Interface problems in the explanation of action

Philosophical Explorations 20 (2):242-258 (2017)

Daniel C. Burnston
Tulane University
When doing mental ontology, we must ask how to individuate distinct categories of mental states, and then, given that individuation, ask how states from distinct categories interact. One promising proposal for how to individuate cognitive from sensorimotor states is in terms of their representational form. On these views, cognitive representations are propositional in structure, while sensorimotor representations have an internal structure that maps to the perceptual and kinematic dimensions involved in an action context. This way of thinking has resulted in worries about the interface between cognition and sensorimotor systems – that is, about how representations of these distinct types might interact in performing actions. I claim that current solutions to the interface problem fail, because they have not sufficiently abandoned intuitions inspired by faculty psychology. In particular, current proposals seek to show how cognitive states can enforce prior decisions on sensorimotor systems. I argue that such “determination” views are the wrong kind of views to adopt, given the form distinction. Instead, I offer a proposal on which propositional representations can at best bias us toward certain kinds of action. This kind of view, I argue, appealingly distributes the explanation of action across distinctive contributions from cognitive and sensorimotor processing.
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DOI 10.1080/13869795.2017.1312504
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References found in this work BETA

Intention and Motor Representation in Purposive Action.Stephen Andrew Butterfill & Corrado Sinigaglia - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (1):119-145.

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