Habits, Priming, Aliefs and the Explanation of Mindless Action

Minds and Machines:1-21 (forthcoming)
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There is a growing body of evidence on the influences of automatic and unconscious processes on our actions. Here I introduce some representative examples of this growing body of evidence, chosen so as to form a diverse group of related mindless phenomena: habits, skills, priming and nudges (Section 1). I then argue that this evidence challenges traditional belief-desire-based approaches in the philosophy of action (Sections 2 and 3). I further discuss a recently proposed solution to this challenge, Gendler’s Alief, finding it wanting (Section 4). I conclude by sketching my own alternative solution, based on the old story of Buridan’s ass (Section 5).
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Alief and Belief.Gendler, Tamar Szabó
Intention, Plans, and Practical Reason.Velleman, J. David & Bratman, Michael E.

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