Mental Agency as Self-Regulation

Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (4):815-825 (2015)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The article proposes a novel approach to mental agency that is inspired by Victoria McGeer’s work on self-regulation. The basic idea is that certain mental acts leave further work to be done for an agent to be considered an authoritative self-ascriber of corresponding dispositional mental states. First, we discuss Richard Moran’s account of avowals, which grounds first-person authority in deliberative, self-directed agency. Although this view is promising, we argue that it ultimately fails to confront the empirical gap between occurrent judgments and dispositional beliefs. Second, we show how Victoria McGeer's account of self-regulation allows us to bridge this gap by emphasizing that avowals are only reliable and authoritative insofar as we take certain steps to live up to the commitments inherent in our self-ascriptions. Third, we address the question whether and to what extent self-regulation can be seen as a form of mental agency. Unlike the ‘pure’ deliberative form of mental agency advocated by Moran, which is direct, conscious and intra-personal, we follow McGeer and argue for a notion of mental agency as an indirect, unconscious and inter-personal process of self-regulation



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,075

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Mental agency, conscious thinking, and phenomenal character.Matthew Soteriou - 2009 - In Lucy O'Brien & Matthew Soteriou (eds.), Mental actions. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 231.
Self-knowledge, agency, and force.Lucy O'brien - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3):580–601.
Judging and the scope of mental agency.Fabian Dorsch - 2009 - In Lucy O'Brien & Matthew Soteriou (eds.), Mental actions. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 38-71.
The Sense of Agency and the Naturalization of the Mental.Costas Pagondiotis & Spyros Petrounakos - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 6:139-143.
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 metaphysics of agency.Markus E. Schlosser - 2007 - Dissertation, St. Andrews
Self, agency, and mental causation.E. J. Lowe - 1999 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (8-9):225-239.
A plea for mental acts.Joëlle Proust - 2001 - Synthese 129 (1):105-128.
The Power of Agency.Michael Brent - 2012 - Dissertation, Columbia University
The experience of mental causation.Jakob Hohwy - 2004 - Behavior and Philosophy 32 (2):377-400.
Nietzsche, Consciousness, and Human Agency.Tsarina Doyle - 2011 - Idealistic Studies 41 (1-2):11-30.


Added to PP

75 (#221,047)

6 months
8 (#364,101)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Fleur Jongepier
Radboud University Nijmegen
Leon De Bruin
VU University Amsterdam

References found in this work

Being known.Christopher Peacocke - 1999 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Consciousness and the World.Brian O'Shaughnessy (ed.) - 2000 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK.

View all 27 references / Add more references