Download Human Agency and Neural Causes: Philosophy of Action and the by J. Runyan PDF

By J. Runyan

In exploring even if our neuroscientific discoveries are in line with the belief we're voluntary brokers, Human employer and Neural Causes provides a neuroscientifically-informed emergentist account of human agency.

In distinction with the assumptions that at present form neuropsychological learn on voluntary employer, J.D. Runyan provides a broadly-conceived Aristotelian account of voluntary organization grounded in our daily thought of our behavior. within the method, a few new matters are raised for compatibilist theories of unfastened will, in addition to for reductive neuroscientific concept. This e-book argues that what modern neuroscience finds is alongside the strains of what we must always count on if we're, in truth, voluntary brokers. even as, upholding the concept that we're voluntary brokers would require profound and arguable adjustments within the manner we interpret our neuroscientific findings.

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Extra info for Human Agency and Neural Causes: Philosophy of Action and the Neuroscience of Voluntary Agency

Sample text

So the question I address in this section is, basically, whether the idea of a mental event of ‘willing’ lacks ‘ecological validity’. 71 Below, I confine my discussion to what I think are—in combination—three convincing reasons for thinking volitional accounts are artificial, and misconceived. This discussion, though I think compelling, is only meant to be a primer. We will see reasons for questioning the motivation behind volitional accounts in Chapter 3. This will, in turn, point to the need for further analysis of the way we typically think about our conduct, and how we distinguish voluntary from non-voluntary conduct—analysis that, as we will begin to see in Chapter 4, affirms a different account of voluntary conduct.

In this case, if there is a complete event-causal account of our actions, it cannot be told in terms of our beliefs, wants, intentions, etc. If a complete event-causal account of our behaviour is possible, it could only be told ‘at a quite different ontological level … one involving, say, neural firings and muscle contractions’. This last point about the possibility of their being a complete causal account Libet-Style Experiments and Volitions 29 of our behaviour in neural terms is a point I will eventually address in Chapter 7.

Second, if we can distinguish what we think of as our voluntary actions without being aware of whether they were accompanied by a mental event of ‘willing’, then this, at least, calls into question the basis for thinking that such an accompaniment is a component of what we distinguish to be our voluntary actions in the first place—and this is one of the central points I have been making here. 80 I think it is possible that a sufficiently creative volitional theory might be able to accommodate for all instances where conduct we readily think of as voluntary is not in any obvious way connected to the right sort of mental event—there may be enough mental events sprinkled throughout our daily activities to allow for a sufficiently pliable volitional theory to, in some way, connect all that we consider to be our basic actions to some mental activity we perform (or other mental event).

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