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The Philosophy of MetacognitionMental Agency and Self-Awareness$
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Joëlle Proust

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199602162

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199602162.001.0001

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Is There a Sense of Agency for Thought?

Is There a Sense of Agency for Thought?

(p.207) 10 Is There a Sense of Agency for Thought?
The Philosophy of Metacognition

Joëlle Proust

Oxford University Press

Chris Peacocke’s claim that the experience of acting is an entitling source of self-knowledge through the seeming-awareness to act is examined. It goes beyond reliabilism by showing how mental action-awareness may, given the so-called ‘Complexity Reduction Principle’, entitle a thinker to make true judgements about her own actions, and more generally, to perform rational mental actions (decidings, attendings, calculatings, etc.) This stimulating theory raises three problems, however, that are tentatively addressed by elaborating on the functional structure on the wilful mental action. The proper level at which you feel agentive is when you assess your capacity to act (through predictive or retrospective self-evaluations). Epistemic feelings present the agent with evaluations that are essential motivators for triggering new mental actions. It is proposed that epistemic feelings are the only entitling, nonconceptual source of information for acquiring true beliefs about one’s own agency.

Keywords:   motor theory of thinking, entitlement, mental action, trying, metacognitive feelings

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