Distributed cognition and the will: individual volition and social context
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.
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, and Tadeusz W. Zawidzki
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action activity adaptive agency agent-control Ainslie architecture argue authorship Bandura behavior belief in self-efficacy biological brain Cambridge capacity causal cause central chapter choice claim Clark coaction cognitive science complex computational concept conscious context control systems control theory control-theoretic models coordination cortex Daniel Dennett Daniel Wegner Dennett distributed cognition dynamics effect empirical environment evolution evolutionary example experimenter explain feedback feeling frame problem function goal agents high-order control human hyperbolic discounting hypothesis illusion individual intention interactions kind mechanisms mental mind moral responsibility motivation motor neoclassical neural neuroeconomic neurons Neuroscience nonconscious one's organization Oxford perception performance person perspect phenomenology philosophers players pmanager predict prefrontal cortex processes psychology question reason recurrent network relevant role Ross schizophrenia self-efficacy self-regulation self-regulation theories sense sensory simple social sort specific strategies structure studies suggest task temporal Thalos theorists thought experiments tion tive Tversky University Press volition Wegner York