Effective Intentions: The Power of Conscious Will

Paperback | November 14, 2010

byAlfred R. Mele

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Each of the following claims has been defended in the scientific literature on free will and consciousness: your brain routinely decides what you will do before you become conscious of its decision; there is only a 100 millisecond window of opportunity for free will, and all it can do is vetoconscious decisions, intentions, or urges; intentions never play a role in producing corresponding actions; and free will is an illusion. In Effective Intentions Alfred Mele shows that the evidence offered to support these claims is sorely deficient. He also shows that there is strong empirical support for the thesis that some conscious decisions and intentions have a genuine place in causal explanations of corresponding actions. Inshort, there is weighty evidence of the existence of effective conscious intentions or the power of conscious will. Mele examines the accuracy of subjects' reports about when they first became aware of decisions or intentions in laboratory settings and develops some implications of warrantedskepticism about the accuracy of these reports. In addition, he explores such questions as whether we must be conscious of all of our intentions and why scientists disagree about this. Mele's final chapter closes with a discussion of imaginary scientific findings that would warrant bold claims aboutfree will and consciousness of the sort he examines in this book.

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Each of the following claims has been defended in the scientific literature on free will and consciousness: your brain routinely decides what you will do before you become conscious of its decision; there is only a 100 millisecond window of opportunity for free will, and all it can do is vetoconscious decisions, intentions, or urges; i...

Alfred R. Mele is William H. and Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University. He is the author of Free Will and Luck; Mental Causation; Motivation and Agency; The Philosophy of Action; Springs of Action; and the co-editor of several volumes on free will and rationality.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:November 14, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199764689

ISBN - 13:9780199764686

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Conscious Intentions and Decisions3. Neuroscience and Causes of Action4. Neuroscience and Free Will5. Intentional Actions and the Alleged Illusion of Conscious Will6. Proximal Intentions and Awareness Reports7. The Power of Conscious Will8. ConclusionIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Effective Intentions is indisputably the most careful and sophisticated discussion to date of the relevance of neuroscience for our understanding of willing, and especially, whether that willing is free or conscious. It is necessary reading for anyone interested in the neuroscience of agencyand free will, and it deserves to be widely read by both philosophers and neuroscientists." --Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews