Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 309-325

First online:

The phenomenology of agency and intention in the face of paralysis and insentience

  • Jonathan ColeAffiliated withClinical Neurophysiology, University of Bournemouth, Poole Hospital Email author 

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Studies of perception have focussed on sensation, though more recently the perception of action has, once more, become the subject of investigation. These studies have looked at acute experimental situations. The present paper discusses the subjective experience of those with either clinical syndromes of loss of movement or sensation (spinal cord injury, sensory neuronopathy syndrome or motor stroke), or with experimental paralysis or sensory loss. The differing phenomenology of these is explored and their effects on intention and agency discussed. It is shown that sensory loss can have effects on the focussing of motor command and that for some a sense of agency can return despite paralysis.

Key words

agency intention spinal cord injury sensory loss