Agency as a marker of consciousness

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Although both folk psychology and philosophical tradition regard agency as a legitimate marker of consciousness, this position is looked on with some suspicion by many consciousness scientists in favor of the view that the only legitimate basis on which to ascribe consciousness is introspective report. This chapter examines the question of whether this suspicion is justified. The first half of the chapter distinguishes a number of ways in which agency might be employed as a marker of consciousness, while the second half defends the use of agency as a marker of consciousness against objections that derive from findings in cognitive neuroscience and social psychology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDecomposing the Will
EditorsAndy Clark, Julian Kiverstein, Tillmann Vierkant
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780199876877
ISBN (Print)9780199746996
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • agency
  • consciousness
  • introspective report
  • cognitive neuroscience
  • social psychology
  • folk psychology
  • philosophical tradition

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