Action-awareness and the active mind

Document Type: 
Article
Article Type: 
Theoretical
Disciplines: 
Philosophy
Topics: 
Self and Mental State Attribution
Keywords: 
action awareness, mental action, Peacocke, schizophrenia, self-interpretation
Deposited by: 
Dr Peter Carruthers on 01 March 2009
Date of Issue: 
2009
Authors: 
Peter Carruthers
Journal/Publication Title: 
Philosophical papers
Volume: 
38
Issue Number: 
2
Publish status: 
Published
Abstract: 
In a pair of recent papers and his new book, Christopher Peacocke takes up and defends the claim that our awareness of our own actions is immediate and not perceptually based, and extends it into the domain of mental action. He aims to provide an account of action-awareness that will generalize to explain how we have immediate awareness of our own judgments, decisions, imaginings, and so forth. These claims form an important component in a much larger philosophical edifice, with many implications for the philosophy of mind and for epistemology. The present paper advances multiple criticisms of Peacocke’s account. In particular, it shows that he has given insufficient grounds for thinking that we have non-perceptual awareness of our own actions; and it shows that the account of action-awareness that he provides doesn’t, in any case, generalize to mental actions of the sort that he intends.
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