, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 21-30

First online:

Agency, Consciousness, and Executive Control

  • Jesús H. AguilarAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • , Andrei A. BuckareffAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Marist College Email author 

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On the Causal Theory of Action (CTA), internal proper parts of an agent such as desires and intentions are causally responsible for actions. CTA has increasingly come under attack for its alleged failure to account for agency. A recent version of this criticism due to François Schroeter proposes that CTA cannot provide an adequate account of either the executive control or the autonomous control involved in full-fledged agency. Schroeter offers as an alternative a revised understanding of the proper role of consciousness in agency. In this paper we criticize Schroeter’s analysis of the type of consciousness involved in executive control and examine the way in which the conscious self allegedly intervenes in action. We argue that Schroeter’s proposal should not be preferred over recent versions of CTA.


Agency Intentional action Causal theory of action Consciousness Executive control