About this topic
Summary Mental actions can be understood in terms of agents and their cognitive capacities.  When an agent performs a mental action, she employs one or more of her cognitive capacities and thereby produces an effect of some kind.  Key questions about mental action include: Within the domain of the mental, what should be considered mental action? (Attending, imagining, judging, coming to believe, wishing, desiring, daydreaming, conscious awareness?)  In what ways is mental action different from or similar to bodily action?  How does one perform a mental action?  How does one come to know that one is performing a mental action?  Does mental action shed light on issues such as the mind-body problem, the plausibility of functionalism, or the nature of representational content?      
Key works

Classic discussions of mental action include James 1890, Ryle 1949, Geach 1957, Taylor 1963, and Williams 1973.  More recently, Strawson 2003 claims that the notion of mental action is severely limited in its applicability, and Buckareff 2005 argues that Strawson’s account is problematically restrictive.  Proust 2001 presents a definition of mental acts and defends their explanatory role, Hieronymi 2006 claims that the formation of beliefs and intentions is less than voluntary and thus differs from bodily action, McCall 1987 argues that deciding is an action, and Wu 2013 contends that, borrowing from the work of William James, conscious mental action is cognitive attention.  

Introductions O'Brien & Soteriou 2009.
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306 found
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  1. Mental Agency and Rational Subjectivity.Lucy Campbell & Alexander Greenberg - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    Philosophy is witnessing an ‘Agential Turn’, characterised by the thought that understanding certain distinctive features of human mentality requires conceiving of many mental phenomena as acts, and of subjects as their agents. We raise a challenge for three central explanatory appeals to mental agency – agentialism about doxastic responsibility, agentialism about doxastic self-knowledge, and an agentialist explanation of the delusion of thought insertion: agentialists either commit themselves to implausibly strong claims about the kind of agency involved in the relevant phenomena, (...)
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  2. Rational Agency and the Struggle to Believe What Your Reasons Dictate.Brie Gertler - forthcoming - In Cristina Borgoni, Dirk Kindermann & Andrea Onofri (eds.), The Fragmented Mind. Oxford University Press.
    According to an influential view that I call agentialism, our capacity to believe and intend directly on the basis of reasons—our rational agency—has a normative significance that distinguishes it from other kinds of agency (Bilgrami 2006, Boyle 2011, Burge 1996, Korsgaard 1996, Moran 2001). Agentialists maintain that insofar as we exercise rational agency, we bear a special kind of responsibility for our beliefs and intentions; and it is only those attitudes that represent the exercise of rational agency that are truly (...)
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  3. Inference as a Mental Act.David Hunter - forthcoming - In Michael Brent (ed.), Mental Action.
    I will argue that a person is causally responsible for believing what she does. Through inference, she can sustain and change her perspective on the world. When she draws an inference, she causes herself to keep or to change her take on things. In a literal sense, she makes up her own mind as to how things are. And, I will suggest, she can do this voluntarily. It is in part because she is causally responsible for believing what she does (...)
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  4. Action Unified.Yair Levy - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly:pqv056.
    Mental acts are conspicuously absent from philosophical debates over the nature of action. A typical protagonist of a typical scenario is far more likely to raise her arm or open the window than she is to perform a calculation in her head or talk to herself silently. One possible explanation for this omission is that the standard ‘causalist’ account of action, on which acts are analyzed in terms of mental states causing bodily movements, faces difficulties in accommodating some paradigmatic cases (...)
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  5. Disappearing agents, mental action, rational glue.Joshua Shepherd - forthcoming - In Michael Brent & Lisa Miracchi Titus (eds.), Mental action and the conscious mind. New York: Routledge. pp. 14-30.
    This chapter revolves around the problem of the disappearing agent. Shepherd suggests that as typically formulated, the problem relies on an improper focus upon the causation of action, and an inadequate characterization of agency. One result is that a key function of mental action for human agents tends to be misconstrued. Furthermore, Shepherd argues that an adequate characterization of agency illuminates why agents may seem (misleadingly) to disappear in some cases of action, and illuminates as well a key function of (...)
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  6. Book review for "Psychopathology and Philosophy of Mind", edited by Valentina Cardella and Amelia Gangemi. [REVIEW]Juliette Vazard - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology.
    By manifesting dysfunctions of fundamental psychological mechanisms such as emotions, reasoning, and language, symptoms of mental disorders can inform us on their nature and functions. In this volume, Valentina Cardella and Amelia Gangemi bring together a collection of articles which draw from psychopathology in order to further our study of the human mind. Contributors include philosophers of mind and language, clinical psychologists, and a historian, all applying their respective methodological tools with the aim of learning from mental disorders about the (...)
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  7. How to perform a nonbasic action.Mikayla Kelley - 2024 - Noûs 58 (1).
    Some actions we perform “just like that” without taking a means, e.g., raising your arm or wiggling your finger. Other actions—the nonbasic actions—we perform by taking a means, e.g., voting by raising your arm or illuminating a room by flipping a switch. A nearly ubiquitous view about nonbasic action is that one's means to a nonbasic action constitutes the nonbasic action, as raising your arm constitutes voting or flipping a switch constitutes illuminating a room. In this paper, I challenge this (...)
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  8. A planning theory of belief.Sara Aronowitz - 2023 - Philosophical Perspectives 37 (1):5-17.
    What does it mean to hold a belief? Some of our ways of speaking in English suggest that to hold a belief is to have something in your mind: beliefs are things we acquire, defend, recover, and so on (Abelson, 1986). That is, believing is a matter of being in a state of having a thing. In this paper, I will argue for an alternative: believing is something we do. This is not a new suggestion. For instance, Matthew Boyle (2011) (...)
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  9. Mental Action and the Conscious Mind.Michael Brent & Lisa Miracchi (eds.) - 2023 - New York, NY: Routledge.
    Mental action deserves a place among foundational topics in action theory and philosophy of mind. Recent accounts of human agency tend to overlook the role of conscious mental action in our daily lives, while contemporary accounts of the conscious mind often ignore the role of mental action and agency in shaping consciousness. This collection aims to establish the centrality of mental action for discussions of agency and mind. The thirteen original essays provide a wide-ranging vision of the various and nuanced (...)
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  10. Explicating Agency: The Case of Visual Attention.Denis Buehler - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly 73 (2):379-413.
    How do individuals guide their activities towards some goal? Harry Frankfurt once identified the task of explaining guidance as the central problem in action theory. An explanation has proved to be elusive, however. In this paper, I show how we can marshal empirical research to make explanatory progress. I contend that human agents have a primitive capacity to guide visual attention, and that this capacity is actually constituted by a sub-individual psychological control-system: the executive system. I thus illustrate how we (...)
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  11. Consciousness, Attention, and the Motivation-Affect System.Tom Cochrane - 2023 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 30 (7):139-163.
    It is an important feature of creatures like us that our various motivations compete for control over our behaviour, including mental behaviour such as imagining and attending. In large part, this competition is adjudicated by the stimulation of affect — the intrinsically pleasant or unpleasant aspects of experience. In this paper I argue that the motivation-affect system controls a sub-type of attention called 'alerting attention' to bring various goals and stimuli to consciousness and thereby prioritize those contents for action. This (...)
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  12. Imagination, Endogenous Attention, and Mental Agency.Tom Cochrane - 2023 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 1:1-21.
    This paper develops a mechanistic account of basic mental agency by identifying similarities between two of its major exemplars: endogenous attention and imagination. Five key similarities are identified: i) that both capacities are driven by currently prioritised goals that are either person-level or apt to become person-level. ii) that both deliver their outputs to the working memory iii) that both range across all and only conceptual contents; iv) that both proceed under the guidance of norms and/or habits; and v) that (...)
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  13. Mindfulness and Agential Control.Simon Kittle - 2023 - Journal of Humanistic Psychology.
    Mindfulness meditation seems to generate the following puzzle: On one hand, mindfulness reveals to the meditator that many of their thoughts are outside of their control and leads to a diminished sense of self; on the other, regular mindfulness practice is supposed to lead to greater self-awareness and self-control. In this article, the author develops an agent-causal account of agential control that explains both claims. It is suggested that the work of phenomenologist Hans Reiner shows us why the feeling of (...)
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  14. “一念发动处,便即是行了”——王阳明心理行为论简议 (“If a Single Concern Arises, It Is Already Action” : A Note on Wang Yangming on Mental Action).Harvey Lederman - 2023 - 哲学分析 14 (80.04):191-195.
    I present a problem for an influential argument of Chen Lai's, and argue that Wang Yangming may have believed that all "motivating concerns" are actions. (The archived version is a Chinese preprint; the published Chinese version is available by the external link in the entry. An English version is available on my website.).
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  15. Two-Way Powers as Derivative Powers.Andrei A. Buckareff - 2022 - In Michael Brent (ed.), Mental Action and the Conscious Mind. New York: Routledge. pp. 228-254.
    Some philosophers working on the metaphysics of agency argue that if agency is understood in terms of settling the truth of some matters, then the power required for the exercise of intentional agency is an irreducible two-way power to either make it true that p or not-p. In this paper, the focus is on two-way powers in decision-making. Two problems are raised for theories of decision-making that are ontologically committed to irreducible two-way powers. First, recent accounts lack an adequate framework (...)
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  16. Man as Trinity of Body, Spirit, and Soul.Marcoen J. T. F. Cabbolet - 2022 - In And now for something completely different: the Elementary Process Theory. Revised, updated and extended 2nd edition of the dissertation with almost the same title. Utrecht: Eburon Academic Publishers. pp. 319-370.
    Although there are several monistic and dualistic approaches to the mind-body problem on the basis of classical or quantum mechanics, thus far no consensus exists about a solution. Recently, the Elementary Process Theory (EPT) has been developed: this corresponds with a fundamentally new disciplinary matrix for the study of physical reality. The purpose of the present research was to investigate the mind-body problem within this newly developed disciplinary matrix. The main finding is that the idea of a duality of body (...)
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  17. Memory as Skill.Seth Goldwasser - 2022 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 14 (3):833-856.
    The temporal structure for motivating, monitoring, and making sense of agency depends on encoding, maintaining, and accessing the right contents at the right times. These functions are facilitated by memory. Moreover, in informing action, memory is itself often active. That remembering is essential to and an expression of agency and is often active suggests that it is a type of action. Despite this, Galen Strawson (Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 103, 227–257, 2003) and Alfred Mele (2009) deny that remembering is (...)
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  18. On Believing: Being Right in a World of Possibilities.David A. Hunter - 2022 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Developing original accounts of the many aspects of belief, On Believing puts the believer at the heart of the story. Developing a novel account of the normativity of belief, Hunter argues that the ethics of belief concern how a believer ought to be positioned in a world of possibilities.
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  19. The Tinkering Mind.Tillmann Vierkant - 2022 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    Epistemic agency is a crucial concept in many different areas of philosophy and the cognitive sciences. It is crucial in dual process theories of cognition as well as theories of metacognition and mindreading, self-control, and moral agency. But what is epistemic agency? The Tinkering Mind argues that epistemic agency has two distinct and incompatible definitions. It can be simply understood as intentional mental action, or as a distinct non-voluntary form of evaluative agency. The core argument of the book demonstrates that (...)
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  20. Self-control, Attention, and How to live without Special Motivational Powers.Sebastian Watzl - 2022 - In M. Brent & Lisa Miracchi (eds.), Mental Action and the Conscious Mind. Routledge. pp. 272-300.
    It has been argued that the explanation of self-control requires positing special motivational powers. Some think that we need will-power as an irreducible mental faculty; others that we need to think of the active self as a dedicated and depletable pool of psychic energy or – in today more respectable terminology – mental resources; finally, there is the idea that self-control requires postulating a deep division between reason and passion – a deliberative and an emotional motivational system. This essay argues (...)
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  21. Intentional mind-wandering as intentional omission: the surrealist method.Santiago Arango-Muñoz & Juan Pablo Bermúdez - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):7727-7748.
    Mind-wandering seems to be paradigmatically unintentional. However, experimental findings have yielded the paradoxical result that mind-wandering can also be intentional. In this paper, we first present the paradox of intentional mind-wandering and then explain intentional mind-wandering as the intentional omission to control one’s own thoughts. Finally, we present the surrealist method for artistic production to illustrate how intentional omission of control over thoughts can be deployed towards creative endeavors.
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  22. How Reasoning Aims at Truth.David Horst - 2021 - Noûs 55 (1):221-241.
    Many hold that theoretical reasoning aims at truth. In this paper, I ask what it is for reasoning to be thus aim-directed. Standard answers to this question explain reasoning’s aim-directedness in terms of intentions, dispositions, or rule-following. I argue that, while these views contain important insights, they are not satisfactory. As an alternative, I introduce and defend a novel account: reasoning aims at truth in virtue of being the exercise of a distinctive kind of cognitive power, one that, unlike ordinary (...)
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  23. Drifting and Directed Minds: The Significance of Mind-Wandering for Mental Agency.Zachary C. Irving - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (11):614-644.
    Perhaps the central question in action theory is this: what ingredient of bodily action is missing in mere behavior? But what is an analogous question for mental action? I ask this: what ingredient of active, goal-directed thought is missing in mind-wandering? My answer: attentional guidance. Attention is guided when you would feel pulled back from distractions. In contrast, mind-wandering drifts between topics unchecked. My unique starting point motivates new accounts of four central topics about mental action. First, its causal basis. (...)
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  24. Reasoning and its limits.David Jenkins - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):9479-9495.
    Reasoning is naturally understood as something which we actively do—as a kind of action. However, reflection on the supposed limits to the extent to which it is up to us how our reasoning unfolds is often taken to cast doubt on this idea. I argue that, once articulated with care, challenges to the idea that reasoning is a kind of action can be seen to trade on problematic assumptions. In particular, they trade on assumptions which could be used to rule (...)
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  25. The Activity of Reasoning: How Reasoning Can Constitute Epistemic Agency.David Jenkins - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 102 (3):413-428.
    We naturally see ourselves as capable of being active with respect to the matter of what we believe – as capable of epistemic agency. A natural view is that we can exercise such agency by engaging in reasoning. Sceptics contend that such a view cannot be maintained in light of the fact that reasoning involves judgements, which are not decided upon or the products of prior intentions. In response, I argue that reasoning in fact can amount to epistemic agency in (...)
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  26. Mental action.Antonia Peacocke - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (6):e12741.
    Just as bodily actions are things you do with your body, mental actions are things you do with your mind. Both are different from things that merely happen to you. Where does the idea of mental action come from? What are mental actions? And why do they matter in philosophy? These are the three main questions answered in this paper. Section 1 introduces mental action through a brief history of the topic in philosophy. Section 2 explains what it is to (...)
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  27. Skill and Sensitivity to Reasons.Joshua Shepherd - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (3):669-681.
    In this paper I explore the relationship between skill and sensitivity to reasons for action. I want to know to what degree we can explain the fact that the skilled agent is very good at performing a cluster of actions within some domain in terms of the fact that the skilled agent has a refined sensitivity to the reasons for action common to the cluster. The picture is a little bit complex. While skill can be partially explained by sensitivity to (...)
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  28. A Role for Conscious Accessibility in Skilled Action.Chiara Brozzo - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (3):683-697.
    Skilled sportsmen or musicians—more generally, skilled agents—often fill us with awe with the way they perform their actions. One question we may ask ourselves is whether they intended to perform some awe-inspiring aspects of their actions. This question becomes all the more pressing as it often turns out that these agents were not conscious of some of those aspects at the time of performance. As I shall argue, there are reasons for suspecting lack of conscious access to an aspect of (...)
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  29. Anti-Intellectualism for the Learning and Employment of Skill.Daniel C. Burnston - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (3):507-526.
    I draw on empirical results from perceptual and motor learning to argue for an anti-intellectualist position on skill. Anti-intellectualists claim that skill or know-how is non-propositional. Recent proponents of the view have stressed the flexible but fine-grained nature of skilled control as supporting their position. However, they have left the nature of the mental representations underlying such control undertheorized. This leaves open several possible strategies for the intellectualist, particularly with regard to skill learning. Propositional knowledge may structure the inputs to (...)
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  30. Aristotle on Motion in Incomplete Animals.Daniel Coren - 2020 - Apeiron 53 (3):285-314.
    I explain what Aristotle means when, after puzzling about the matter of motion in incomplete animals (those without sight, smell, hearing), he suggests in De Anima III 11.433b31–434a5 that just as incomplete animals are moved indeterminately, desire and phantasia are present in those animals, but present indeterminately. I argue that self-motion and its directing faculties in incomplete animals differ in degree but not in kind from those of complete animals. I examine how an object of desire differs for an incomplete (...)
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  31. Nudging and Autonomy: Analyzing and Alleviating the Worries.Bart Engelen & Thomas Nys - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (1):137-156.
    One of the most pervasive criticisms of nudges has been the claim that they violate, undermine or decrease people’s autonomy. This claim, however, is seldom backed up by an explicit and detailed conception of autonomy. In this paper, we aim to do three things. First, we want to clear up some conceptual confusion by distinguishing the different conceptions used by Cass Sunstein and his critics in order to get clear on how they conceive of autonomy. Second, we want to add (...)
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  32. Intention and empathy.Kevin Harrelson - 2020 - Philosophical Psychology 33 (8):1162-1184.
    This essay challenges some assumptions of prevalent theories of empathy. The empathizer, according to these theories, must have an emotion or a representation that matches the recipient’s emotion or representation. I argue that these conditions fail to account for important cases, namely surrogate and out-group empathy. In the course of this argument, I isolate some conceptual difficulties in extant models of cognitive empathy. In place of the matching theories,I propose an indexical model that (1) distinguishes virtual from real self-reference and (...)
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  33. Cognising With Others in the We-Mode: a Defence of ‘First-Person Plural’ Social Cognition.Joe Higgins - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (4):803-824.
    The theory of we-mode cognition seeks to expand our understanding of the cognition involved in joint action, and therein claims to explain how we can have non-theoretical and non-simulative access to the minds of others (Gallotti and Frith Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 17: 160-165, 2013a, Gallotti and Frith Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 17: 304-305, 2013b). A basic tenet of this theory is that each individual jointly intends to accomplish some outcome together, requiring the adoption of a “first-person plural perspective” (Gallotti (...)
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  34. Effort, Uncertainty, and the Sense of Agency.Oliver Lukitsch - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (4):955-975.
    Orthodox neurocognitive accounts of the bodily sense of agency suggest that the experience of agency arises when action-effects are anticipated accurately. In this paper, I argue that while successful anticipation is crucial for the sense of agency, the role of unsuccessful prediction has been neglected, and that inefficacy and uncertainty are no less central to the sense of agency. I will argue that this is reflected in the phenomenology of agency, which can be characterized both as the experience of efficacy (...)
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  35. Inference as Consciousness of Necessity.Eric Marcus - 2020 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (4):304-322.
    Consider the following three claims. (i) There are no truths of the form ‘p and ~p’. (ii) No one holds a belief of the form ‘p and ~p’. (iii) No one holds any pairs of beliefs of the form {p, ~p}. Irad Kimhi has recently argued, in effect, that each of these claims holds and holds with metaphysical necessity. Furthermore, he maintains that they are ultimately not distinct claims at all, but the same claim formulated in different ways. I find (...)
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  36. False procedural memory.Urim Retkoceri - 2020 - Philosophical Psychology (3):1-27.
    Lately, it seems a number of philosophical memory theories are incorporating false memory phenomena into their conceptual frameworks. At the same time, scientific research is extending its analysis of false memories to nondeclarative forms of memory. However, both sides have paid little attention to the notion of false procedural memory. Yet, from everyday experience as well as from psychological investigation, we are aware of different ways procedural memory goes wrong. Here, I characterize the conceptual foundation of false procedural memory. First, (...)
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  37. Causation, Responsibility, and Typicality.Justin Sytsma - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (4):699-719.
    There is ample evidence that violations of injunctive norms impact ordinary causal attributions. This has struck some as deeply surprising, taking the ordinary concept of causation to be purely descriptive. Our explanation of the findings—the responsibility view—rejects this: we contend that the concept is in fact partly normative, being akin to concepts like responsibility and accountability. Based on this account, we predicted a very different pattern of results for causal attributions when an agent violates a statistical norm. And this pattern (...)
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  38. The Sense of Effort: a Cost-Benefit Theory of the Phenomenology of Mental Effort.Marcell Székely & John Michael - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (4):889-904.
    In the current paper, we articulate a theory to explain the phenomenology of mental effort. The theory provides a working definition of mental effort, explains in what sense mental effort is a limited resource, and specifies the factors that determine whether or not mental effort is experienced as aversive. The core of our theory is the conjecture that the sense of effort is the output of a cost-benefit analysis. This cost-benefit analysis employs heuristics to weigh the current and anticipated costs (...)
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  39. Exploring the Orthogonal Relationship between Controlled and Automated Processes in Skilled Action.John Toner & Aidan Moran - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (3):577-593.
    Traditional models of skill learning posit that skilled action unfolds in an automatic manner and that control will prove deleterious to movement and performance proficiency. These perspectives assume that automated processes are characterised by low levels of control and vice versa. By contrast, a number of authors have recently put forward hybrid theories of skilled action which have sought to capture the close integration between fine-grained automatic motor routines and intentional states. Drawing heavily on the work of Bebko et al. (...)
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  40. All of Your Choices Matter. Charakterbildungsrelevante Entscheidungen in Videospielen am Beispiel von Telltales The Walking Dead.Rebecca Bachmann - 2019 - In Vom Binge Watching zum Binge Thinking. Untersuchungen im Wechselspiel zwischen Wissenschaften und Popkultur. Bielefeld, Deutschland: pp. 81-100.
    This paper is devoted to the concept of decisions in video games. In doing so, I start from the frequently applied criticism that they are irrelevant, since the course of the game is almost identical regardless of the individual decision. I follow this criticism with examples from "Telltale's The Walking Dead - Season Two" and work out a certain understanding of decisions in video games that characterizes them as relevant to the outcome. In contrast, using Robert Kane's theory of free (...)
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  41. Meditation and the Scope of Mental Action.Michael Brent & Candace Upton - 2019 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (1):52-71.
    While philosophers of mind have devoted abundant time and attention to questions of content and consciousness, philosophical questions about the nature and scope of mental action have been relatively neglected. Galen Strawson’s account of mental action, arguably the most well-known extant account, holds that cognitive mental action consists in triggering the delivery of content to one’s field of consciousness. However, Strawson fails to recognize several distinct types of mental action that might not reduce to triggering content delivery. In this paper, (...)
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  42. Rational Inference: The Lowest Bounds.Cameron Buckner - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3):697-724.
    A surge of empirical research demonstrating flexible cognition in animals and young infants has raised interest in the possibility of rational decision‐making in the absence of language. A venerable position, which I here call “Classical Inferentialism”, holds that nonlinguistic agents are incapable of rational inferences. Against this position, I defend a model of nonlinguistic inferences that shows how they could be practically rational. This model vindicates the Lockean idea that we can intuitively grasp rational connections between thoughts by developing the (...)
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  43. Two Kinds of Cognitive Expertise.Elijah Chudnoff - 2019 - Noûs 55 (2):270-292.
    Expertise is traditionally classified into perceptual, cognitive, and motor forms. I argue that the empirical research literature on expertise gives us compelling reasons to reject this traditional classification and accept an alternative. According to the alternative I support there is expertise in forming impressions, which further divides into expertise in forming sensory and intellectual impressions, and there is expertise in performing actions, which further divides into expertise in performing mental and bodily actions. The traditional category of cognitive expertise splits into (...)
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  44. A Broomean Model of Rationality and Reasoning.Franz Dietrich, Antonios Staras & Robert Sugden - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy 116 (11):585-614.
    John Broome has developed an account of rationality and reasoning which gives philosophical foundations for choice theory and the psychology of rational agents. We formalize his account into a model that differs from ordinary choice-theoretic models through focusing on psychology and the reasoning process. Within that model, we ask Broome’s central question of whether reasoning can make us more rational: whether it allows us to acquire transitive preferences, consistent beliefs, non-akratic intentions, and so on. We identify three structural types of (...)
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  45. Intention at the Interface.Ellen Fridland - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (3):481-505.
    I identify and characterize the kind of personal-level control-structure that is most relevant for skilled action control, namely, what I call, “practical intention”. I differentiate between practical intentions and general intentions not in terms of their function or timing but in terms of their content. I also highlight a distinction between practical intentions and other control mechanisms that are required to explain skilled action. I’ll maintain that all intentions, general and practical, have the function specifying, sustaining, and structuring action but (...)
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  46. An Agent of Attention: An Inquiry into the Source of Our Control.Aaron Henry - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Toronto
    When performing a skilled action—whether something impressive like a double somersault or something mundane like reaching for a glass of water—you exercise control over your bodily movements. Specifically, you guide their course. In what does that control consist? In this dissertation, I argue that it consists in attending to what you are doing. More specifically, in attending, agents harness their perceptual and perceptuomotor states directly and practically in service of their goals and, in doing so, settle the fine-grained manner in (...)
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  47. We cannot infer by accepting testimony.Ulf Hlobil - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (10):2589-2598.
    While we can judge and believe things by merely accepting testimony, we cannot make inferences by merely accepting testimony. A good theory of inference should explain this. The theories that are best suited to explain this fact seem to be theories that accept a so-called intuitional construal of Boghossian’s Taking Condition.
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  48. Inner Speech.Peter Langland-Hassan - 2019 - Routledge.
    This book will be a part of Routledge's "New Problems of Philosophy" series.
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  49. Representing Our Options: The Perception of Affordance for Bodily and Mental Action.T. McClelland - 2019 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 26 (3-4):155-180.
    Affordances are opportunities for action. An appropriately positioned teapot, for example, might afford the act of gripping. Evidence that we perceive affordances in our environment can be found through first-person reflection on our perceptual phenomenology and through third-person theorizing about how subjects select what action to perform. This paper argues for two claims about affordance perception. First, I argue that by experiencing affordances we implicitly experience ourselves as agents with the power to perform the afforded actions. This variety of implicit (...)
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  50. Import Theory: The Social Making of Consciousness.W. Prinz - 2019 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 26 (3-4):112-130.
    This paper outlines a representational framework for an import theory of selfhood and consciousness. Import theory posits that selfhood and consciousness are first perceived and understood in others and then imported from others to self. The theory raises three major claims: conscious awareness builds on self-representation; selfhood is a social, not a natural, kind; selfhood is imported from others to self. The paper focuses on the third claim and discusses mechanisms for import from others to self. While export theories offer (...)
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