Agency and Self-Awareness: Issues in Philosophy and Psychology

Paperback | November 14, 2003

EditorJohannes Roessler, Naomi Eilan

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Leading philosophers and psychologists join forces to investigate a set of problems to do with agency and self-awareness, in seventeen specially written essays. In recent years there has been much psychological and neurological work purporting to show that consciousness and self-awareness playno role in causing actions, and indeed to demonstrate that free will is an illusion. The essays in this volume subject the assumptions that motivate such claims to sustained interdisciplinary scrutiny.Patients with Anarchic Hand syndrome sometimes find their hands perform apparently goal-directed actions which the patients disown, yet seem to be unable to suppress (for example, reaching out for someone else's food in a restaurant). On the face of it, these patients lack the kind of control andself-awareness we ordinarily take ourselves to have when acting intentionally. Questions raised by this phenomenon include: What is involved in being aware of an action as one's own? What is the nature of the control these patients are lacking and which characterizes normal intentional actions? Whatis the relation between a priori explanations of consciousness and self-consciousness, on the one hand, and empirical work on the information-processing mechanisms involved in action control, on the other?Questions of action control and self-awareness tend to be treated separately in both philosophy and psychology. The central idea behind this volume is that outstanding unresolved issues on both topics, and in both disciplines, can only be resolved by an interdisciplinary examination of the relationsbetween them. The editors' useful introductory essay offers a guide to cross-disciplinary reading of the contributions, and makes connections between them explicit. The book will be compulsory reading for psychologists and philosophers working on action explanation, and for anyone interested in therelation between the brain sciences and consciousness.

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Leading philosophers and psychologists join forces to investigate a set of problems to do with agency and self-awareness, in seventeen specially written essays. In recent years there has been much psychological and neurological work purporting to show that consciousness and self-awareness playno role in causing actions, and indeed to d...

Johannes Roessler is in the Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick. Naomi Eilan is in the Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:428 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.89 inPublished:November 14, 2003Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199245622

ISBN - 13:9780199245628

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Table of Contents

1. Naomi Eilan and Johannes Roessler: Introduction2. Antony Marcel: The Sense of Agency: Awareness and Ownership of Action3. Christopher Peacocke: Action: Awareness, Ownership, and Knowledge4. Patrick Haggard: Conscious Awareness of Intention and of Action5. Marc Jeannerod: Consciousness of Action and Self-Consciousness: A Cognitive Neuroscience Approach6. John Campbell: The Role of Demonstratives in Action-Explanation7. Wolfgang Prinz: Experimental Approaches to Action8. Thomas Baldwin: Perception and Agency9. Glyn W. Humphreys and M. Jane Riddoch: Fractionating and the Intentional Control of Behaviour: A Neuropsychological Analysis10. Josef Perner: Dual Control and the Causal Theory of Action: The Case of Non-intentional Action11. Douglas Frye and Philip David Zelazo: The Development of Young Children's Action Control and Awareness12. Jennifer Hornsby: Children's Action Control and Awareness: Comment on Frye and Zelazo13. Michael Lewis: The Development of Self-Consciousness14. Joelle Proust: Perceiving Intentions15. Jerome Dokic: The Sense of Ownership: An Analogy between Sensation and Action16. Brian O'Shaughnessy: The Epistemology of Physical Action17. Lucy O'Brien: On Knowing One's Own Actions18. Johannes Roessler: Intentional Action and Self-AwarenessIndex

Editorial Reviews

`This collection of seventeen essays, plus an excellent editor's introduction, is noteworthy in the interdisciplinary stance taken. Containing cutting-edge contributions from both philosophers and psychologists, it will be valuable to students and practitioners of both disciplines. Thiscross-fertilisation of ideas is both instructive and a pleasure to see. Philosophers have much to learn from their colleagues in psychology departments, and vice versa ... Whichever side of the divide one is on, one cannot fail to learn from the way in which this interaction has been carried out ...this fascinating volume of essays ... will repay serious attention ... provides an excellent addition to a growing interdisciplinary field. Those interested in either the philosophical or psychological aspects of action will find it a great source of stimulating material.'Human Nature Review