"How to Think Several Thoughts at Once: Content Plurality in Mental Action"

In Michael Brent & Lisa Miracchi Titus (eds.), Mental Action and the Conscious Mind. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 31-60 (2023)
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Basic actions are those intentional actions performed not by doing any other kind of thing intentionally. Complex actions involve doing one kind of thing intentionally by doing another kind of thing intentionally. There are both basic and complex mental actions. Some complex mental actions have a striking feature that has not been previously discussed: they have several distinct contents at once. This chapter introduces and explains this feature, here called “content plurality.” This chapter also argues for the philosophical significance of this feature. The existence of content plurality offers a new explanation of transparent self-knowledge and suggests a new theory of inference. It also opens up a new conception of the relation between decisions to act and judgments about what ought to be done.

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Antonia Peacocke
Stanford University


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