Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Does Consciousness Cause Behavior?$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 26 May 2022



(p.viii) (p.1) Introduction
Does Consciousness Cause Behavior?

Susan Pockett

William P. Bank

Shaun Gallagher

The MIT Press

The notion that consciousness does not cause voluntary behavior in humans has found support in William James and Sigmund Freud. In his 1890 classic The Principles of Psychology, James argued against what he terms “the automaton theory” proposed by Thomas Huxley, who compared mental events to a steam whistle that does not contribute anything to the work of a locomotive. Meanwhile, Freud suggested that consciousness has nothing to do with much of our everyday behavior. This book examines two recent lines of evidence suggesting that consciousness in fact causes human behavior: one ascribed to Benjamin Libet and the other to Daniel Wegner. It considers an empirical model that explains how the brain causes behavior; the philosophical presuppositions that have informed the empirical studies of motor control, action, and intention; the concepts of free will and conscious efficacy; and the legal, social, and moral judgments of responsibility and blame. The book also offers a sociological analysis of a public debate that has taken place in Germany regarding the link between consciousness and behavior.

Keywords:   consciousness, human behavior, Benjamin Libet, Daniel Wegner, brain, free will, responsibility, blame, motor control, intention

MIT Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.