The Phenomenology of Agency and the Libet Results

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the phenomenal character of agentive experience-i.e., what it is like to experience oneself as the conscious author of one's behavior. Experiences with this distinctive kind of "what-it's-like-ness," have representational content-i.e., they represent oneself, to oneself, as willfully generating one's actions. This chapter argues that the representational content of act-commencement experience, as determined by the phenomenal character of such experience, is quite compatible with the possibility that action-triggering neural activity in the motor cortex is already occurring at a point in time prior to the onset of the experience of conscious act-commencement; hence, even if one were to grant that the work of Libet and others really does establish that the acts experienced as willfully produced are causally initiated by brain-events that occur prior to the experienced onset of act-commencement, this presumptive fact would not show that the experience of conscious will is an illusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConscious Will and Responsibility: A Tribute to Benjamin Libet
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199864911, 9780195381641
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 24 2010

Fingerprint

Motor Cortex
Brain

Keywords

  • Act-commencement
  • Agentive experience
  • Benjamin Libet
  • Conscious will
  • Representational content
  • What-it's-like-ness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Horgan, T. E. (2010). The Phenomenology of Agency and the Libet Results. In Conscious Will and Responsibility: A Tribute to Benjamin Libet Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381641.003.0015

The Phenomenology of Agency and the Libet Results. / Horgan, Terence E.

Conscious Will and Responsibility: A Tribute to Benjamin Libet. Oxford University Press, 2010.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Horgan, TE 2010, The Phenomenology of Agency and the Libet Results. in Conscious Will and Responsibility: A Tribute to Benjamin Libet. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381641.003.0015
Horgan TE. The Phenomenology of Agency and the Libet Results. In Conscious Will and Responsibility: A Tribute to Benjamin Libet. Oxford University Press. 2010 https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381641.003.0015
Horgan, Terence E. / The Phenomenology of Agency and the Libet Results. Conscious Will and Responsibility: A Tribute to Benjamin Libet. Oxford University Press, 2010.
@inbook{b7f310391e1b4d4abfef2c7f6e19e5a2,
title = "The Phenomenology of Agency and the Libet Results",
abstract = "This chapter focuses on the phenomenal character of agentive experience-i.e., what it is like to experience oneself as the conscious author of one's behavior. Experiences with this distinctive kind of {"}what-it's-like-ness,{"} have representational content-i.e., they represent oneself, to oneself, as willfully generating one's actions. This chapter argues that the representational content of act-commencement experience, as determined by the phenomenal character of such experience, is quite compatible with the possibility that action-triggering neural activity in the motor cortex is already occurring at a point in time prior to the onset of the experience of conscious act-commencement; hence, even if one were to grant that the work of Libet and others really does establish that the acts experienced as willfully produced are causally initiated by brain-events that occur prior to the experienced onset of act-commencement, this presumptive fact would not show that the experience of conscious will is an illusion.",
keywords = "Act-commencement, Agentive experience, Benjamin Libet, Conscious will, Representational content, What-it's-like-ness",
author = "Horgan, {Terence E}",
year = "2010",
month = "11",
day = "24",
doi = "10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381641.003.0015",
language = "English (US)",
isbn = "9780199864911",
booktitle = "Conscious Will and Responsibility: A Tribute to Benjamin Libet",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",

}

TY - CHAP

T1 - The Phenomenology of Agency and the Libet Results

AU - Horgan, Terence E

PY - 2010/11/24

Y1 - 2010/11/24

N2 - This chapter focuses on the phenomenal character of agentive experience-i.e., what it is like to experience oneself as the conscious author of one's behavior. Experiences with this distinctive kind of "what-it's-like-ness," have representational content-i.e., they represent oneself, to oneself, as willfully generating one's actions. This chapter argues that the representational content of act-commencement experience, as determined by the phenomenal character of such experience, is quite compatible with the possibility that action-triggering neural activity in the motor cortex is already occurring at a point in time prior to the onset of the experience of conscious act-commencement; hence, even if one were to grant that the work of Libet and others really does establish that the acts experienced as willfully produced are causally initiated by brain-events that occur prior to the experienced onset of act-commencement, this presumptive fact would not show that the experience of conscious will is an illusion.

AB - This chapter focuses on the phenomenal character of agentive experience-i.e., what it is like to experience oneself as the conscious author of one's behavior. Experiences with this distinctive kind of "what-it's-like-ness," have representational content-i.e., they represent oneself, to oneself, as willfully generating one's actions. This chapter argues that the representational content of act-commencement experience, as determined by the phenomenal character of such experience, is quite compatible with the possibility that action-triggering neural activity in the motor cortex is already occurring at a point in time prior to the onset of the experience of conscious act-commencement; hence, even if one were to grant that the work of Libet and others really does establish that the acts experienced as willfully produced are causally initiated by brain-events that occur prior to the experienced onset of act-commencement, this presumptive fact would not show that the experience of conscious will is an illusion.

KW - Act-commencement

KW - Agentive experience

KW - Benjamin Libet

KW - Conscious will

KW - Representational content

KW - What-it's-like-ness

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84921606844&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84921606844&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381641.003.0015

DO - 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381641.003.0015

M3 - Chapter

AN - SCOPUS:84921606844

SN - 9780199864911

SN - 9780195381641

BT - Conscious Will and Responsibility: A Tribute to Benjamin Libet

PB - Oxford University Press

ER -