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The Illusion of Conscious Will

Mind 113 (449):218-221 (2004)

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  1. Implicit Association Test: Validity Debates.Anthony Greenwald - manuscript
    Note posted 9 Jun 08 : Modifications made today include a new section on predictive validity, and addition of recently published article and in in-press article, both by Nosek & Hansen, under the "CULTURE VS. PERSON" heading, which replaces a previously listed unpublished ms. of theirs. I continue to encourage all interested to send material that they are willing to be included on this page. Please also to let me know about errors, including faulty links.
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  • How We Know Our Conscious Minds: Introspective Access to Conscious Thoughts.Keith Frankish - 2009 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (2):145-146.
    Carruthers considers and rejects a mixed position according to which we have interpretative access to unconscious thoughts, but introspective access to conscious ones. I argue that this is too hasty. Given a two-level view of the mind, we can, and should, accept the mixed position, and we can do so without positing additional introspective mechanisms beyond those Carruthers already recognizes.
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  • Reply to Comments on Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom.Nicholas Maxwell - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (4):667-690.
    In this article I reply to comments made by Agustin Vicente and Giridhari Lal Pandit on Science and the Pursuit of Wisdom (McHenry 2009 ). I criticize analytic philosophy, go on to expound the argument for the need for a revolution in academic inquiry so that the basic aim becomes wisdom and not just knowledge, defend aim-oriented empiricism, outline my solution to the human world/physical universe problem, and defend the thesis that free will is compatible with physicalism.
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  • Why minds cannot be received, but are created by brains.Włodzisław Duch - 2017 - Scientia et Fides 5 (2):171-198.
    There is no controversy in psychology or brain sciences that brains create mind and consciousness. Doubts and opinions to the contrary are quite frequently expressed in non-scientific publications. In particular the idea that conscious mind is received, rather than created by the brain, is quite often used against “materialistic” understanding of consciousness. I summarize here arguments against such position, show that neuroscience gives coherent view of mind and consciousness, and that this view is intrinsically non-materialistic.
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  • Self‐Agency.Elisabeth Pacherie - 2010 - In Shaun Gallagher (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Self. Oxford University Press.
    We are perceivers, we are thinkers, and we are also agents, bringing about physical events, such as bodily movements and their consequences. What we do tells us, and others, a lot about who we are. On the one hand, who we are determines what we do. On the other hand, acting is also a process of self-discovery and self-shaping. Pivotal to this mutual shaping of self and agency is the sense of agency, or agentive self-awareness, i.e., the sense that one (...)
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  • Knowing When to Ask: Introspection and the Adaptive Unconscious.Timothy D. Wilson - 2003 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 10 (9-10):131-140.
    The introspective method has come under attack throughout the history of psychology, yet it is widely used today in virtually all areas of the field, often to good effect. At the same time indirect methods that do not rely on introspection are widely used, also to good effect. This conundrum is best understood in terms of models of nonconscious processing and the role of consciousness. People have access to many of their feelings and emotions, and develop rich narratives about themselves (...)
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  • La Fiabilidad Teórica Del Determinismo. Un Examen Desde la Propuesta de Mariano Artigas.Martín Montoya - 2016 - Scientia et Fides 4 (2):245-262.
    The theoretical reliability of determinism. A review from the proposal of Mariano Artigas This article has two purposes. The first is to demonstrate that the theory of determinism, which claims to be based on the principles of experimental science, cannot be considered as an explanation compatible with such sciences. To do this, we use some ideas of Mariano Artigas on the explanatory power of scientific theories and their reliability from his book The Mind of the Universe. Through this process we (...)
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  • On the Adaptive Advantage of Always Being Right (Even When One is Not).Nathalia L. Gjersoe & Bruce M. Hood - 2009 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (6):521-522.
    We propose another positive illusion that fits with McKay & Dennett's (M&D's) criteria for adaptive misbeliefs. This illusion is pervasive in adult reasoning but we focus on its prevalence in children's developing theories. It is a strongly held conviction arising from normal functioning of the doxastic system that confers adaptive advantage on the individual.
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  • Temptation, Tradition, and Taboo: A Theory of Sacralization.Douglas A. Marshall - 2010 - Sociological Theory 28 (1):64-90.
    A theory of sacralization is offered in which the sacred emerges from the collision of temptation and tradition. It is proposed that when innate or acquired desires to behave in one way conflict with socially acquired and/or mediated drives to behave in another way, actors ascribe sacredness to the objects of their action as a means of reconciling the difference between their desired and actual behavior toward those objects. After establishing the sacred as a theoretical construct, the theory is sketched (...)
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  • The Nature of Appearance in Kant’s Transcendentalism: A Seman- Tico-Cognitive Analysis.Sergey L. Katrechko - 2018 - Kantian Journal 37 (3):41-55.
  • The Innocence of Becoming: Nietzsche Against Guilt.Brian Leiter - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (1):70-92.
    ABSTRACTI offer an interpretation of Nietzsche's striking idea of ‘the innocence of becoming’, and a partial defense of its import, namely, that no one is ever morally responsible or guilty for what they do and that many of the so-called reactive attitudes are misplaced. I focus primarily, though not exclusively, on the arguments as set out in Twilight of the Idols. First, there is Nietzsche's hypothesis, partly psychological and partly historical or anthropological, that the ideas of ‘free’ action or free (...)
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  • First-Person Privilege, Judgment, and Avowal.Kateryna Samoilova - 2015 - Philosophical Explorations 18 (2):169-182.
    It is a common intuition that I am in a better position to know my own mental states than someone else's. One view that takes this intuition very seriously is Neo-Expressivism, providing a “non-epistemic” account of first-person privilege. But some have denied that we enjoy any principled first-person privilege, as do those who have the Third-Person View, according to which there is no deep difference in our epistemic position with regard to our own and others' mental states. Despite their apparently (...)
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  • Contesting the Will: Phenomenological Reflections on Four Structural Moments in the Concept of Willing.Vincent Blok - 2018 - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 49 (1):18-35.
    The starting point of this article is the undeniable experience of conscious willing despite its rejection by scientific research. The article starts a phenomenology of willing at the level of the phenomenon of willing itself, without assuming its embeddedness in a faculty of the soul, consciousness and so forth. After the introduction, a brief history of the philosophy of willing is provided, from which the paradoxical conclusion is drawn that, according to phenomenologists like Heidegger and his followers, the dominance of (...)
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  • Educated Intuitions. Automaticity and Rationality in Moral Judgement.Hanno Sauer - 2012 - Philosophical Explorations 15 (3):255-275.
    Moral judgements are based on automatic processes. Moral judgements are based on reason. In this paper, I argue that both of these claims are true, and show how they can be reconciled. Neither the automaticity of moral judgement nor the post hoc nature of conscious moral reasoning pose a threat to rationalist models of moral cognition. The relation moral reasoning bears to our moral judgements is not primarily mediated by episodes of conscious reasoning, but by the acquisition, formation and maintenance (...)
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  • The Utility of Conscious Thinking on Higher-Order Theory.George Seli - 2012 - Philosophical Explorations 15 (3):303 - 316.
    Higher-order theories of consciousness posit that a mental state is conscious by virtue of being represented by another mental state, which is therefore a higher-order representation (HOR). Whether HORs are construed as thoughts or experiences, higher-order theorists have generally contested whether such metarepresentations have any significant cognitive function. In this paper, I argue that they do, focusing on the value of conscious thinking, as distinguished from conscious perceiving, conscious feeling, and other forms of conscious mentality. A thinking process is constituted (...)
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  • Good Intentions and the Road to Hell.Sarah K. Paul - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (2):40-54.
    G.E.M. Anscombe famously remarked that an adequate philosophy of psychology was needed before we could do ethics. Fifty years have passed, and we should now ask what significance our best theories of the psychology of agency have for moral philosophy. My focus is on non-moral conceptions of autonomy and self-governance that emphasize the limits of deliberation -- the way in which one's cares render certain options unthinkable, one's intentions and policies filter out what is inconsistent with them, and one's resolutions (...)
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  • The Ethical Implications of Considering Neurolaw as a New Power.Daniel Pallarés-Dominguez & Elsa González Esteban - 2016 - Ethics and Behavior 26 (3):252-266.
    Caution is one of the orienting principles of neuroscience’s advance in different social spheres. This article shows the importance of maintaining caution in the area of neurolaw because of its risk of becoming a new power that is free from ethical discussion. The article’s objective is to note the principal ethical implications and limitations of neurolaw in light of six cases in which neuroscientific evidence was used in distinct ways. This study seeks to examine the precautions that should be taken (...)
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  • Merleau-Ponty on Human Motility and Libet’s Paradox.T. Brian Mooney & Damien Norris - 2007 - Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology 7 (1):1-9.
    In 1979, neuroscientists Libet, Wright, Feinstein and Pearl introduced the “delay-and-antedating” hypothesis/paradox based on the results of an on-going series of experiments dating back to 1964 that measured the neural adequacy [brain wave activity] of “conscious sensory experience”. What is fascinating about the results of this experiment is the implication, especially when considered in the light of Merleau-Ponty’s notions of “intentionality” and the “pre-reflective life of human motility”, that the body, and hence not solely the mind, is a thinking thing. (...)
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  • The Apparent Illusion of Conscious Deciding.Joshua Shepherd - 2013 - Philosophical Explorations 16 (1):18 - 30.
    Recent work in cognitive science suggests that conscious thought plays a much less central role in the production of human behavior than most think. Partially on the basis of this work, Peter Carruthers has advanced the claim that humans never consciously decide to act. This claim is of independent interest for action theory, and its potential truth poses a problem for theories of free will and autonomy, which often take our capacity to consciously decide to be of central importance. In (...)
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  • Autonomy and Addiction.Neil Levy - 2006 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 (3):427-447.
    Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics University of Melbourne, Parkville, 3010, Australia and.
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  • Choosing Freedom: Basic Desert and the Standpoint of Blame.Evan Tiffany - 2013 - Philosophical Explorations 16 (2):1-17.
    One can think of the traditional logic of blame as involving three intuitively plausible claims: blame is justified only if one is deserving of blame, one is deserving of blame only if one is relevantly in control of the relevant causal antecedents, and one is relevantly in control only if one has libertarian freedom. While traditional compatibilism has focused on rejecting either or both of the latter two claims, an increasingly common strategy is to deny the link between blame and (...)
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  • Scientific Cognition: Human Centered but Not Human Bound.Ronald N. Giere - 2012 - Philosophical Explorations 15 (2):199 - 206.
    While agreeing that cognition in the sciences is usefully thought of as involving processes encompassing both humans and artifacts, I object to attributing cognitive states to extended systems. I argue that cognitive states, such as ?knowing?, should be confined to the human components of cognitive systems. My argument appeals to the large dimensions, both spatial and temporal, of many scientific cognitive systems, the existence of epistemic norms, and the need for agents in science.
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  • Mental Ballistics Or The Involuntariness Of Spontaneity.Gale Strawson - 2003 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (3):227-256.
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  • The Past and Future of Experimental Philosophy.Thomas Nadelhoffer & Eddy Nahmias - 2007 - Philosophical Explorations 10 (2):123 – 149.
    Experimental philosophy is the name for a recent movement whose participants use the methods of experimental psychology to probe the way people think about philosophical issues and then examine how the results of such studies bear on traditional philosophical debates. Given both the breadth of the research being carried out by experimental philosophers and the controversial nature of some of their central methodological assumptions, it is of no surprise that their work has recently come under attack. In this paper we (...)
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  • The Language Game of Responsible Agency and the Problem of Free Will: How Can Epistemic Dualism Be Reconciled with Ontological Monism?Jürgen Habermas - 2007 - Philosophical Explorations 10 (1):13 – 50.
    In this essay, I address the question of whether the indisputable progress being made by the neurosciences poses a genuine threat to the language game of responsible agency. I begin by situating free will as an ineliminable component of our practices of attributing responsibility and holding one another accountable, illustrating this via a discussion of legal discourse regarding the attribution of responsibility for criminal acts. I then turn to the practical limits on agents' scientific self-objectivation, limits that turn out to (...)
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  • Neuroscience and the Free Will Conundrum.Stephen G. Morris - 2007 - American Journal of Bioethics 7 (5):20 – 22.
  • Against the Use of Medical Technologies for Military or National Security Interests.Leah Rosenberg & Eric Gehrie - 2007 - American Journal of Bioethics 7 (5):22 – 24.
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  • Moral Agency, Conscious Control, and Deliberative Awareness.Maureen Sie - 2009 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 52 (5):516-531.
    Recent empirical research results in the behavioral, cognitive, and neurosciences on the “adaptive unconscious” show that conscious control and deliberative awareness are not all-pervasive aspects of our everyday dealings with one another. Moral philosophers and other scientists have used these insights to put our moral agency to the test. The results of these tests are intriguing: apparently we are not always the moral agents we take ourselves to be. This paper argues in favor of a refinement of our common perception (...)
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  • At the Heart of Morality Lies Folk Psychology.Steve Guglielmo, Andrew E. Monroe & Bertram F. Malle - 2009 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 52 (5):449-466.
    Moral judgments about an agent's behavior are enmeshed with inferences about the agent's mind. Folk psychology—the system that enables such inferences—therefore lies at the heart of moral judgment. We examine three related folk-psychological concepts that together shape people's judgments of blame: intentionality, choice, and free will. We discuss people's understanding and use of these concepts, address recent findings that challenge the autonomous role of these concepts in moral judgment, and conclude that choice is the fundamental concept of the three, defining (...)
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  • Wanting and Liking: Observations From the Neuroscience and Psychology Laboratory.Kent C. Berridge - 2009 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 52 (4):378 – 398.
    Different brain mechanisms seem to mediate wanting and liking for the same reward. This may have implications for the modular nature of mental processes, and for understanding addictions, compulsions, free will and other aspects of desire. A few wanting and liking phenomena are presented here, together with discussion of some of these implications.
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  • Consciousness and its Function.David Rosenthal - manuscript
    MS, under submission, derived from a Powerpoint presentation at a Conference on Consciousness, Memory, and Perception, in honor of Larry Weiskrantz, City University, London, September 15, 2006.
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  • Zoomorphism.Bence Nanay - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-16.
    Anthropomorphism is the methodology of attributing human-like mental states to animals. Zoomorphism is the converse of this: it is the attribution of animal-like mental states to humans. Zoomorphism proceeds by first understanding what kind of mental states animals have and then attributing these mental states to humans. Zoomorphism has been widely used as scientific methodology especially in cognitive neuroscience. But it has not been taken seriously as a philosophical explanatory paradigm: as a way of explaining the building blocks of the (...)
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  • Is Conscious Will an Illusion?Jing Zhu - 2004 - Disputatio 1 (16):58-70.
    In this essay I critically examine Daniel Wegner’s account of conscious will as an illusion developed in his book The Illusion of Conscious Will. I show that there are unwarranted leaps in his argument, which considerably decrease the empirical plausibility and theoretical adequacy of his account. Moreover, some features essential to our experience of willing, which are related to our general understanding of free will, moral responsibility and human agency, are largely left out in Wegner’s account of conscious will. This (...)
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  • Free Will, Moral Responsibility, and Scientific Epiphenomenalism.Alfred R. Mele - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
    This article addresses two influential lines of argument for what might be termed “scientific epiphenomenalism” about conscious intentions – the thesis that neither conscious intentions nor their physical correlates are among the causes of bodily motions – and links this thesis to skepticism about free will and moral responsibility. One line of argument is based on Benjamin Libet’s neuroscientific work on free will. The other is based on a mixed bag of findings presented by social psychologist Daniel Wegner. It is (...)
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  • The Function of Phenomenal States: Supramodular Interaction Theory.Ezequiel Morsella - 2005 - Psychological Review 112 (4):1000-1021.
  • The Phenomenology of Action: A Conceptual Framework.Elisabeth Pacherie - 2008 - Cognition 107 (1):179 - 217.
    After a long period of neglect, the phenomenology of action has recently regained its place in the agenda of philosophers and scientists alike. The recent explosion of interest in the topic highlights its complexity. The purpose of this paper is to propose a conceptual framework allowing for a more precise characterization of the many facets of the phenomenology of agency, of how they are related and of their possible sources. The key assumption guiding this attempt is that the processes through (...)
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  • Conscious Thought is for Facilitating Social and Cultural Interactions: How Mental Simulations Serve the Animal–Culture Interface.Roy F. Baumeister & E. J. Masicampo - 2010 - Psychological Review 117 (3):945-971.
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  • Why We May Not Find Intentions in the Brain.Sebo Uithol, Daniel C. Burnston & Pim Haselager - 2014 - Neuropsychologia 56 (5):129-139.
    Intentions are commonly conceived of as discrete mental states that are the direct cause of actions. In the last several decades, neuroscientists have taken up the project of finding the neural implementation of intentions, and a number of areas have been posited as implementing these states. We argue, however, that the processes underlying action initiation and control are considerably more dynamic and context sensitive than the concept of intention can allow for. Therefore, adopting the notion of ‘intention’ in neuroscientific explanations (...)
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  • Responsibility Without Freedom? Folk Judgements About Deliberate Actions.Tillmann Vierkant, Robert Deutschländer, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & John-Dylan Haynes - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10 (1133):1--6.
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  • Two Distinctions That Help to Chart the Interplay Between Conscious and Unconscious Volition.Marc Slors - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10 (552):1--12.
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  • Conscious Intending as Self-Programming.Marc Slors - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (1):94-113.
    Despite the fact that there is considerable evidence against the causal efficacy of proximal (short-term) conscious intentions, many studies confirm our commonsensical belief in the efficacy of more distal (longer-term) conscious intentions. In this paper, I address two questions: (i) What, if any, is the difference between the role of consciousness in effective and in non-effective conscious intentions? (ii) How do effective conscious distal intentions interact with unconscious processes in producing actions, and how do non-effective proximal intentions fit into this (...)
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  • Der Begriff Einer „Bewusstseinskultur“.Thomas Metzinger - 2003 - In G. Kaiser (ed.), E-Journal Philosophie der Psychologie. Wissenschaftszentrum Nordrhein-Westfalen.
    Dies ist kein wissenschaftlicher Text im engeren Sinne. Im Gegenteil: Das erste Ziel dieses Beitrags besteht zuerst darin, auf möglichst kurze und allgemeinverständliche Weise eine neue Problemlage zu skizzieren, die mit zunehmender Geschwindigkeit an Bedeutung gewinnt. Zweitens möchte ich einen vorläufigen Arbeitsbegriff anbieten, den Begriff einer „Bewusstseinskultur“. Dieser neue Begriff soll dazu dienen, eine Reihe von ganz unterschiedlichen theoretischen und praktischen Strategien zusammenzufassen, die wir meiner Meinung nach benötigen werden, um der fraglichen Herausforderung gerecht zu werden. Der Begriff „Bewusstseinskultur“ soll (...)
     
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  • Reflecting on the Action or its Outcome: Behavior Representation Level Modulates High Level Outcome Priming Effects on Self-Agency Experiences.Anouk van der Weiden, Henk Aarts & Kirsten I. Ruys - 2010 - Consciousness and Cognition 19 (1):21-32.
    Recent research suggests that one can have the feeling of being the cause of an action’s outcome, even in the absence of a prior intention to act. That is, experienced self-agency over behavior increases when outcome representations are primed outside of awareness, prior to executing the action and observing the resulting outcome. Based on the notion that behavior can be represented at different levels, we propose that priming outcome representations is more likely to augment self-agency experiences when the primed representation (...)
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  • Embodied Freedom and the Escape From Uncertainty.Boris Kotchoubey - 2010 - PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 16 (1):99-107.
    : Behavioral actions can attain their intended result either when all possible details and intervening factors are controlled in advance by the action plan, or when only the final outcome is taken into account while the rest is left for on-line correction. Both ways have numerous advantages and disadvantages. The former can be applied only in very simple instances and therefore, puts very strong limits on the complexity of behavior. The latter can be used for action plans of practically unlimited (...)
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  • Prime and Probability: Causal Knowledge Affects Inferential and Predictive Effects on Self-Agency Experiences.Anouk van der Weiden, Henk Aarts & Kirsten I. Ruys - 2011 - Consciousness and Cognition 20 (4):1865-1871.
    Experiences of having caused a certain outcome may arise from motor predictions based on action–outcome probabilities and causal inferences based on pre-activated outcome representations. However, when and how both indicators combine to affect such self-agency experiences is still unclear. Based on previous research on prediction and inference effects on self-agency, we propose that their contribution crucially depends on whether people have knowledge about the causal relation between actions and outcomes that is relevant to subsequent self-agency experiences. Therefore, we manipulated causal (...)
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  • Replies: Evidence and Sensibility.John M. Doris - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3):656-677.
  • Self-Consciousness and the Unity of Consciousness.Tim Bayne - 2004 - The Monist 87 (2):219-236.
    Consciousness has a number of puzzling features. One such feature is its unity: the experiences and other conscious states that one has at a particular time seem to occur together in a certain way. I am currently enjoying visual experiences of my computer screen, auditory experiences of bird-song, olfactory experiences of coffee, and tactile experiences of feeling the ground beneath my feet. Conjoined with these perceptual experiences are proprioceptive experiences, experiences of agency, affective and emotional experiences, and conscious thoughts of (...)
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  • Autonomy and Addiction.Neil Levy - 2006 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 (3):427-447.
    Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics University of Melbourne, Parkville, 3010, Australia and.
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  • Perception of Free Will: The Perspective of Incarcerated Adolescent and Adult Offenders. [REVIEW]Kimberly R. Laurene, Richard F. Rakos, Marie S. Tisak, Allyson L. Robichaud & Michael Horvath - 2011 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (4):723-740.
    The existence of free will has been both an enduring presumption of Western culture and a subject for debate across disciplines for millennia. However, little empirical evidence exists to support the almost unquestioned assumption that, in general, Westerners endorse the existence of free will. The few studies that measure belief in free will have methodological problems that likely resulted in underestimating the true extent of belief. Recently, Rakos et al. (Behavior and Social Issues 17:20–39, 2008 ) found a stronger endorsement (...)
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  • Neuroscience and Conscious Causation: Has Neuroscience Shown That We Cannot Control Our Own Actions?Grant S. Shields - 2014 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (4):565-582.
    Neuroscience has begun to elucidate the mechanisms of volition, decision-making, and action. Some have taken the progress neuroscience has made in these areas to indicate that we are not free to choose our actions . The notion that we can consciously initiate our behavior is a crucial tenet in the concept of free will, and closely linked to how most individuals view themselves as persons. There is thus reason to inquire if the aforementioned inference drawn by some might be too (...)
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