Philosophers and behavioral scientists discuss what, if anything, of the traditional concept of individual conscious will can survive recent scientific discoveries that human decision-making is distributed across different brain processes and through the social environment.
Recent scientific findings about human decision making would seem to threaten the traditional concept of the individual conscious will. The will is threatened from “below” by the discovery that our apparently spontaneous actions are actually controlled and initiated from below the level of our conscious awareness, and from “above” by the recognition that we adapt our actions according to social dynamics of which we are seldom aware. In Distributed Cognition and the Will , leading philosophers and behavioral scientists consider how much, if anything, of the traditional concept of the individual conscious will survives these discoveries, and they assess the implications for our sense of freedom and responsibility. The contributors all take science seriously, and they are inspired by the idea that apparent threats to the cogency of the idea of will might instead become the basis of its reemergence as a scientific subject. They consider macro-scale issues of society and culture, the micro-scale dynamics of the mind/brain, and connections between macro-scale and micro-scale phenomena in the self-guidance and self-regulation of personal behavior.
Contributors George Ainslie, Wayne Christensen, Andy Clark, Paul Sheldon Davies, Daniel C. Dennett, Lawrence A. Lengbeyer, Dan Lloyd, Philip Pettit, Don Ross, Tamler Sommers, Betsy Sparrow, Mariam Thalos, Jeffrey B. Vancouver, Daniel M. Wegner, Tadeusz W. Zawidzki
About the Author
Don Ross is Professor of Economics and Dean of Commerce at the University of Cape Town, and Research Fellow in the Center for Economic Analysis of Risk at Georgia State University. He is the author of Economic Theory and Cognitive Science: Microexplanation (MIT Press, 2005), companion volume to Midbrain Mutiny. David Spurrett is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Cognitive Science Program at the Howard College Campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Harold Kincaid is Professor in the School of Economics and Director of the Research Unit in Behavioural Economics and Neuroeconomics at the University of Cape Town. He is the coeditor of Distributed Cognition and the Will: Individual Volition and Social Context and What Is Addiction? (both published by the MIT Press).
G. Lynn Stephens is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Don Ross is Professor of Economics and Dean of Commerce at the University of Cape Town, and Research Fellow in the Center for Economic Analysis of Risk at Georgia State University. He is the author of Economic Theory and Cognitive Science: Microexplanation (MIT Press, 2005), companion volume to Midbrain Mutiny. The late Daniel M. Wegner was Professor of Psychology at Harvard University.
Paul Sheldon Davies is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the College of William and Mary.
Daniel C. Dennett is University Professor Codirector of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. He is the author of Brainchildren: Essays on Designing Minds ; Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness ; Elbow Room : T he Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting ; Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness (all published by the MIT Press), From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Mind , and other books.
Andy Clark is Doctor of Philosophy at the School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences at the University of Sussex.
Don Ross is Professor of Economics and Dean of Commerce at the University of Cape Town, and Research Fellow in the Center for Economic Analysis of Risk at Georgia State University. He is the author of Economic Theory and Cognitive Science: Microexplanation (MIT Press, 2005), companion volume to Midbrain Mutiny. Tadeusz Wieslaw Zawidzki is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Codirector of the Mind-Brain Evolution Cluster at the George Washington University. He is the author of Dennett .
Dan Lloyd is Thomas C. Brownell Professor of Philosophy at Trinity College and the author of Simple Minds and Radiant Cool: A Novel Theory of Consciousness , both published by the MIT Press
Table of Contents
Introduction: Science Catches the Will Don Ross 1
The Puzzie of Coaction Daniel M. Wegner Betsy Sparrow 17
What Kind of Agent Are We? A Naturalistic Framework for the Study of Human Agency Paul Sheldon Davies 39
The Illusion of Freedom Evolves Tamier Sommers 61
Neuroscience and Agent-Control Philip Pettit 77
My Body Has a Mind of Its Own Daniel C. Dennett 93
Soft Selves and Ecological Control Andy Clark 101
The Sources of Behavior: Toward a Naturalistic, Control Account of Agency Mariam Thalos 123
Thought Experiments That Explore Where Controlled Experiments Can't: The Example of Will George Ainslie 169
The Economic and Evolutionary Basis of Selves Don Ross 197
Situated Cognition: The Perspect Model Lawrence Lengbeyer 227
The Evolutionary Origins of Volition Wayne Christensen 255
What Determines the Self in Self-Regulation? Applied Psychology's Struggle with Will Jeffrey B. Vancouver Tadeusz W. Zawidzki 289
Civil Schizophrenia Dan Lloyd 323