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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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Where’s the Action? Epiphenomenalism and the Problem of Free Will

Where’s the Action? Epiphenomenalism and the Problem of Free Will

Chapter:
(p.108) (p.109) 6 Where’s the Action? Epiphenomenalism and the Problem of Free Will
Source:
Does Consciousness Cause Behavior?
Author(s):

Shaun Gallagher

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262162371.003.0007

This chapter argues that Benjamin Libet’s experiments did not prove whether or not we have free will because free will is a concept that does not apply to the movements investigated by Libet. By focusing on temporality and levels of description, it suggests that a distinction must be made between the initiation and control of movement, much of which is unconscious, and the conscious exercise of free will in intentional action. In particular, the chapter examines the question of whether consciousness causes behavior in the context of epiphenomenalism and the problem of free will. It also looks at the reflective and perceptual theories of how movements are under conscious control.

Keywords:   free will, Benjamin Libet, control, movement, intentional action, consciousness, behavior, epiphenomenalism, reflective theory, perceptual theory

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