When consciousness matters: A critical review of Daniel Wegner's the illusion of conscious will [Book Review]

Philosophical Psychology 15 (4):527-541 (2002)
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Abstract

In The illusion of conscious will , Daniel Wegner offers an exciting, informative, and potentially threatening treatise on the psychology of action. I offer several interpretations of the thesis that conscious will is an illusion. The one Wegner seems to suggest is "modular epiphenomenalism": conscious experience of will is produced by a brain system distinct from the system that produces action; it interprets our behavior but does not, as it seems to us, cause it. I argue that the evidence Wegner presents to support this theory, though fascinating, is inconclusive and, in any case, he has not shown that conscious will does not play a crucial causal role in planning, forming intentions, etc. This theory's potential blow to our self-conception turns out to be a glancing one

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Author's Profile

Eddy Nahmias
Georgia State University

References found in this work

Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason.Michael Bratman - 1987 - Cambridge: Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
The Illusion of Conscious Will.Daniel M. Wegner - 2002 - Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

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