Voluntary Action: Brains, Minds, and Sociality by Sabine MaasenVoluntary Action: Brains, Minds, and Sociality by Sabine Maasen

Voluntary Action: Brains, Minds, and Sociality

EditorSabine Maasen, Wolfgang Prinz, Gerhard Roth

Paperback | June 6, 2003

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We all know what a voluntary action is - we all think we know when an action is voluntary, and when it is not. First, there has to be some wish or goal, then an action designed to fulfil that wish or attain that goal. This standard view of voluntary action is prominent in both folk psychologyand the professional sphere (e.g. the juridical) and guides a great deal of psychological and philosophical reasoning. But is it that simple though? For example, research from the neurosciences has shown us that the brain activation required to perform the action can actually precede the brainactivation representing our conscious desire to perform that action. Only in retrospect do we come to attribute the action we performed to some desire or wish to perform the action. This presents us with a problem - if our conscious awareness of an action follows its execution, then is it really a voluntary action? The question guiding this book: What is the explanatory role of voluntary action, and are there ways that we can reconcile our common-sense intuitions about voluntary actions with the findings from the sciences? This is a debate that crosses the boundaries of philosophy, neuroscience, psychologyand social science. This book brings together some of the leading thinkers from these disciplines to consider this deep and often puzzling topic. The result is a fascinating and stimulating debate that will challenge our fundamental assumptions about our sense of free-will.
Sabine Maasen is a Professor of Science Studies, University of Basel, Switzerland. Wolfgang Prinz is Director of the Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research, Germany. Gerhard Roth is Professor of Zoology and Director of the Brain Research Institute, University of Bremen.
Title:Voluntary Action: Brains, Minds, and SocialityFormat:PaperbackDimensions:392 pages, 9.45 × 6.61 × 0.66 inPublished:June 6, 2003Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198527543

ISBN - 13:9780198527541


Table of Contents

Voluntary action: brains, minds, and socialitySection I: Between motivation and control: psychological accounts of voluntary action1. How do we know about our own actions?2. Acquisition and control of voluntary action3. Voluntary action and cognitive control from a cognitive neuroscience perspective4. Voluntary action from the perspective of social-personality psychologySection II: Between cortex and the basal ganglia: neuroscientific accounts of voluntary action5. The interaction of cortex and basal ganglia in the control of voluntary actions6. How do we control action?7. Self-generated actionsSection III: Between epiphenomenalism and rationality: philosophical accounts of voluntary action8. Mental causation: the supervenience argument and the proportionality constraint9. The explanatory role of consciousness in action10. How voluntary are minimal actions11. Rational and irrational intentions: an argument for externalismSection IV: Between the normative and the symbolic: juridicial and anthropological accounts of Voluntary Action12. First-person understanding of action in criminal law13. Voluntary action and criminal responsibility14. Culture and human development in a theory of action beliefsSection V: Questioning the multidisciplinary field15. A polytheistic conception of the sciences and the virtues of deep variety16. A view from elsewhere: the emergence of consciousness in multidisciplinary discourse