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Does Consciousness Cause Behavior?$
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Susan Pockett, William P. Banks, and Shaun Gallagher

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780262162371

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262162371.001.0001

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Of Windmills and Straw Men: Folk Assumptions of Mind and Action

Of Windmills and Straw Men: Folk Assumptions of Mind and Action

(p.206) (p.207) 11 Of Windmills and Straw Men: Folk Assumptions of Mind and Action
Does Consciousness Cause Behavior?

Bertram F. Malle

The MIT Press

Consistent with folk psychology, studies in psychology and neuroscience provide evidence that urges, desires, and other motivational states are often caused unconsciously. However, there is no evidence that conscious intentions are not formed on the basis of these motivational states and cause intentional action. This chapter examines skeptical arguments about self-awareness as well as the awareness of one’s own mind and actions and skepticism about intentional agency. In each case, it argues that skeptics tend to misrepresent the folk assumptions about these phenomena and about such key concepts as intention, action, reason, and introspection. Skeptics also often view folk psychology as a straw man instead of addressing the actual and complex array of concepts and assumptions that uniquely characterize human beings.

Keywords:   folk psychology, motivational states, self-awareness, awareness, mind, skepticism, intention, action, reason, introspection

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