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Meta-awareness as a solution to the problem of Awareness of Intention

Meta-awareness jako řešení problému Awareness of Intention

Ondřej Bečev

E-LOGOS, 2019, vol. 2019, issue 2, 35-47

Abstract: Awareness of intention is a phenomenal experience characterized as a conscious grasp of an action the agent is about to perform. Classically, it is identified with the moment the participant recalls deciding to move, as reported by the position of a hand on the Libet clock face. Booming research on the sense of agency produced significant knowledge but also a discussion of the methodological weaknesses, including a reliance on the experimental results on the reporting method and the arbitrary features of the reporting methods. Philosophers, on the other hand, discuss the intervening illusions and biases of consciousness or the Cartesian theater fallacy. A significant concern is the considerable heterogeneity of the experimental outcomes. A starting point for the present text is the argument that many of the issues of the research program at hand stem from the specific, implicitly held conceptualization. This implicit conceptualization understands awareness of intention as an integrated unitary process characterized by a gradual rise of premotor brain activity and sudden onset of the awareness. As I argue, this conceptual pre-understanding is mostly unreflected, contingent, and presents a significant limitation for the explanation of the empirical results currently dealt with. The text aims at outlining the new theoretical framework that goes beyond the present integrated perspective and permits to consolidate conflicting behavioral results. This reconceptualization builds upon Schooler’s theory of meta-awareness, the theory of access and phenomenal consciousness by Ned Block and also finds support in neuroscientific studies. The reconceptualization presented here introduces the dichotomy of phenomenal awareness of intention associated with the preparation of motor intention in the prefrontal cortex and a reflexive meta-awareness of intention that is likely linked to processes in the parietal cortex.

Keywords: Awareness of intention; meta-awareness; meta-consciousness; sense of agency; prožitek jednání (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Katedra filosofie, Národohospodářská fakulta, Vysoká škole ekonomická v Praze, Nám. W. Churchilla 4, 130 67 Praha 3, Česká republika

DOI: 10.18267/j.e-logos.466

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