Trying Without Willing: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Trying Without Willing

An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind, 1st Edition


208 pages

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Within the context of a critique of volitional accounts of action based on trying, Trying Without Willing articulates a conception of intentional action based on the notion of de re intention. A central theme is that volitional theories of action based on the concept of trying presuppose dubious Cartesian assumptions about the nature of mind and mental states. There is an original account of Cartesianism which captures how even the orthodox materialist theories of action are bound by Cartesian assumptions. Articulating criticisms of contemporary volitional theories against the backdrop of this Cartesian picture provides a diagnosis of what is amiss with all these views and helps motivate a new view of the mind and its role in intentional action. This view has some affinities with the view of perception which Hilary Putnam recently articulated in his Dewey Lectures and John McDowell developed in his recent book Mind and World. This book will be of interest to professional philosophers and graduate students as well as anyone seriously interested in the philosophy of mind, the nature of intentional action, the problem of mental causation, or the influence of Cartesiansim in contemporary analytic philosophy.


’His non -volitional account is developed by considering one of the most compelling arguments in favour of trying as willing…’ Bibliographie de La Philosophie '…Cleveland provides thorough discussion and criticism of important volitionist arguments…' The Philosophical Review

Table of Contents

Contents: Volitionism, trying and the mental in physical action; Trying, willing and truth-conditions; Trying, conditional Cartesianism, and knowledge of one’s own actions; Natural kinds, physical actions and psychological essentialism; Act descriptions, basic actions and trying; Trying, paralysis and de re intentionality; Trying, teleology and interpretation; Index.

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