41. Observing One's Hand Become Anarchic: An fMRI Study of Action Identification.T. D., G. Knoblich, M. Erb & J. T. - 2003 - Consciousness and Cognition 12 (4):597-608.
    The self seems to be a unitary entity remaining stable across time. Nevertheless, current theorizing conceptualizes the self as a number of interacting sub-systems involving perception, intention and action (self-model). One important function of such a self-model is to distinguish between events occurring as a result of one's own actions and events occurring as the result of somebody else's actions. We conducted an fMRI experiment that compared brain activation after an abrupt mismatch between one's own movement and its visual consequences (...)
  42. Self-Identity and the Social Contract.Michael William Dahlem - 1991 - Dissertation, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick
    The purpose of this study is to examine the conditions necessary for the achievement of a general human happiness. By 'general happiness' I refer to those conditions in which all persons have the means necessary to pursue their good and in which the attainment of happiness is a common occurrence. ;In a similar inquiry, Herbert Marcuse described three preconditions for the achievement of a general happiness: material abundance, self-knowledge and social justice. He held that abundance is necessary to satisfy our (...)
  43. Action.Arthur C. Danto & D. G. Brown - 1970 - Philosophical Review 79 (4):582.
  44. Looking for the Agent: An Investigation Into Self-Consciousness and Consciousness of the Action in Patients with Schizophrenia.E. Daprati, N. Franck, N. Georgieff, J. Proust, E. Pacherie, J. Dalery & M. Jeannerod - 1997 - Cognition 65:71-86.
  45. Looking for the Agent: An Investigation Into Consciousness of Action and Self-Consciousness in Schizophrenic Patients.E. Daprati, N. Franck, N. Georgieff, Joëlle Proust, Elisabeth Pacherie, J. Dalery & Marc Jeannerod - 1997 - Cognition 65 (1):71-86.
    The abilities to attribute an action to its proper agent and to understand its meaning when it is produced by someone else are basic aspects of human social communication. Several psychiatric syndromes, such as schizophrenia, seem to lead to a dysfunction of the awareness of one’s own action as well as of recognition of actions performed by other. Such syndromes offer a framework for studying the determinants of agency, the ability to correctly attribute actions to their veridical source. Thirty normal (...)
  46. The “Sense of Agency” and its Underlying Cognitive and Neural Mechanisms.N. David, A. Newen & K. Vogeley - 2008 - Consciousness and Cognition 17 (2):523-534.
    The sense of agency is a central aspect of human self-consciousness and refers to the experience of oneself as the agent of one’s own actions. Several different cognitive theories on the sense of agency have been proposed implying divergent empirical approaches and results, especially with respect to neural correlates. A multifactorial and multilevel model of the sense of agency may provide the most constructive framework for integrating divergent theories and findings, meeting the complex nature of this intriguing phenomenon.
  47. Reconstructing the Minimal Self, or How to Make Sense of Agency and Ownership.Sanneke de Haan & Leon de Bruin - 2010 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (3):373-396.
    We challenge Gallagher’s distinction between the sense of ownership and the sense of agency as two separable modalities of experience of the minimal self and argue that a careful investigation of the examples provided to promote this distinction in fact reveals that SO and SA are intimately related and modulate each other. We propose a way to differentiate between the various notions of SO and SA that are currently used interchangeably in the debate, and suggest a more gradual reading of (...)
  48. Self-Consciousness, by Sebastian Rodl.D. Debus - 2009 - Mind 118 (472):1174-1180.
    (No abstract is available for this citation).
  49. Creative Being the Crafting of Person and World.Eliot Deutsch - 1992
  50. The Sense of Ownership: An Analogy Between Sensation and Action.J. Dokic - 2003 - In Johannes Roessler (ed.), Agency and Self-Awareness: Issues in Philosophy and Psychology. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 321–344.
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