Consciousness in Action

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Harvard University Press, 2002 - Philosophy - 506 pages
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In this important book, Susan Hurley sheds new light on consciousness by examining its relationships to action from various angles. She assesses the role of agency in the unity of a conscious perspective, and argues that perception and action are more deeply interdependent than we usually assume. A standard view conceives perception as input from world to mind and action as output from mind to world, with the serious business of thought in between. Hurley criticizes this picture, and considers how the interdependence of perceptual experience and agency at the personal level (of mental contents and norms) may emerge from the subpersonal level (of underlying causal processes and complex dynamic feedback systems). Her two-level view has wide implications, for topics that include self-consciousness, the modularity of mind, and the relations of mind to world. The self no longer lurks hidden somewhere between perceptual input and behavioral output, but reappears out in the open, embodied and embedded in its environment.

Hurley traces these themes from Kantian and Wittgensteinian arguments through to intriguing recent work in neuropsychology and in dynamic systems approaches to the mind, providing a bridge from mainstream philosophy to work in other disciplines. Consciousness in Action is unique in the range of philosophical and scientific work it draws on, and in the deep criticism it offers of centuries-old habits of thought.

 

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Contents

Three Mistakes about Consciousness
27
SelfConsciousness Spontaneity and the Myth of the Giving
55
Unity Objectivity and Norms
88
Perspective Access
134
Unity Neuropsychology and Action
164
partial unity
175
Wittgenstein on Practice and the Myth of the Giving
221
Parallels between Perception
245
Perception Dynamic Feedback and Externalism
285
reversing force field and proprioceptive rerouting
310
Alternative Views of Perception and Action
401
Outline of the Arguments
447
Bibliography
467
Credits
491
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About the author (2002)

S. L. Hurley was Professor at the University of Warwick.

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