Recent work in cognitive science suggests that conscious thought plays a much less central role in the production of human behavior than most think. Partially on the basis of this work, Peter Carruthers has advanced the claim that humans never consciously decide to act. This claim is of independent interest for action theory, and its potential truth poses a problem for theories of free will and autonomy, which often take our capacity to consciously decide to be of central importance. In this article, I examine the nature of conscious deciding and I argue that Carruthers fails to establish the claim that humans never consciously decide to act.

Additional Metadata
Keywords action theory, consciousness, deciding, intention formation, mental action
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/13869795.2013.723035
Journal Philosophical Explorations
Citation
Shepherd, J. (2013). The apparent illusion of conscious deciding. Philosophical Explorations, 16(1), 18–30. doi:10.1080/13869795.2013.723035