PH100 Lecture Notes

Evaluation of the evidence confabulations what do

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Situational factors influence our behavior in ways that we are not conscious. Evaluation of the evidence Confabulations What do confabulations show? O' Connor: In cases of confabulations, there is no experience of conscious will. Confabulations are cases of false memories and not cases in which there is an illusion of conscious willing. p. 179 - “But the scientist who notes these cases of unwitting, ex post facto formation or revision of actional beliefs should not be tempted to be partly complicit in them by agreeing that there was, after all, and experience of willing that fits the fabricated version of events” Erroneous beliefs about one's sense of agency These are cases in which an agent thinks that he/she caused something, even though he/she did not. What is important to note is that the object or event assume to be caused is not a bodily action. Thus, even if we accept that there are cases of false beliefs about one's sense of agency, there are not false beliefs about bodily actions . Therefore, such findings do not speak against the view that we consciously will and cause our bodily
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actions. Example) cases of superstition O' Connor: “That we can easily be lead to increased inclinations towards such beliefs absent good evidence is disconcerting but again it seems besides the point when the question is our control over our own basic actions via the will. Clinical Mental Disorders What do cases of alien hand syndrome or schizophrenia show? They show that it is possible to act without the experience of conscious willing. This result, however, does not show that the experience of conscious willing is illusory. For alien hand syndrome and schizophrenia do not undermine all other cases in which actions are preceded by an experience of conscious willing. Example) taking a test, picking 1 question to answer when given 2 p. 180 Evidence from clinical mental disorders does not disconfirm that the conscious will is a force or causal link Skeptic of Free Will Even if empirical evidence does not disconfirm the hypothesis that conscious will is a causal force, there is an alternative explanation of what occurs that does not appeal to conscious will. (≈ Wegner) Conscious will is not the perception of a causal link/or force. It is instead an indication that we think that we have caused an action. O' Connor's response : Wegner's skepticism is either self-refuting or inappropriate p. 181 scientific research is guided by reasons, beliefs, intentions, etc. but if we accept the results of the research, we assume that it was a mechanical process (or that it was pre-determined) no reason to believe in science Timing Studies Problem: the performed action is not a free or spontaneous action. It has been planned in advance. Therefore, it is not surprising that the urge or desire to perform such an action is preceded by brain activity.
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