Book of abstracts

See below for the abstracts of the keynote lectures. A downloadable pdf of the full book of abstracts can be found here.

Keynote lectures

Agnes Moors

The power of goal-directed processes in emotional and other actions

Standard dual process models in the action domain hold that stimulus-driven processes are responsible for suboptimal behavior because they take them to be rigid but automatic and therefore the default. We propose an alternative dual process model in which goal-directed processes are the default instead. This amounts to shrinking the explanatory territory of stimulus-driven processes and expand that of goal-directed ones. We then transfer the dual process logic from the action domain to the emotion domain. This reveals that emotional action tendencies are often attributed to stimulus-driven processes. Our alternative model submits that emotional action tendencies can also be caused by goal-directed processes. We evaluate the type of empirical evidence required for validating our alternative model and we consider the implications of our model for behavior change, encouraging strategies focused on the expectancies and values of action outcomes.

[click here for the full paper]


Elizabeth Pacherie

Intentions and motor representations: the interface challenge

A full account of purposive action must appeal not only to propositional attitude states like beliefs, desires, and intentions, but also to motor representations, i.e., non-propositional states that are thought to represent, among other things, action outcomes as well as detailed kinematic features of bodily movements. This raises the puzzle of how it is that these two distinct types of state successfully coordinate. I examine this so-called “Interface Problem”. First, I clarify and expand on the respective nature and functions of motor representations and intentions in explaining intentional action. Next, I characterize the interface challenge that their differences in representational format and content imply.  I then evaluate Butterfill & Sinigaglia’s (2014) recent answer to this interface challenge, according to which intentions refer to action outcomes by way of demonstrative deference to motor representations. I present some worries for this proposal, arguing that, among other things, it implicitly presupposes a solution to the problem, and so cannot help to resolve it. Finally, I suggest that we may make some progress on this puzzle by positing a “content-preserving causal process” taking place between intentions and motor representations, and offer a proposal for how this might work.

[click here for the full paper]


Jan Broersen

Getting a Formal Grip on Responsibility

Our goal is to develop a formal language in which we can talk about responsibilities of individual agents. Through agency, responsibility is connected to causality. The literature has several suggestions on how to formally define this connection. We will critically review some of these definitions and put forward some suggestions for improvement.