Volition and Property Dualism

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My overall aim here is to intersect two issues central to Max Velmans' (2002) wide-ranging paper. The first concerns one of the most vexing problems in consciousness research — how best to approach the terms 'mental' and 'physical'. The second looks at the phenomenology of volition, and the degree to which information presumably necessary for making voluntary conscious decisions is, or is not, present in consciousness. Velmans offers three general reasons to motivate his position: the physical world is 'causally closed' to the influence of consciousness; consciousness does not contain the information necessary for making volitional decisions; conscious feelings of volition occur before the acts they supposedly cause. It seems to me that none of this holds up well under scrutiny. I will concentrate on the first two reasons, since I think they involve more basic and widespread aspects of consciousness research.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Cognitive Studies, 608 Barrows Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3020, USA.

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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