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Decomposing the Will

Andy Clark, Julian Kiverstein, and Tillmann Vierkant


There is growing evidence from the science of human behavior that our everyday, folk understanding of ourselves as conscious, rational, responsible agents may be radically mistaken. The science, some argue, recommends a view of conscious agency as merely epiphenomenal: an impotent accompaniment to the whirring unconscious machinery (the inner zombie!) that prepares, decides, and causes our behavior. This volume displays and explores this radical claim, revisiting the folk concept of the responsible agent after abandoning the image of a central executive and “decomposing” the notion of the cons ... More

Keywords: zombie challenge, conscious control, human behavior, human agency, automatic behavior, self-control

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199746996
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199746996.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Andy Clark, editor
University of Edinburgh

Julian Kiverstein, editor
University of the Edinburgh

Tillmann Vierkant, editor
University of Edinburgh

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Front Matter

1 Decomposing the Will

Tillmann Vierkant, Julian Kiverstein, and Andy Clark

Part One The Zombie Challenge

3 Beyond Libet

John-Dylan Haynes

Part Two The Sense of Agency

6 From the Fact to the Sense of Agency

Manos Tsakiris, and Aikaterini Fotopoulou

Part Three The Function of Conscious Control: Conflict Resolution, Emotion, and Mental Actions

10 Voluntary Action and the Three Forms of Binding in the Brain

Ezequiel Morsella, Tara C. Dennehy, and John A. Bargh

12 Action Control by Implementation Intentions

Sam J. Maglio, Peter M. Gollwitzer, and Gabriele Oettingen

Part Four Decomposed Accounts of the Will

16 Recomposing the Will

Lars Hall, Petter Johansson, and David de Léon

End Matter