29-30 May 2017 Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium)

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We invite paper proposals for a two-day conference being held at Université catholique de Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium) on the 29th and 30th of May 2017. The theme will be the relationship between sense of agency and moral responsibility. Sense of agency is the feeling that one has of being the author of one's actions. Recent empirical work on the sense of agency has produced some startling results. For instance, it appears to be that the sense of agency can be manipulated so that experimental participants feel a sense of agency over actions that they did not cause (manipulation of the so-called intentional binding phenomenon). Similarly, studies conducted since the 1980s have been used in arguments for the view that sense of agency appears not to play the causal or epistemic role that is imputed to it in many common-sense and philosophical accounts of action. What are the consequences of such studies for control and moral responsibility? One may give a negative account of the consequence, which would explain that folk views are mistaken and why this is, or one may give a positive account that explains the role of sense of agency in a way that implies partial revision of the folk view. Either way, it appears that the relationship of sense of agency to our normative practices is more complex than implied by folk views.

In light of this, we are interested in presentations that address the following or related questions:

  • Does the sense of agency play a necessary role in the control of behaviour? If so, how is this role best specified?
  • Is the sense of agency immediate or inferred? Is it a reliable source of knowledge?
  • Is sense of agency a single phenomenon, or does it refer to a cluster of related phenomena?
  • Does agency need to be conscious in order for it to be responsible agency? In other words, is sense of agency a necessary condition for moral responsibility?
  • Can the sense of agency be explained in terms of access consciousness alone or may its phenomenal aspect also play some key explanatory role?
The plenary speakers for the conference will be Joshua Shepherd (Oxford), Simone Schütz-Bosbach (LMU Munich), Emilie Caspar (ULB Brussels), and Markus Schlosser (UCD Dublin).

Abstracts should be submitted by 28th January at latest, and authors will be informed by the end of February.

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