Confronting Many-Many Problems: Attention and Agentive Control

Noûs 45 (1):50-76 (2011)

Abstract

I argue that when perception plays a guiding role in intentional bodily action, it is a necessary part of that action. The argument begins with a challenge that necessarily arises for embodied agents, what I call the Many-Many Problem. The Problem is named after its most common case where agents face too many perceptual inputs and too many possible behavioral outputs. Action requires a solution to the Many-Many Problem by selection of a specific linkage between input and output. In bodily action the agent perceptually selects, and in this way perceptually attends to, relevant information so as to guide the execution of specific movements. Since perceptual attention is a necessary part of solving the Many-Many Problem, it is a necessary part of bodily action. Indeed, the process of implementing a solution to the Many-Many Problem, as constrained by the agent's motivational state, just is the agent's performing an intentional bodily action in the relevant way

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Citations of this work

Experts and Deviants: The Story of Agentive Control.Wayne Wu - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2):101-26.
Automatically Minded.Ellen Fridland - 2017 - Synthese 194 (11).
The Contours of Control.Joshua Shepherd - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (3):395-411.
Agency.Markus Schlosser - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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