Does Consciousness Cause Behavior?

Author(s): Susan Pockett (Editor); William P. Banks (Editor); Shaun Gallagher (Editor)

Cultural Studies

Our intuition tells us that we, our conscious selves, cause our own voluntary acts. Yet scientists have long questioned this; Thomas Huxley, for example, in 1874 compared mental events to a steam whistle that contributes nothing to the work of a locomotive. New experimental evidence (most notable, work by Benjamin Libet and Daniel Wegner) has brought the causal status of human behavior back to the forefront of intellectual discussion. This multidisciplinary collection advances the debate, approaching the question from a variety of perspectives. The contributors begin by examining recent research in neuroscience that suggests that consciousness does not cause behavior, offering the outline of an empirically based model that shows how the brain causes behavior and where consciousness might fit in. Other contributors address the philosophical presuppositions that may have informed the empirical studies, raising questions about what can be legitimately concluded about the existence of free will from Libet's and Wegner's experimental results.


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Product Information

General Fields

  • : 9780262512572
  • : MIT Press
  • : 1540
  • : June 2009
  • : 1.95 Centimeters X 19.4 Centimeters X 23.3 Centimeters
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Susan Pockett (Editor); William P. Banks (Editor); Shaun Gallagher (Editor)
  • : Paperback
  • : English
  • : 153
  • : 376