Volition and the Function of Consciousness

Faith and Philosophy 26 (5):537-552 (2009)
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People have intuitively assumed that many acts of volition are not influenced by unconscious information. However, the available evidence suggests that under suitable conditions, unconscious information can influence behavior and the underlying neural mechanisms. One possibility is that stimuli that are consciously perceived tend to yield strong signals in the brain, and this makes us think that consciousness has the function of sending such strong signals. However, if we could create conditions where the stimuli could produce strong signals but not the conscious experience of perception, perhaps we would find that such stimuli are just as effective in influencing volitional behavior.



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