Naturalizing the acting self: Subjective vs. anonymous agency

Document Type: 
Article
Article Type: 
Theoretical
Disciplines: 
Philosophy
Topics: 
Neural Correlates of Consciousness
Keywords: 
Action; Agency; Consciousness; Mirror Neurons; Phenomenology; Shared Representations; Subjectivity
Deposited by: 
Dr. Dorothée Legrand
Date of Issue: 
2007
Authors: 
Dorothée Legrand
Journal/Publication Title: 
Philosophical Psychology
Abstract: 
This paper considers critically the enterprise of naturalizing the subjective experienceof acting intentionally. I specifically expose the limits of the model that conceives of agency as composed of two stages. The first stage consists in experiencing an anonymous intention without being conscious of it as anybody’s in particular. The second stage disambiguates this anonymous experience thanks to a mechanism of identification and attribution answering the question: ‘‘who is intending to act?’’ On the basis of phenomenological, clinical, methodological and empirical considerations, I contrast the two-stage anonymity–attribution model of agency with an alternative view that intends to bypass these problems by defining agency as intrinsically subjective at the prereflective level.
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