The Sense of Agency and the Naturalization of the Mental

The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 6:139-143 (2007)
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In this paper we examine whether the sense of agency represents an obstacle to the project of naturalizing the mental. On the basis of a thought experiment we suggest that the sense of agency is not an epiphenomenon. We also examine Frith's attempt to explain in functionalist terms the sense of agency through the comparator and metarepresentational mechanisms. Through a variety of arguments we try to show that explanation by recourse to these mechanisms is inadequate. We conclude by suggesting that one possible reason for the failure of the functionalist approaches is that they begin from the assumption that thought is a form a of willed action

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Costas Pagondiotis
University of Patras


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