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The Mechanistic and Normative Structure of Agency

Dissertation, University of California San Diego (2019)

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  1. Reflection, Planning, and Temporally Extended Agency.Michael E. Bratman - 2000 - Philosophical Review 109 (1):35-61.
    We are purposive agents; but we—adult humans in a broadly modern world—are more than that. We are reflective about our motivation. We form prior plans and policies that organize our activity over time. And we see ourselves as agents who persist over time and who begin, develop, and then complete temporally extended activities and projects. Any reasonably complete theory of human action will need in some way to advert to this trio of features—to our reflectiveness, our planfulness, and our conception (...)
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  • Reflection, Planning, and Temporally Extended Agency.Michael E. Bratman - 2000 - Philosophical Review 109 (1):35.
    We are purposive agents; but we—adult humans in a broadly modern world—are more than that. We are reflective about our motivation. We form prior plans and policies that organize our activity over time. And we see ourselves as agents who persist over time and who begin, develop, and then complete temporally extended activities and projects. Any reasonably complete theory of human action will need in some way to advert to this trio of features—to our reflectiveness, our planfulness, and our conception (...)
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  • Nonconceptual Content and the "Space of Reasons".Richard Heck - 2000 - Philosophical Review 109 (4):483-523.
    In Mind and World, John McDowell argues against the view that perceptual representation is non-conceptual. The central worry is that this view cannot offer any reasonable account of how perception bears rationally upon belief. I argue that this worry, though sensible, can be met, if we are clear that perceptual representation is, though non-conceptual, still in some sense 'assertoric': Perception, like belief, represents things as being thus and so.
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  • The Contours of Control.Joshua Shepherd - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (3):395-411.
    Necessarily, if S lacks the ability to exercise control, S is not an agent. If S is not an agent, S cannot act intentionally, responsibly, or rationally, nor can S possess or exercise free will. In spite of the obvious importance of control, however, no general account of control exists. In this paper I reflect on the nature of control itself. I develop accounts of control ’s exercise and control ’s possession that illuminate what it is for degrees of control (...)
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  • Origins of Objectivity.Tyler Burge - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
    Tyler Burge presents an original study of the most primitive ways in which individuals represent the physical world. By reflecting on the science of perception and related psychological and biological sciences, he gives an account of constitutive conditions for perceiving the physical world, and thus aims to locate origins of representational mind.
     
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  • Self, World and Space: The Meaning and Mechanisms of Ego- and Allocentric Spatial Representation.Rick Grush - 2000 - Brain and Mind 1 (1):59-92.
    b>: The problem of how physical systems, such as brains, come to represent themselves as subjects in an objective world is addressed. I develop an account of the requirements for this ability that draws on and refines work in a philosophical tradition that runs from Kant through Peter Strawson to Gareth Evans. The basic idea is that the ability to represent oneself as a subject in a world whose existence is independent of oneself involves the ability to represent space, and (...)
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  • The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.
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  • Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1955 - Harvard University Press.
    In his new foreword to this edition, Hilary Putnam forcefully rejects these nativist claims.
  • The Structure of the World: Metaphysics and Representation.Steven French - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    Steven French articulates and defends the bold claim that there are no objects in the world. He draws on metaphysics and philosophy of science to argue for structural realism--the position that we live in a world of structures--and defends a form of eliminativism about objects that sets laws and symmetry principles at the heart of ontology.
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  • An Essay on Free Will.Peter Van Inwagen - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
    "This is an important book, and no one interested in issues which touch on the free will will want to ignore it."--Ethics. In this stimulating and thought-provoking book, the author defends the thesis that free will is incompatible with determinism. He disputes the view that determinism is necessary for moral responsbility. Finding no good reason for accepting determinism, but believing moral responsiblity to be indubitable, he concludes that determinism should be rejected.
  • Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
    Woodward's long awaited book is an attempt to construct a comprehensive account of causation explanation that applies to a wide variety of causal and explanatory claims in different areas of science and everyday life. The book engages some of the relevant literature from other disciplines, as Woodward weaves together examples, counterexamples, criticisms, defenses, objections, and replies into a convincing defense of the core of his theory, which is that we can analyze causation by appeal to the notion of manipulation.
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  • Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind.John R. Searle - 1983 - Cambridge University Press.
    John Searle's Speech Acts and Expression and Meaning developed a highly original and influential approach to the study of language. But behind both works lay the assumption that the philosophy of language is in the end a branch of the philosophy of the mind: speech acts are forms of human action and represent just one example of the mind's capacity to relate the human organism to the world. The present book is concerned with these biologically fundamental capacities, and, though third (...)
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  • Solving the Circularity Problem for Functions: A Response to Nanay.Karen Neander & Alex Rosenberg - 2012 - Journal of Philosophy 109 (10):613-622.
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  • A Modal Theory of Function.Bence Nanay - 2010 - Journal of Philosophy 107 (8):412-431.
    The function of a trait token is usually defined in terms of some properties of other (past, present, future) tokens of the same trait type. I argue that this strategy is problematic, as trait types are (at least partly) individuated by their functional properties, which would lead to circularity. In order to avoid this problem, I suggest a way to define the function of a trait token in terms of the properties of the very same trait token. To able to (...)
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  • Alief and Belief.Tamar Szabó Gendler - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (10):634-663.
  • Understanding the New Reductionism: The Metaphysics of Science and Compositional Reduction.Carl Gillett - 2007 - Journal of Philosophy 104 (4):193-216.
  • Real Patterns.Daniel C. Dennett - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):27-51.
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  • Real Patterns.Daniel C. Dennett - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):27-51.
    Are there really beliefs? Or are we learning (from neuroscience and psychology, presumably) that, strictly speaking, beliefs are figments of our imagination, items in a superceded ontology? Philosophers generally regard such ontological questions as admitting just two possible answers: either beliefs exist or they don't. There is no such state as quasi-existence; there are no stable doctrines of semi-realism. Beliefs must either be vindicated along with the viruses or banished along with the banshees. A bracing conviction prevails, then, to the (...)
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  • Functions.John Bigelow & Robert Pargetter - 1987 - Journal of Philosophy 84 (4):181-196.
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  • Situations and Attitudes.Jon Barwise & John Perry - 1981 - Journal of Philosophy 78 (11):668-691.
  • Functional Explanations in Biology.Ernest Nagel - 1977 - Journal of Philosophy 74 (5):280-301.
  • Functional Analysis.Robert Cummins - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (November):741-64.
  • Identity and Predication.Gareth Evans - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (13):343-363.
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  • Free Agency.Gary Watson - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (April):205-20.
    In the subsequent pages, I want to develop a distinction between wanting and valuing which will enable the familiar view of freedom to make sense of the notion of an unfree action. The contention will be that, in the case of actions that are unfree, the agent is unable to get what he most wants, or values, and this inability is due to his own "motivational system." In this case the obstruction to the action that he most wants to do (...)
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  • Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
    It is my view that one essential difference between persons and other creatures is to be found in the structure of a person's will. Besides wanting and choosing and being moved to do this or that, men may also want to have certain desires and motives. They are capable of wanting to be different, in their preferences and purposes, from what they are. Many animals appear to have the capacity for what I shall call "first-order desires" or "desires of the (...)
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  • Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685.
    What is the relation between a reason and an action when the reason explains the action by giving the agent's reason for doing what he did? We may call such explanations rationalizations, and say that the reason rationalizes the action. In this paper I want to defend the ancient - and common-sense - position that rationalization is a species of ordinary causal explanation. The defense no doubt requires some redeployment, but not more or less complete abandonment of the position, as (...)
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  • Why is a Wing Like a Spoon? A Pluralist Theory of Function.Beth Preston - 1998 - Journal of Philosophy 95 (5):215.
    Function theorists routinely speculate that a viable function theory will be equally applicable to biological traits and artifacts. However, artifact function has received only the most cursory scrutiny in its own right. Closer scrutiny reveals that only a pluralist theory comprising two distinct notions of function--proper function and system function--will serve as an adequate general theory. The first section describes these two notions of function. The second section shows why both notions are necessary, by showing that attempts to do away (...)
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  • Identification, Decision, and Treating as a Reason.Michael E. Bratman - 1996 - Philosophical Topics 24 (2):1-18.
    I [try] to understand identification by appeal to phenomena of deciding to treat, and of treating, a desire of one's as reason-giving in one's practical reasoning, planning, and action. Is identification, so understood, "fundamental," as Frankfurt says, "to any philosophy of mind and of action"? Well, we have seen reason to include in our model of intentional agency such phenomena of deciding to treat, and of treating, certain of one's desires as reason-giving. Identification, at bottom, consists in such phenomena — (...)
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  • A Metaphysics for Freedom.Helen Steward - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
    Helen Steward argues that determinism is incompatible with agency itself--not only the special human variety of agency, but also powers which can be accorded to animal agents. She offers a distinctive, non-dualistic version of libertarianism, rooted in a conception of what biological forms of organisation might make possible in the way of freedom.
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  • The Sources of Value.Stephen C. Pepper - 1958 - Berkeley: University of California Press.
    Most treatments of the problem of values pinpoint some one relevant area of subject matter and set this up as value proper, or at least as an area that can ...
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  • The Neuroscience of Freedom and Creativity: Our Predictive Brain.Joaquín M. Fuster - 2013 - Cambridge University Press.
    Joaquín M. Fuster is an eminent cognitive neuroscientist whose research over the last five decades has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the neural structures underlying cognition and behaviour. This book provides his view on the eternal question of whether we have free will. Based on his seminal work on the functions of the prefrontal cortex in decision-making, planning, creativity, working memory, and language, Professor Fuster argues that the liberty or freedom to choose between alternatives is a function of (...)
     
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  • The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science.Nancy Cartwright - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (1):244-247.
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  • Intentionality and the Non-Psychological.C. B. Martin & Karl Pfeifer - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 46 (4):531-54.
  • Freedom Within Reason.Susan Wolf - 1990 - Oup Usa.
    In Freedom Within Reason, Susan Wolf charts a course between incompatibilism, or the notion that freedom and responsibility require causal and metaphysical independence from the impersonal forces of nature, and compatibilism, or the notion that people are free and responsible as long as their actions are governed by their desires. Wolf argues that some of the forces which are beyond our control are friends to freedom rather than enemies of it, enabling us to see the world for what it is. (...)
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  • Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality.William Wimsatt - 2007 - Harvard University Press.
    This book offers a philosophy for error-prone humans trying to understand messy systems in the real world.
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  • Linguistic Behaviour.Jonathan Bennett - 1976 - Synthese 39 (1):141-154.
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  • Linguistic Behaviour.Jonathan Bennett - 1976 - Cambridge University Press.
    First published in 1976, this book presents a view of language as a matter of systematic communicative behaviour.
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  • Mind and Change of Mind.Annette Baier - 1979 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4 (1):157-176.
  • The Functional Sense of Mechanism.Justin Garson - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (3):317-333.
    This article presents a distinct sense of ‘mechanism’, which I call the functional sense of mechanism. According to this sense, mechanisms serve functions, and this fact places substantive restrictions on the kinds of system activities ‘for which’ there can be a mechanism. On this view, there are no mechanisms for pathology; pathologies result from disrupting mechanisms for functions. Second, on this sense, natural selection is probably not a mechanism for evolution because it does not serve a function. After distinguishing this (...)
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  • Naturalizing the Mind.Fred Dretske - 1995 - MIT Press.
    In this provocative book, Fred Dretske argues that to achieve an understanding of the mind it is not enough to understand the biological machinery by means of...
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  • Content, Embodiment and Objectivity: The Theory of Cognitive Trails.Adrian Cussins - 1992 - Mind 101 (404):651-88.
  • Agency, Perception, Space and Subjectivity.Rick Grush & Alison Springle - 2019 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18 (5):799-818.
    The goal of this paper is to illuminate the connections between agency, perception, subjectivity, space and the body. Such connections have been the subject matter of much philosophical work. For example, the importance of the body and bodily action on perception is a growth area in philosophy of mind. Nevertheless, there are some key relations that, as will become clear, have not been adequately explored. We start by examining the relation between embodiment and agency, especially the dependence of agency on (...)
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  • Inquiry.Robert Stalnaker - 1984 - Cambridge University Press.
  • Basic Deviance Reconsidered.Markus E. Schlosser - 2007 - Analysis 67 (3):186–194.
    Most contemporary philosophers of action agree on the following claims. Firstly, the possibility of deviant or wayward causal chains poses a serious problem for the standard-causal theory of action. Secondly, we can distinguish between different kinds of deviant causal chains in the theory of action. In particular, we can distinguish between cases of basic and cases of consequential deviance. Thirdly, the problem of consequential deviance admits of a fairly straightforward solution, whereas the possibility of basic deviance constitutes a separate and (...)
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  • Functions and Mechanisms: A Perspectivalist View.Carl F. Craver - 2013 - In Philippe Huneman (ed.), Functions: Selection and Mechanisms. Springer. pp. 133--158.
  • The Emergence of Thought.Donald Davidson - 1999 - Erkenntnis 51 (1):511-521.
    A phenomenon “emerges” when a concept is instantiated for the first time: hence emergence is relative to a set of concepts. Propositional thought and language emerge together. It is proposed that the degree of complexity of an object language relative to a given metalanguage can be gauged by the number of ways it can be translated into that metalanguage: in analogy with other forms of measurement, the more ways the object language can be translated into the metalanguage, the less powerful (...)
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  • The Sphex Story: How the Cognitive Sciences Kept Repeating an Old and Questionable Anecdote.Fred Keijzer - 2013 - Philosophical Psychology 26 (4):502-519.
    The Sphex story is an anecdote about a female digger wasp that at first sight seems to act quite intelligently, but subsequently is shown to be a mere automaton that can be made to repeat herself endlessly. Dennett and Hofstadter made this story well known and widely influential within the cognitive sciences, where it is regularly used as evidence that insect behavior is highly rigid. The present paper discusses the origin and subsequent empirical investigation of the repetition reported in the (...)
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  • Dynamics in Action: Intentional Behavior as a Complex System.Alicia Juarrero - 1999 - Emergence: Complexity and Organization 2 (2):24-57.
  • The Illusion of Conscious Will.Peter Carruthers - 2007 - Synthese 159 (2):197 - 213.
    Wegner (Wegner, D. (2002). The illusion of conscious will. MIT Press) argues that conscious will is an illusion, citing a wide range of empirical evidence. I shall begin by surveying some of his arguments. Many are unsuccessful. But one—an argument from the ubiquity of self-interpretation—is more promising. Yet is suffers from an obvious lacuna, offered by so-called ‘dual process’ theories of reasoning and decision making (Evans, J., & Over, D. (1996). Rationality and reasoning. Psychology Press; Stanovich, K. (1999). Who is (...)
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  • The Emulation Theory of Representation: Motor Control, Imagery, and Perception.Rick Grush - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (3):377-396.
    The emulation theory of representation is developed and explored as a framework that can revealingly synthesize a wide variety of representational functions of the brain. The framework is based on constructs from control theory (forward models) and signal processing (Kalman filters). The idea is that in addition to simply engaging with the body and environment, the brain constructs neural circuits that act as models of the body and environment. During overt sensorimotor engagement, these models are driven by efference copies in (...)
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