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The Case for Zombie Agency

Mind 122 (485):217-230 (2013)

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  1. Consciousness and Mental Causation: Contemporary Empirical Cases for Epiphenomenalism, in Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Consciousness.Benjamin Kozuch (ed.) - 2021 - Oxford University Press.
    In its classical form, epiphenomenalism is the view that conscious mental events have no physical effects: while physical events cause mental events, the opposite is never true. Unlike classical epiphenomenalism, contemporary forms do not hold that conscious men­ tal states always lack causal efficacy, only that they are epiphenomenal relative to certain kinds of action, ones we pre-theoretically would have thought consciousness to causally contribute to. Two of these contemporary, empirically based challenges to the efficacy of the mental are the (...)
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  • Seeing Colours Unconsciously.Paweł Jakub Zięba - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-36.
    According to unconscious perception hypothesis (UP), mental states of the same fundamental kind as ordinary conscious seeing can occur unconsciously. The proponents of UP often support it with empirical evidence for a more specific hypothesis, according to which colours can be seen unconsciously (UPC). However, UPC is a general claim that admits of many interpretations. The main aim of this paper is to determine which of them is the most plausible. To this end, I investigate how adopting various conceptions of (...)
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  • Conscious Control Over Action.Joshua Shepherd - 2015 - Mind and Language 30 (3):320-344.
    The extensive involvement of nonconscious processes in human behaviour has led some to suggest that consciousness is much less important for the control of action than we might think. In this article I push against this trend, developing an understanding of conscious control that is sensitive to our best models of overt action control. Further, I assess the cogency of various zombie challenges—challenges that seek to demote the importance of conscious control for human agency. I argue that though nonconscious contributions (...)
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  • Conscious Vision Guides Motor Action—Rarely.Benjamin Kozuch - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology:1-34.
    According to Milner and Goodale’s dual visual systems (DVS) theory, a division obtains between visual consciousness and motor action, in that the visual system producing conscious vision (the ventral stream) is distinct from the one guiding action (the dorsal stream). That there would be this division is often taken (by Andy Clark and others) to undermine the folk view on how consciousness and action relate. However, even if this division obtains, this leaves open the possibility that con- scious ventral information (...)
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  • The Perception‐Action Model: Counting Computational Mechanisms.Thor Grünbaum - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (4):416-445.
    Milner and Goodale's Two Visual Systems Hypothesis is regarded as common ground in recent discussions of visual consciousness. A central part of TVSH is a functional model of vision and action. In this paper, I provide a brief overview of these current discussions and argue that there is ambiguity between a strong and a weak version of PAM. I argue that, given a standard way of individuating computational mechanisms, the available evidence cannot be used to distinguish between these versions. This (...)
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  • Conscious Action/Zombie Action.Joshua Shepherd - 2016 - Noûs 50 (2):419-444.
    I argue that the neural realizers of experiences of trying are not distinct from the neural realizers of actual trying . I then ask how experiences of trying might relate to the perceptual experiences one has while acting. First, I assess recent zombie action arguments regarding conscious visual experience, and I argue that contrary to what some have claimed, conscious visual experience plays a causal role for action control in some circumstances. Second, I propose a multimodal account of the experience (...)
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  • Conscious Vision in Action.Robert Briscoe & John Schwenkler - 2015 - Cognitive Science 39 (7):1435-1467.
    It is natural to assume that the fine-grained and highly accurate spatial information present in visual experience is often used to guide our bodily actions. Yet this assumption has been challenged by proponents of the Two Visual Systems Hypothesis , according to which visuomotor programming is the responsibility of a “zombie” processing stream whose sources of bottom-up spatial information are entirely non-conscious . In many formulations of TVSH, the role of conscious vision in action is limited to “recognizing objects, selecting (...)
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  • Dislocation, Not Dissociation: The Neuroanatomical Argument Against Visual Experience Driving Motor Action.Benjamin Kozuch - 2015 - Mind and Language 30 (5):572-602.
    Common sense suggests that visual consciousness is essential to skilled motor action, but Andy Clark—inspired by Milner and Goodale's dual visual systems theory—has appealed to a wide range of experimental dissociations to argue that such an assumption is false. Critics of Clark's argument contend that the content driving motor action is actually within subjects' experience, just not easily discovered. In this article, I argue that even if such content exists, it cannot be guiding motor action, since a review of current (...)
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  • Intentions: The Dynamic Hierarchical Model Revisited.Elisabeth Pacherie & Myrto Mylopoulos - 2019 - WIREs Cognitive Science 10 (2):e1481.
    Ten years ago, one of us proposed a dynamic hierarchical model of intentions that brought together philosophical work on intentions and empirical work on motor representations and motor control (Pacherie, 2008). The model distinguished among Distal intentions, Proximal intentions, and Motor intentions operating at different levels of action control (hence the name DPM model). This model specified the representational and functional profiles of each type of intention, as well their local and global dynamics, and the ways in which they interact. (...)
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  • Unconscious perception and central coordinating agency.Joshua Shepherd & Myrto Mylopoulos - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):3869-3893.
    One necessary condition on any adequate account of perception is clarity regarding whether unconscious perception exists. The issue is complicated, and the debate is growing in both philosophy and science. In this paper we consider the case for unconscious perception, offering three primary achievements. First, we offer a discussion of the underspecified notion of central coordinating agency, a notion that is critical for arguments that purportedly perceptual states are not attributable to the individual, and thus not genuinely perceptual. We develop (...)
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  • Is Vision for Action Unconscious?Wayne Wu - 2020 - Journal of Philosophy 117 (8):413-433.
    Empirical work and philosophical analysis have led to widespread acceptance that vision for action, served by the cortical dorsal stream, is unconscious. I argue that the empirical argument for this claim is unsound. That argument relies on subjects’ introspective reports. Yet on biological grounds, in light of the theory of primate cortical vision, introspection has no access to dorsal stream mediated visual states. It is thus wrongly assumed that introspective reports speak to absent phenomenology in the dorsal stream. In light (...)
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  • The Two Visual Systems Hypothesis and Contrastive Underdetermination.Thor Grünbaum - 2021 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 17):4045-4068.
    This paper concerns local yet systematic problems of contrastive underdetermination of model choice in cognitive neuroscience debates about the so-called two visual systems hypothesis. The underdetermination problem is systematically generated by the way certain assumptions about the representationalist nature of computation are translated into experimental practice. The problem is that behavioural data underdetermine the choice between competing representational models. In this paper, I diagnose how these assumptions generate underdetermination problems in the choice between competing functional models of perception–action. Using the (...)
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  • The Two-Visual-Systems Hypothesis and the Perspectival Features of Visual Experience.Robert T. Foley, Robert L. Whitwell & Melvyn A. Goodale - 2015 - Consciousness and Cognition 35:225-233.
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  • On the Significance of Bodily Awareness for Bodily Action.Hong Yu Wong - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (261):790-812.
    What is the significance of bodily awareness for bodily action? The orthodox philosophical account from O'Shaughnessy claims that bodily awareness is necessary for bodily action. Whilst O'Shaughnessy's account appears to be consonant with the phenomenology of ordinary agency, it falls afoul to empirical counterexamples. The failure of O'Shaughnessy's account and its cousins might suggest that bodily action does not depend on bodily awareness. On the contrary, I argue that the contrast between the character of afferented and deafferented agency shows that (...)
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