Ten years ago, one of us proposed a dynamic hierarchical model of intentions that brought together philosophical work on intentions and empirical work on motor representations and motor control (Pacherie, 2008). The model distinguished among Distal intentions, Proximal intentions, and Motor intentions operating at different levels of action control (hence the name DPM model). This model specified the representational and functional profiles of each type of intention, as well their local and global dynamics, and the ways in which they (...) interact. A core insight of the model was that action control is the result of integrated, coordinated activity across these levels of intention. Since the proposal of the model, empirical and theoretical works in philosophy and cognitive science have emerged that would seem to support and expand on this central insight. In particular, an updated understanding of the nature of sensorimotor processing and motor representations, as well as of how the different levels of intention and control interface and interact, allows for the further specification and precisification of the original DPM model. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to explore the role commitments may play in shaping our sense of joint agency. First, we propose that commitments may contribute to the generation of the sense of joint agency by stabilizing expectations and improving predictability. Second, we argue that commitments have a normative element that may bolster an agent's sense of control over the joint action and help counterbalance the potentially disruptive effects of asymmetries among agents. Finally, we discuss how commitments may contribute (...) to make acting jointly emotionally rewarding, both by improving coordination and by inducing or reinforcing the circumstances under which shared emotions emerge among co-agents. (shrink)
In their article “Out of nowhere: thought insertion, ownership and context-integration”, Jean-Remy Martin & Elisabeth Pacherie criticize the standard approach to thought insertion. However, their criticism is based on a misunderstanding of what the standard approach actually claims. By clarifying the notions ‘sense of ownership’ and ‘sense of agency’, I show that Martin & Pacherie’s own approach can be construed as a refined version of the standard approach.
Admirers of Robert Bresson often remark on the commitments he shares with the philosopher and activist Simone Weil. Both stubbornly idiosyncratic, they subscribe to what modernists call “a poetics of impersonality”: a deep desire to shed the ego and find some space empty of will, intention and even consciousness. Bresson pursued this ideal through his anti-theatrical practice, his resistance to expression and interpretation, and his war against “acting.” In Weil's religious thinking, the possibility of achieving a state of automatism in (...) the soul, and thus leaving room for God to occupy all, was central. “Decreation,” her term for this principle, sounds like a will to suicide but she explains it as motivated by love. Bresson's writerly films – the Bernanos adaptations – and Au hasard Balthazar – take as their theme the problem of grace. As in Weil, the path to grace goes through an acceptance of brutal necessity and incomprehensible accident. This is also the conclusion of Rossellini's Europa ’51. While André Bazin is a thinker with a keen sensitivity to grace and spiritual accident – his interest in depth of field is motivated by a desire to keep the free exercise of chance in play – his notion of love is more compassionate than anything we meet in Weil, Bresson or Rossellini. As Truffaut remarked, Bazin is a Christian from the days before the Fall. (shrink)
Now the problem is this. Have we found a positive foundation, instead of self-sacrifice, for the hermeneutics of the self? I cannot say this, no. We have tried, at least from the humanistic period of the Renaissance till now. And we can’t find it.The reputation of political thinkers is a tricky thing. Sometimes your strongest supporters are your worst nightmare. At other moments, your best friends can see you more clearly than is strictly comfortable. The French militant, philosopher, and mystic (...) Simone Weil is a good example. In the years 1932 to 1933, she was connected to the dissident, Trotsky-leaning Communist Boris Souvarine and his Cercle communiste démocratique. She taught philosophy to well-bred... (shrink)
Catherine Malabou is a professor of philosophy at Paris-Nanterre. A collaborator and student of Jacques Derrida, her work shares some of his interest in rigorous protocols of reading, and a willingness to attend to the undercurrents of over-read and “too familiar” texts. But, as she points out, this orientation was shared by Hegel himself. Arguing against Heidegger, Kojève, and other critics of Hegel, the book in which this Introduction appears puts Hegel back on the map of the present.
: Catherine Malabou is a professor of philosophy at Paris-Nanterre. A collaborator and student of Jacques Derrida, her work shares some of his interest in rigorous protocols of reading, and a willingness to attend to the undercurrents of over-read and "too familiar" texts. But, as she points out, this orientation was shared by Hegel himself. Arguing against Heidegger, Kojève, and other critics of Hegel, the book in which this Introduction appears puts Hegel back on the map of the present.
Elisabeth Pacherie is a research fellow in philosophy at Institut Jean Nicod, Paris. Her main research and publications are in the areas of philosophy of mind, psychopathology and action theory. Her publications include a book on intentionality (_Naturaliser_ _l'intentionnalité_, Paris, PUF, 1993) and she is currently preparing a book on action and agency.
In this paper, we evaluate the proposal that a central function of commitments within joint action is to reduce various kinds of uncertainty, and that this accounts for the prevalence of commitments in joint action. While this idea is prima facie attractive, we argue that it faces two serious problems. First, commitments can only reduce uncertainty if they are credible, and accounting for the credibility of commitments proves not to be straightforward. Second, there are many other ways in which uncertainty (...) is commonly reduced within joint actions, which raises the possibility that commitments may be superfluous. Nevertheless, we argue that the existence of these alternative uncertainty reduction processes does not make commitments superfluous after all but, rather, helps to explain how commitments may contribute in various ways to uncertainty reduction. (shrink)
It is widely assumed, both in philosophy and in the cognitive sciences, that perception essentially involves a relative or egocentric frame of reference. Levinson has explicitly challenged this assumption, arguing instead in favour of the 'neo-Whorfian' hypothesis that the frame of reference dominant in a given language infiltrates spatial representations in non-linguistic, and in particular perceptual, modalities. Our aim in this paper is to assess Levinson's neo-Whorfian hypothesis at the philosophical level and to explore the further possibility that perception may (...) not just use frames of reference other than the relative one but may also, in some cases at least, be perspective-free. (shrink)
: At the center of Catherine's Malabou's study of Hegel is a defense of Hegel's relation to time and the future. While many readers, following Kojève, have taken Hegel to be announcing the end of history, Malabou finds a more supple impulse, open to the new, the unexpected. She takes as her guiding thread the concept of "plasticity," and shows how Hegel's dialectic--introducing the sculptor's art into philosophy--is motivated by the desire for transformation. Malabou is a canny and faithful reader, (...) and allows her classic "maître" to speak, if not against his own grain, at least against a tradition too attached to closure and system. Malabou's Hegel is a "plastic" thinker, not a nostalgic metaphysician. (shrink)
Since 1973 the world economy has been characterized by a relatively slow pace of expansion in output and trade, accompanied by high unemployment and strong inflationary pressures. With this has gone an emerging energy problem, monetary instability, a growing pressure for protectionism, a declining demand for certain products and a change in the pattern of the international movement of labour and capital.In this article, the consequences of these international features for the Flemish economy are analysed. From this analysis, it has (...) become clear that the international economic crisis has revealed more clearly the structural problems of the Flemish economy, especially in the field of economic growth, competitiveness, pattern of investments and industrial structure. This has resulted in a very high unemployment rate, which moreover will probably not disappear with an eventual improvement of theinternational economic situation : whereas the Flemish economy has gained largely from the oil based industrial expansion, it is not participating at present in the socalled third, by sofisticated technology led industrial revolution.Consequently, more and more labour-intensive activities are taken over by less developed countries, whereas some of the capital-intensive industrial sectors have to cope with a growing technological gap.To stem this unfavourable development, there is an urgent need for a powerful and planned structural policy, which must as a matter of priority force back the unemployment rate to an acceptable level. In this context, regionalisation might be a powerful instrument, as it offers to the regions the possibility of creating own solutions for their own problems. (shrink)
One of the main obstacles to the realization of intentions for future actions and to the successful pursuit of long-term goals is lack of self-control. But, what does it mean to engage in self-controlled behaviour? On a motivational construal of self-control, self-control involves resisting our competing temptations, impulses, and urges in order to do what we deem to be best. The conflict we face is between our better judgments or intentions and “hot” motivational forces that drive or compel us to (...) act in opposing ways. In contrast, on an executive construal of self-control, the emphasis is not on overcoming temptation, but on overriding or inhibiting “cold” automatically triggered routines and habits that are at odds with what we intend to do. Our general aim in this chapter is to contribute to the development of an overarching theory of self-control by exploring ways in which these two apparently competing frameworks can be reconciled. We propose that self-control is best understood as a hybrid set of skills. We draw on recent work on expert motor skill to highlight important ways in which experts differ from novices in the capacities they deploy and the ways in which they deploy them. We consider analogies (and disanalogies) between the domain of sports expertise and the domain of self-control. We end by considering how such a hybrid approach can help us reconcile a motivational and an executive approach to self-control. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the problem of selfidentification in the domain of action. We claim that this problem can arise not just for the self as object, but also for the self as subject in the ascription of agency. We discuss and evaluate some proposals concerning the mechanisms involved in selfidentification and in agencyascription, and their possible impairments in pathological cases. We argue in favor of a simulation hypothesis that claims that actions, whether overt or covert, are centrally simulated (...) by the neural network, and that this simulation provides the basis for action recognition and attribution. (shrink)
This paper concerns the credibility problem for commitments. Commitments play an important role in cooperative human interactions and can dramatically improve the performance of joint actions by stabilizing expectations, reducing the uncertainty of the interaction, providing reasons to cooperate or improving action coordination. However, commitments can only serve these functions if they are credible in the first place. What is it then that insures the credibility of commitments? To answer this question, we need to provide an account of what motivates (...) us to abide by our commitments. We first discuss two conceptions of the nature of the commitments present in joint action and of the norms that govern them. We contend that while normative considerations may have some motivational force, there are reasons to doubt that they, by themselves, could provide a sufficient motivational basis to fully explain why agents abide by their commitments and thus why their commitments are credible. In the next two sections, we discuss two proposals regarding further sources of motivation, reputation management and social emotions. We argue that while reputation management and social emotions certainly play a role in motivating us to act as committed, there are both theoretical and empirical reasons to think that neither captures the most basic motivational force at work in sustaining commitments. We propose instead that the need to belong, i.e., the need to affiliate with others and form long-lasting bonds with them, is what primarily motivates us to interact and engage with those around us and act so as to preserve and reinforce the bonds we have forged with them. We argue that the need to belong is a more basic proximate motivation for conforming to commitments, in the sense both that affiliative behaviors are evidenced much earlier in human development than either reputation management or social emotions and that the need to belong is at least part of an explanation of why we care for our reputation and why we care about others’ assessments of our behavior. (shrink)
: In this paper we defend the doxastic conception of delusions against the metacognitive account developed by Greg Currie and collaborators. According to the metacognitive model, delusions are imaginings that are misidentified by their subjects as beliefs: the Capgras patient, for instance, does not believe that his wife has been replaced by a robot, instead, he merely imagines that she has, and mistakes this imagining for a belief. We argue that the metacognitive account is untenable, and that the traditional conception (...) of delusions as beliefs should be retained. (shrink)
The objective of this paper is to characterize the rich interplay between automatic and cognitive control processes that we propose is the hallmark of skill, in contrast to habit, and what accounts for its flexibility. We argue that this interplay isn't entirely hierarchical and static, but rather heterarchical and dynamic. We further argue that it crucially depends on the acquisition of detailed and well-structured action representations and internal models, as well as the concomitant development of metacontrol processes that can be (...) used to shape and balance it. (shrink)
After a long period of neglect, the phenomenology of action has recently regained its place in the agenda of philosophers and scientists alike. The recent explosion of interest in the topic highlights its complexity. The purpose of this paper is to propose a conceptual framework allowing for a more precise characterization of the many facets of the phenomenology of agency, of how they are related and of their possible sources. The key assumption guiding this attempt is that the processes through (...) which the phenomenology of action is generated and the processes involved in the specification and control of action are strongly interconnected. I argue in favor of a three-tiered dynamic model of intention, link it to an expanded version of the internal model theory of action control and specification, and use this theoretical framework to guide an analysis of the contents, possible sources and temporal course of complementary aspects of the phenomenology of action. (shrink)
In his book, Understanding Institutions, Francesco Guala discusses two solutions to the problem of mindreading for coordination, the solution thinking approach proposed by Adam Morton and the team reasoning approach developed by Michael Bacharach, Robert Sugden, and Natalie Gold. I argue that the family resemblance between the two approaches is even stronger than Guala thinks.
We are perceivers, we are thinkers, and we are also agents, bringing about physical events, such as bodily movements and their consequences. What we do tells us, and others, a lot about who we are. On the one hand, who we are determines what we do. On the other hand, acting is also a process of self-discovery and self-shaping. Pivotal to this mutual shaping of self and agency is the sense of agency, or agentive self-awareness, i.e., the sense that one (...) is the agent of an action. (shrink)
Current models of delusion converge in proposing that delusional beliefs are based on unusual experiences of various kinds. For example, it is argued that the Capgras delusion (the belief that a known person has been replaced by an impostor) is triggered by an abnormal affective experience in response to seeing a known person; loss of the affective response to a familiar person’s face may lead to the belief that the person has been replaced by an impostor (Ellis & Young, 1990). (...) Similarly, the Cotard delusion (which involves the belief that one is dead or unreal in some way) may stem from a general.. (shrink)
A central claim in Michael Bratman’s account of shared agency is that there need be no radical conceptual, metaphysical or normative discontinuity between robust forms of small-scale shared intentional agency, i.e., modest sociality, and individual planning agency. What I propose to do is consider another potential discontinuity, whose existence would throw doubt on his contention that the structure of a robust form of modest sociality is entirely continuous with structures at work in individual planning agency. My main point will be (...) that he may be wrong in assuming that the basic cognitive infrastructure sufficient to support individual agency doesn’t have to be supplemented in significant ways to support shared agency. (shrink)
My main thesis is this paper is that, although Dretske's distinction between simple perception and cognitive perception constitutes an important milestone in contemporary theorizing on perception, it remains too coarse to account for a number of phenomena that do not seem to fall squarely on either side of the divide. I argue that what is needed in order to give a more accurate account of perceptual phenomena is not a twofold distinction of the kind advocated by Dretske but a threefold (...) distinction allowing for an intermediate level of perceptual content that is structured and yet non-conceptual. In the first section, I discuss Dretske's distinction between sensory perception and cognitive perception as well as a number of attendant notions. In section 2, two sets of phenomena that seem neither to constitute instances of sensory perception nor instances of cognitive perception as defined by Dretske are presented. I argue that they are evidence in favor of the existence of an intermediate level of perception. In section 3, I defend the view that this intermediate level of content is a level of structured non-conceptual perceptual content and I attempt to provide criteria for distinguishing among the three levels of content. (shrink)
I argue that in order to solve the main difficulties confronted by the classical versions of the causal theory of action, it is necessary not just to make room for intentions, considered as irreducible to complexes of beliefs and desires, but also to distinguish among several types of intentions. I present a three-tiered theory of intentions that distinguishes among future-directed intentions, present-directed intentions, and motor intentions. I characterize each kind of intention in terms of its functions, its type of content, (...) its dynamics, and the rationality and time constraints that bear on it. I then try to show how the difficulties encountered by the causal theory can be solved within this new framework. (shrink)
I argue that in order to solve the main difficulties confronted by the classical versions of the causal theory of action, it is necessary no just to make room for intentions, considered as irreducible to complexes of beliefs and desires, but also to distinguish among several types of intentions. I present a three-tiered theory of intentions that distinguishes among future-directed intentions, present-directed intentions and motor intentions. I characterize each kind of intention in terms of its functions, its type of content, (...) its dynamics and the rationality and time constraints that bear on it. I then try to show how the difficulties encountered by the causal theory can be solved within this new framework. 1. (shrink)
Philosophers have proposed accounts of shared intentions that aim at capturing what makes a joint action intentionally joint. On these accounts, having a shared intention typically presupposes cognitively and conceptually demanding theory of mind skills. Yet, young children engage in what appears to be intentional, cooperative joint action long before they master these skills. In this paper, I attempt to characterize a modest or ‘lite’ notion of shared intention, inspired by Michael Bacharach’s approach to team–agency theory in terms of framing, (...) group identification and team reasoning. I argue that the account of shared intentions this approach yields is less cognitively and conceptually demanding than other accounts and is thus applicable to the intentional joint actions performed by young children. I also argue that it has limitations of its own and that considering what these limitations are may help us understand why we sometimes need to take other routes to shared intentions. (shrink)
This paper on the phenomenology of joint agency proposes a foray into a little explored territory at the intersection of two very active domains of research: joint action and sense of agency. I explore two ways in which our experience of joint agency may differ from our experience of individual agency. First, the mechanisms of action specification and control involved in joint action are typically more complex than those present in individual actions, since it is crucial for joint action that (...) people coordinate their plans and actions. I discuss the implications that these coordination requirements might have for the strength of the sense of agency an agent may experience for a joint action. Second, engagement in joint action may involve a transformation of agentive identity and a partial or complete shift from a sense of self-agency to a sense of we-agency. I discuss several factors that may contribute to shaping our sense of agentive identity in joint action. (shrink)
Many philosophers have offered accounts of shared actions aimed at capturing what makes joint actions intentionally joint. I first discuss two leading accounts of shared intentions, proposed by Michael Bratman and Margaret Gilbert. I argue that Gilbert’s account imposes more normativity on shared intentions than is strictly needed and that Bratman’s account requires too much cognitive sophistication on the part of agents. I then turn to the team-agency theory developed by economists that I see as offering an alternative route to (...) shared intention. I concentrate on Michael Bacharach’s version of team-agency theory, according to which shared agency is a matter of team-reasoning, team-reasoning depends on group identification and group identification is the result of processes of self-framing. I argue that it can yield an account of shared intention that is less normatively loaded and less cognitively demanding. (shrink)
In The Elm and the Expert (1994), Fodor attempts to reconcile the idea that psychological laws are characteristically intentional with the idea that their implementation is typically computational. In order to do so, Fodor must show that narrow contents are superfluous for the purposes of psychological explanation and that Frege cases are rare and constitute unsystematic exceptions. The paper contends that the argument Fodor offers in order to establish his claim is flawed. It argues that the principle of informational equilibrium (...) the argument is based on rests on an utterly implausible conception of the rationality of action. (shrink)
Trying to understand better the role played by epistemic artifacts in our quest for reliable knowledge, it is interesting to compare their contribution with the one made by the epistemic organs or systems with which we are naturally endowed. This comparative approach may yield the further benefit of an improved understanding of the nature and epistemic functions of our natural epistemic equipment. In this paper, I shall concern myself with comparing the role of a family of instruments, microscopes, with that (...) of visual systems and with assessing the similarities and dissimilarities in accounts of their epistemic contributions. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the role of conscious agency in human action. On a folk-psychological view of the structure of agency, intentions, conceived as conscious mental states, are the causes of actions. In the last decades, the development of new psychological and neuroscientific methods has made conscious agency an object of empirical investigation and yielded results that challenge the received wisdom. Most famously, the results of Libet’s studies on the ‘readiness potential’ have been interpreted by many as evidence in (...) favor of a skeptical attitude towards conscious agency. It is questionable, however, whether action initiation should be regarded as the touchstone of conscious agency. I shall argue that the traditional folk-psychological view, but also some of the objections leveled against it, rest in part on an over-simplified conception of the structure of agency, that neglects both the role of control processes after action initiation and the role of planning processes before action initiation. Taking these processes into account can lead to a reassessment of the relation between intentions and action and of the role of conscious agency in action production. (shrink)
This paper offers a critical discussion of Searle's account of collective intentionality. It argues Bratman's alternative account avoids some of the shortcomings of Searle's account, over-intellectualizes collective intentionality and imposes an excessive cognitive burden on participating agents.Tthe capacities needed to sustain collective intentionality are examined in an attempt to show that we can preserve the gist of Bratman's account in a cognitively more parsimonious way.