On the Significance of Bodily Awareness for Bodily Action

Philosophical Quarterly 65 (261):790-812 (2015)
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What is the significance of bodily awareness for bodily action? The orthodox philosophical account from O'Shaughnessy claims that bodily awareness is necessary for bodily action. Whilst O'Shaughnessy's account appears to be consonant with the phenomenology of ordinary agency, it falls afoul to empirical counterexamples. The failure of O'Shaughnessy's account and its cousins might suggest that bodily action does not depend on bodily awareness. On the contrary, I argue that the contrast between the character of afferented and deafferented agency shows that bodily awareness is crucial to explaining the distinctive character of bodily action in neurologically normal agents. In particular, the capacity to feel one's body ‘from the inside’ appears to be a condition on the capacity to act with one's body in a way that is not like remote control. This dependency of capacities is at once empirically adequate and in tune with the phenomenology of ordinary agency.



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Hong Yu Wong
University Tübingen

Citations of this work

Embodied Agency.Hong Yu Wong - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (3):584-612.
Attention in bodily awareness.Gregor Hochstetter - 2016 - Synthese 193 (12):3819-3842.

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Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Reference and Consciousness.J. Campbell - 2002 - Oxford University Press.
Willing, Wanting, Waiting.Richard Holton - 2009 - Oxford University Press UK.

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