Authors
Eric LaRock
Oakland University
Abstract
I propose an Aristotelian approach to agent causation that is consistent with the hypothesis of strong emergence. This approach motivates a wider ontology than materialism by maintaining (1) that the agent is generated by the brain without being reducible to it on grounds of the unity of experience and (2) that the agent possesses (formal) causal power to affect (i.e., mold, sculpt, or organize) the brain on grounds of agent-directed neuroplasticity. After providing recent empirical evidence for the strong emergence of the agent, I then articulate and analyze a dominant objection to agent causation discussed in neuroscience, which is based upon the observation of the readiness potential (or RP) in the brain. In this context, the RP refers to unconscious neuronal events (in the supplementary motor area) that precede the formation of a (proximal) conscious intention to act. So it appears as if the train of neuronal events has left the depot before the agent can act. In response to this objection, I argue (a) that even if one were to grant that the RP precedes the formation of a conscious intention, it would not follow (on both logical and empirical grounds) that there is no conscious agent causation; and (b) that the objection disappears when one takes into account distal versus proximal intentions.
Keywords Aristotle, Agent Causation, Binding, Chalmers, Consciousness, Neuroplasticity
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5840/ipq201353441
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 54,466
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Agent-Causation and Agential Control.Markus Ernst Schlosser - 2008 - Philosophical Explorations 11 (1):3-21.
Agent Causation Before and After the Ontological Turn.Daniel von Wachter - 2003 - In Edmund Runggaldier, Christian Kanzian & Josef Quitterer (eds.), Persons: An Interdisciplinary Approach. öbvhpt.
Afterword to The Philosophy of Aristotle.Susanne Bobzien - 2011 - In Renford Bambrough & Susanne Bobzien (eds.), The Philosophy of Aristotle. Signet Classics.
Is Consciousness Really a Brain Process?Eric LaRock - 2008 - International Philosophical Quarterly 48 (2):201-229.
Agent-Causal Theories.Timothy O'Connor - 2011 - In Robert Kane (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Free Will: Second Edition. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 309-328.
God, Freedom, and Human Agency.Thomas Talbott - 2009 - Faith and Philosophy 26 (4):378-397.
Active Control, Agent-Causation and Free Action.Ishtiyaque Haji - 2004 - Philosophical Explorations 7 (2):131-148.
Action, Movement, and Neurophysiology.Don Locke - 1974 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 17 (1-4):23 – 42.
Agent Causation and Acting for Reasons.Rebekah L. H. Rice - 2011 - American Philosophical Quarterly 48 (4):333-346.
A Compatibilist Version of the Theory of Agent Causation.Ned Markosian - 1999 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 80 (3):257-277.
Can an Act-Consequentialist Theory Be Agent Relative?Douglas W. Portmore - 2001 - American Philosophical Quarterly 38 (4):363-77.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-02-14

Total views
82 ( #117,890 of 2,374,858 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #264,773 of 2,374,858 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes