The illusion of explanation: The experience of volition, mental effort, and mental imagery

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (5):672-673 (2004)

Authors
Zenon Pylyshyn
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Abstract
This commentary argues that the “illusion” to which Wegner refers in The Illusion of Conscious Will is actually the illusion that our conscious experience of mentally causing certain behaviors explains the behavior in question: It is not the subjective experience itself that is illusory, but the implied causal explanation. The experience of “mental effort” is cited as another example of this sort of illusion. Another significant example is the experience that properties of the representation of our mental images are responsible for certain patterns of behavior observed in mental imagery experiments. Examples include the increase in reaction time found when details are reported from smaller images or when attention is switched between different places and features (imagined as further apart than they are) within a single image. These examples illustrate the nature of the “illusion” involved: It is the illusion that certain observed regularities occur because of the content of the experience, as opposed to the converse – that experience has the content it does because of what the person figures out would happen in the imagined situation.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/s0140525x04370159
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 47,122
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

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Agency, Authorship, and Illusion.Eddy Nahmias - 2005 - Consciousness and Cognition 14 (4):771-785.
Mental Imagery.Nigel J. T. Thomas - 2001 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Why Conscious Free Will Both is and Isn't an Illusion.Max Velmans - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (5):677.
How Neuroscience Accounts for the Illusion of Conscious Will.Masao Ito - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (5):664-665.
Problemas del empirismo en la filosofía de la mente.Jose S. Pescador Hierro - 1997 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 16 (2):35-49.
Content, Illusion, Partition.York H. Gunther - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 102 (2):185-202.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
43 ( #210,513 of 2,289,298 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #238,403 of 2,289,298 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature