Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Actions, philosophy: Actions are conscious or unconscious human actions as opposed to physical events. The action can take place against the will of the agent, but only if the opposed will is not strong enough to prevent the execution entirely.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data

Chris Frith on Actions - Dictionary of Arguments

I 99
Action/consciousness/Daniel Wegner/Frith: Thesis: we have no direct knowledge that we are the originators of our actions.
I 100
E.g. There is a second test partner, who actually works with the experimental director, and who moves the mouse in a computer test almost in unison to you, but sometimes not, or with time delay.
N.B.: then you will think you are the one who moves the mouse (or cursor). This is also true vice versa.
I 102
Action/Frith: for example, a person on a treadmill should perform various responses to changes in the resistance or the speed increase, e.g. maintaining the energy, the tempo, etc.
N.B.: the people changed their way of walking several seconds before they had noticed the change in the resistance of the treadmill!
I 202
Originator/action/movement/foreign psychological/sovereignty/Frith: something that is as private as pain is the experience that we are the originators of our actions.
Cause/effect/Frith: cause and effect are connected here to units, as, for exampe, color, form and movement are connected to form objects.
Object/thing/Frith: thesis: the object arises from a combination of form, color and movement.
I 252
Action/freedom/freedom of will/Frith: why does my brain make me feel like a free acting being?
Thesis: it is beneficial for us to feel like free actors. Why this is the case, I can only answer very speculatively:
I 253
It has to do with altruism.
Altruism/Frith: altruism is one of the most difficult problems in evolutionary biology.
J. B. S. Haldane: "I would sacrifice my life for two brothers or eight cousins."
Definition Dictator Game/Frith: e.g. a player gets a hundred dollars and can decide how much of it he/she gives to another player, which he/she does not know and of which he/she knows that this person will never meet him/her again.
Most people give about $30.

Definition Ultimatum Game/Frith: here the other players can influence the result: if the one rejects the offer, both will leave with empty hands.
If a player gives less than 30 dollars, he is usually punished by the other players. Thesis: we have a strong sense of fairness.

Definition altruistic punishment/Frith: sometimes we even pay to punish someone else, e.g. free riders. With them we have no compassion. Our brain rewards us for the punishment of free riders.

Definition 2n level free rider/Frith: free riders are people who rely on others carrying out the punishment and never do it themselves.

Freedom/freedom of will/Frith: freedom is a consequence of the fact that we are experiencing ourselves as free actors, that we also assume this of other people.
Child: differs between intentional and unintentional action already at the age of three years.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Frith I
Chris Frith
Making up the Mind: How the Brain Creates Our Mental World, Hoboken/NJ 2007
German Edition:
Wie unser Gehirn die Welt erschafft Heidelberg 2013

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-07-25
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