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Alfred R. Mele (1992). Springs of Action: Understanding Intentional Behavior.

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  1.  98
    Action Unified.Yair Levy - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly:pqv056.
    Mental acts are conspicuously absent from philosophical debates over the nature of action. A typical protagonist of a typical scenario is far more likely to raise her arm or open the window than she is to perform a calculation in her head or talk to herself silently. One possible explanation for this omission is that the standard ‘causalist’ account of action, on which acts are analyzed in terms of mental states causing bodily movements, faces difficulties in accommodating some paradigmatic cases (...)
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  2.  90
    Intending, Settling, and Relying.Facundo M. Alonso - 2017 - In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility. Volume 4. Oxford University Press. pp. 50-74.
    Philosophers of action of different persuasions have suggested that there is a tight connection between the phenomenon of intending and the phenomena of “being settled on” and of “settling” a course of action. For many, this connection supports an important constraint on intention: one may only intend what one takes one’s so intending as settling. Traditionally, this has been understood as a doxastic constraint on intention: what one takes one’s intention as settling is what one believes one’s so intending as (...)
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  3.  62
    On Pereboom’s Disappearing Agent Argument.Alfred R. Mele - 2017 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 11 (3):561-574.
    This article is a critical discussion of Derk Pereboom’s “disappearing agent objection” to event-causal libertarianism in his Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life. This objection is an important plank in Pereboom’s argument for free will skepticism. It is intended to knock event-causal libertarianism, a leading pro-free-will view, out of contention. I explain why readers should not find the objection persuasive.
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  4.  95
    Chimps as Secret Agents.Caroline T. Arruda & Daniel J. Povinelli - 2016 - Synthese 193 (7):2129-2158.
    We provide an account of chimpanzee-specific agency within the context of philosophy of action. We do so by showing that chimpanzees are capable of what we call reason-directed action, even though they may be incapable of more full-blown action, which we call reason-considered action. Although chimpanzee agency does not possess all the features of typical adult human agency, chimpanzee agency is evolutionarily responsive to their environment and overlaps considerably with our own. As such, it is an evolved set of capacities (...)
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  5.  26
    Are Intentions in Tension with Timing Experiments?Marcela Herdova - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (3):573-587.
    Libet’s timing experiments have resulted in some strong and unsavoury claims about human agency. These range from the idea that conscious intentions are epiphenomenal to the idea that we all lack free will. In this paper, I propose a new type of response to the various sceptical conclusions about our agency occasioned by both Libet’s work and other experiments in this testing paradigm. Indeed, my argument extends to such conclusions drawn from fMRI-based prediction experiments. In what follows, I will provide (...)
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  6.  54
    Mind-Wandering is Unguided Attention: Accounting for the “Purposeful” Wanderer.Zachary C. Irving - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (2):547-571.
    Although mind-wandering occupies up to half of our waking thoughts, it is seldom discussed in philosophy. My paper brings these neglected thoughts into focus. I propose that mind-wandering is unguided attention. Guidance in my sense concerns how attention is monitored and regulated as it unfolds over time. Roughly speaking, someone’s attention is guided if she would feel pulled back, were she distracted from her current focus. Because our wandering thoughts drift unchecked from topic to topic, they are unguided. One motivation (...)
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  7.  70
    Bayesian Sensorimotor Psychology.Michael Rescorla - 2016 - Mind and Language 31 (1):3-36.
    Sensorimotor psychology studies the mental processes that control goal-directed bodily motion. Recently, sensorimotor psychologists have provided empirically successful Bayesian models of motor control. These models describe how the motor system uses sensory input to select motor commands that promote goals set by high-level cognition. I highlight the impressive explanatory benefits offered by Bayesian models of motor control. I argue that our current best models assign explanatory centrality to a robust notion of mental representation. I deploy my analysis to defend intentional (...)
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  8.  74
    A Conditional Theory of Trying.David-Hillel Ruben - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):271-287.
    What I shall do in this paper is to propose an analysis of ‘Agent P tries to A’ in terms of a subjunctive conditional, that avoids some of the problems that beset most alternative accounts of trying, which I call ‘referential views’. They are so-named because on these alternative accounts, ‘P tries to A’ entails that there is a trying to A by P, and therefore the expression ‘P’s trying to A’ can occur in the subject of a sentence and (...)
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  9.  40
    Transparency and Introspective Unification.Kateryna Samoilova - 2016 - Synthese 193 (10).
    Gareth Evans has observed that one merely needs to ‘look outward’ to discover one’s own beliefs. This observation of what has become known as belief ‘transparency’ has formed a basis for a cluster of views on the nature of introspection. These views may be well suited to account for our introspective access to beliefs, but whether similar transparency-based accounts of our introspective access to mental states other than belief can be given is not obvious. The question of whether a transparency-based (...)
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  10.  56
    Robustness Revised: Frankfurt Cases and the Right Kind of Power to Do Otherwise.Seth Shabo - 2016 - Acta Analytica 31 (1):89-106.
    Frankfurt’s famous counterexample strategy challenges the traditional association between moral responsibility and alternative possibilities. While this strategy remains controversial, it is now widely agreed that an adequate response to it must preserve an agent’s ability to do otherwise, and not the mere possibility, for only then is her alternative possibility sufficiently robust to ground her responsibility. Here, I defend a more stringent requirement for robustness. To have a robust alternative, I argue, the agent must have the right kind of ability, (...)
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  11.  65
    The Calendar Paradox.Sam Shpall - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (3):801-825.
    Presents an analogue of the Preface Paradox for intention, and discusses possible implications for the philosophy of action.
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  12. Experts and Deviants: The Story of Agentive Control.Wayne Wu - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2):n/a-n/a.
    This essay argues that current theories of action fail to explain agentive control because they have left out a psychological capacity central to control: attention. This makes it impossible to give a complete account of the mental antecedents that generate action. By investigating attention, and in particular the intention-attention nexus, we can characterize the functional role of intention in an illuminating way, explicate agentive control so that we have a uniform explanation of basic cases of causal deviance in action as (...)
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  13.  74
    Collective Responsibility in a Hollywood Standoff.Sara Rachel Chant - 2015 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (2):83-92.
    In this paper, I advance a counterexample to the collective agency thesis.
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  14.  29
    Mental Actions and Mental Agency.Anika Fiebich & John Michael - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (4):683-693.
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  15.  69
    Agent-Causation, Explanation, and Akrasia: A Reply to Levy’s Hard Luck. [REVIEW]Christopher Evan Franklin - 2015 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 9 (4):753-770.
    I offer a brief review of, and critical response to, Neil Levy’s fascinating recent book Hard Luck, where he argues that no one is ever free or morally responsible not because of determinism or indeterminism, but because of luck. Two of Levy’s central arguments in defending his free will nihilism concern the nature and role of explanation in a theory of moral responsibility and the nature of akrasia. With respect to explanation, Levy argues that an adequate theory of moral responsibility (...)
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  16.  44
    Self-Determination, Self-Transformation, and the Case of Jean Valjean: A Problem for Velleman.Christopher Evan Franklin - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (10):2591-2598.
    According to reductionists about agency, an agent’s bringing something about is reducible to states and events involving the agent bringing something about. Many have worried that reductionism cannot accommodate robust forms of agency, such as self-determination. One common reductionist answer to this worry contends that self-determining agents are identified with certain states and events, and so these states and events causing a decision counts as the agent’s self-determining the decision. In this paper I discuss J. David Velleman’s identification reductionist theory, (...)
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  17.  36
    Animal Mental Action: Planning Among Chimpanzees.Angelica Kaufmann - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (4):745-760.
    I offer an argument for what mental action may be like in nonhuman animals. Action planning is a type of mental action that involves a type of intention. Some intentions are the causal mental antecedents of proximal mental actions, and some intentions are the causal mental antecedents of distal mental actions. The distinction between these two types of “plan-states” is often spelled out in terms of mental content. The prominent view is that while proximal mental actions are caused by mental (...)
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  18.  41
    This Paper Took Too Long to Write: A Puzzle About Overcoming Weakness of Will.Rachel McKinnon & Mathieu Doucet - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (1):49-69.
    The most discussed puzzle about weakness of will (WoW) is how it is possible: how can a person freely and intentionally perform actions that she judges she ought not perform, or that she has resolved not to perform? In this paper, we are concerned with a much less discussed puzzle about WoW?how is overcoming it possible? We explain some of the ways in which previously weak-willed agents manage to overcome their weakness. Some of these are relatively straightforward?as agents learn of (...)
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  19.  41
    Libertarianism, Compatibilism, and Luck.Alfred R. Mele - 2015 - The Journal of Ethics 19 (1):1-21.
    The “problem of present luck” targets a standard libertarian thesis about free will. It has been argued that there is an analogous problem about luck for compatibilists. This article explores similarities and differences between the alleged problems.
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  20.  28
    No Achievement Beyond Intention.Jesús Navarro - 2015 - Synthese 192 (10):3339-3369.
    According to robust versions of virtue epistemology, the reason why knowledge is incompatible with certain kinds of luck is that justified true beliefs must be achieved by the agent . In a recent set of papers, Pritchard has challenged these sorts of views, advancing different arguments against them. I confront one of them here, which is constructed upon scenarios affected by environmental luck, such as the fake barn cases. My objection to Pritchard differs from those offered until now by Carter (...)
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  21. A Case for Epistemic Agency.Dustin Olson - 2015 - Logos and Episteme 6 (4):449-474.
    This paper attempts to answer two questions: What is epistemic agency? And what are the motivations for having this concept? In response to the first question, it is argued that epistemic agency is the agency one has over one’s belief-forming practices, or doxastic dispositions, which can directly affect the way one forms a belief and indirectly affect the beliefs one forms. In response to the second question, it is suggested that the above conception of epistemic agency is either implicitly endorsed (...)
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  22.  13
    The Omissions Account of the Knobe Effect and the Asymmetry Challenge.Katarzyna Paprzycka - 2015 - Mind and Language 30 (5):550-571.
    The characteristic asymmetry in intentionality attributions that is known as the Knobe effect can be explained by conjoining an orthodox theory of intentional action with a normative account of intentional omission. On the latter view: omissions presuppose some normative context; there are good reasons why the intentionality of omissions requires agents' knowledge rather than intention. The asymmetry in intentionality attributions in Knobe's cases can be seen to be derivative from an asymmetry in intentional omissions. The omissions account further explains the (...)
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  23.  39
    Time and Action: Impulsivity, Habit, Strategy.Joëlle Proust - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (4):717-743.
    Granting that various mental events might form the antecedents of an action, what is the mental event that is the proximate cause of action? The present article reconsiders the methodology for addressing this question: Intention and its varieties cannot be properly analyzed if one ignores the evolutionary constraints that have shaped action itself, such as the trade-off between efficient timing and resources available, for a given stake. On the present proposal, three types of action, impulsive, routine and strategic, are designed (...)
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  24. Deciding as Intentional Action: Control Over Decisions.Joshua Shepherd - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (2):335-351.
    Common-sense folk psychology and mainstream philosophy of action agree about decisions: these are under an agent's direct control, and are thus intentional actions for which agents can be held responsible. I begin this paper by presenting a problem for this view. In short, since the content of the motivational attitudes that drive deliberation and decision remains open-ended until the moment of decision, it is unclear how agents can be thought to exercise control over what they decide at the moment of (...)
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  25.  37
    On the Significance of Bodily Awareness for Bodily Action.Hong Yu Wong - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (261):790-812.
    What is the significance of bodily awareness for bodily action? The orthodox philosophical account from O'Shaughnessy claims that bodily awareness is necessary for bodily action. Whilst O'Shaughnessy's account appears to be consonant with the phenomenology of ordinary agency, it falls afoul to empirical counterexamples. The failure of O'Shaughnessy's account and its cousins might suggest that bodily action does not depend on bodily awareness. On the contrary, I argue that the contrast between the character of afferented and deafferented agency shows that (...)
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  26.  16
    Belief, Experience and the Act of Picture-Making.Dan Cavedon-Taylor - 2014 - Philosophical Explorations 17 (1):1-14.
    Philosophical Explorations, Volume 17, Issue 1, Page 35-48, March 2014.
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  27.  9
    Luck, the Range of Obligations, and Frankfurt Examples.Ishtiyaque Haji - 2014 - Philosophical Papers 43 (3):317-344.
    The following two principles are invoked to argue, first, for the view that it is often a matter of luck to avoid performing many garden-variety sorts of acts in everyday life that are seemingly obligatory for us. It is impossible for one to perform an action that is morally obligatory for one unless one could have done otherwise; and it is impossible for one to perform an action without having some pro-attitude to perform it. Next, the view is defended that (...)
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  28.  35
    Luck and Free Will.Alfred R. Mele - 2014 - 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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  29.  68
    Self-Control, Motivational Strength, and Exposure Therapy.Alfred R. Mele - 2014 - 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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  30. Can Conscious Agency Be Saved?Elisabeth Pacherie - 2014 - Topoi 33 (1):33-45.
    This paper is concerned with the role of conscious agency in human action. On a folk-psychological view of the structure of agency, intentions, conceived as conscious mental states, are the causes of actions. In the last decades, the development of new psychological and neuroscientific methods has made conscious agency an object of empirical investigation and yielded results that challenge the received wisdom. Most famously, the results of Libet’s studies on the ‘readiness potential’ have been interpreted by many as evidence in (...)
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  31.  39
    The Limits of Limited-Blockage Frankfurt-Style Cases.Michael Robinson - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (3):429-446.
    Philosophers employing Frankfurt-style cases to challenge the principle of alternative possibilities have mostly sought to construct scenarios that eliminate as many of an agent’s alternatives as possible—and all alternatives at the moment of action, within the agent’s control—without causally determining the agent’s actions. One of the chief difficulties for this traditional approach is that the closer one gets to ruling out absolutely all alternative possibilities the more it appears that agents’ actions in these cases are causally determined. “Limited-blockage” versions of (...)
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  32. Slips.Santiago Amaya - 2013 - Noûs 47 (3):559-576.
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  33.  50
    Individualism and the Metaphysics of Actions.Matias Bulnes - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (1):113-132.
    I examine an intuitive property of folk-psychological explanations I call self-sufficiency. I argue that individualism cannot honor this property and work toward distilling an account of psychological explanation that does honor it, given some fairly standard assumptions. In doing so, my preference for an Externalist individuation of intentional state will emerge unambiguously. The assumptions I rely on are fairly standard but not uncontroversial. Yet not always do I attempt to defend them from objections. My goal is an account of folk (...)
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  34.  32
    How Should Libertarians Conceive of the Location and Role of Indeterminism?Christopher Evan Franklin - 2013 - Philosophical Explorations 16 (1):44 - 58.
    Libertarianism has, seemingly, always been in disrepute among philosophers. While throughout history philosophers have offered different reasons for their dissatisfaction with libertarianism, one worry is recurring: namely a worry about luck. To many, it seems that if our choices and actions are undetermined, then we cannot control them in a way that allows for freedom and responsibility. My fundamental aim in this paper is to place libertarians on a more promising track for formulating a defensible libertarian theory. I begin by (...)
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  35.  55
    Seeing What I Am Doing.Thor Grünbaum - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (2):295-318.
    I argue against the view that an agent’s knowledge of her own current action cannot in any way rely on perception for its justification. Instead, I argue that when it comes to an agent’s knowledge of her own object-oriented intentional action, the agent’s belief about what she is doing is partly justified by her perception of the object of action. I proceed by first proposing an account of such actions according to which the agent’s knowledge is partly justified by her (...)
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  36.  65
    The Volitive and the Executive Function of Intentions.Christoph Lumer - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (3):511-527.
    Many philosophers of action, including Bratman and Mele, conceive intentions functionally, as executive states: intentions are mental states that represent an action and tend to cause this action. In the philosophical tradition (e.g. for Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Leibniz, Kant) another function of intentions, which may be called “volitive”, played a much more prominent role: intentions are mental states that represent what kind of actions we want and prefer to be realised and thus, in a possibly rational way, synthesise our motivational, (...)
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  37.  62
    Distributed Intentionality: A Model of Intentional Behavior in Humans.Marco Mazzone & Emanuela Campisi - 2013 - Philosophical Psychology 26 (2):267 - 290.
    (2013). Distributed intentionality: A model of intentional behavior in humans. Philosophical Psychology: Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 267-290. doi: 10.1080/09515089.2011.641743.
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  38.  63
    Moral Responsibility, Manipulation, and Minutelings.Alfred R. Mele - 2013 - The 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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  39.  84
    Basic Causal Deviance, Action Repertoires, and Reliability.Jesús H. Aguilar - 2012 - Philosophical Issues 22 (1):1-19.
  40.  84
    An Action Theoretic Problem for Intralevel Mental Causation.Andrei A. Buckareff - 2012 - Philosophical Issues 22 (1):89-105.
    I take it that the following is a desideratum of our theories in the philosophy of mind. A theory in the philosophy of mind should help us better understand ourselves as agents and aid in our theorizing about the nature of action and agency. In this paper I discuss a strategy adopted by some defenders of nonreductive physicalism in response to the problem of causal exclusion. The strategy, which I refer to as “intralevelism,” relies on treating mental causation as intra (...)
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  41.  33
    The Assimilation Argument and the Rollback Argument.Christopher Evan Franklin - 2012 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (3):395-416.
    Seth Shabo has presented a new argument that attempts to codify familiar worries about indeterminism, luck, and control. His ‘Assimilation Argument’ contends that libertarians cannot distinguish overtly randomized outcomes from exercises of free will. Shabo claims that the argument possesses advantages over the Mind Argument and Rollback Argument, which also purport to establish that indeterminism is incompatible with free will. I argue first that the Assimilation Argument presents no new challenges over and above those presented by the Rollback Argument, and (...)
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  42.  61
    A Gate‐Based Account of Intentions.Stéphane Lemaire - 2012 - Dialectica 66 (1):45-67.
    In this paper, I propose a reductive account of intentions which I call a gate-based reductive account. In contrast with other reductive accounts, however, the reductive basis of this account is not limited to desires, beliefs and judgments. I suggest that an intention is a complex state in which a predominant desire toward a plan is not inhibited by a gate mechanism whose function is to assess the comparison of our desires given the stakes at hand. To vindicate this account, (...)
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  43.  60
    Side-Effect Actions, Acting for a Reason, and Acting Intentionally.John Michael McGuire - 2012 - Philosophical Explorations 15 (3):317 - 333.
    What is the relation between acting intentionally and acting for a reason? While this question has generated a considerable amount of debate in the philosophy of action, on one point there has been a virtual consensus: actions performed for a reason are necessarily intentional. Recently, this consensus has been challenged by Joshua Knobe and Sean Kelly, who argue against it on the basis of empirical evidence concerning the ways in which ordinary speakers of the English language describe and explain certain (...)
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  44.  39
    Crimes of Negligence: Attempting and Succeeding. [REVIEW]Alfred R. Mele - 2012 - 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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  45. Action-Oriented Perception.Bence Nanay - 2012 - European Journal of Philosophy 20 (3):430-446.
    Abstract: When I throw a ball at you, do you see it as catch-able? Do we perceive objects as edible, climbable or Q-able in general? One could argue that it is just a manner of speaking to say so: we do not really see an object as edible, we only infer on the basis of its other properties that it is. I argue that whether or not an object is edible or climbable is indeed represented perceptually: we see objects as (...)
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  46.  42
    Action Explanation and the Free Will Debate: How Incompatibilist Arguments Go Wrong1.Scott Sehon - 2012 - Philosophical Issues 22 (1):351-368.
  47. Taking Aim at the Truth.Masahiro Yamada - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 157 (1):47-59.
    One prominent feature of belief is that a belief cannot be formed at will. This paper argues that the best explanation of this fact is that belief formation is a process that takes aim at the truth. Taking aim at the truth is to be understood as causal responsiveness of the processes constituting belief formation to what facilitates achieving true beliefs. The requirement for this responsiveness precludes the possibility of belief formation responding to intentions in a way that would count (...)
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  48. Action-Individuation and Doxastic Agency.Andrei A. Buckareff - 2011 - Theoria 77 (4):312-332.
    In this article, I challenge the dominant view of the importance of the debate over action-individuation. On the dominant view, it is held that the conclusions we reach about action-individuation make little or no difference for other debates in the philosophy of action, much less in other areas of philosophy. As a means of showing that the dominant view is mistaken, I consider the implications of accepting a given theory of action-individuation for thinking about doxastic agency. In particular, I am (...)
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  49.  92
    Intralevel Mental Causation.Andrei A. Buckareff - 2011 - Frontiers of Philosophy in China 6 (3):402-425.
    This paper identifies and critiques a theory of mental causation defended by some proponents of nonredutive physicalism that I call “intralevelism.” Intralevelist theories differ in their details. On all versions, the causal outcome of the manifestation of physical properties is physical and the causal outcome of the manifestation of mental properties is mental. Thus, mental causation on this view is intralevel mental to mental causation. This characterization of mental causation as intralevel is taken to insulate nonreductive physicalism from some objections (...)
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  50. Farewell to the Luck (and Mind) Argument.Christopher Evan Franklin - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (2):199-230.
    In this paper I seek to defend libertarianism about free will and moral responsibility against two well-known arguments: the luck argument and the Mind argument. Both of these arguments purport to show that indeterminism is incompatible with the degree of control necessary for free will and moral responsibility. I begin the discussion by elaborating these arguments, clarifying important features of my preferred version of libertarianism—features that will be central to an adequate response to the arguments—and showing why a strategy of (...)
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